Legislative leaders say they want a plan to revamp Ohio’s congressional redistricting process ready to introduce in January, with the goal of putting it on the May ballot.

The movement comes as a coalition of organizations, including the League of Women Voters of Ohio, continues to collect the signatures needed to get a plan on the November 2018 ballot designed to end Ohio’s process for gerrymandering districts to the benefit of the party in power.

Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said he expects to have a proposal introduced in early January, with the goal of passing it by the end of the month. Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, added that he also would like to see a proposal move quickly. The issues faces a Feb. 7 filing deadline to make the primary ballot.

Lawmakers in both chambers indicate that a framework has been constructed, but details still need worked out.

"I do anticipate it being bipartisan," Obhof said.

Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, said he is glad Obhof is pushing for a January timetable and is cautiously optimistic that a bipartisan plan can be completed.

"We’ve had some preliminary meetings and discussions that have been cordial and positive," he said.

Sykes said the idea is to model it after Issue 1, the 2015 legislative redistricting plan that had broad support — "something that everyone can buy into."

One key disagreement has been over who ultimately draws the lines. The Fair Districts coalition has pushed for a separate commission, same as for legislative districts, while Republican legislative leaders have been loath to give up control of the congressional map-making process.

"The president has made clear that there has to be some control maintained by the General Assembly," said Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima, one of the leaders in crafting a proposal. "The first chance has to be with the General Assembly to draw the map, and then we decide how is the commission involved if that doesn’t happen."

A key to Issue 1 was that it required at least two minority party votes on the redistricting commission to approve a map. "How we structure that, the devil is in the details," Huffman said.

More work also needs done on the line-drawing rules, Huffman said, noting that because of the exact population requirements of congressional districts, "we probably couldn’t draw a congressional map" under Issue 1 rules.

Rosenberger said there is bipartisan agreement in the House on the course of moving forward.

"We’ve had a good conversation on something that we think can work," he said, saying there is a blueprint that "helps give the people a voice and at the same time lets the legislature try to at least have a chance at getting something done."

Jordan Plottner, spokesman for House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, called it a framework for finding the "ultimate goal of arriving at a plan that has the support of voters and groups who have be on the front lines of reforming the process."

Jim Siegel is a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch.