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Yesterday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed SB 5 with amendments. When the House version was sent back to the Senate – the Senate also approved SB 5 by the same 17-16 vote count. The media is reporting that Governor Kasich plans to sign the bill into law on Friday. 
Over the last several weeks so many of our members, union members all over the state, non union members, friends, family members, and supporters of public workers rallied together in Columbus; attended Town Hall Meetings; wrote letters; emailed; and called their legislators demanding that SB 5 be voted down. All of those efforts were not in vain. This bill was supposed to be passed BEFORE the Governor’s budget was announced. This bill was supposed to SAIL through the House and the Senate. Those things did not happen. This bill not did go through the General Assembly with the ease and smoothness that was predicted. Legislators were forced to listen to the voice of their constituents. Although some did not listen and did not represent us with their vote – the message was heard. And we will remember in November 2011, November 2012, November 2014, and November 2016.
This day marks the end of the road to have our elected legislators stop SB 5 and the beginning of the road to leading to the voters of Ohio stopping SB 5. 
Opponents of SB 5 are already working on the referendum to take to the ballot to the voters of Ohio in November. We will be coming to you to help with the task of gathering the 231,149 signatures necessary to put the referendum on the ballot. No signatures can be collected until the referendum is certified. This could take a few weeks. Here are some important numbers regarding a Referendum:
231,149 – Signatures needed to place a referendum of the law on the ballot.
1,000 – Number of signatures needed for petition language to be approved by the Attorney General and Secretary of State, before additional petitions can be circulated.
44 – Minimum number of different counties where the petition signatures need to be collected.
April 6, 2011 – Last day for the law to be passed and filed with the Secretary of State in order to be placed on the November 2011 ballot, rather than the November 2012 ballot.
5 – Number of members on the Ohio Ballot Board who determine ballot language once the referendum petition is accepted.  The Board includes the Secretary of State, one Republican and one Democrat from the House, one Republican and one Democrat from the Senate.
And once again Referendum 101:
  • If the bill is signed before April 6, 2011 – the referendum election will be in November, 2011. If the bill is signed after April 6, 2011 – the referendum election will be in November 2012.
  • Once SB 5 is signed into law - the referendum petition, summary, and an initial 1,000 signatures must be submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State and the Ohio Attorney General, for approval. They must certify that the signatures are valid and that the summary is “fair and truthful.”   The summary can be sent back to “re-do” and thus take away from the 90 day timeline.  They have 10 days to make a decision and send it back to us. There is no limit on the number of times this can be done, and it is also subject to court challenge if it is not approved. 
  • Once the Attorney General certifies the referendum, petitions can begin to be circulated to gather the required minimum of 231,149 valid signatures. This is equal to 6% of the total number of votes cast for Governor in 2010. The signatures must also meet the minimum distribution requirement of 3% of gubernatorial vote in 44 counties.
  • If the Secretary of State determines that the petition contains insufficient valid signatures, we have an additional 10 days to obtain the number of required signatures.
  • When the required signatures are gathered, SB 5 cannot be implemented until a vote by the citizens of Ohio takes place, whether that is 2011 or 2012.
  • Once the referendum is on the ballot, we will be a part of a coordinated campaign to educate voters on the real facts and real issues.
In Union,