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Fate of 3 statewide issues in the hands of Ohio voters

Joe Podelco / Lantern photographer

Ohioans will hit the polls on Tuesday to vote on three statewide issues, one of them is Issue 2, which will decide the fate of Senate Bill 5.

Issue 2 will ask voters to accept or reject new union rules signed by Gov. John Kasich, known as SB 5. SB 5 prevents government employees, along with teachers, nurses and firefighters from collective bargaining for anything except wages.

If voters choose to pass Issue 2, mandatory health care and pension minimums will be set up, as well as bans on public worker strikes, and it will prohibit seniority-based promotions.

Paul Beck, an Ohio State professor in the political sciences department, said Issue 2 will greatly affect funding as well.

“Proponents would say the reason Senate Bill 5 was formed is because the government became too generous,” Beck said. “Due to the public influence of unions and labor groups along with public officials being too generous, the government had to make a drastic change.”

David Stebenne, associate professor of history and law, said the idea is that the cost of employing people in the public sector is much higher than it is in the private sector, so cuts have to be made.

“It’s not so much that the straight salary is higher, but the benefits packages,” he said. “Being that the government is so strapped at this time, they had to make some sort of drastic decisions.”

Abigail Robertson, a fourth-year in English, said she worries about the impact Issue 2 will have on students.

“I believe that Senate Bill 5 should be overturned because it affects Ohio State, it affects the students,” Robertson said. “My boyfriend is in education and it’s a big deal for him.”

Jonathan Bosold, a first-year in pharmacy, agreed.

“I know that Issue 2 is a big thing that affects a lot of government employees, teachers, firefighters, policemen and I personally I voted no on that,” Bosold said.

Stebenne compared Issue 2 to something OSU students know and love: football.

“It’s kind of like Ohio lawmakers decided to go for the long pass at the end of the fourth quarter,” he said. “Now if that doesn’t work, which chances are that it won’t, they’ll go for what Woody Hayes would say ‘three yards and a cloud of dust.'”

He said this means that Ohio lawmakers decided to put the more drastic option on the ballot for voters. He said if this is rejected, they will find more of a gradual way to drawback benefits for public employees.

“The polls are saying 60-40 that it will be rejected,” he said. “So if that happens, I guess we’ll see how big proponents of the bill like Kasich and other Republicans will react. I think they’ll find a way to get with Democrats and compromise on something more moderate.”

Stebenne said the way voters fall may have something to do with President Barack Obama’s re-election status.

“Everyone is looking at Ohio right now to see what happens with this issue,” Stebenne said. “If it does fail and Democrats win, that’s big for Obama. There has not been a president to be re-elected who has not won Ohio.”

Issue 3 preserves the right for Ohioans to choose their own health care and health care coverage.

Beck said in a way Issue 3 is symbolic, rather than real because the Ohio Supreme Court would have to work on it if voters chose to vote “yes.”

“This also raises questions about whether students will have to elect for OSU health insurance or not,” Beck said. “So, it gets kind of sticky in theory.”

Beck said proponents of Issue 3 want to overturn Obama’s national health care plan in Ohio’s constitution, while opponents are fighting to keep the national health care in place so that Ohioans abide by it.

Issue 1 would increase the maximum age a person may be elected as a judge, and eliminate the authority of the general assembly of the governor to appoint a supreme court to cases.

Some students have already cast their votes through absentee ballots.

“I vote absentee ballot because I feel like it’s important to vote in my particular county where I have a stronger voice in my county,” Bosold said. “I don’t like voting in Franklin County because there are more people, and in my county there are less people, so my voice counts more in my opinion.”

Students can easily find information on the election, www.ohio.gov provides information about voting sites, spells out the issues on the ballot and provides previous election results.

“I think it’s important for students to vote because it’s their civic duty,” Bosold said. “I feel like it’s important to make your opinion count. I think you should vote only if you’re well-informed and I feel like it’s your duty to be well-informed.”

Robertson had the same sentiment.

“I think we’re shaping the future and if we aren’t putting our opinions forth, then someone else is and they’re speaking for us,” Robertson said. “You really can’t complain about something if you’re not the one deciding it.”

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