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Voters repeal Issue 2; ‘the people have spoken’

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Ohioans struck down Senate Bill 5 Tuesday night when Issue 2 lost on the ballot by a percentage of 62-38. A supporter and backer of SB5, Gov. John Kasich, offered his congratulations to the victors.

“When you get beat, you have to admit it and shake hands of those who prevailed,” Kasich said.

Kasich said that the opposition to Issue 2 was a voice of the people.

“It is clear the people have spoken,” Kasich said. “I have heard their voices, I understand their decision, and frankly, I respect what people have to say.”

Many experts are now speculating what its rejection means for Ohio and the nation.

SB5 would have limited public employees’ right to collectively bargain for anything except wages. This would have affected government officials, teachers, firefighters and nurses. Being that voters chose to appeal SB5, all of these employees will be able to keep their rights to collective bargain for whatever they please, including benefits.

Gov. Kasich signed SB5 into law on March 31, and it was appealed Tuesday night, making its life less than 8 months long.

Ohio State law professor, Daniel Tokaji, told The Lantern the loss will be heavy on the current administration.

“Obviously this is a huge black eye for Gov. Kasich, who has made this the cornerstone of his administration so far,” Tokaji said.

David Stebenne, an OSU law and history professor, told The Lantern, he thinks the administration will go for a more moderate approach.

“Issue 2 was the most extreme situation,” he said. “We can’t know for sure, but its rejection would hopefully mean all of its proponents, like Kasich, would regroup and propose something less drastic.”

Kasich did not offer future plans on Tuesday night, but said this gives him a chance to catch his breath and gather his thoughts.

Tokaji said the Issue 2 protestors are so proactive that it may affect the upcoming presidential elections.

“Issue 2 has mobilized its progressives in the opposite direction,” he said. “This could have major consequences for the 2012 presidential elections.”

Stebenne said he had similar thoughts.

“Everyone is looking to see what Ohio does in this election,” Stebenne said. “The win is big for Obama. There has not been a Republican president to be re-elected who has not won Ohio.”

Tokaji said the loss will affect Republicans greatly.

“What we saw tonight is Democrats used the ballot box to fight back against the Republicans who now dominate the legislature and the governor’s office,” he said. “They were able to rally up some people who felt very strongly about the issue and used it to their advantage.”

Kasich indicated that times will be tough, and that local governments will be affected by this decision.

“We’ll work with them to help (local governments) over come their challenges,” Kasich said. “We have to be very careful with our money because these are very tough economic times.”

Kasich offered his parting thoughts.

“I’m anxious to get back to work,” Kasich said. “And I look forward to a brighter tomorrow.”

Thomas Bradley contributed to this story.

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