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Protest of SB 5 in Columbus Ohio and Doors To The State House Locked

Ohio Statehouse locked amid union protest COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Democratic legislative leaders in Ohio said Tuesday that they were prepared to ask a judge to force officials to unlock the doors to the Statehouse as thousands of union protesters gathered for a hearing on a bill that would strip public employees of collective bargaining rights. Ohio Public Safety spokesman Joe Andrews says about 1,000 people have been allowed into the Rotunda and Atrium for a committee hearing on the bill and additional visitors without appointments were turned away in the interest of safety. The heightened security came after a long President's Day weekend during which unions across the state sought to mobilize their supporters against the bill and bring out big crowds. Visitors wanting to attend the hearing after doors were closed were directed to an off-site theater, where the meeting was to be simulcast.




The bill, sponsored by first-term state Sen. Shannon Jones, a Cincinnati-area Republican, would end collective bargaining rights for state workers and restrict teachers, firefighters, police, university employees and local workers in their bargaining abilities. Protect Our Protectors, a newly formed coalition of police and fire unions, urged the Ohio Senate to slow down action on the bill, which has been drawing crowds to the Statehouse for several weeks. Senate Democratic Leader Capri Cafaro sent a letter asking the chamber's Republican leaders to schedule more hearings before a vote that is expected as early as this week. Kasich, Jones and other supporters of the measure say it could help control spending and provide more flexibility for cash-strapped governments to negotiate with employees. Witnesses in favor of the bill have included local government leaders and schools superintendents who said public employee unions have too much power under the current system.

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