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  1. Both have been the center of heated debate, with conservative and liberal political groups spending a small fortune in political ads and grassroots efforts. At the risk of oversimplification, here is a brief summary:

    Issue 2 seeks to overturn Senate Bill 5, which restricts the rights of public employees (including teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and yes even university professors) to unionize, strike and collectively bargain. SB5 also revises the procedures by which disputes can be settled, in effect empowering managers by placing the final decision making process in the hands of the “legislative body of the public employer.” However, SB5 also contains provisions that implement performance based pay for most employees, specifically teachers, and limit the health care contributions for public employees and removes “consideration of seniority and length of service, by itself, from decisions regarding a reduction in work force of certain public employees,” although which public employees this applies to is never specified.

    Issue 3 is essentially a state referendum on Obama’s national healthcare initiative. It calls for an exemption for Ohio residents from national health care mandates, specifically the individual mandates that go into effect in 2014, via state constitutional amendment. The precise language in the policy reads: “In Ohio, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system. In Ohio, no law or rule shall prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance. In Ohio, no law or rule shall impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.”

    The proposed amendment would not apply to:

    1. Services required by hospitals and health care professionals
    2. The terms and conditions of government employment
    3. Any laws regulating the health care industry (i.e. that “deter fraud and punish wrongdoing”)

    There are interesting consequences all around. Issue 2 seems to have more immediate political repercussions – most obviously, it would empower conservative blocs to seek similar measures in other states. However, as a historian I find Issue 3 more provocative because of its potential to inspire another “nullification crisis”

    What do you all think?

  2. [tongue in cheek response]: I’m watching two races: the race to discredit Herman Cain as a candidate, and the race to discredit Joe Paterno as Penn State’s football coach. I’m thinking Cain will lose and Paterno might come out ahead. – TL

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