Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum, Issue 2 (2011)

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Editor's note: This article is NOT about Senate Bill 5. This article pertains to the veto referendum that blocked Senate Bill 5 from taking effect. The text of SB 5 can be found here.

Issue 2
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Type:Veto Referendum
State code:(Targeted law) Senate Bill 5
Status:Defeated Defeatedd
The Ohio Collective Bargaining Limit Repeal appeared on the November 8, 2011 general election ballot in the state of Ohio as a veto referendum where it was defeated.Defeatedd

The measure repealed legislation that limited collective bargaining for public employees in the state. The formal title of the proposal that this measure would repeal was Senate Bill 5. Most notably, SB 5 prevented unions from charging "fair share" dues to employees who chose to opt out. The process to place the referendum on the ballot for voters to decide was completed by supporters, as signatures were certified for the Ohio Secretary of State. The group behind the referendum effort was the political action committee We Are Ohio.[1]

Senate Bill 5 would have impacted the state's 400,000 public workers, restricting their ability to strike and collectively bargain. As it stood, the bill only permitted public employees to collectively bargain for wages, preventing them from collectively bargaining for health insurance and pensions. It would have also prohibited all public employees from striking and could have increased employee contributions for pensions and healthcare.[2][3]

According to reports, the measure's language was decided on August 3, 2011. When voters went to the polls, a "yes" vote was a vote to keep the law, while a "no" vote was a vote to repeal the law.[4]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results

A "yes" vote would have kept the law, while a "no" vote would have repealed the law. On November 8, 2011 voters voted "no" resulting in the repeal of Senate Bill 5, therefore Issue 2 was rejected.

Ohio Issue 2
Defeatedd No2,145,04261.33%
Yes 1,352,366 38.67%

Results via the Ohio Secretary of State with 100% of counties reporting.

Text of measure

Ballot language

The ballot language that voters saw on the ballot read as follows:[5]

Issue 2


A majority yes vote is necessary for Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 to be approved.

Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 is a new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies.

A “YES” vote means you approve the law.
A “NO” vote means you reject the law.

Shall the law be approved?
___Yes(To approve the law)
___No(To reject the law)

Ballot title

The title of the referendum, according to the petition, began:[6]

"A referendum petition on Amended Substitute Senate Bill Number 5 passed by the 129th General Assembly (the "Act"), the title and the legislative history of the Act..."

Official arguments

See also Official arguments for and against Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum, Issue 2 (2011)

The following was the introduction to the Official Argument and Explanation for Issue 2, therefore in favor of Senate Bill 5. Read the entire text:

A yes vote on Issue 2 will make long overdue reforms to unfair and costly government practices in Ohio, while helping to get government spending under control and making government more accountable to taxpayers.

The following was part of the beginning to the Official Argument and Explanation against Issue 2, therefore against Senate Bill 5. Read the entire text:

Issue 2 puts all our families' safety at risk -- making it harder for emergency responders, police and firefights to negotiate for critical safety equipment and training that protects us all.

Senate Bill 5 provisions

Below is a summary of Senate Bill 5 provisions. Had the measure stayed in effect, it would have done the following:[7]

  • Bargaining: Expand the topics that management can refuse to negotiate with public employees. Those topics included: employee qualifications, work assignments and staffing levels. According to reports, public employees can still bargain for wages and hours.
  • Strikes: Strikes would be banned, along with a deduction of "an amount equal to twice the employee's daily rate of pay" for each day an employee is considered to be on strike.
  • Performance pay and sick/vacation leave: The minimum amount for a teacher to be paid at the time was $17,300. This would have been undone by the law, replacing this by implementing a pay by performance provision. Sick leave would have been reduced from three weeks a year to two. Vacation leave would have been capped to five weeks a year.
  • Union fees: Public employees would not have to pay union fees if they did not want to be become a union member. This was a condition of employment before Senate Bill 5.
  • Governing bodies and contract disputes: The governing body of a city, school, or township would have the final say on any contract disputes that initially become unresolved.
  • Charter schools: Employees of charter schools would not be allowed to collectively bargain. The only exception, according to reports, would have been conversion charter schools.


Supporters of Issue 2 supported the enactment of Senate Bill 5. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Shannon Jones and signed by Governor of Ohio John Kasich on March 31, 2011. Proponents of the bill said that the law was needed to let state and local governments to better control their costs. Kasich argued that the bill would have restored "balance to the system."[8][9]


The following supported the enactment of Issue 2:


