The Dispatch and other media outlets are reporting that the House GOP leadership is DENYING that the reason two members of the House Commerce and Labor Committee had anything to do with the votes:

“House GOP leaders said the changes were made because the two need to focus on the Finance Committee, which will start budget hearings next week.”

I don’t know what’s a worse assignment for a Republican in a swing district facing re-election next year: being on the committee deciding SB 5 or Kasich’s budget.

Meanwhile, Shannon Jones continues to just make stuff up about SB 5 in politically tone deaf stunning fashion:

"I’m not sure the 360,000 people who negotiate in collective bargaining are the most impacted by this. I would submit that all of Ohio’s taxpayers are impacted by this legislation.”

Jones apparently missed Sunday’s Dispatch that found that two of the major components of SB 5 would result in very little savings at all for over 80% of the local government entities and schools it studied.  There is no question, none, that public union workers are going to take a larger hit than taxpayers are going to see in “savings.”  It’s a mathematical certainty since the base of public union employees is smaller than the tax base.  For Jones to suggest otherwise is stunningly ignorant.

And will these taxpayers see lower taxes?  Of course not.  Remember Governor Kasich says SB 5 is “necessary” to allow these local government entities to deal with the massive budget cuts coming their way next week when Kasich finally has to reveal his budget.

The Dispatch article suggests that there’s enormous pressure in the House Republican caucus to take SB 5 even further.  There’s a complicated political calculus involved.  The rumors are that the House is all but certain to replace SB 5’s provision that allows the government entity’s legislative body to break any impasse and instead create a judicial process that asks a court to decide (this will, of course, have two unintended consequences, too: 1) it runs the risk of clogging our already over capacity judicial system; 2) further politicizes the judicial system at the local level in ways never before imagined.)  That might, just might, allow the GOP to pick up both Seitz and Grendell on a Senate vote to approve whatever changes the House makes.  I’d be surprised if they haven’t gotten a commitment to that effect already, in fact.

However, if it doesn’t get both and the House Republicans go too far, they could lose LaRose and Gillmor on a future Senate vote to approve the House’s changes.  Given that the House is scheduled to hold at least three weeks of hearings, the House must pass a bill that a majority of the Senate will vote to accept their changes.  If they do not, then the bill goes into a conference committee and the bill cannot be signed into law in time to prevent any referendum from being on the ballot in 2012, not 2011.

My hunch is that the House GOP has figured they’ll probably pick up Seitz or Grendell or both on such a vote by creating a judicial review process to resolve government/labor negotiation stalemates.  The question is do they have any concerns that they might lose more than they might gain.

At least one member of the committee, State Rep. Ron Young (R) indicates he wants to go even further in limiting the amount of unused sick and vacation time union employees can cash out at retirement.  Still lurking in the shadows is the Americans for Prosperity changes to make state government “open union shops” and kneecap their ability to take money for political donations.  Neither of which has anything to do with the budget, but is solely designed to make it harder for organized labor to have a voice in the political process in response to SB 5.

They can kneecap the unions all the want it may not matter come next November:

"It’s a dark time in Ohio," said Mike Castle of Hilliard, a Columbus firefighter. "I voted for the man (Kasich), and it brings tears to my eyes to say that."

Not enough paid television ads in the world is going to get some of these folks to ever vote Republican again in their lifetime.

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