On March 31, 2011, Governor Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 into law. Governor Kasich's signature ends the legislative process that began earlier this year. As is usually the case, the bill changed significantly from the beginning to the end of the process, starting out by eliminating bargaining entirely for certain state employees. The legislative process ended, however, by preserving collective bargaining, but narrowing the range of topics on which a public employer can negotiate with a union representing its employees. Watch this blog early next week for additional details on the significant provisions of Senate Bill 5, as signed by the Governor.
Opponents of the legislation have vowed to take their arguments directly to the voters. Under Ohio law, newly enacted legislation can be subject to a statewide ballot referendum. If the required signatures are obtained, Ohio voters will get the chance to vote on the law this November. Thus, while the legislative process may be over, the battle over public sector collective bargaining appears set to continue.