It was no April Fools Day joke.
Governor John Kasich publicly came out and suggested the legislature re-pass Senate Bill 5 in piecemeal fashion and sprinkling its provisions throughout the State budget. Speaker Batchelder initially publicly supported the idea. The only reason to do such a legislative manuever would be to frustrate the folks working to put SB 5 to a referendum vote by the people by forcing them to attempt multiple campaigns in the hopes that some would fail (either to get the provision on the ballot or on election day.)
Eventually, public opposition to the bill and the plan to clone it and repass it became too much for the Republicans to follow through. It appeared it was Senate President Niehaus who was the first to publicly throw cool water on the idea, an apparently nod and reminder that the bill only passed with one vote the first time through.
After appearing at SB 5’s public unveiling, publicly endorsing it, and calling on the legislature to quickly pass it, Governor Kasich suddenly asked for a historical rewrite of his role in SB 5’s inception. A matter of historical revisionism his staff continues to push to this day despite the fact that no public figure, not even Shannon Jones, more willingly embraced and became the public face of the bill to the public than John Kasich.
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), a Kasich Cabinet agency, sent a letter promoting Senate Bill 5 to every state employee that seemed to pull its content directly from a pro-SB 5 website created by the Ohio House Republican Caucus. Meanwhile, publicly, Governor Kasich begins his campaign of odd and totally baseless threats to Ohioans as to what will happen if SB 5 is defeated via a referendum by claiming the credit rating agency’s have threatened to downgrade the State’s credit ratings if it is repealed… the first of many demonstratively false and ridiculously absurd threats Kasich will make to try to save SB 5… at the same time while trying to distance himself politically from it.
Meanwhile, conservatives start promoting a teacher’s group that it claims shows Ohio teachers are in favor of SB 5. The only problem is that the organization is in California, you don’t have to be a teacher to belong, it refuses to say how many, if any, members it has from Ohio, has no State chapter in Ohio, and is funded largely by the same groups that fund anti-labor “right to work” groups since its primary purpose is to attack teacher unions.
Governor Kasich publicly signed SB 5 into law (after publicly stating he would sign it in private), and held a press conference about the bill that was outright dishonest. A few days later, a committee called “We Are Ohio” was formed and filed the proposed referendum language to repeal Senate Bill 5.
We reported how Kasich’s budget was forcing his own daughters’ private school to close, and how after attacking Governor Strickland’s use of the state airplane, Kasich had already used it more by March than Strickland had used it all last year. After cutting billions in funding for schools and local governments, Governor Kasich then publicly urged Ohioans to reject levies to replace those revenues by raising local taxes. We also examined how Governor Kasich’s budget zeroed out funding to enforce Ohio’s smoking ban.
The April rain and political b.s. Kasich spread made things appear dark and gloomy for Ohio’s progressives, but it provided just the right environment to wake the sleeping giant that is organized labor while creating just the perfect conditions for a major grassroots movement to sprout forth…