I noticed this nugget from Joe Hallet’s Columbus Dispatch column today:
The governor’s intention was to roll many of Senate Bill 5’s provisions into the state budget, not make them an easier target in a free-standing bill, but Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, jumped the gun.
But then the article goes on to say:
Kasich also would rather not deal with bills moving through the legislature to all but ban abortions, allow concealed guns in bars and require voters to show photo identification at polls.
Which kind of reveals how Kasich is trying to throw Shannon Jones under the bus: the abortion bills, allowing concealed weapons in restaurants and bars, and the voter I.D. bills have become stalled… mysteriously (i.e.- thanks to the Governor.) SB 5 was signed by Governor Kasich under an aggressive legislative timetable that everyone, the Governor included, seemed hell-bent in meeting. So why now suggest that Shannon Jones, alone, “jumped the gun?”
What Kasich is suggesting just doesn’t make sense in hindsight. The idea that Jones “jumped” the gun doesn’t seem credible. After all, when Jones initially introduced the bill it was only a placeholder bill. Everyone under the sun understood that Jones was working on introducing a bill that mirrored what Kasich began saying about Ohio’s collective bargaining law immediately AFTER the election.
Then there’s the fact that when the substantive language of SB 5 was finally introduced, during its first hearing in front of the Senate Commerce, Labor & Insurance Committee, Governor Kasich made the rare step of attending part of the committee hearing to give the press his seal of approval. The next day, Kasich said in a speech to the Ohio Newspaper Association that if the legislature didn’t pass a collective bargaining reform bill he liked soon, he’d incorporate it into the State’s budget. That’s what Kasich said and did in the first twenty-four hours since we all first saw SB 5.
The notion that Jones somehow “jumped the gun” makes no sense. On top of that, look at what happened to Ohio’s estate tax repeal effort. Despite running around the State talking about it for three years and the fact that a bill was quickly sent to the House floor to do exactly what Kasich had talked about doing, the bill suddenly stalled because Speaker Batchelder first said it needed to be considered in the context of the budget, then the Senate GOP announced after the budget was released that an estate tax repeal was shelved for the immediate future. Kasich’s budget didn’t call for an estate tax repeal, or budgeted for one.
The perception in Columbus is that the Governor has unprecedented ability to control the legislative agenda in Columbus, as evidenced by the shelving of the gun, abortion, and estate tax repeal bills. Kasich did talk about cloning SB 5 into the budget bill, and it appears he was rebuffed on that front. However, otherwise Kasich seems to get his way. And I don’t honestly believe that if Governor Kasich had told Senate President Niehaus and Speaker Batchelder to hold off on SB 5 until the budget they would have told them no.
The rollout of SB 5 was so coordinated between the Governor and the Republicans in the legislature to believe that that Shannon Jones “jumped the gun” to be too laughable for print. So what’s going on?
Well, it looks like as “We Are Ohio” is just starting to get the signatures on putting SB 5 on the ballot, Governor Kasich is busy playing the Washington “blame game” in Columbus. We know that on both sides of the aisle, each had two camps that intensely argued that it would be in their side’s best interest to have an SB 5 referendum on the 2011 or 2012 ballot.
It looks like Governor Kasich was of the opinion that an SB 5 referendum would have more benefitted either him or his party by having it on in 2012. Kasich might be trying to lay the early groundwork to dismiss the results of a referendum by saying the Republicans made a tactical error in forcing SB 5 to be subjected to a low-turnout referendum election in 2012 as opposed to a higher turnout election in 2012.
I honestly can’t come up with a better reason than that because what Kasich claims in Hallet’s column makes no sense otherwise, unless Kasich is operating under the mistaken belief that had they kept it in the budget would have made it immune from referendum challenge. But that’s a faulty legal assumption in light of the video lottery terminal referendum Supreme Court cases during the Strickland Administration.
This isn’t exactly first time we’ve seen Kasich try to create some distance between himself and SB 5.