By Bertram de Souza (Contact)
Published June 22, 2011
By any measure, the 714,137 signatures secured thus far to put the collective-bargaining overhaul bill on the November general election ballot are historic. And, when — not if, but when — the proponents of the campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5 file 1 million-plus signatures by month’s end, the message will be unmistakable.
The Republican majority in the General Assembly and Republican Gov. John Kasich, who pushed through the measure to restrict collective bargaining for 360,000 public workers in Ohio, can pretend not to care, but an objective view leads to this conclusion: SB 5 has woken a sleeping giant in the form of the labor unions, their Democratic Party allies and Ohio’s public employees.
To put this signature drive in perspective: Seven years ago, when Republicans decided to push a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, they were able to secure 400,000 signatures, of which 30 percent were declared invalid. The GOPers had to submit an additional 144,000 signatures to meet the legal requirement for placing the amendment on the ballot.’
It is noteworthy that the proponents of the so-called marriage protection campaign went around the state warning of swarms of homosexuals and lesbians coming into Ohio from around the country to get married and, by their mere presence here, infecting our children. Even so, the signature drive was unimpressive.
To be sure, the amendment passed, — but that’s because the Republicans used the issue to bring out thousands of rural and new voters during that presidential election.
If the opponents of SB 5 do file million-plus signatures, Gov. Kasich and Republicans in the General Assembly will know that they will have a fight on their hands come November.