- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Defense lawyer: McDonnell’s wife had ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House unveils bill to speed deportations of illegal immigrant children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Ohio voters to decide fate of union law
Question of the Day
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio voters will get to decide in November whether to repeal the state’s new collective bargaining law, which would let public-worker unions negotiate wages but not health care, sick time or pension benefits.
The state’s elections chief said Thursday that opponents had gathered enough valid signatures to put the question before voters. The measure now is suspended from taking effect until voters have their say.
The law, signed by Gov. John Kasich in late March, affects more than 350,000 public workers, including police officers, firefighters, teachers and state employees. Aside from restricting bargaining, it bans strikes and gets rid of automatic pay increases, replacing them with merit raises or performance pay.
The group We Are Ohio delivered more than 1.3 million signatures to Secretary of State Jon Husted, though the opponents needed roughly 231,000 valid signatures to get the question on the ballot. He said more than 915,000 of the signatures were valid.
The opponents’ successful campaign proves that the legislation was “a bad bill that was passed by extreme politicians who are out of touch with hard-working Ohioans,” said Melissa Fazekas, a spokeswoman for We Are Ohio.
The measure was approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature in March amid shouts and jeers from protesters in each chamber. But the overall response by protesters in this Rust Belt state, despite its long union tradition among steel and auto workers, paled in comparison to that in Wisconsin, where protests topped more than 70,000 people. Ohio’s largest Statehouse demonstrations on the measure drew about 8,500 people.
That difference has been attributed to the labor legacy in Madison, Wis., and the proximity of the populous University of Wisconsin campus to the state Capitol.
The fallout from each state’s bitter fights over collective-bargaining restrictions also have differed.
Unlike in Wisconsin, Ohio voters cannot recall state lawmakers, so opponents are pushing for repeal through a referendum.
In Wisconsin, nine state senators — six Republicans and three Democrats — face recall elections. GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s collective-bargaining law eventually survived a court challenge and took effect.
A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found that 56 percent of Ohio voters say the new collective-bargaining law should be repealed, compared with 32 percent who say it should be kept.
The We Are Ohio campaign said 10,000 volunteers and some paid workers circulated petitions to get the referendum before voters. The coalition of labor groups and others contends the law is an unfair attack on workers.
Mr. Kasich, a first-term governor, and his GOP colleagues argue that the legislation will help city officials, school superintendents and others control their costs at a time when they, too, are feeling budget woes.
Mr. Kasich has said he plans to play a visible role in defending the law. So far, he has directed his supporters to a website for Building a Better Ohio, a group that wants to keep the new law in place.
Jason Mauk, a spokesman for Building a Better Ohio, said Thursday that certification of the signatures puts the focus back on the law’s merits.
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- Kerry's credibility questioned as fighting in Gaza rages
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world