Ohio voters reject anti-union law; Mississippi says no to 'personhood'

Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 09:02 am
At last, more people are wising up to the GOP's plans and denying them. ---BBB

November 9, 2011
Ohio voters reject anti-union law; Mississippi says no to 'personhood'
By Paul West | McClatchy-Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON — Ohio voters overturned a controversial law that would have weakened public employee unions, and Mississippians rejected a "personhood" anti-abortion initiative, in elections Tuesday that suggested at least a pause in the strong conservative Republican trend that swept Democrats from office in 2010.

In the marquee fight of the day, a successful push by organized labor resulted in repeal of Ohio's new law that would have sharply curbed collective bargaining rights for 350,000 government workers. The restrictive labor measure was passed by the Republican Legislature and signed by newly elected Republican Gov. John Kasich, who led the unsuccessful effort to defend the law.

One year after getting shellacked by Republicans, President Barack Obama, whose poll ratings continue to languish, maintained a low profile. The only reaction from the White House Tuesday night was a brief statement from Vice President Joe Biden celebrating labor's victory in Ohio.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in Columbus to cheer a badly needed victory for organized labor and its Democratic allies, called the results a defeat for "those who spend their time scapegoating workers and pushing a partisan agenda."

Kasich told reporters in Columbus that the bruising defeat would force him to "take a deep breath and spend some time reflecting on what happened here."

In the Phoenix suburbs, state Senate President Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's contentious immigration law, was defeated fellow Republican Jerry Lewis in the state's first recall election of a sitting lawmaker.

"I'm grateful for the battles that we've won," Pearce said, according to the Associated Press. "If being recalled is being the price for keeping these promises, then so be it."

In Kentucky, Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, won re-election over Republican David Williams, the state Senate president, and third-party candidate Gatewood Galbraith. A year ago, the election of Republican Rand Paul to a Senate seat from Kentucky was one of the nation's biggest tea party-inspired victories.

In Mississippi, voters chose another Republican, Phil Bryant, to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Haley Barbour. Democratic nominee Johnny DuPree had sought to become the state's first African American governor of the modern era.

At the same time, Mississippi voters firmly rejected Initiative 26, which would have effectively defined birth control methods like IUDs and the morning-after pill as murder. Barbour supported the measure, as did both major party gubernatorial candidates. Bryant, the state's lieutenant governor, was quoted as telling supporters in Tupelo this week that "Satan wins" if the amendment was defeated, describing the statewide campaign over the measure as "a battle of good and evil of biblical proportions."

But the measure split the anti-abortion movement, and similar initiatives have failed in recent years, including in Colorado, where the "personhood" movement is based.

Democratic National Chairman Debbie Wasserman Shultz said that defeat of the "dangerous and divisive measure" in one of the nation's most conservative states would allow abortion-rights supporters to "breathe a sigh of relief" but that "the fight is far from over."

In another setback for newly emboldened Republican lawmakers, Maine voters repealed a law passed this year by the Republican Legislature that would have ended the tradition of same-day registration. And in Iowa, Democrats won a special election for a vacant state Senate seat to keep Republicans from gaining control of the entire government in Des Moines.

Even as strategists warned against reading too much into the results of an off-year election, the 2011 elections were enough of a mixed bag to provide talking points for partisans on both sides. Last month, Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal was re-elected. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat who was elevated to the job when the former governor moved to the U.S. Senate, was narrowly elected to fill out the term in the face of anti-Obama sentiment in his state.

Although the president's re-election campaign was active in Ohio's labor fight, Obama personally avoided the most closely fought contests. In Virginia, prominent Democratic officeholders stayed away when the president's bus rolled through last month.

Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus told Fox News that the "stand-offish approach that Democrats are having toward this president" reflected a lack of enthusiasm that would carry over into the 2012 election.

A growing trend of punishing lawmakers for their role in passing contentious measures was the focus of several recall elections. In addition to the Arizona effort, the Michigan teachers union was attempting to unseat a Republican state senator over his role in passing laws designed to weaken teacher tenure.

Municipal elections were held around the country, including in San Francisco, where Mayor Ed Lee, appointed to the position earlier this year, was attempting to become the first Asian American elected to the city's top job. In Philadelphia, Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter, won re-election and in Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won a four-year term to the job she inherited when Mayor Sheila Dixon left office after an embezzlement conviction.

Three states were electing legislatures. In Virginia, Republicans were within reach of gaining control of all branches of the government in Richmond for only the second time since the Civil War. Obama carried the state last time and it will be a battleground in 2012.

In Mississippi, one of few southern states not totally in Republican hands, Republicans were attempting to gain a majority in the Legislature. New Jersey's Legislature remained under Democratic control.

Paul West writes for the Tribune Washington Bureau. (Times staff writer Stephen Ceasar contributed to this report.)

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/11/09/129747/ohio-voters-reject-anti-union.html#storylink=omni_popular#ixzz1dDjSgzzp
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Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 09:12 am
Both elections newsbits were very good news to hear this morning. I'm proud of the Ohio and Mississippi voters.
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 10:34 am
More good news, tsarstepan:

Voters Defeat Many G.O.P.-Sponsored Measures
November 9, 2011

Voters turned a skeptical eye toward conservative-backed measures across the country Tuesday, rejecting an anti-labor law in Ohio, an anti-abortion measure in Mississippi and a crackdown on voting rights in Maine.

