Miss. Voters Reject Abortion Measure; Ohio Restores Pubic Employees’ Rights
Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment to block implementation of the individual mandate, but that measure could easily become moot if the Supreme Court rules on the issue.
USA Today: 2011 Voters Give A Glimpse Into 2012
Ohio voters rejected a new law sharply restricting public workers' right to collective bargaining Tuesday, and Mississippi rejected an anti-abortion proposal that would have defined life as beginning at conception (Welch, 11/9).
Kaiser Health News: Mixed Verdict: Ohioans Vote Against Health Law; Miss. 'Personhood' Fails
Ohioans overwhelmingly endorsed a constitutional amendment designed to block implementation of the individual mandate in the Buckeye State, but Mississippi voters rejected an anti-abortion amendment to that state's constitution (Eisenhower, 11/9).
McClatchy: Ohio Voters Reject Anti-Union Law; Mississippi Says No To 'Personhood' Measure
Mississippi voters firmly rejected Initiative 26, which would have effectively defined birth control methods like IUDs and the morning-after pill as murder. ... (Phil) 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 (West, 11/9).
The Associated Press/USA Today: Mississippi Defeats Life At Conception Ballot Initiative
Mississippi voters Tuesday defeated a ballot initiative that would have declared life begins at conception, a proposal that supporters sought in the Bible Belt state as a way to prompt a legal challenge to abortion rights nationwide (11/8).
National Journal: Mississippi Voters Reject Personhood Initiative
(The initiative) would have made not only abortion illegal, but some forms of birth control and would have sparked a national debate about women's health. … Had it passed, it would have set off a flurry of court battles, not least because it contradicts the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion based on a woman's privacy. Supporters of the initiative wanted precisely that. But even some anti-abortion activists opposed the measure, fearing it went too far and would weaken the anti-abortion rights cause if struck down by the courts (11/8).
The Hill: 'Personhood' Measure Fails In Mississippi
Even some abortion-rights opponents, including Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, said the approach could jeopardize access to birth control and in vitro fertilization (Baker, 11/8).
CNN: Mississippi Voters Reject Anti-Abortion Initiative
"I think voters rejected a measure they understood to be dangerous," said Felicia Brown-Williams with the Mississippi for Healthy Families Campaign. "They really tried to manipulate values around faith and family." … Critics say the amendment was a restrictive attempt to outlaw abortion — even in the case of mothers who are the victims of rape and incest. It also bans certain forms of contraception that work after a woman's egg is fertilized and questions treatments such as in vitro fertilization because eggs would be considered people and are sometimes destroyed in laboratories (Phillips, 11/9).
The Washington Post: Issue 2 Falls, Ohio Collective Bargaining Law Repealed
Ohioans voted Tuesday night to repeal a Republican-backed law that restricted collective bargaining for public workers, a victory for Democrats and labor organizers both nationally and in the state. … In addition to limiting bargaining and banning strikes, the law mandates that public workers pay 15 percent of their health care benefits and 10 percent of wages into their pensions — something that state, but not county and local workers already do (Weiner, 11/8).
The Associated Press: Ohio Vote Shows Unions Still A Political Force
Labor unions are celebrating one of their biggest victories in decades after turning back an Ohio law that curbed collective bargaining rights for the state's public workers. The vote showed unions are still a potent political force that can't be ignored. ... The law signed in late March by Republican Gov. John Kasich would have banned public employee strikes, scrapped binding arbitration, and denied public workers the ability to negotiate pensions and health care benefits (Hananel, 11/9).
Reuters: Ohio Voters Soundly Defeat Effort To Curb Unions
But Ohio voters on Tuesday did not send a sweeping message backing Obama. They also approved by a nearly 2-to-1 margin a proposed constitutional amendment that would exempt state residents from the mandates connected to the signature health care reforms that President Obama signed into law(Wisniewski, 11/8).
MSNBC: Voters Choose To Opt Out Of Health Care
Voters in Ohio have approved a ballot measure intended to keep government from requiring Ohioans to participate in any health care system. The constitutional amendment passed is largely symbolic, coming in response to the 2009 federal health care overhaul, a provision of which mandates that most Americans purchase health care. Supporters hope it will prompt a challenge of the overhaul before the U.S. Supreme Court (11/8).
The Hill: Ohio Voters Reject Health Insurance Mandate
If the (Supreme Court) ultimately strikes down the coverage mandate, Ohio's amendment — and the smattering of other state laws disapproving of the mandate — would become moot. If the court upholds the mandate, it would preempt state laws (Baker, 11/8).
Meanwhile, in Washington state, voters also approved a union-backed initiative.
The Seattle Times: Long-Term-Care Training Approved
For the second time in four years, voters have approved an SEIU-backed initiative to increase training for long-term-care workers. Initiative 1163 would more than double required training — from 34 to 75 hours — for most new long-term-care workers. The measure also would require certification and more rigorous background checks. Voters approved a nearly identical initiative in 2008, but that measure — with SEIU support — was delayed by lawmakers because of an unprecedented budget shortfall (Garber, 11/8).
And while public employee unions in Ohio were celebrating the vote that restored their ability to negotiate health and other benefits, a new study offers a look at how local governments are dealing with the increasing costs of those programs.
Reuters: Public Employers Search For Health Care Savings
Public employers can find savings on health care costs and still deliver high-quality benefits, according a study released on Tuesday. Benefits for public employees, especially pensions, have been under attack for more than a year. ... GFOA, along with Colonial Life & Accident Insurance, looked at how local governments are addressing the challenge. They found that by providing an on-site clinic, public employers can drive down health care costs, saving $1.60 to $4 for every dollar invested (11/8).