The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the States

Although large-scale protests seem unlikely at this point, Ohio is set to undergo a battle over public sector unions similar to the fight earlier this year in Wisconsin.

The public union battle that so bitterly divided Wisconsin and New Jersey has a new front: Ohio. This time, however, unions have taken a slightly different tack, putting Senate Bill 5, which eliminates collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. SB 5 was signed into law by Republican governor John Kasich earlier this year, but Ohio allows for referendums on such laws if they meet certain petition requirements; with 1.3 million signatures, the unions passed that benchmark by more than 1 million. The measure to repeal SB 5, which will be voted on on November 8, is currently supported by around 50% of Ohioans, down fron 55% in May. [Huffington Post]

Roughly 10 months into his third non-consecutive term as governor, California Democrat Jerry Brown is “bewildered and stunned” at the behavior of Republicans in the State Legislature, calling them less independent and much more difficult to work with than they were when he was governor in the 1970s and 1980s. Republicans, for their part, have responded by saying that Brown has been less willing to work with them, especially on tax issues, which require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of the California State Legislature. (In both houses, the Democrats fall two seats short of that margin.) [NY Times]

In Wisconsin, it is estimated that the nine recall elections brought on by the public sector union battle earlier this year cost the state $2.1 million and various campaign committees some $44 million. Part of the cost to Wisconsin, the state’s Democrats contend, came from the fake Democrats that Republicans put up to run, forcing primaries in the six cases when a Republican State Senator was up for recall. Of the six Republicans and three Democrats involved in recall elections, two Republicans lost their seats, leaving a razor-thin, 17-16, Republican majority in that body. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Though the State House of Representatives, Governor Rick Scott, and Tea Party activists opposed the bill, Florida State Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R-Melbourne) has said he will reintroduce an immigration bill that passed the Senate before dying in the House, setting up a confrontation between the two bodies. [St. Petersburg Times]

Although New York State Assembly Republicans remain committed to not returning to the Capitol until the official beginning of a new session in January, Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) has expressed a willingness, admittedly not a particularly strong willingness, to return earlier if that is necessary. In particular, he has said he will come back to work out bills regarding livery cabs and the ever-controversial matter of a healthcare exchange. [Albany Times Union]

California Republicans have upped the ante in working to get new redistricting maps repealed. In an effort to collect a little more than 500,000 signatures by November 14, and thus forcing a vote on the new State Senate districts next June, they have circulated material alleging that allowing the new maps, drawn by a citizens’ commission that was voted into existence back in November, would lead to crippling tax increases. The effort has already raised around $500,000, including some $188,000 from the State GOP. [Sacramento Bee]

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s press secretary, Cullen Werwie, was granted immunity in a state investigation, it was recently revealed. The Republican governor and his aides are under fire for improper use of state funds for campaigning, charges which culminated in a raid earlier this month of a Madison home. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]


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