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Where the Senate Bill 5 Referendum Stands

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 5:00 AM

Efforts to repeal Senate Bill 5, Ohio's anti-collective bargaining law, will hit what's likely to be the last checkpoint on the march to a November referendum today.

SB 5 was signed into law on March 31, by Gov. John Kasich. It limits collective bargaining for public employee unions. If it takes effect, teachers, police officers, firefighters, teachers, and  other public employees would not be able to negotiate for their wages or strike, but they could still bargain for some benefits such as health insurance and pensions.

The state’s public-sector unions, which represent more than 350,000 workers, have mounted a statewide campaign to put the law before voters in a Nov. 8 referendum. SB 5 will be the second issue on the ballot, between a constitutional amendment increasing the age limit for judges and one barring laws that require anyone to participate in a health-care system.

Today the Ohio Ballot Board will meet at 10 a.m. in Columbus to determine the wording that will appear on the ballot.  Each side--the pro-SB 5'ers and the anti-SB 5'ers--want wording that leads to a "no" vote, since voters are more likely to vote "no" than "yes."

So those who want SB 5 repealed are looking for ballot language that essentially asks "Should this anti-collective bargaining law take effect?" And those who want SB 5 to stay are looking for language like "Should this anti-collective bargaining law be repealed?"

Although it's possible that either side could file a court suit challenging the ballot board's decision, barring such a court challenge, this is likely the last major administrative decision as the campaign rolls toward November.

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