Reality Check: The Ghost of Senate Bill 5

Reality Check: SB5

(FOX19) - In his campaign to unseat Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich, democratic challenger Ed Fitzgerald is resurrecting 'Senate Bill Five,' legislation Kasich signed into law in 2011 that stripped collective bargaining rights from public employees but was later overturned by voters. FOX19 takes a look back at SB5, what Governor Kasich said then, and what he's saying now about one of the worst defeats of his political career.

Three years ago, cops, firefighters, and teachers protested Governor Kasich after he signed SB5 into law ending collective bargaining for Ohio's public employees. But then, just eight months later, voters dealt the governor a crushing defeat with the passage of 'Issue Two,' a referendum undoing SB5 in a landslide vote.

The day after the election the governor was humble in defeat saying, "It's clear that the people have spoken and my view is when people speak like this in a campaign, you have to listen"

Fast forward three years and the man who now wants Kasich's job, gubernatorial challenger Ed Fitzgerald, is on the campaign trail and talking about SB5 which he believes could make a comeback in a second Kasich term.

"What people are afraid of is a sequel to SB5. In 2011 they had a chance to vote on Governor Kasich's proposals including Senate Bill Five and they overwhelmingly said no," said Fitzgerald.

I sat down with Governor Kasich recently, and I asked him if he thinks SB5 is still relevant three years later.

"What I think is that an election is how an incumbent has done, and if the people of the state feel that the state is in better shape then I'll be given more time to be governor," he tells me.

Back in 2011, Kasich was adamant that local coffers had run dry and municipalities couldn't afford potentially costly negotiations with labor unions. Kasich says those same local governments are now in much better shape financially. "97 percent of all municipalities are now showing an excess of 5 percent larger than the state surplus, the more jobs you create the more healthy everybody is," he said.

I checked with the state auditor's office, and the governor's numbers add up.

Here's the bottom line: In his first year in office, voters handed the governor a major defeat on SB5, but he says, "That was then and this is now."

He also says that ultimately, it's up to voters to determine whether he deserves another term. And that's Reality Check.

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