See also:Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum, Issue 2 television ads
  • Governor John Kasich (R) argued the proposed law was not an attempt to eliminate unions, but rather was aimed at restoring "balance to the system." Kasich expected the bill to help close the state's budget gap.[8][13][14]
    • In response to President Barack Obama's negative remarks on SB 5, in which the president called for bargaining rights to not be taken away, Kasich stated: "The president of the United States has, I think, a $13 trillion debt. Why doesn't he do his job? When he gets our budget balanced and starts to prepare a future for our children, maybe he can have an opinion on what's going on in Ohio."[15]
  • According to Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate: “When the amount of money going out exceeds the amount of money coming in you go out of business. Government is going to put us all out of business because its the only entity in the world that doesn’t ever seem to have to keep an eye on how much is coming in and how much is going out.”[16]
  • Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted stated: "When you're trying to turn things around and set the state on the right path, you're going to ruffle a few feathers...Our teachers and firefighters and police officers are some of the most important people I know. We want you to have a good job and we want you to have good benefits...We have to live in reality, and we have to live within our means".[17]
  • Former vice presidential candidate and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin announced her support for Senate Bill 5, by stating: "As a proud former union member and the wife, daughter, and sister of union members, I'm encouraging you to learn the facts about Issue 2 in Ohio. To the hard working, patriotic, selfless union brothers and sisters in Ohio and throughout our country: I believe that Issue 2 is needed reform. It will help restore fairness to Ohio taxpayers and help balance the budget."[18]
  • Senate President Tom Niehaus stated about Senate Bill 5's potential impacts: "These are tools that local government needs to, No. 1, help them manage in a very difficult economic crisis. No. 2, asking both state and local employees to pay more of their health care costs, just like the average person does now. ... We think that's reasonable in this day and age."[19]
  • Mitt Romney, 2012 presidential candidate, stated: "In regards to Question 2, which is the collective bargaining question, I am 110 percent behind Governor Kasich. On my website, I think far back as early as April, I laid out that I support Question 2 and Governor Kasich's effort to restrict collective bargaining in the ways he's described, so I fully support that."[20]
  • Phil Greenisen, president of Columbiana County's Farm Bureau, talked about health care and how SB 5 provisions moved toward fairness: "The average public employee contributes something like 9 percent toward their health care, where private employees are up around 30 percent. I think Senate Bill 5 moves as toward that."[21]
  • State Senator Cliff Hite said, "There is no way I would ever bite the hand that has fed my family for five generations," he said. "So there must be a reason that this ex-teacher of 30 years, and former building union (rep) in Bryan for a couple of years, is for it...We had an $8 billion deficit," he continued. "What part of broke don't people understand? $8 billion. You know what we did? We passed a budget that eliminated $8 billion of deficit and did not raise (Ohioans) taxes."[22]
  • State Senator Shannon Jones, sponsor of Senate Bill 5, stated: "I’m confident that when Ohioans learn more about the substance of Senate Bill 5, they’ll be with us. We’re hearing from people across the state who are angry that they’ve been grossly misinformed by opponents of the bill. If Senate Bill 5 ends up on the ballot, we’ll work day and night to make sure Ohioans understand the truth about these reasonable reforms.”[23]
  • Cleveland Plain Dealer Columnist Kevin O'Brien endorsed Issue 2 in a column, stating: "The result will not be rampant crime, city blocks wiped out by fire or (noticeably more) children who can't read, write or calculate. The result will be adjustments by institutions forced to do more efficient work on the public's dime. Vote "yes.""[24]


See also:Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum, Issue 2 television ads
  • In what added more controversy between the two campaigns both for and against Issue 2, a television advertisement for the "Vote No on 2" campaign featured Marlene Quinn, an elderly Cincinnati woman who stated in the video that she planned to vote 'no' on Issue 2, which was a vote against Senate Bill 5. However, comments Quinn used in the advertisement were then used by the "Vote Yes on 2" campaign in order to sway voters to approve Senate Bill 5. The controversy pitted Quinn in the middle of the collective bargaining battle in the state, with Quinn stating about the use of her image in the "yes" campaign ad: "I think it's dishonest and downright deceitful that they would use footage of me to try to play tricks and fool voters." However, the 'yes' campaign stated that they were within their rights to produce Quinn's image in their footage.[25]
The two advertisements under the spotlight are entitled "Life or Death" and "Ad: Zoey - Vote No on Issue 2" on Ballotpedia's page about television ads regarding Issue 2.
Read more about this controversy here

Tactics and strategies

  • According to reports, lobbyist and political consultant Vaughn Flasher was said to have been chosen to lead the campaign to keep Senate Bill 5 a law.[26]


Opponents of Issue 2 opposed the enactment of Senate Bill 5. We Are Ohio was the political action committee behind the effort to place the proposed repeal on the ballot.[10] Opponents argued that the bill was a "political assault on the rights of middle-class workers" and that public employees have a right to collectively bargain.


The following opposed the enactment of Issue 2. This section includes organizations and individuals who participated in the effort to put the law to a public vote:[27]


