Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ohio SB-5

Ohio is not the only place with action on these mean streets running between public Ἀγορά and groves of academe, but with both NFM president Maria Maisto and VP Matt Williams in Ohio and involved, we can't help following closely.

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Recently posted to Defend Ohio group on Facebook:

It would appear that the leadership of Ohio University has had lobbyists working hard TO SUPPORT SB5-- the Cutler Hall crowd are speaking with our resources about future resources and against our interests

Now that the Ohio state Senate has approved S.B. 5 by a  single vote, thanks significantly to Republicans pulling an opponent of the bill off the relevant committee at the last second, unions are shifting their focus to a statewide referendum that would prevent the law from being implemented:

it will be at least 90 days until the law goes into effect. That period will give the opponents of the bill the chance to gather the 231,147 signatures (based on 6% of the vote total in the 2010 gubernatorial race, as state law requires) they'll need to put a repeal referendum on the ballot. They can start the process with just 1,000 signatures. TPM outlines the entire process.
 
There are several common threads between the fights in Ohio and Wisconsin. In both states, newly elected, hard-right Republican Governors are coordinating with each other, and the wider conservative movement, to bust unions for the sake of busting unions. In both states, the response was massive protests from unions and progressive allies. In both states, in the face of unresponsive Republican state legislatures, organizing has now begun for special elections.

Perhaps the most important common thread is how opponents of the union-busting legislation in both states are going all-out, using every legal and organizational means at their disposal to fight back. 
Thanks to the eccentricities of Ohio law, passage in the House doesn't mean SB 5 is guaranteed to go into effect. Though they more than likely can't stop it in the legislature, the opposition can potentially block its implementation by promising to take it on at the ballot box. That means the fight over SB 5 could extend for months -- maybe even all the way to November, 2012.

Union leaders and Democrats have already begun shifting their focus to a referendum fight, which would require union supporters to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures in the days following an expected signing of SB 5 by Gov. John Kasich (R).

Once that's done, the law could be placed on hold (meaning it wouldn't go into effect at all) while Ohio waits to see what voters have to say about SB 5. And that's a fight the Democrats say they can win.

The entire process is outlined here in the Ohio State code. More Ohion at Plunderbund, "all politics, all Ohio"

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