News & Blog

06.27.24

We did it again. SB 83 is stalled again.

Despite another intensive push to get Senate Bill 83 over the finish line, the small group of lawmakers who tried to demonstrate that the bill “had the votes” failed to get 50 signatures (a majority) on their letter that urged the bill to be brought to the floor for a full House vote.

One State Representative reportedly planned to offer SB 83 as an amendment to another bill, but the lack of support became clear and the amendment was not offered.

Throughout this legislative process, the Ohio Conference AAUP has reached out to the bill’s sponsor and other legislators integrally involved with the bill. We offered to discuss our outstanding concerns and to try to find common ground. Each of our communications was met with no reply.

Once it became evident that there would be no action on SB 83 yesterday, the bill’s sponsor stated his refusal to negotiate on it and declined to engage in interested party meetings over the summer. He even went so far as to suggest that he’d introduce a worse version in a more favorable political environment. This isn’t acceptable behavior from a lawmaker.

If it hasn’t been clear so far, it should be crystal clear now that SB 83 is nothing more than a politically-motivated bill meant to punish professors and colleges and universities. The sponsor believes that he should be able to dictate higher education policy without talking to the people his bill would impact the most.

Academic freedom, collective bargaining rights, and meaningful job protections are non-negotiable for the AAUP. SB 83 is just one piece in a broad, national, Culture-War-fueled attack on higher education, and we will always fight back to preserve our rights and quality education for our students.

The General Assembly is expected to be adjourned until after the November elections, at which point it will enter “lame duck session.” SB 83 will likely be part of the discussions during this session, in which there is always a lot of negotiating to push legislation through before the end of the calendar year. We will be on alert.

One thing that AAUP members can do in the meantime is support the¬†“Citizens Not Politicians”¬†effort. Next week, this campaign will turn in hundreds of thousands of signatures to place a statewide initiative on the ballot to end gerrymandering–the practice of manipulating legislative district boundaries to favor one political party over the other. We need fair districts to give us a more balanced legislature–one that will work to enhance and not undermine higher education.

Thank you for your continued activism! Your calls and emails to legislators over the last week undoubtedly made a difference. We also must thank our sisters and brothers in the labor movement who have continually gone to bat for us on this bill. They have made it clear that any attack on labor is an attack on all labor, and that a bill like SB 83 is completely unacceptable. When labor sticks together, labor wins. We appreciate the support from our other partners, most notably Honesty for Ohio Education. Against the odds, we manage to beat back this bill time and time again.

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We did it again. SB 83 is stalled again.

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Michelle Flanigan for STRS Retirement Board