  • Michael Weinman, former police officer in the state, claimed, "Senate Bill 5 is an attack on police unions. Repealing Senate Bill 5 is important for us to protect you. Please allow us the right to protect ourselves."[29]
  • Youngstown Postal Union President John Dyce said, "It's just a continuation of what's been going on since the attack on workers rights began not only in Ohio but across the country...I think by all indications not only the citizens of Ohio but citizens across this country of ours are realizing what the agenda is of many elected leaders is and they're against it. And I think the referendum's going to pass and the state will see that we want to respect workers and the right to negotiate."[29]
  • According to initiative effort volunteer Kate Kennedy, "We have community members, we have members of labor, we have republicans, we have democrats from all across the state and even anywhere in the United States. I mean this is happening everywhere it's important for them to all come in because it affects everyone, there's not one person that can say they are not affected by this bill."[30]
  • President Barack Obama stated his opposition to Senate Bill 5 when he was quoted as saying: "Let's certainly not blame public employees for a financial crisis that they had nothing to do with. And let's not use this as an excuse to erode their bargaining rights. And so whether it's Wisconsin or what we're seeing in Ohio, I strongly disapprove of an approach that basically says people who are doing their jobs, providing vital services to their communities, that somehow they are finding themselves not able to collectively bargain."[15]
  • The Ohio Fraternal Order of Police voted on the weekend of May 7, 2011 to retract their endorsement from 2010 of State Senator Shannon Jones, a sponsor of Senate Bill 5.[31]
  • According to Amariah McIntosh, pastor at Phillips Chapel CME, speaking on behalf of Youngstown, Ohio local church leaders: "We are supposed to help the poor. Not hurt the poor. We're supposed to help the orphans and the widows and the strangers within our gates. And as legislation comes up that tries to do the opposite, it's our task and our call to speak on it."[32]
  • Innovation Ohio was for the repeal of Senate Bill 5. The think tank's president, Janetta King, speaking on a radio talk show, stated: "We're here today to talk about what Senate Bill 5 actually does. Senate Bill 5 is not about budgets. It's not about good public policy. Unfortunately it's about politics."[33]
  • Doug Stern, a Cincinnati firefighter, said in a news release release from We Are Ohio: “I’m honored to stand with my fellow first responders today to say I’m voting NO on Issue 2 because Senate Bill 5 goes too far. Senate Bill 5 makes it illegal for me to fight for safe staffing levels. This puts the safety of the people I’m trying to serve and protect, as well as my safety at risk.”[34]
  • State Senator Jason Wilson stated about Senate Bill 5, "Number one, I don't see any direct savings in dollars, that's the first thing. Secondly is that, when we talk about people's right to collectively bargain, I think that's something that's been earned over many years, many generations of workers, and each of us stands on those who proceeded us in work."[35]
  • According to Ohio resident Jerry Cupp: "There's a battle, and this state is very divided right now because of Senate Bill 5. Nothing good is going to come out of this. You've got all the public workers, our friends and family all lined up on our side against a few Republicans and some of the brainwashed people that actually think this state's economy is our fault. That couldn't be further from the truth."[36]
  • In a letter to the editor, Roger Wiandt, a retired teacher, commented on Ohio Governor John Kasich's attempts to negotiate Senate Bill 5 provisions with opponents: "Gov. Kasich wants to compromise now because he realizes SB 5 will be soundly defeated in November, and that may impact his political future. If there are issues that require a second look, they can be negotiated within the guidelines of the original 1983 collective bargaining law."[37]
  • Gary Dunn, former police union president and current president of AFSCME Local 54 argued: “I’ve been in a labor union for a long time and I never dreamed we could see such a bold assault. It’s about weakening the unions, not protecting the community. It’s just a way of devastating the labor movement.”[38]
  • Harriett Applegate, the president of the North Shore AFL-CIO, claimed: "S.B. 5 was a frontal attack on unions. We consider this the fight of our lives."[39]
  • According to State Senator Bill Seitz, in an address to SB5 opponents: "We may need changes (in the law), but we don't need a race to the bottom. And that's what S.B. 5 is going to give us... I'm ready to lead the charge for legal and fair reforms. But we don't need to get run over by a bus to build a better Ohio."[40]
  • According to NAACP Ohio Conference President Sybil Edwards-McNabb, commenting on Mike Huckabee's statement on SB 5: "Huckabee’s disgusting comments show that Building a Better Ohio and its corporate-funded supporters will do anything, even advocate for illegal tactics, to keep Ohioans from voting against Issue 2. These types of comments are worrisome because could incite further attempts to suppress the vote of Ohioans. It is time for Building a Better Ohio to denounce Huckabee’s disgraceful remarks.”[41]
    • Huckabee's comments were as follows: “Make a list [of your friends]...Call them and ask them, ‘Are you going to vote on Issue 2 and are you going to vote for it?’ If they say no, well, you just make sure that they don’t go vote. Let the air out of their tires on election day. Tell them the election has been moved to a different date. That’s up to you how you creatively get the job done.”[41]

Campaign advertising

See also:Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum, Issue 2 television ads
  • Union leaders in the state started an ad campaign that stated opposition to Senate Bill 5 and also encouraged public action on the matter. According to reports, commercials began to air across the state that depicted images of fires and rescues by firefighters. Reports said that the images were designed to get the public to consider the work that was done by safety forces and to ask state lawmakers to vote against Senate Bill 5. According to Mark Sanders, President of the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters: "Quite frankly, the governor may be talking about the state of the state. I can tell you the state of the state will be unsafe under the provisions of Senate Bill 5."[42]
  • In what added more controversy between the two campaigns both for and against Issue 2, a television advertisement for the "Vote No on 2" campaign featured Marlene Quinn, an elderly Cincinnati woman who stated in the video that she planned to vote 'no' on Issue 2, which was a vote against Senate Bill 5. However, comments Quinn used in the advertisement were then used by the "Vote Yes on 2" campaign in order to sway voters to approve Senate Bill 5.[25]
The two advertisements under the spotlight were entitled "Life or Death" and "Ad: Zoey - Vote No on Issue 2" on Ballotpedia's page about television ads regarding Issue 2
Read more about this controversy here.

