Anti-Union Bill Repealed in Ohio
Shortly after winning election to the statehouse in Nov. 2010, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-OH)
encouraged the Republican-controlled state legislature to pass a bill greatly restricting the
rights of pubic employees to bargain collectively. Needless to say, this law infuriated the state's
unions and they set about to force a referendum to overturn it. Yesterday at the ballot box
the voters decisively repealed the law by a vote of 61% to 39%. Not only is this a serious defeat
for Kasich, but it has implications for the 2012 election.
First, the power of the unions to organize and get out the vote in Ohio is not to be underestimated.
They will undoubtedly go whole hog for Obama in 2012. Some analysts had basically written the state off
for him, but that is certainly not the case now. While he is no shoo-in, he is not dead either. As so
often is the case, Ohio will be fiercely competitive.
Second, it motivates Ohio Democrats. Having won a major victory against a
core principle of the Republican party (weakening unions), they are going to much more enthusiastic
and likely to donate and campaign in 2012.
Third, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a strong labor supporter, is on the ballot next year and he can
claim a major victory. Any Republican who was planning to run an antilabor campaign against him is going
to think twice about it now.
Fourth, the vote hurts Republican front runner Mitt Romney. Romney has at times endorsed the antilabor
law and at times been neutral on it. He has never opposed it. Count on his (1) support of the law and
(2) flip flopping to become campaign issues.
Fifth, Other Republican-controlled states that were watching this election closely to see if they should
do the same thing may now shelve their plans because they don't want the 2012 election in their states
to become referendums on their new antiunion laws.
Republicans May Take over Virginia State Senate
But the Republicans got some good news as well yesterday.
They have a chance of picking up the Virginia state Senate after yesterday's election, but as of this
morning, it is too close to call. Counting the known results, the Democrats probably have 20 seats
and the Republicans 19, with one Senate district still unknown. After the votes (including absentee
ballots) were counted, the Republican, Bryce Reeves, led the incumbent Democrat, R. Edward Houck, by
86 votes, with the provisional ballots yet to be examined. If Reeves holds onto his slim lead, the
senate would be tied, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R-VA) casting the deciding vote, this effectively
giving the Republicans control on the floor. However, they would not necessarily control the committees.
Since the lower chamber, the 100-seat House of Delegates. is controlled by the Republicans with about 66
seats, depending on some close races, and the governor, Bob McDonnell is a Republican, a victory by
Reeves would give the Republicans full control of the state machinery. Houck is unlikely to give up
his seat without a court battle, raising memories of the Franken-Coleman battle in Minnesota in 2009.
An Egg is Not a Person in Mississippi
Antiabortion forces put a referendum on the Mississippi ballot that if passed would change
the state constitution to declare a fertilized
egg to be a human being, with all the rights thereof. It was defeated by a vote of 57% to 43%. If it had
been a straight up-or-down vote on abortion, it might have passed, but declaring a fertilized egg to be a
full-blown person has all kinds of consequences that may have given many voters pause. For starters:
- If a doctor performed an abortion is he guilty of first-degree murder--with the death penalty?
- If a pregnant woman had an abortion, is she an accomplice to murder?
- If a rape victim used the "morning after" pill would that be manslaughter?
- If a woman needed chemotherapy that could kill the embryo, could she be prevented from getting it?
- Would a pregnant woman need a passport for it to travel internationally?
- What if the federal goverment won't issue one? Is the mother guilty of human smuggling?
- If a pregnant women drank a glass of wine, could she be prosecuted for child abuse?
- Could the embryo inherit property?
- Would a pregnant woman get a federal or state tax deduction for her unborn child?
- Would the police investigate each miscarriage to see if it was actually homicode?
- Would embryos count as persons in the census for purposes of allocating seats in the House?
The list goes on and on. One can only imagine how small-government advocates would react to state-mandated
pregnancy tests of all women of child-bearing age (with penalties for noncompliance)
at census time to determine if they were one or two people. Such tests in China (in connection with the
one-child-per-family policy) are not wildly popular. Of course, supporters of the referendum may come
back next year with a more narrowly drawn amendent that simply makes performing an abortion a crime.
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