By Julie Kent. Published on 02/22/2011 - 9:39pm
Thousands of protesters made their way to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to demonstrate against Senate Bill 5. Upon arriving, however, most found themselves shut out of the building, being told they had to wait outside or watch the hearing at an off-site theater via simulcast. Lobbyists were allowed to enter the building, where the wined and dined the bill's Republican supporters in the basement. It was only after the threat of a lawsuit and potential court order that the Statehouse doors were opened to the throngs of union workers who had waited outside patiently for hours.
The doors were opened only moments before a hearing on SB 5 was to begin at 4pm. Preceding the opening, Democratic legislative leaders said that they were prepared to head to Franklin County Common Pleas Court to get an order opening the doors.
Senate Bill 5, if passed into law, would eliminate collective bargaining rights for state workers. It would also restrict collective bargaining rights for other local government workers including teachers, police officers, and firefighters, amongst others.
Columbus attorney Don McTigue said that he had finished preparing a lawsuit just as the protesters were let into the Statehouse. He said that they were prepared to file it by 5pm, if the situation had not been rectified.
Source - Cleveland Leader
Other items on the protests yesterday:
Slideshow of photos via Cincinnati's WCPO
Middletown Journal slideshow
Story: Ted Strickland and John Kasich face off over collective bargaining changes
Protestors greet Kasich in Canton, OH
NPR blog - some GOP lawmakers questioning SB5
Republican Butler Co. Sherriff Richard K Jones 'Not a fan of union buster'
SB-5 Basics: A non-partisan rundown of what the bill in its current form would do
I was out there yesterday in the freezing cold for hours before they'd let us in, and that was only around 4pm when the hearings actually started. Some of the Dem legislators tried to bring people in in groups before that but were blocked. As I understand things, the bill is still in committee, and deadlocked on votes, but I heard that the GOP are looking to replace the no-voting Republican on that committee in order to push it out anyway. This isn't over, not by a long shot. Sherriff Jones likes to think of himself as an Arpaio in training. I can't stand that guy, so for him to be against this is not insignificant, but ngl, it makes me feel like I need to take a shower.