Tactics and strategies

  • According to reports, supporters planned to launch the "We Are Ohio Campaign" on April 9, 2011, and had a rally scheduled for that day on the Statehouse Lawn. The rally did indeed take place, with over 10,000 people in attendance.[43][44]
  • Melissa Fazekas, of the We are Ohio coalition, stated in the month leading up to the petition drive deadline that there were more than 10,000 volunteers circulating petitions. Fazekas said: "We're seeing an unprecedented level of support. It's really a citizen-driven, community-based coalition that's come together to repeal Senate Bill 5, which we believe is an unfair attack on employee rights and worker safety."[45]
  • Tracey Wright, member of the Youngstown Professional Firefights Association, commented on the campaign strategy: "We're just gonna be honest. We're gonna put our facts out there."[21]
  • Innovation Ohio, a think tank that reports described as "left-leaning", released a database on September 28, 2011, showing pay and benefits of elected officials who supported Senate Bill 5. The database revealed base salary and perks of those elected officials, such as retirement benefits and car allowances. Those perks, reports said, were given to John Kasich and his administration, along with Republican legislators. Those perks, Innovation Ohio says, were not provided to the average state worker.[46]

Other perspectives

The following were perspectives that did not take a stance for or against the measure when making these comments:

  • According to an editorial by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, when commenting about the campaigns to come relating to the referendum: "With so much at stake, the SB 5 referendum campaign promises nastiness on both sides of this politically fraught question. The search for political tricks may only just be beginning. Hold your nose, Ohio."[47]
  • Another editorial by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, stated that negotiating the provisions of Senate Bill 5, instead of placing it for a public vote, would have saved the state from being unnecessarily divided during the campaigning period. The editorial stated: "Ohioans who had hoped for a negotiated settlement to spare the state a campaign and election that will sow divisiveness far into the future might yet hope that the union coalition will reconsider its dismissive response. The time for that, however, is quickly running out."[48]

See also:Ohio Senate Bill 5 Veto Referendum, Issue 2 television ads
  • In what added more controversy between the two campaigns both for and against Issue 2, a television advertisement for the "Vote No on 2" campaign featured Marlene Quinn, an elderly Cincinnati woman who stated in the video that she planned to vote 'no' on Issue 2, which was a vote against Senate Bill 5. However, comments Quinn used in the advertisement were then used by the "Vote Yes on 2" campaign in order to sway voters to approve Senate Bill 5. The controversy pitted Quinn in the middle of the collective bargaining battle in the state, with Quinn stating about the use of her image in the "yes" campaign ad: "I think it's dishonest and downright deceitful that they would use footage of me to try to play tricks and fool voters." However, the 'yes' campaign has stated that they are within their rights to produce Quinn's image in their footage.[25]
  • According to Daniel Tokaji, an expert on elections law and professor at Mortiz School of Law at Ohio State University, the legal argument against the use of her footage was a "gray area" because "there is not a lot of case law" that was tailored to that specific kind of incident. Tokaji noted that We Are Ohio, the group against the measure, would have had to sufficiently prove that the "yes" campaign, Better Ohio, twisted the truth. Proving that the ad was misleading, Tokaji said, is "in the eye of the beholder."[25]
  • Former Ohio Solicitor General William P. Marshall, disagreed with Tokaji, stating: "Deliberate falsity is not protected by the First Amendment. I have never seen a political ad that so clearly distorts and presents a falsity that this one did.”[25]

Campaign contributions

Television advertising finances

  • According to reports, through October 13, 2011, We Are Ohio, the group against Senate Bill 5, outspent Building a Better Ohio, the group in favor of Senate Bill 5, by a ratio of 5 to 2 for television campaign ads. Reports cited files from 17 Ohio television stations. Specifically We Are Ohio poured in $1.92 million for television ads, while Building a Better Ohio spent more than $741,000.[49]


The following are contributions that were made toward the effort in favor of Issue 2, therefore in favor of Senate Bill 5. The contributions were all made by Building A Better Ohio, according to reports. The following contributions are the five highest donations made by the group.[50]

Donor Amount
Building A Better Ohio $11,429,000


The following are contributions that were made in opposition of Issue 2, therefore in opposition of Senate Bill 5. Contributions listed on this page are from those who have contributed $20,000 or higher. To view the total list of contributors to the campaign in support of the repeal, as of the semi-annual report filed on July 29, 2011, click here:

Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $11,429,000
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $29,848,413.81
Donor Amount
AFSCME International $1,000,000
Communications Workers of America $1,000,000
AFL-CIO State Battles $750,000
National AFL-CIO $750,000
Service Employees International $500,000
Ohio Education Association $250,000
American Association of University Professors $200,000
Central OEA/NEA $100,000
Fraternal Order of Police Ohio, Inc. $85,200
Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters $51,800
Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association $37,400
Akron Teachers Political Committee $28,000
Ohio Nurses Association $20,000

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Ohio ballot measures, 2011


  • According to The Columbus Dispatch: "There could have been room for compromise on other aspects of the bill, but The Dispatch, like voters, is required to make a call based on the bill as it is. The fiscal difficulties facing the state and local governments demand relief now. Voters should provide it by approving State Issue 2."[51]
  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer stated: "When they mark their ballots, Ohioans cannot worry about what is best for any political party or interest group -- on either side of this debate. They need to consider what's best for the future of their children, their communities, their state. They need to pass Issue 2."[52]
  • The Intelligencer Wheeling News-Register stated in an editorial: "Ohio voters who go to the polls Tuesday should decide Issue 2 based on the truth about what is good for them, not because they have been swayed by the barrage of propaganda. On Nov. 8, the wise vote on Issue 2 is crystal clear: "Yes.""[53]
  • The Warren Tribune Chronicle wrote: "The size and cost of Ohio's local governments is unsustainable. Ohio's middle class taxpayers need relief. They need a yes vote on Issue 2."[54]
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer argued: "If Issue 2 fails, the political climate may make it impossible to enact reforms for years to come, putting Ohio further behind the curve. We can't let that happen. Vote "yes" on Issue 2."[55]
  • The Findlay Courier stated support for the measure: "If Issue 2 passes, all of our budget problems won't simply disappear. It will take additional cuts and reforms in other areas of government. If it's rejected, local governments will somehow have to find a way to make do with less. The options seem limited: reduce hours, lay off some public employees or raise taxes. It also seems any alternatives would be more painful than approving the reforms called for under Issue 2. Ohioans need to give officials a much-needed tool to balance their budgets. Senate Bill 5 won't solve the entire problem, but we believe it will help more than it hurts. We support a "yes" vote on Issue 2."[56]
  • The Canton Repository wrote in an editorial: "Police, firefighters, teachers and other public employees are neither bloodsuckers nor saints, as the campaigns for and against Issue 2 would have you believe. They are hardworking people who deserve reasonable wages and benefits. Ohio’s taxpayers are hardworking people who deserve effective, cost-efficient government. Saying yes to Issue 2 is the only way both groups will get what they deserve."[57]


  • The Toledo Blade editorial board wrote: "Mr. Kasich and the GOP majorities in the House and Senate still will have the votes to do what they want. But on a second effort, it would behoove them to use a more open and transparent -- and less partisan -- process to pass a collective-bargaining reform bill. And this time, unions and Democrats must be prepared to contribute more to the debate than reflexive rejection of any change. First things first, though. To get a better collective-bargaining law, Ohioans must reject this bad one. Vote NO on Issue 2."[58]
  • The Akron Beacon Journal stated about the measure: "Senate Bill 5 was sprung, rushed and burdened with language aimed at scoring big political points. And if voters reject Issue 2? Republicans still will have large majorities at the Statehouse. John Kasich still will sit in the governor’s office. If set back at the polls, he has pledged to try again to repair the collective-bargaining law. So vote “no,” and the state will have a chance to get it right."[59]
  • The Athens News wrote the following: "We strongly urge our readers to vote no on Issue 2 in the November general election. This up-or-down vote on the union-busting Senate Bill 5 will go a long way toward determining whether Ohio's a state that truly cares about a large segment of its middle-class workers and families, or one that sacrifices them to red-state, anti-union ideology."[60]


See also: Polls, 2011 ballot measures
Editor's note: The first chart shows polls where the question presented asked the respondent if they were for or against REPEALING Senate Bill 5. The second set of charts show polls where the question presented asked the respondent if they were for or against Senate Bill 5 outright.
  • A poll released on April 12, 2011 by Wenzel Strategies found that 51 percent of respondents supported striking down the newly passed Senate Bill 5, while 38 percent opposed repealing it. The poll's margin of error was plus/minus 2.72 percentage points.[61]
  • On May 18, 2011, a poll by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University was released asking voters whether they supported or opposed Senate Bill 5. The poll surveyed 1,379 registered state voters, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.[62]
  • On July 20, 2011, a poll by Quinnipiac University revealed that 56 percent were in support of a repeal, while 32 percent were opposed and supported the law. 12 percent were undecided.[63] The poll was conducted from July 12-19 and surveyed 1,659 registered voters. The poll had an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.[64]
  • On September 27, 2011, a poll by Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University revealed that 51 percent were in support of a repeal, while 38 percent were opposed and supported the law and 11 percent were undecided. The poll was conducted from September 20 - 25 and surveyed 1,301 registered voters. The poll had an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.[63]
  • In late October 2011, another poll by Quinnipiac University revealed that 57 percent wanted a repeal of SB 5, while 32 percent supported the law and 11 percent were undecided. The poll surveyed 1,668 registered voters. The poll had an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.[63]

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

This chart (below) shows polls where the question presented asked the respondent if they were for or against REPEALING Senate Bill 5.

