The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Carl Weiser hosted a chat with Senator Shannon Jones yesterday morning to discuss Senate Bill 5. Jones’ herself wasn’t able to figure out the complicated (sarcasm) interface to CoverItLive, but a large number of angry Ohioans were, and they had some choice questions that Ms. Jones talking points didn’t even come close to answering.
A poll conducted during the chat that shows 92% of people oppose the bill. Judging by the questions asking during the session it looks more like 100%.
I’m not going to cover the whole session here, but I though one of the questions, and Ms. Jones’ curt response, was worth mentioning. The question came from Adam Parsons:
“Senator Jones, can you explain why it was necessary to resort to procedural irregularities and back-room maneuvering to push the newly-amended SB 5 to a vote so quickly after the amendment?”
Jones responded that this was not irregular and there were no back-room deals.
Here’s the thing: two other Senators have already made public statements that show Jones’ response is absolutely not true.
Bill Seitz, who was removed from the committee 30 minutes before he was planning to vote against SB5, told ThinkProgress that replacing members to force a bill out of committee was “not commonplace” and that he “couldn’t recall a time when something similar had occurred in the Senate.” Which makes it sound pretty irregular to me.
Speaking at a town hall yesterday Senator Gillmor said SB5 is “bad bill and it hurts people” and she faulted the GOP leadership for way they got it passed: “they kicked two great people off the committee in order to get it out… what kind of leadership is that?”
She also claimed the only reason she voted for the bill was “to save freshman Senator Fail Manning from the badgering of the machine”. But we also heard rumors that she was promised a committee chair if she voted yes on the bill.
All of this is the very definition of back-room dealing.
Given the importance of this legislation and the number of people it impacts it’s good that Jones (unlike Kasich) is actually out there answering questions from real Ohioans instead of just appearing on Fox News. But with nearly all of her answers, like the one above, she either ignored the question being asked or responded with talking points that left us all wondering why she even bothered.
You can see the full transcipt of the chat, along with a list of the questions (including mine) that didn’t get asked here.