Democrats Walk Out Of Hearing On Key Energy Bill

May 15, 2019

There's an apparent partisan split over what supporters call the Clean Air Bill and opponents label a nuclear power plant bailout.

A House committee heard from supporters of the bill to create a $300 million fund offering credits to both renewable energy and nuclear power plants – while eliminating the requirement that utilities get a percentage of their power from renewables. 

With some 50 scheduled witnesses, Chair Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) said he wanted to keep the committee moving: ‘We’re really trying to limit to five minutes, as I stated in the opening, including questions.”

So he moved on after allowing questions from two of his fellow Republicans and then not recognizing one from Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus), saying he “looked both ways, I’m sorry.”

Democrats left and called it a “stunt committee meeting”, and returned more than an hour later after talking with Vitale.  

Boggs said they wanted to fully vet their concerns, and walked out when they felt they couldn’t. “It’s a shame we had to do that in order to get to the point where we are now,” Boggs said.

Vitale said they had resolved the issue.

But Democrats also said they hadn’t seen the changes to the bill, which is a priority for Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford), who was elected with a split of Republican and Democratic support.