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SENATE BILL 5

Kasich will sign collective-bargaining bill Thursday night

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Protesters gather in the rotunda at the Ohio statehouse after Senate Bill 5 passed through the Ohio on Wednesday

Jay LaPrete / ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

COLUMBUS—Gov. John Kasich plans to follow through on Thursday night with his pledge to sign into law a bill severely restricting the collective bargaining power of some 350,000 public employees in Ohio.

At 7 p.m., after the Statehouse has been closed for the night, the Republican governor will sign Senate Bill 5 in his ceremonial office. The bill, however, is unlikely to go into effect for another seven months, if at all. An expensive, manpower-intensive petition effort is expected to put the bill to voters via a referendum on Nov. 8, a move that would place the law on hold at least temporarily.

“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…,’’ he wrote in a campaign fund-raising e-mail to supporters Thursday morning.

“The nation is watching us in Ohio and we will provide the leadership necessary to become a job-creating state and serve as a model for the rest of America,’’ he wrote.

The Ohio Democratic Party also cited the bill in a fund-raising e-mail.

“John Kasich campaigned on one central promise: that he was going to create jobs,’’ party Chairman Chris Redfern wrote. “After an election in which more people voted against him than for him, Mr. Kasich thought he could defy the will of the people by pushing an extreme, anti-middle class agenda.

“…(H)e’s about to learn a painful lesson about the will of the people,’’ Mr. Redfern wrote. “He’s about to learn a thing or two about checks and balances.’’

Twenty-eight years ago, Ohio’s public employee collective bargaining law was enacted exclusively with the votes of Democratic lawmakers and the signature of a Democratic governor.

This week, the first bill dramatically overhauling that law was sent to Republican Gov. John Kasich’s desk with strictly Republican votes. The bill saw final passage by votes of 53-44 in the House, with five Republicans breaking with the majority to vote “no’’ with Democrats, and 17-16 in the Senate, with six GOP members voting “no.’’

Both sides will make the claim that they’ve got the backs of the middle class on this one.

Among its numerous provisions, Ohio Senate Bill 5 would prohibit public employees from striking, limit the subjects to be negotiated, mandate that workers pay at least 15 percent of health care premiums, and prohibit governments from picking up any portion of an employee’s share of pension contributions.

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