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
April 6-7, 2011 Wenzel Strategies 51% 38% 11% 1,264

This chart (below) show polls where the question presented asked the respondent if they were for or against Senate Bill 5 outright.

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
May 10-16, 2011 Quinnipiac University 36% 54% 10% 1,379
July 12-18, 2011 Quinnipiac University 32% 56% 12% 1,659
Sept. 20-25, 2011 Quinnipiac University 38% 51% 11% 1,301
October 25, 2011 Quinnipiac University 32% 57% 11% 1,668

Possible state negotiations

  • After the measure was certified, state officials such as the Ohio Governor offered to negotiate with repeal supporters regarding Senate Bill 5. However, Fazekas of the We Are Ohio coalition, stated: “While we thank the governor, Senate president and Speaker of the House for reaching out and recognizing that the bill is flawed, we are asking for a fresh start. That fresh start must begin with a full repeal of Senate Bill 5.” Ohio Democratic Party director Liz Brown commented on state officials reaching out to repeal advocates to negotiate on Senate Bill 5, stating: "It is obvious that we have Kasich on the run. He knows that the people of Ohio don’t support SB 5. But we can’t stop now—we have to continue to call out John Kasich’s dirty tricks and we have to continue to get the word out about SB 5 until Ohioans have the chance to repeal it in November — which they will."[65][66]
  • The deadline to possibly pull Issue 2 off of the ballot was August 30, 2011. After that date, the SB 5 repeal remained on the ballot. According to reports relating to the possible state negotiations, State Senate President Tom Niehaus stated that the legislature would not repeal the law and start over. Niehaus stated that re-doing the law was unnecessary because he believed voters would support Senate Bill 5. According to Niehaus: "I believe Senate Bill 5 will be upheld."[67]

Ballot text controversies

Language controversy

State Representatives Kathleen Clyde and Michael Stinziano stated concerns over possible confusion on referendum ballot language. According to reports, the lawmakers were adamant on Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted keeping consistent with constitutional precedent in the wording of the language.

Clyde and Stinziano voiced at the time that a "no" vote should be a vote against Senate Bill 5. This came amidst reports that Husted and the Ohio Ballot Board could have altered the referendum language to where a "yes" vote would be required to repeal the bill.[68]

According to a joint letter written by the two legislators to the Secretary of State: "... The Ohio Constitution and a century of practice make it clear that in a referendum a 'no' is a vote against the law. Specifically, the Ohio Constitution says that a law submitted for referendum to the voters will not take effect 'unless approved by a majority of those voting.' It logically follows that voters should be asked to approve the bill with a question like, 'Shall the law be approved?' That way, a no vote would repeal Senate Bill 5."

Labor and unions on the ballot in 2011
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Separate ballot questions

Reports said that Senate Bill 5 proponents, including Gov. John Kasich and Republican members, were in discussions with the Ohio Ballot Board to break the proposed SB 5 repeal into separate ballot measures, one for each provision, if it made the ballot.[69]

According to reports, if the measure had been split, voters could have chosen to repeal certain aspects of the law instead of deciding 'yes' or 'no' on the entire bill. The discussions were in response to the growing opposition by state residents against the legislation.
Once referendum signatures were submitted by the June 30 petition drive deadline and the Ohio Secretary of State validated signatures, the proposal went to the ballot board. The Republican-controlled board then had total control over how the measure was presented to voters.
Had the split up measure happened, it wouldn't have been the first time an event like that took place in Ohio. In 2005, the board broke up three citizen initiatives dealing with elections into four questions.
  • On June 24, 2011, it was reported that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted rejected the idea of splitting the veto referendum into different questions, saying that the action was not legal. Husted chaired the Ohio Ballot Board, and said that the board did not have authority to divide the referendum. Governor Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols later stated that the Governor was not seeking to divide the question, stating: "That is not something we are pursuing or were going to pursue because we know it can't be done legally."[70]

Path to the ballot

Enactment of SB 5

The Ohio State Senate passed Senate Bill 5 with a vote of 17-16, sending the measure to the Ohio House of Representatives for a similar vote. According to reports, on March 28, 2011, the chamber was preparing to vote on the proposal. State Representative Bob Hagan stated that the measure was most likely going to be voted on by March 30, 2011.[71][72][35]

On that day, Senate Bill 5 passed the House by a margin of 53-44. The house-modified bill was referred back to the senate where it was approved before being sent to the Governor's desk. It was then signed into law on March 31, 2011.[8][14]

Referendum process

Supporters collected about 3,000 signatures during the weekend of April 1, 2011, more than enough to turn in to the Ohio Secretary of State's office for the first step of the referendum process. A minimum of 1,000 valid signatures are required to launch a referendum. The first batch was turned in on April 4, 2011, according to reports. The Secretary of State verified the submitted signatures on April 15, 2011. The verification launched the second part of the referendum process.[73][74][44][75]

