After weeks of flouting the state’s legislative rules to ram through an anti-union bill, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed the bill last night. Yet, while Kasich started this war on Ohio workers, the state’s increasingly disguntled voters have the power to end it:
Ohioans opposed to the union-neutering legislation vow to keep it from becoming law through the state’s referendum process.
Under Ohio law, opponents have 90 days from the time the governor signs the legislation to collect 231,149 signatures to get a referendum on the November ballot.
If they collect enough valid signatures from 44 Ohio counties within that time frame, the law wouldn’t go into effect until voters approved as much, assuming it won a majority of the vote in November, which now seems like a pretty big assumption.
While the more than 230,000 signatures required under this process may seem like a lot, it is a relatively low threshold compared to the amount required to fight back against anti-worker governors in other states. To trigger a referendum, Ohio voters only need to collect 6 percent of the number of voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. In other words, if only a little more than one in eight of the 1.8 million voters who voted for Kasich’s opponent sign the referendum against Kasich’s bill, then the law will not go into effect until after voters have a chance to veto it.
There are early signs that this effort will be successful. A recent poll found that 44 percent of Ohio voters would vote to Kasich’s assault on workers, compared to 38% who would let it stand. And this margin is only likely to improve as voters learn more about the bill. 63% of Ohio voters support collective bargaining for public employees and only 29% oppose it.
Moreover, in Wisconsin, workers just scored their first major victory against Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) similar assault on collective bargaining. Walker’s opponents will file today the first of eight recall petitions against the eight Republican state senators presently eligible for a recall — and they will do so more than a month before the petition’s 60 day deadline. Because Wisconsin’s recall law requires more than four times as many signatures to trigger a recall as Ohio’s citizen veto law requires to trigger a referendum, the success in Wisconsin bodes well for the fight against Kasich.