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The Associated Press March 8, 2011, 4:41PM ET

Democrats vow ballot challenge to Ohio union bill

Ohio Democrats pledged anew to lead a repeal effort at the ballot if a collective bargaining bill passes the Republican-led Legislature and is signed into law by Gov. John Kasich.

Their comments Tuesday came as the measure was to have its first hearing before a House committee. The bill would limit collective bargaining for some 350,000 Ohio teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees.

The state Senate narrowly passed the legislation last week by a 17-16 vote.

Roughly 3,200 people gathered at the Statehouse on Tuesday to show their opposition to the measure.

House Speaker William Batchelder says he anticipates nine hearings on the bill.

House Democratic Leader Armond Budish of suburban Cleveland says his party plans to aggressively question witnesses at the hearings and would push for a repeal.

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