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After Ohio passed its dramatic union stripping bill, the state is posed for an epic fight over the measure. Ohio does not have a recall process like Wisconsin but they may have something better, a referendum process that was used successfully the last time Ohio tried to strip unions.
Under Ohio law, opponents have 90 days from the time the governor signs the legislation to collect 231,149 signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot. If they collect enough valid signatures from 44 Ohio counties within that time frame, the law wouldn’t go into effect until the November election—that is if voters approved the referendum, which now seems pretty unlikely.
It is pretty obvious that the majority of people are not for the union stripping measures that are popping up all over the nation. It is certainly painfully clear in Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch analyzed more than 14,000 of Governor Kasich’s emails obtained through a public-records request. The breakdown was pretty dramatic. Only 16 percent of the emails were in favor of SB 5 which proposed even more draconian union stripping measures than Wisconsin. A whopping 84 percent of the emails analyzed were against the bill. Despite these numbers, the Ohio legislators passed the bill and Kasich quickly inked it into law.
Nearly two-thirds of the emails came from writers who identified themselves as a public employee or a close relative – virtually all of whom opposed the measure. However, even without the self-identified public workers, the Senate bill was still opposed by 57 percent of those who emailed Kasich. And dozens of those who backed the anti-union law are from out of state, with several remarking that they had seen Kasich on Fox News.
Before passing the bill, Kasich said there were some who support Senate Bill 5, and the number will grow as more people understand what’s in it. He also acknowledged many Ohioans’ dissatisfaction with him and parts of his agenda. “I really think that people want change, but they’re not sure what it should look like,” Kasich said. “When the headlines every day are about change, it unsettles people. But I said that from the beginning, that this was going to be a time of big change, and that there would be people who wouldn’t like it.”
It seems like doing something that is overwhelming politically unpopular will have consequences. That is certainly the case in Wisconsin where the first recall petition has been filed. In Ohio, it appears that the political consequences could defeat this bill ultimately. It seems like lawmakers would be more concerned with taking on these losing battles knowing that it will affect their future. Their cavalier attitude concerns me. Do they know something about the next election that I don’t know? Or are they simply betting that voters will continue to have poor memory and will forget about their giant misdeeds by the time the next election rolls around? The reason why these positions are elected positions are to prevent this sort of power grab. If the vast majority of voters are against a proposal, the elected official should bow to the will of the people. This is intended to be a “representative government.” What happened?