No matter what you think of the outcome of the special session, it's worth taking a close look at how the votes broke down. After all, most of the votes didn't break down by party lines.
Let's take a look at the three key votes -- HB 3601 (the tax package), SB 861 (the PERS change), and SB 863 (GMOs). (HB 5101 and SB 862 were largely uncontroversial, and got nearly unananimous votes.)
The tax package passed with 26 Democrats and 10 Republicans in the House and 11 Ds and 7 Rs in the Senate. The PERS changes passed with 15 Ds and 15 Rs in the House and 11 Ds and 11 Rs in the Senate. The GMO bill passed with just 8 Ds and all 24 Rs in the House and just 3 Ds and all 14 Rs in the Senate.
With three key votes, there are eight unique combinations of Yes and No votes that are possible -- from a straight No, to a straight Yes, to the variations in-between. And we saw all eight of those permutations come up today.
Let's break 'em down:
Just fourteen in the House and nine in the Senate voted straight Yes on all three votes. That's not a majority in either body; so the Governor managed to cobble together unique majorities on each of the three bills -- an impressive legislative feat, no matter what you think of the bills.
|Yes, across the board|
Just five in the House and two in the Senate voted straight No on all three votes -- all Democrats. Who were they?
|No, across the board|
On the jump, I'll get into the various Yes/No combinations cast by 34 members of the House and 17 members of the Senate. This is where it gets real fascinating.
Digging into the vote combinations, the real dividing line is the GMO bill. Every single Republican voted for it, joined by just three more Democrats (other than those that cast a straight Yes vote). All three of those Democrats - and two House Republicans - voted in favor of the tax package, against the PERS reforms, and in favor of the GMO bill.
|Yes on Taxes & GMOs; No on PERS|
Of course, the core of the "grand bargain" was the tax package and the PERS changes. Nine Democrats in the House and eight in the Senate supported both of those votes, while opposing the GMO bill.
|Yes on Taxes & PERS; No on GMOs|
Laurie Monnes Anderson
Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
On the other side were the Republicans who opposed the "grand bargain" while happily voting Yes for the GMO bill. Of those, there were three in the Senate.
|No on Taxes & PERS; Yes on GMOs|
Which leads us to those who supported one half of the "grand bargain", but not the other. Eight House Democrats supported the tax package while opposing the PERS changes (while voting against the GMO bill.)
|Yes on Taxes; No on PERS & GMOs|
Jessica Vega Pederson
At the opposite end of the spectrum: Who opposed the tax package while supporting the PERS changes (while supporting the GMO bill)? Eight Republicans in the House and four in the Senate.
|No on Taxes; Yes on PERS & GMOs|
Which brings us to Senator Alan Bates. Unlike any other legislator, Bates voted against the tax package, in favor of the PERS changes, and against the GMO bill.
|No on Taxes & GMOs; Yes on PERS|
And finally, a few clarifying notes: In the House, Democratic Reps. Brian Clem, Paul Holvey, and Ben Unger, and GOP Reps Kevin Cameron and Kim Thatcher were all excused. Democratic Rep. Mitch Greenlick voted Yes on the tax package, No on the PERS changes, and was excused for the GMO bill.
In the Senate, Floyd Prozanski (D) was excused, while Chip Shields (D) was excused for the vote on taxes. He voted against the PERS changes and the GMO bill.
And just to wrap things up, I should note that HB 5101 - which simply allocated all the new funding - was opposed only by Rep. Wally Hicks (R) and Sen. Larry George (R). And SB 862 - which made some technical changes to PERS - was opposed only by Sens. Jackie Dingfelder and Chip Shields, both Democrats.
So, what does all this mean? Well, for starters, as I said above, the Governor pulled off quite a legislative feat. In addition, it's clear that there are some strong divisions in all four caucuses over the relative trade-offs between the tax package and the PERS changes. The GMO bill was the only one where clear partisan lines seemed to largely emerge.
I'd like to hear what you see in these votes. What surprises you? Are there individual legislators that turned up in spots you didn't expect? What do you think these coalitions portend for the future?
By Kari Chisholm
Oct. 02, 2013
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