In 2011, support for a referendum to repeal the anti-union provisions of Senate Bill 5 resulted millions of signatures and huge rallies at the Ohio Statehouse. As Republicans begin moving new anti-union legislation through the Ohio House, they’ve already made moves to hinder an effective response from those who oppose the so-called right-to-work bills.
The first roadblock was Senate Bill 47, which contains language that would greatly restrict signature-gathering efforts to put unpopular legislation on the ballot for repeal. This means anyone wishing to collect signatures to repeal one of these bills would have less time to do so.
The second is a move to restrict access, with the help of Kasich’s Public Safety Director Tom Charles, to the Ohio Statehouse.
Governor Kasich was noticeably angry about the rallies against SB5 that filled the Statehouse with teachers and police officers and fire fighters, at one point trying to lock them out of the public building. When that didn’t work, he had a backup plan: install metal detectors at every entrance and require everyone to line up to get into the building.
While the Capitol Square Review & Advisory Board didn’t pursue Kasich’s plan, they did approve an alternative plan last month to have every visitor screened by officers with security wands. Registered lobbyists will, of course, be able to get a special badge exempting them from the screenings.
During the SB5 battle, pro-labor groups filled the Statehouse during votes on the bills. This time around, they’ll be forced to line up around the block waiting to get searched before they can enter the building.
Despite attempts by the Dispatch and others to downplay the likelihood of the new right-to-work bills passing, Republicans in the Ohio House didn’t seem to get the message.
Both bills – State Rep Roegner’s private sector union bill (HB 151) and State Rep Maag’s public sector bill (HB152) are moving through the House today. And both have been referred to committees on which which the sponsors sit.