By a vote of 17-16, today the State Senate passed Senate Bill 5 after roughly three hours of contentious debate.  The Republican Caucus makes up 23 of the 33 seats in the State Senate.  Despite that, the bill passed by a one-vote margins after Republican Senators Manning, Seitz, Grendel, Patton, Hughes, and Oelslager.

LaRose, Stewart, Beagle, Gilmor, and Daniels voted in FAVOR.

Seriously, if you had asked me three weeks ago and said this bill would have passed by only one vote, I would have laughed.  If you had told me House Majority Floor Leader Jimmy Stewart would vote FOR it, I would have tried to have you committed.  It took the Republican majority to ram through an 100 page amendment through two committees they had to game in order to get the result they wanted to get the bill to a floor vote that they nearly lost.

Shortly before the vote, the Senate Democrats moved to recommit the bill back to committee, which is a parliamentary procedure to “kill the bill.”  The Republican majority was only able to defeat that motion by one vote… again, despite the fact that they have thirteen more members in the Senate than the Democrats do.

For the most part, we got our final scorecard right.  The only error in our prediction was that Manning ultimately voted against the bill.

Some conservatives are hoping that the more conservative House will make the bill even harsher, perhaps evaporating some of the water they think the bill took on during the Senate process.  The only problem is that any changes the House makes could trigger a conference committee if the Senate doesn’t approve the House’s amendments.  With not a single vote in the Senate to spare, Speaker Batchelder will have to proceed cautiously as today will not be the last vote in the Senate for SB 5 who will either have to approve all changes made by the House or will have to approve whatever bill emerges from a conference committee between the two chambers.

Reaction from Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga:

Today is a sad day for Ohio’s middle class.  With the passage of Senate Bill 5, Ohio Senators have shown they would rather push a partisan agenda to punish the middle class than work on solutions to our jobs crisis.

The amended version of the original bill is only smoke and mirrors.  This bill remains an assault on the middle class because the foundation of this bill is still rooted in a broader anti-worker agenda.  You can’t fix something that was already broken from the start.

From the start, this bill has been a one-sided affair.  Workers and community members were not consulted at any time during the process.  Political games were played with the hearing process which silenced the voice of hundreds of opponents of the bill.  Middle class Ohioans were locked out, literally, from having their voices heard.

Ohio Senators were elected to create jobs but those who have supported this wrongheaded bill have shown that they are more concerned with political payback than revitalizing our struggling economy.

My hats off to organized labor and the Senate Democratic caucus and its leadership.  We turn our attention now to the House and then, if necessary, ont\o the referendum petition!

Kill the bill!

Here’s the livestream of what’s going on in the Atrium right now:

Streaming live video by Ustream

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