I’ve had more than one person indicate that that Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) has announced that he is a definitely “No” vote on SB 5.
However, I sought confirmation from those who are doing the whip count on the bill, and I’m sorry to say that it’s no sure bet that Hughes will oppose SB 5 at this time. Or, at least, he’s refusing to acknowledge it publicly.
According to my source, Hughes’ legislative assistant told them that Hughes has “officially taken no position on the bill, but is awaiting amendments in the committee process.”
Until a member says definitively, we have to assume that a Republican member of the State Senate is sitting on the fence and potentially will support the bill. After all, Governor Kasich has offered his support for the bill and Senate President Niehaus has called passage of it a top priority of his chamber.
The moderate (on labor issues) members of the Republican caucus are under enormous pressure not to break ranks and don’t want to appear to be opposing Kasich, a member of their own party.
I had failed to consider Hughes in my initial post. I should have. There are two possibilities: 1) Hughes is opposed but is not willing to publicly say so; 2) Hughes is a soft no and will oppose the bill unless it is sufficiently amended to get his support.
Either way, I think it’s too soon to count this chicken as hatched.