Many people are talking about a referendum on Senate Bill 5. Though the bill to decimate our collective bargaining process has not yet passed the Ohio House, nor has it become law, that day could be coming fast. Many people want to start mobilizing opponents to sign petitions to get the issue on the state ballot NOW.
If we do this successfully, we can file a referendum for the state ballot, asking voters to decide whether or not this bill should become law.
What does this mean for us? We have to get started mobilizing our supporters now. Backers of the referendum must file a petition with signatures from 6 percent of the number of Ohioans who voted in the 2010 governor's election. That's at least 231,148 valid signatures from at least 44 of Ohio's 88 counties. The process will begin as soon as the governor signs the bill or allows it to become law without his signature. At that point, we'll have 90 days to collect the signatures.
Why now? While it's likely the bill will pass the Ohio House, all parties involved know that S.B. 5 must pass by Apr. 6 for any valid referendum petition to be on the November 2011 ballot. Otherwise, it would appear on the November 2012 ballot. We believe that the GOP would rather see this on the ballot in 2011 than in 2012, during a presidential election.
If the bill passes by Apr. 6, here are the critical referendum dates:
* Petition deadline: July 5
* Signature validity evaluation by county Boards of Election: July 26
* Date to file supplemental signatures: Aug. 5
* Deadline for the Secretary of State to determine signature validity: Sept. 4
In the meantime, keep working to kill this bill. Join Teachers for Better Schools (TBS). Attend rallies and meetings. Write your local papers. Tell your friends. Contact your legislators. Use the Educator Connector phone line at 1-888-907-7309 and go to http://ow.ly/3WtWY to sign up to become an OEA ACE (Advocates for Children and Education).