Under the Kasich Administration, on February 1, 2011, Senate Bill 5 was introduced in the Ohio Senate by Republican Senator Shannon Jones. On March 30, 2011, the bill passed both houses and was signed into law by Governor Kasich on March 31, 2011. Although this radical “union stripping” legislation was scheduled to become effective on July 1, 2011, the “We Are Ohio” referendum coalition delivered two versions of S.B. 5 repeal summary, with about 3,000 signatures each, to the Ohio Secretary of State on Monday April 4, 2011. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted certified the proposed summary language for the S.B. 5 referendum. The group then needed to obtain the required 231,147 valid signatures to place the measure on the November 8 general election ballot. On June 29 the group delivered 1.2 million signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office. Thus, the bill was placed on the ballot for November 8, 2011 election.
Republican Gov. John Kasich had previously warned Democrats that they needed to support a hard-edged anti-union law or get run over by “the bus,” but on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, Ohio voters seriously damaged Kasich’s agenda by defeating the measure by an overwhelming 63% of the vote. Unions brought a humbling defeat on Kasich, who had become his party’s super boy for conservative overreach, by soundly defeating Senate Bill 5. This new collective bargaining law barred public sector strikes, virtually eliminated bargaining rights for 360,000 public employees and eliminating binding arbitration of management-labor disputes.
While we cannot determine the impact of the Ohio elections on 2012, according to the recent polls, Republican governors’ favorability in several swing states are very low. For example, Kasich’s approval is 38%; Florida’s Governor Rick Scott’s approval is 32%; Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is 33%; and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker approval is 37%. It could be that Republicans may “self destruct” by November 2012 as they continue their radical agenda, but that’s just my take.
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