Senator Karen GillmorWe’ve received a number of tips from Senate insiders and direct Senate sources indicating how the Senate GOP leadership was able to flip Senator Karen Gilmor (R-Tiffin)from a possible “No” vote on SB 5 into a “Yes.”

Senator Gilmor has served in Senate the from 1993 until 1997 and then again since 2009.  She is up for re-election next year.  Despite her years of experience in the State Senate, Gilmor had the distinction of being the only member of the Senate Republican caucus who was neither a Chair or Vice-Chair of a Senate committee.  She also served on the State Employee Relations Board (SERB) between her two Senate terms.  That’s what makes her “Yes” vote all the more outrageous.

The rumor in the Statehouse is that the Republican Senate leadership got Gilmor’s vote after committing to make her a chair of a legislative committee, perhaps even the very committee hearing SB 5 today—the Senate Insurance, Labor & Commerce Committee.  I will say that I’m skeptical that the GOP leadership will remove the gavel from Chairman Bacon’s hand after he carried their water on SB 5 and got the bill on a path towards passage again.  However, the Vice-Chair of the committee is Senate President Pro Tempore Keith Faber (R-Celina).  He is also the Vice-Chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

So, I would think it would actually be pretty painless for Faber to give up his Vice-Chairman spot on the Insurance Committee and give it to Gilmor rather than strip Bacon of his gavel after he helped get SB 5 passed.  That’s a lot easier than the game of musical chairs that would have to be placed in order to make sure Chairman Bacon doesn’t become the only member of GOP caucus to have a share of a committee gavel.

I know that the Chairs of the legislative committees get additional pay over the rest of their legislative colleagues.  We’re still looking into whether Vice-Chairs get any financial bump as well.

Regardless, if these rumors are true, it looks like Gilmor’s conversion on SB 5 have nothing to do with merits but her only pride and maybe her pocketbook.

First, we see indications that the Republicans are considering, and may have to, actual change the membership of the Senate ILC Committee at the last possible minute to ensure SB 5 passes.  Now, we see horse trading within the GOP to sell out the middle class of Ohio.  Welcome to the Republican controlled Ohio Senate!

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