Gearing Up for a Statewide Veto Referendum, November 8, 2011
From everything the Ohio Conference is hearing, it is expected that Senate Bill
5 will quickly pass the Ohio House of Representatives, potentially even next
week. We know that Gov. Kasich is going to sign the bill. As a
result, the Ohio Conference, as part of the larger labor union coalition, is
gearing up for a veto referendum.
What is a veto referendum?
When a bill is signed into law in Ohio,
citizens have the opportunity to "veto" or "invalidate" the law before it takes
effect. Within a 90-day window, the group(s) opposing the law must get six
percent (6%) of the electorate to sign a petition to have the law placed on the
next general election ballot for rejection or approval. The signatures
must be approved by the Ohio Secretary of State as valid - those of voters who
are registered to vote at their current residence. A simple majority is
required to veto the law. We have seen polls in Ohio and nationwide that
show the majority of the public believes public employees have a right to
collective bargaining. Consequently, we see this as a fight we can win!
How are we gearing up for this?
We are continuing to work closely alongside
the other public unions (private ones, too, like the UAW and Steelworkers) in
coordinating this effort. A campaign committee that will be the driving
force for the referendum is being formed now. The campaign committee will
be supplying canvassers to collect signatures, field organizers to coordinate
all over the state, and will be developing a statewide media campaign once the
referendum is officially on the ballot. We will be in touch again in the
not too distant future about how AAUP members can plug into the petition drive
to volunteer and to help call attention to this matter in other ways.
How can the Chapters help?
First, the campaign will need monetary
contributions. A statewide ballot campaign committee can accept unlimited
resources from individuals as well as corporations, unions, and nonprofits. This
is about defending our rights to a means of truly ensuring academic freedom,
shared governance, quality education for Ohio's students, quality research for
Ohio's future, and our own livelihoods - so now is the time to break out the
rainy day fund, because it's not just raining, it's pouring. And we better
believe the other side of this campaign is going to be well-funded. We
will be in touch with Chapter leaders over the phone in the near future to
discuss what resources we can pull together from respective rainy day funds to
contribute to the referendum campaign committee. As mentioned above, AAUP
members can also help by directly participating in the petition drive and
calling attention to the referendum by informing our friends, colleagues, and
neighbors. There will be more specific action items as we move forward.
We are still doing all that we can within the confines of the legislative
Dr. Rudy Fichtenbaum from Wright State University (also a Trustee of the Ohio
Conference) will be testifying before the House next week in opposition to SB 5,
specifically addressing the Yeshiva-like language that was inserted into the
Amended Substitute Bill. We have not in any way abandoned efforts to
influence legislators. We are continuing to meet with them and are
communicating key points via our document:
Looking for Savings in All
the Wrong Places. Even
though it seems as if the House Republicans already have the votes to pass SB 5,
it is vitally important that we let all House members know that SB 5 is bad for
Ohio. It is an important step in preparing the way for the veto
referendum, even if we can't win in the House.
We will continue to keep you informed throughout this process and appreciate all
that you're doing to keep your members informed and active.
Ohio Conference of the American Association of University Professors
137 East State Street
Columbus, OH 43215
O: 614-545-6349, ext. 6349