Governor John Kasich proposed a compromise on the state’s recently passed collective bargaining law today. The catch? He wants opponents to yank the referendum opposing the law off of the November ballot.
Issue 2 – formerly known as Senate Bill 5 – would severely curtail the collective bargaining rights of Ohio’s public employees. It also includes several education reforms, such as requiring merit to be taken into account in teacher evaluations and foregoing the seniority system in firing and re-hiring teachers.
Fellow Republicans William G. Batchelder, the speaker of the Ohio House, and Tom Niehaus, president of the Ohio Senate, joined Kasich at today’s press conference. You can read Kasich’s letter asking for a compromise here.
It’s unclear what a watered down version of Senate Bill 5 would look like, but Kasich has invited union officials to meet with him this Friday morning. The initial RSVPs didn’t sound too enthusiastic.Just two days ago We Are Ohio, the group leading the referendum effort said it wouldn’t agree to any compromise. In a press release sent out immediately after Kasich’s press conference, spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas reaffirmed that.
“We’re glad that Governor Kasich and the other politicians who passed SB 5 are finally admitting this is a flawed bill. Just like the bill was flawed, this approach to a compromise is flawed as well. Our message is clear. …. They should either repeal the entire bill or support our efforts and encourage a no vote on Issue 2.”
The Columbus Dispatch reported earlier that some anti-SB 5 groups had met with Republican lawmakers to discuss changes to SB 5 or the referendum effort, but never reached a compromise.
Polls have been showing strong support for repealing the collective bargaining measure. But during today’s press conference, Kasich stressed that he wasn’t afraid of voters overturning the bill in November. The deadline to remove an issue from the ballot is August 30th.