According to state law, referendum supporters had until June 30, 2011, 90 days after the targeted law was signed by the state governor, to collect additional signatures. A total of 231,149 signatures must have been collected from registered voters; equal to 6 percent of the total number of voters in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Additionally, those signatures must have come from least half of the 88 counties in the state.[27]

The Ohio Secretary of State had until July 26, 2011 to verify signatures once they were turned in.[76]

The proposal then went to the Ohio Ballot Board. The board then had total control over how the measure was presented to voters.[77]

Signature gathering

On June 17, 2011, less than two weeks before the petition drive deadline, supporters announced the collection of 714,137 signatures. Previously, on May 20, 2011, supporters claimed that they had collected approximately 214,000 signatures. We Are Ohio spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas stated that a sampling of those signatures showed a validation rate of about 60 percent. According to reports, the group must collect 400,000 signatures at that rate in order for the measure to make the ballot. According to Fazekas at the time: “Our goal is to collect between 450,000 and 500,000 [signatures]."[78][79][80]

Signature submission

In a record breaking performance, referendum proponents submitted a grand total of 1,298,301 signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State on June 29, 2011 in a parade marching towards the secretary's offices. This broke the previously held record of 812,978 signatures in 2008 for a constitutional amendment allowing a casino resort in Clinton County.[81][82]

Signature verification

According to Matt McClellan, spokesperson for the Ohio Secretary of State: “The next step the signatures have to be verified. The secretary’s office receives the petitions and we will take an inventory of them. Then we send them out to the proper county boards of election. They have the signatures on file.”[83]

44 of the state’s counties must have had three percent of the signatures of those who voted in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

The proposal was then certified on July 21, 2011 by the Ohio Secretary of State.

Of the more than 1.3 million signatures submitted by supporters, the secretary of state's office certified 915,456 for an approximately 70.5% validation rate. The Ballot Board, which was given the responsibility of crafting ballot language, met on August 3, 2011.[84][85]



The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
SB 5 signed March 31, 2011 The challenged legislation was signed by the Governor following a Senate vote of 17-16 and House vote of 53-44
Signatures April 15, 2011 The Secretary of State verified the first batch of petition signatures
Signatures June 29, 2011 A grand total of 1,298,301 petition signatures were submitted
Petition drive deadline June 30, 2011 Referendum supporters had until June 30, to collect sufficient signatures to qualify for the Nov. 2011 ballot
Certified July 21, 2011 The measure was certified for the November 2011 ballot
Ballot language August 3, 2011 The ballot language was set

