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OHIO’S FISCAL FALLOUT: 10 things to know about SB 5



Published: Fri, April 1, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

By MARC KOVAC

news@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

Although it took a couple of weeks to get Senate Bill 5 through the legislature and signed into law, much mystery still exists about what’s actually in the bill – and where it goes from here.

Here are 10 things you should know about the controversial legislation:

By MARC KOVAC

news@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

Although it took a couple of weeks to get Senate Bill 5 through the legislature and signed into law, much mystery still exists about what’s actually in the bill – and where it goes from here.

Here are 10 things you should know about the controversial legislation:

One: The final bill passed by lawmakers is more than 300 pages of legal language outlining Ohio Revised Code word changes. An easier-to-understand analysis compiled by the Legislative Service Commission includes explanations of 52 changes in state law included in the bill. Both are available online on the General Assembly’s website, www.legislature.state.oh.us.

Two: For all of its potential impact on organized labor and 360,000 government workers, it mentions the word “union” in relation to collective bar2. gaining units only three times.

Three: Normally, legislation takes effect 90 days after being signed by the governor, putting the provisions in Senate Bill 5 in place by late June. But a planned referendum by opponents of the bill would postpone that effective date until after the November general election — or perhaps ever, if voters reject it.

Four: The bill would prohibit school teachers and other public school employees from negotiating a maximum number of students assigned to a classroom and requires pay to be based on employee performance, not solely on seniority.

Five: The new law will prohibit strikes by all public employees. Those who choose do so anyway will have their paychecks docked at twice their daily pay rate or they could be fired. Additionally, the law allows public employers to seek court injunctions against strikers, which could lead to additional fines or possible jail time.

Six: Senate Bill 5 could mean less take-home pay for public employees and lower collection totals for the unions representing them. The bill caps state and local government payments toward workers’ health care premiums at 85 percent, so employees would have to make up the difference if they are paying less than 15 percent of the costs. And it prohibits state payments into employees’ pension plans through the five state retirement systems. Additionally, unions could no longer force employees who do not want to become members to make “fair share” payments.

Seven: Opponents of Senate Bill 5 are poised to launch a petition drive to place the issue on the November ballot. They will have to gain 1,000 initial signatures from registered Ohio voters to seek a certification of their referendum effort by the state attorney general. Then they will have until early July to submit more than 231,000 signatures to the Secretary of State, with signers representing at least half of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Eight: Both Republicans and Democratic and union groups already have websites in place as part of their coming campaigns for and against the bill. . Proponents are online at www.sb5truth.com. Opponents can be found at www.stopsenatebill5.com.

Nine: Few referendums seeking to repeal Ohio laws have appeared on the ballot in recent years. The most recent was an unsuccessful effort in 2008 by the payday loan industry to overturn limits passed by lawmakers. Another group tried but failed to have voters to decide whether to keep in place restrictions on nude dancing in Ohio.

Ten: Gov. John Kasich announced his intentions to sign the bill in an email from his campaign group, seeking donations from supporters. It read, “Will you support our ongoing efforts to fight for Ohio taxpayers with a $20, $10 or even $5 contribution today and help us continue to return the balance of power? There is a reason that the union bosses opposed these changes; because it strips power from the union leaders and returns it to the taxpayers and workers. But make no mistake; we are fighting to save Ohio and need your help.”


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