The Ohio state Senate’s Commerce, Insurance and Labor Committee considered and passed this morning a Republican bill to effectively eliminate state employees’ ability to collectively bargain, which has sparked massive protests in recent days from labor groups and their allies. But just before the vote, Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) yanked Sen. Bill Seitz (R) off the committee because Seitz had opposed a GOP amendment to the bill and the process in which the bill was being considered. Seitz was replaced with with another Republican who supports the measure, clearing the way for a 7-5 vote that otherwise would have ended in a tie. But as Ohio progressive blog Plunderbund notes, Niehaus may have violated Senate rules by making the last-minute move:
Senate Rule 19 suggest the President of the Senate can change the makeup of a Committee, at will, but only by first issuing a Message (parliamentary term of art) that changes the membership. Yesterday, Niehaus issued no such message. He may issue one during the floor session, but that’s after the fact. There’s probably a parliamentary scramble to figure out if Niehaus’ replacement of Seitz for [state Sen. Cliff] Hite [R] complies with the Rules of the Senate.
The amendment in question is 99 pages long, but its text was only released Monday afternoon, making it very difficult for committee member’s to effectively consider it.