You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Ohio union law ballot question faces Monday deadline

- Associated Press - Monday, August 29, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The deadline for removing a repeal question on Ohio's contentious collective bargaining law from the fall ballot was expected to pass Monday without fanfare, positioning voters to decide the fate of the law in November.

Passing the deadline wouldn't prevent Republican leaders and opponents of the law from reaching a deal later to change or toss out the legislation, though that's seen as unlikely.

Signed by Gov. John Kasich in March, the law bans public employees from striking and restricts collective bargaining rights for more than 350,000 teachers, police officers, state employees and other public workers.

The group We Are Ohio — which opposes the law — has until midnight Monday to request the issue be taken off the ballot. Spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas says the only way for its removal is for legislators to repeal the law themselves.

Mr. Kasich's administration released a letter Aug. 17 asking for a meeting to discuss a compromise with 10 union leaders involved with We Are Ohio, the group pushing for a repeal of the law.

We Are Ohio maintained that the time for a compromise that would remove Issue 2 from the Nov. 8 ballot had passed. The coalition's campaign manager had responded in a letter to Mr. Kasich, House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Tom Niehaus that the group wouldn't consider talks unless the law was repealed.

Defenders of the law scored another endorsement Monday in what has already become a daily volley, when the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants threw its backing behind the measure.

A Quinnipiac University poll in July found that 56 percent of Ohio voters say the new collective bargaining law should be repealed, compared with 32 percent who favor keeping it in place.

Meanwhile on Monday, a liberal group accused the Kasich administration of giving money to economic development groups whose members made political contributions to the governor and legislative Republicans who supported the law.

"It's a washing system," said Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, prompting a storm of angry responses.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols wrote in an email that the accusations were so untrue they were "silly."

"This type of baseless attack is the desperate tactic of anti-reformers who are so afraid of the real facts that they won't even put them on their website," he said.

In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Kasich jobs guru Mark Kvamme, president and interim chief investment officer of JobsOhio, also dismissed Mr. Rothenberg's charge as mere innuendo.

"Sometimes I think these guys, all they're focused on is creating innuendo and lawsuits," Mr. Kvamme said. "A lot of people are evaluating the whole situation. If he's not careful, he's going to get into trouble."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.