I updated our scorecard based on the latest intelligence we have on what can only be described as a very fluid situation. As always, we welcome any tips or additional information you might have.
The Dispatch is reporting that the Senate GOP is scheduling SB 5 for a committee vote on Tuesday in which a raft of amendments will be introduced and debated to change the bill to get the votes they need to pass the bill on the floor. The Dispatch, joining with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, agrees that there is a distinct possibility that the Senate Republicans may have to change the membership of the Senate Insurance, Labor, and Commerce Committee in order to get the votes necessary to pass the bill.
To give a more accurate assessment of the situation, I decided to separate the people who have committed to no into two separate categories: those who seem to be a solid no, and those who may waffle and vote yes if sufficient changes are made. We have at least three folks who have publicly indicated that they are unlikely to vote for the bill regardless of any changes made to it. We have four more who have at least said they oppose the bill “in its current form.” Since we already know the form of the bill is going to change on Tuesday, there is a real risk that some of them might (if they haven’t already) turn into a yes vote.
NOTE: We’re moving LaRose back into the “No” column due to comments he made at a town hall meeting he held in the district last night.
I’ve also added the “Suicidal” category of Senate Republicans who are reportedly committed to supporting SB 5 whom I believe are at incredible risk for re-election as a result. However, note that all three are freshmen members of Senate who won’t stand for re-election until 2014.
If I had to place a bet, it sounds like Stewart is leaning towards putting himself in that suicidal category more than the no vote. Stewart is under enormous pressure to vote yes since he’s the Senate Majority Floor Leader. All week, his only comments have been to tell people that he’s working with Senate Minority Whip Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) to make substantial changes to the bill to address the various concerns of everyone involved.
He’s literally hoping they can amend this within acceptable tolerance levels of union voters. Unlike the rest of the “Suicide Pact,” Stewart is up for re-election in 2012, not 2014. Stewart is gambling that he can get sufficient changes that the final product will be one that won’t spell electoral doom for him come the next election (and perhaps a little help via redistricting.)
As you can tell, SB 5 still has a better than not chance of passing. What is remarkable is the now universal realization that the prior conventional wisdom—that SB 5 was unstoppable in its initial form—was horribly wrong.
The fact that the Republicans may only get this out of the committee by changing the committee’s membership is a telling sign. While not totally unheard of, it does beg the question of fairness in having someone support a bill but not listen to at all or consider the 20 hours of testimony heard so far.