Opponents of Mississippi’s proposed Initiative 26, which would declare that human life starts at fertilization, urged the measure’s defeat Tuesday outside the Oxford Conference Center, a polling station.

Even in Arizona, voters turned out of office the chief architect of that state’s controversial anti-immigration law. State Senator Russell Pearce, a Republican power broker and a former sheriff’s deputy known for his uncompromising style, conceded the race Tuesday with a look of shock on his face.

“If being recalled is the price for keeping one’s promises, then so be it,” he said. Mr. Pearce, the president of the Senate, was a hero to the Tea Party movement, and apart from his anti-immigration efforts, he had introduced numerous bills to nullify federal laws. A campaign spokesman later told The Associated Press that Mr. Pearce’s remarks had amounted to a concession.

Taken together, Tuesday’s results could breathe new life into President Obama’s hopes for his re-election a year from now. But the day was not a wholesale victory for Democrats. Even as voters in Ohio delivered a blow to Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican, and rejected his attempt to weaken collective bargaining for public employees, they approved a symbolic measure to exempt Ohio residents from the individual mandate required in Mr. Obama’s health care law.

And while voters in Mississippi, one of the most conservative states, turned away a measure that would have outlawed all abortions and many forms of contraception and had drawn conservative support from members of both parties, they tightened their voting laws to require some from of government-approved identification. Democrats had opposed the requirement, saying it was a thinly disguised attempt to intimidate voters of color.

In Maine, where Republicans recently had ended same-day registration at polling places, voters decided to restore the practice, which Democrats support.

Despite the anger at Washington, voters did not appear to be in a throw-the-bums-out frame of mind at the city and state levels. In Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat, won re-election, as did Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, in Indianapolis and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, in Baltimore. In Phoenix, Greg Stanton, a Democrat, was the winner while in San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee, the interim mayor, seemed poised to become that city’s first mayor of Chinese descent.

Steve Beshear, the Democratic governor of Kentucky, was re-elected. In Mississippi, Phil Bryant will succeed Gov. Haley Barbour, a fellow Republican, who was prevented by term limits from running for re-election.

And in something of a surprise, an effort by Republicans in Virginia to take over the State Senate — and thereby take complete control of the state government — appeared stalled. In one district, the final vote showed the Republican candidate with an edge of fewer than 100 votes, putting the party within striking distance of a 20-20 tie with Democrats in the Senate. When the Senate is deadlocked, the lieutenant governor — a Republican — casts the tie-breaking vote.

But in Iowa, Republicans failed in their attempt to win control of the State Senate. Had they won a special election there, they would have likely been able to pass numerous measures, including a ban on same-sex marriage, that had been blocked by Democrats.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was Mississippi’s rejection of a far-reaching and stringent anti-abortion initiative known as the “personhood” amendment, which had inspired a ferocious national debate. The measure, Initiative 26, would have amended the state Constitution to define life “to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.”

Supporters, including evangelical Christians, said it would have stopped the murder of innocent life and sent a clarion moral call to the world. They said they expected that passage in Mississippi would have built support for similar laws in other states.

Opponents, led by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union, said the proposal would have outlawed all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest and when the mother’s life was in danger; would have barred morning-after pills and certain contraception such as IUD’s; and could have limited in vitro fertility procedures.

“The message from Mississippi is clear,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement. “An amendment that allows politicians to further interfere in our personal, private medical decisions, including a woman’s right to choose safe, legal abortion, is unacceptable.”

The push for a personhood amendment split the country’s anti-abortion movement. Traditional leaders including the Roman Catholic bishops and National Right to Life opposed it on strategic grounds, fearing it would lead to a United States Supreme Court defeat and set back to their efforts to chip away at abortion rights.

Governor Barbour is a strong opponent of abortion rights but expressed skepticism about the amendment’s wording

“It’s unnecessarily ambiguous,” he told MSNBC on Tuesday. He also criticized the strategy of sending it to voters rather than to the Legislature — a blunder he attributed to people in Colorado, who wrote the measure — and said it would not be a good test case with which to try to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Nonetheless, Mr. Barbour said, he had supported the measure because he believes that life begins at conception.

Theo Emery, Erik Eckholm, and Kirk Johnson contributed reporting.
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failures art
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 04:24 pm
Very pleased. This good feeling will probably crash into the ground once the Super Committee flunks out though...

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Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 06:13 pm
So now public employees have the power to hold public safety hostage?
By allowing them strong collective bargaining rights, that allows them to threaten a "blue flu" or other acts to weaken public safety.

While I fully support the right of public employees to unionize, I do not believe that they have the right to threaten public safety.

I am willing to bet however that the public employees will reject any contract that has a "no strike" clause in it, because they want to have a weapon they can hold over the publics head.

It has been done before,remember PATCO.
And if its tried again, the govt should do exactly what REagan did to Patco.
failures art
Reply Wed 9 Nov, 2011 06:17 pm
The dog that didn't bark.
0 Replies

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