Kasich Signs Senate Bill 5; Unions Prepare To Fight

UPDATED: Sunday April 3, 2011 8:18 AM
Gov. John Kasich on Thursday evening signed a bill that limits collective bargaining rights for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.

Ohio lawmakers approved the bill that restricts collective bargaining rights for 350,000 public workers across the state. Next will be the public's turn.

Even before the contentious Senate Bill 5 cleared the legislature on Wednesday, unions and Democrats vowed to put it on November's ballot as a referendum.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, Kasich praised lawmakers who worked to pass the bill.

"Re-leveling the playing field for taxpayers gives them the respect they deserve from the elected officials and government workers that serve them," the statement read.

VIDEO EXTRA: Senate Bill 5 Impact On Education

The measure affects safety workers, teachers, nurses and other government personnel. It allows unions to negotiate wages and certain working conditions but not health care, sick time or pension benefits. It gets rid of automatic pay increases, and replaces them with merit raises or performance pay. Workers would also be banned from striking.

A ballot challenge would stall implementation of the law that Republicans championed as vital to Ohio's economic future.

Republicans plan to launch a Web site, www.sb5truth.com, to correct what they see as falsehoods about the measure.

Kasich has said his $55.5 billion, two-year state budget counts on unspecified savings from lifting union protections to fill an $8 billion hole.

The bill has drawn thousands of demonstrators, prompted a visit from the Rev. Jesse Jackson and packed hearing rooms in the weeks before the Senate passed the earlier version of the measure. Its reception in the House had been quieter, as unions resolved themselves to its approval and shifted their strategy to the fall ballot.

Opponents of the bill said they will seek the 230,000 signatures needed to put a referendum on the November ballot.

They have 90 days to get the signatures.

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  Previous Stories:

March 31, 2011: Kasich To Sign Senate Bill 5 Tonight
March 30, 2011: Ohio Senate OKs Collective Bargaining Limits
March 30, 2011: House To Vote On Senate Bill 5
March 29, 2011: House Committee OKs Senate Bill 5; Full House Could Vote Wednesday
March 26, 2011: Ohio House Panel Could Vote On Union Bill Tuesday
March 23, 2011: Poll: Ohio Voters Oppose Proposed Union Limits
March 17, 2011: House Could Pass Ohio Union Bill By Early April
March 9, 2011: House Hearings On Union Bill Continue
March 8, 2011: Kasich: Budget Debate Won't Include Raising Taxes
March 7, 2011: Ohio House Hearings On Union Bill To Start Tuesday
March 2, 2011: Senate Bill 5 Approved
March 2, 2011: After Replacing Senator, Committee OKs Senate Bill 5
March 2, 2011: Committee Could Vote Today On Revised Union Bill
March 1, 2011: Thousands Gather As Senate Revises Union Bill
February 27, 2011: Columbus City Council Opposes Senate Bill 5
February 26, 2011: Workers Stage Protests Of Union Rights Bill 
February 25, 2011: Unions Blast Collective Bargaining Bill
February 24, 2011: City, County Officials Join Firefighters In Opposition Of S.B. 5
February 22, 2011: Ohio Unions Protest Collective Bargaining Bill
February 17, 2011: Workers Pack Statehouse In Protest Of Union Bill
February 15, 2011: Unions Protest 'Collective Bargaining Killer'

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