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Archive for October 23rd, 2011

Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 and the November 8th Election

Over the past year, it is likely you have talked with someone who had strong feelings for or against Senate Bill 5. Often it seems that those against the legislation have been more prominent in the media since the representation of the number five with a line through it has now become a recognizable symbol which everyone understands.

The beginnings of Senate Bill 5 were actually strongly influenced by Wisconsin legislation against collective bargaining for public employees in early March of this year. Following Wisconsin’s lead, John Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 into Ohio law on March 31, 2011.

This November, the public will have the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to keep Senate Bill 5 or repeal it by voting on Issue 2.  A total of 1.3 million signatures were gathered to get this issue on the ballot, which is a million more than the minimum required. Voting “yes” on Issue 2 would retain the law while a negative answer would repeal it.

In making this decision, it is important that the public understands how Senate Bill 5 would affect Ohio. Those for keeping Senate Bill 5 emphasize that salaries or benefits themselves will not be cut. Yet, public employees will have to pay a higher percentage of their health and retirement benefits than before. Still, according to supporters, these costs would be less than the percentage that most individuals have to pay in the private sector. By saving these funds, supporters claim that fewer employees would need to be laid off and that the state budget would become more stable. Focusing especially on teachers, the legislation would also end the favoring of certain teachers simply because they have tenure. Instead, salary would be more performance oriented. Building a Better Ohio is one pro-Issue 2 organization.

Those against Senate Bill 5 stress that public employees actually earn less than those in the private sector (on average 6% less). By asking these employees to pay a higher percentage for their benefits, it is effectively decreasing salaries that are already below the average. Teachers and other public employees with families are especially concerned about how job security would change with Senate Bill 5 since years of service would become less important than performance. We Are Ohio is a prominent anti-Issue 2 organization.

No matter what your position, remember that voting “yes” on Issue 2 would retain Senate Bill 5 while a negative answer would repeal it. Please do your civil duty and vote on November 8th.

For more information, check out the following news articles:

Ohio SB5 Collective Bargaining Follows Efforts In Wisconsin and New Jersey

Taking sides on Issue 2: Retain Senate Bill 5