The bill is SB5, and it will limit future collective bargaining for Ohio state employees to base salary: it passed the Ohio Senate with a one-vote margin (all hail the power of having a strong enough majority to allow you breathing room: elections matter, folks*). The bill now goes to the House, where the GOP has a 59-40 advantage: and a simple majority constitutes a quorum in the Ohio legislature, which means that the bill will likewise almost certainly pass there with sufficient margin to permit a defection or two. Governor Kasich will of course sign the bill once it is law.
While this is all of course good news for advocates of reform generally, it does also have a bearing on the specific situation in Wisconsin. The time has come for union leadership and other Democrats in that state to ask themselves what they want to do. To wit: do they want to start an armed insurrection against the legitimate government of Wisconsin? Or do they want to start preparing their supporters for what promises to be a crushing defeat of their (misguided) hopes?
Because there really isn’t a third option, even if recall drives against four Republican state senators is being touted as one. As John McCormack notes, no recall election is likely before July**; and it structurally cannot be before mid-June. The Democrats do not have until mid-June to stay away from the Senate. They do not have until April – unless Wisconsin Democrats are comfortable with mucking up Medicaid programs. Come right down to it, they don’t have until mid-March, given that the AWOL Democratic Senators’ pay is now being (rightfully) fined $100 a day for not doing their jobs. The Wisconsin GOP is not going to back down, and that was the only way that the Democrats were going to win.
There comes a time in any battle where the side that’s losing has to come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to win, and that it’s time to retreat. If I was advising the Democrats, I would be saying that now was that time – because better a retreat than a rout, which is what they’re going to suffer if they don’t start preparing their supporters for defeat now.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Some people may be upset that there were Republican defections: don’t be. It passed, after all – and if we had a smaller majority in the Ohio state Senate the bill would have been weaker to start with. When you have a big margin in the legislature you can afford to take a strong position on a bill, in other words.
**Up to sixty days to get the petition signed by in-district residents (yes, the government will check this time) totaling 25% of the total voters for governor in that district in the last election. A month to review the petition. Ten days to allow for a challenge. Six weeks for an election season. That’s almost two months minimum, four months more likely (spamming the petition with fake names will give the government the perfect excuse to throw it out).