What was the lesson of Senate Bill 5, and its resounding rejection by Ohio voters in 2011? The polling showed that Ohioans actually liked much about the legislation, in particular, the measured efforts to adjust the three-decade-old state collective-bargaining law.
What they found troubling were the excesses, a Republican governor and Republican legislative majorities using the bill to pursue a big partisan victory, weakening the political clout of public employee unions. Thus, the lesson would be: Take the sound policy, the popular and reasonable provisions, bringing a greater degree of balance to collective bargaining, and seek their enactment.
Yet that has not happened, many Republicans, including Gov. John Kasich, practically running from the issue, seemingly fearful of the slightest reminder. That isn’t to say some in the party want the past to stay in the past.
State Reps. Kristina Roegner of Hudson and Ron Maag of Lebanon are pushing legislation to make Ohio a “right to work” state. In other words, they want to replay the changes to collective bargaining that voters found most objectionable. Whatever happened to the notion of politics as the art of the possible? Or solving problems, two years later the state still without the modest and sensible changes that would make collective bargaining better?