Majority votes “No” on Ohio Issue 2, repeals Senate Bill 5

Yesterday, on Election Day, Ohio voters finally settled the whole Senate Bill 5 issue (state Issue 2) once and for all — well, at least until bits and pieces of it are re-passed in another form at a later date. That’s right, the majority of Ohioans voted “no” on Issue 2, which thereby repealed the union-busting Senate Bill 5. Therefore, Senate Bill 5 will not take effect at all. (The law was passed in March but when its opponents were able to gather enough signatures to put it on the ballot for a voter referendum, that delayed it taking effect until after the election. And since it failed voter approval, now it will not take effect at all.)

You can read articles with more details on Dayton Daily News, Columbus Dispatch, and CNN.

Since I have mentioned SB 5 in this blog on several previous occasions, I thought it would be appropriate to make a note [blog] of its repeal.

Keep in mind as I write this, I am a librarian at a unionized public library in Ohio. Some of the SB 5 stuff would have actually applied to us…

Yet, when I was first trying to understand the details of SB 5, I wrote on Feb 17 about some of the provisions that I didn’t find offensive.

For instance, I agree that…

  • People should be rewarded for a job well done (and conversely, not rewarded just for showing up).
  • It’s unfair to use seniority as the sole basis for retention during layoffs.
  • Asking employees to pay 20% of their own health insurance premiums seems reasonable. (My husband and I pay 25%.)
  • Asking employees to pay 10% of their gross income towards their own pensions seems reasonable. (Most of us public employees already do that anyway – and it’s not optional.)

I noted later on Feb 24 that our union contract already forbids strikes, so there wouldn’t be any change there. And I would have been interested to see the effects of eliminating the fair share fees (Apr 4).

But then again, there were some other parts of the bill that definitely weren’t so good. Take, for instance, those bits about safety equipment and staffing levels for emergency responders like policemen and firemen. Or what about teachers? I think it could be difficult to measure their performance in a lot of cases. What would they base it on? Student grades? That seems a bit unfair; just look at the disaster of No Child Left Behind and basing school funding on test scores. And let’s face it, you could have the best teacher in the world, and some kids just still wouldn’t make the grades because — and I hate to be the one to have to say this, even though I know I’m not the only one thinking it — some kids actually are lazy and/or stupid.

One of the above listed articles actually states that SB 5 started out as a 1 sentence bill and eventually evolved to over 300 pages. There were just too many factors, too many opportunities for a certain part of it to upset this or that group and make them vote “no”. No wonder it didn’t pass. Quinnippiac University polls as early as May (see May 18) were showing that the majority of voters disapproved of SB 5 as a whole, although there were certain parts that they supported.

Unfortunately, SB 5 was a “package deal.”

It reminds me of the kind of test questions you’d sometimes get in elementary school, the true/false ones that were designed to tell if you were reading the question carefully. If you just skimmed the thing, you’d say, Oh yeah, most of this looks familiar; that sounds right. And you’d mark it TRUE, and it would be end up being wrong, because the teacher slipped in ONE single detail that made the entire statement FALSE.

For example, if I said: “John Kasich, son of Ezekiel Kasich, was elected governor of Ohio in 2010 and pushed SB 5 through in early 2011.” That statement is false…unless, of course, our governor’s father’s name actually is Ezekiel, in which case I have mad guessing skills.

Well, in my humble opinion, SB 5 was kind of like that (at least to me). There were plenty of things in it that I felt were either completely reasonable, already in effect (at least for me), or not really so terrible. But then there were just a handful of other things that were pretty off-putting. And you couldn’t use a line-item-voter-veto or any magic like that. So you had to either say “yes” to all of it or “no” to all of it.

I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of some of the things that were in SB 5. Good ol’ Kasich has still got a few years yet, right?  But maybe in their next assault on public workers, the boys in Columbus will at least wise up and try to pass a few things here, a few things there. Unlike SB 5, which at over 300 pages threw Ohio public worker unions into a fury on basically every single page.

Seriously? SB 5 might as well have had a huge target sign painted on it.

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