I was on a conference call on repealing SB 5 recently.
SB 5 is the union-busting law promoted and signed by a former Fox News personality, Ohio Governor John Kasich. The repeal effort will be led by We Are Ohio, if you’d like to be a part of it.
Unions are holding training sessions to teach registered Ohio voters the proper process for circulating petitions. I’m going to a local AFL-CIO training session Tuesday evening.
Conservative ballot initiatives get all the attention, but these things can be used for good or evil. Former President Bush and the Republican Party put anti-marriage equality measures on state ballots in 2004. These were cynically designed to bring out a wave of voters who vehemently oppose certain people they don’t know marrying certain other people they don’t know. That was a huge victory for Republicans. I’m sure former President Bush looks back with pride on how he engineered a multistate strategy to codify discrimination into state law because the GOP couldn’t drag his sorry ass over the finish line without it. That example of bold principled conservatism lives on in the Ohio constitution, even today. It will be fun to point that out again and again as public opinion continues to shift toward marriage equality.
That’s Republicans, and while they’ve had their wins on ballot measures, don’t forget that Democrats and labor won big in 2006 with state ballot initiatives to raise the minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage is still paying dividends for low-wage workers in Ohio.
A side benefit of the minimum wage fight in Ohio was we all got to watch (then) Senator Mike DeWine, who voted against an increase in the minimum wage 9 times in Congress, suddenly change his mind when he saw raising it polled at 80%.
DeWine lost the 2006 Senate race despite his last minute desperate conversion to populism, and Sherrod Brown won.
You never know how these things ripple.