Columbus Business First: S.B. 5 passes legislature despite heated opposition

March 30, 2011- Ohio House Republicans passed Senate Bill 5 late Wednesday afternoon, and the Senate approved the amended version later that night, sending the measure aimed at limiting the collective bargaining rights of public workers to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

In a 53-44 vote, most House Republicans stood by a bill passed by the GOP-controlled Senate on March 2.

The final vote came after more than three and a half hours of debate on the House floor and was greeted with shouting and boos by bill opponents in the House chamber. Speaker William Batchelder, R-Medina, asked the Ohio State Highway Patrol to clear the chamber when the protestors would not quiet down.

S.B. 5 has also drawn large crowds of protestors in an acrimonious debate over whether the bill is anti-union or a necessary tool to help cash-strapped state and local governments control labor costs.

“I’m happy to give back to local governments (the ability) to manage their budgets today and in the future,” Rep. Joseph Oecker, R-Loveland, said during Wednesday’s House debate.

But Rep. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, said the bill tramples the rights of Ohio’s public workers.

“Unions didn’t cause the problems in the (state) budget. They tried to resolve it,” he said, pointing to workers agreeing to wage cuts, furloughs and benefit changes to help reduce government labor costs.


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