Yesterday, we wrote about the Columbus Dispatch’s story that indicated that there are seven Republican Senators on the fence on SB 7, enough that if they don’t support the bill could defeat it. Well, I failed to note another key aspect. If the GOP doesn’t get these members on board, they may not even be able to pass SB 5 out of committee.
The Republicans have an 8-4 majority on the Senate Insurance, Commerce, and Labor Committee. However, three of the Republicans on the Committee are Senators Bill Seitz, Bill Beagle, and Jim Hughes.
These just happen to be three of the seven Senators the Dispatch identified as saying that SB 5, as it currently stands, goes too far and they are on the fence over supporting.
So if the GOP cannot get one of these three on board (either by partisan arm twisting or amending the bill), the GOP doesn’t have the votes to approve the bill out of committee.
In other news, we have two more GOP Senators announcing that they will join Senator Scott Oeslager as officially opposing SB 5 as drafted.
“I believe in general the bill goes too far,” Grendell said. “When talking about labor situations, you need to have a balance. If problems with the current system are too costly to taxpayers and too favorable to employers we need to address those issues.
“As written, Senate Bill 5 essentially tips the balance in a way that eliminates any protections for people who work as public employees.”
(How odd would it be if Grendell’s decision to stay in the Senate and not take his House seat lead to him being the deciding “no” vote on SB 5?)
In other news, Senator Karen Gilmor (R-Tiffin) is reportedly a definite “no” vote on SB 5. I must admit that this was an unexpected “no” vote and not one that was on a lot of people’s radar. The indications are that Gilmor may not even support the bill even if it’s amended.
One of the members I’ve been watching is freshman Senator David Daniels (R-Greenfield). According to this Jackson County Times-Journal article, he and State Rep. John Carey recently held a town hall meeting in their district in which they were besieged by public union members asking them on SB 5:
“On Senate Bill 5, I will support reform in some fashion. Having said that, I hope that parties from all sides will come together and work to find a common ground. Otherwise, with or without changes, I am going to support Senate Bill 5,” Daniels told the crowd. He also added, “Is Senate Bill 5 the answer? I don’t know. But, I do know that some changes need made, and these decisions aren’t going to be easy ones.”
So, it looks like Daniels needs more persuading. You never know what kind of impact meeting your constituents have, and standing there looking them in the eye, and tell them I’m voting against you… only to have your House colleague take one step away from you and stand with them. (Going first on a question like that can really suck sometimes.)
If you know of your Senate member having a town hall or constituent meeting in their district: GO! And tells us what you’re seeing and hearing. Ask them to commit on SB 5, and if they say they don’t support it in its present form ask them what “form” could they see them supporting it.
Because right now we have the ability to defeat SB 5 entirely… but we’re still several votes shy:
As you can see we need to keep the votes we’ve got and pick up three out of the six officially “on the fence” folks to defeat SB 5. We might even be able to defeat the bill in Committee. If you are represented by Sietz (Cincinnati area) or Beagle (Dayton area) be sure that you have everyone you know contact them over between now and Tuesday via e-mail, fax, or phone and let them know how you feel about SB 5! If they and Hughes vote no in committee, the bill is defeated.
Second, get yourself to the Statehouse at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22nd and stand with the opponents of SB 5 in what may be the last rally before the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee votes on the bill. There are sure to be late-breaking developments on Tuesday, and the Republicans want to get the committee hearings over with and get this bill back on a fast track. Do not fool yourself and say they will be a next time to go to Columbus.
If you want to stop SB 5:
Be at the Statehouse, Tues. Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. (Cleveland folks, there’s a bus for you.)
Contact your local party organizations and encourage them to organize an event in the community.
Call/E-mail/Fax your State Senator and then call up everyone you know to do the same.
Sign up to phone bank.
Print up fliers from OCSEA’s website and pass them out (also has a bus schedule for other Ohio cities for Tuesday’s rally, may need to call ahead to see if they’ll let non-members ride, too.)
The supporters of SB 5 are banking on your apathy and the feeling that passage of this bill is inevitable. It isn’t. When this bill was introduced, they thought they could jam this through like they did with RobsOhio, they were wrong. And now nearly half of the GOP’s caucus is up for grabs to vote to defeat the bill. We need to let them know that we will be heard either next Tuesday or the next Tuesday in November when they are on ballot.
Fox News is coming to Columbus to set up Monday to be here all of Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, they’re going to have Sen. Kevin Bacon, the Chairman of the Senate Insurance, Labor, and Commerce Committee on their morning show. They’re supposed to be taping throughout the day. The committee has already heard from representatives from Americans for Prosperity; let them here from Americans for the Middle Class on Tuesday!
We cannot give up. We cannot quit. We cannot let up now. We can win.