See also

Suggest a link

External links

Additional reading


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  2. Wall Street Journal, "Ohio Senate Passes Bill Curbing Bargaining," March 2, 2011
  3. Hubson Hud Times, "What would Senate Bill 5 do?," February 27, 2011
  4. Toledo Blade, "On ballot, 'no' means 'no' for Senate Bill 5", August 4, 2011
  5. Ohio Secretary of State, "Issue 2 Language", Retrieved August 9, 2011
  6. Ohio Attorney General, "Referendum Petition text", Retrieved May 4, 2011
  7. Cantonrep.com, "Other aspects of Senate Bill 5", June 27, 2011
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Cleveland.com, "Opponents, supporters gear up for Senate Bill 5 referendum," March 30, 2011
  9. Hudson Hub Times, "Senate Bill 5 petitions should be ready for signing by April 22", April 20, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Dispatch Politics, "SB 5 supporters slow to organize", April 6, 2011
  11. Crains Cleveland, "Greater Cleveland Partnership will work to fight repeal of SB 5", August 2, 2011
  12. Houston Chronicle, "Farm lobby endorses Ohio union ballot issue", August 30, 2011
  13. CNN "Ohio governor says collective bargaining bill not meant to kill unions," February 21, 2011
  14. 14.0 14.1 Cincinnati, "Ohio House approves Senate Bill 5," March 30, 2011
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Columbus Dispatch, "Kasich rips Obama for SB 5 remarks", April 28, 2011
  16. Middletown Journal, "Huckabee speaks on Issue 2 to crowd in Mason", October 14, 2011
  17. Chillecothe Gazette, "Ohio's Husted wants opposing sides of SB5 to come together", April 29, 2011
  18. Cleveland.com, "'Proud former union member' Sarah Palin joins home-stretch campaign to uphold SB 5", November 4, 2011
  19. Stowsentry.com, "Group's goal: Ensure Senate Bill 5 takes effect", June 5, 2011
  20. Fox News, "Romney Offers '110 Percent' Backing to Ohio Bargaining Bill After Confusion Over Support", October 26, 2011
  21. 21.0 21.1 WYTV.com, "Issue 2 Campaigns Heating Up", August 30, 2011
  22. Times Bulletin, "Sen. Hite talks Issue 2 with Heart Land Patriots", September 13, 2011
  23. Vindy.com, "Opponents say poll shows most Ohioans don’t support new law", May 20, 2011
  24. Cleveland Plain Dealer, "'Yes' to all three questions on Ohio's statewide ballot: Kevin O'Brien", October 20, 2011
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Cincinnati.com, "TV ads put Northside woman at center of SB 5 fight", October 11, 2011
  26. Columbus Dispatch, "SB 5 supporters organize campaign as opponents gather signatures for referendum", May 20, 2011
  27. 27.0 27.1 Business Journal, "S.B. 5 Vote in 2011 Helps GOP in 2012", March 4, 2011
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  37. Cantonrep.com, "Collective bargaining law works; SB5 repeal should stay on ballot", August 29, 2011
  38. Toledo Blade, "Thousands back SB 5 repeal", September 5, 2011
  39. Huffington Post, "Ohio SB 5 Collective Bargaining Law Follows Efforts In Wisconsin and New Jersey", September 21, 2011
  40. Athens News, "Hundreds rally to get fired up against S.B. 5", October 2, 2011
  41. 41.0 41.1 Mason Buzz.com, "Ohio NAACP, faith leaders call on Better Ohio to denounce Huckabee SB 5 comments", October 18, 2011
  42. NBC4i.com, "Firefighters Take To Airwaves To Fight Senate Bill 5", March 8, 2011
  43. Newsnet5.com, "Senate Bill 5 is not the last proposed reform bill to generate talk in the Statehouse", April 7, 2011
  44. 44.0 44.1 Daily Kos, "Update on Ohio efforts to repeal SB 5", April 10, 2011
  45. Public News Service, "SB5 Repeal Backers Pound the Pavement in Ohio", June 6, 2011
  46. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, "New online database shows pay and perks of Senate Bill 5 supporters", September 28, 2011
  47. Cleveland Plain-Dealer, "Let the SB 5 referendum games begin: editorial", June 26, 2011
  48. Lancaster Eagle Gazette, "SB5 negotiations might spare Ohio a ferocious fight", August 25, 2011
  49. Cleveland Plain Dealre, "Issue 2 opponents outspend supporters for TV airtime", October 9, 2011
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  52. The Cleveland Plain Dealer, "The law will need adjustments, but vote 'yes' on state Issue 2 to break Ohio away from an unsustainable status quo: editorial", October 15, 2011
  53. News-Register, "‘Yes’ Vote Right On Ohio Issue 2", October 29, 2011
  54. Tibune Today, "Taxpayers need a yes on Issue 2", October 9, 2011
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  56. 'The Courier, "State Issue 2", October 18, 2011
  57. Canton Repository, "Yes on Issue 2 will get benefits back on track", October 30, 2011
  58. Toledo Blade, "No on Issue 2, but...", October 30, 2011
  59. Akron Beacon Journal, "No on Issue 2", October 22, 2011
  60. Athens News, "Vote no on Issue2/S.B. 5; it's anti-worker, anti-Ohio", September 28, 2011
  61. Wenzel Strategies "Wenzel Poll: Majority Favors Repeal of Senate Bill 5", April 12, 2011
  62. Toledo Blade, "Poll shows if voting today, Ohioans would reject new collective bargaining law", May 18, 2011
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 Quinnipiac University,"Women, Union Households Keep Ohio Gov Under Water, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Most Voters Want To Repeal SB 5 Limiting Unions," September 27, 2011
  64. Quinnipiac University,"July 20, 2011 - Ohio Gov's Low Approval Slips Further, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Support For Photo Id To Vote Almost 4-1," July 20, 2011
  65. Toledo Blade, "Coalition rejects Kasich’s offer for meeting over SB 5", August 18, 2011
  66. Vindy.com, "Union leaders: We will not negotiate on SB 5 repeal", August 19, 2011
  67. Cleveland Plain-Dealer, "GOP leader says no chance Ohio legislature will repeal controversial collective bargaining law", August 24, 2011
  68. Aurora Advocate, "Rep. Clyde wants language for ballot referendum to be clear that 'no' repeals SB 5", May 4, 2011
  69. Columbus Dispatch, "Multiple choice for SB 5 vote?", June 23, 2011
  70. Columbus Dispatch, "Husted rejects splitting SB 5 referendum", June 24, 2011
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  74. Coshocton Tribune, "SB5 update: Foes of Ohio union law turn in initial petitions", April 5, 2011
  75. WTAM.com, "SB5 ballot referendum moves forward", April 15, 2011
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  77. Columbus Dispatch, "Multiple choice for SB 5 vote?", June 23, 2011
  78. Dailykos.com, "Over 214,000 signatures gathered to repeal SB 5 in Ohio", May 20, 2011
  79. Twinsburg Bulletin, "SB5 opponents say they're well on their way to November ballot", May 23, 2011
  80. weareohio.com, "We Are Ohio Announces New Petition Signature Totals", June 17, 2011
  81. Toledo Blade, "Record 1.3M back vote to torpedo Senate Bill 5", June 30, 2011
  82. DailyKos.com, "Campaign to repeal Ohio's SB 5 delivers more than 1,000,000 signatures", June 29, 2011
  83. Ironton Tribune, "Next step for Senate Bill 5 petitions", June 30, 2011
  84. Toledo On The Move, "Secretary of State certifies S.B. 5 referendum signatures", July 21, 2011
  85. The Columbus Dispatch, "Hearing on SB 5 ballot language scheduled", July 26, 2011