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Ohio House Democrats walk out of energy bill hearing, claiming GOP ‘show trial’

State Rep. Kristin Boggs asks questions of Joe Price of Timken Steel during a House Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing. Boggs and other Democrats, including state Rep. Casey Weinstein of Hudson (right), walked out of the committee hearing for more than an hour after the committee’s Republican chair initially declined to allow Boggs to question Price.

COLUMBUS — “Democrats on an Ohio House committee hearing a controversial ‘clean-energy’ bill walked out of a hearing Wednesday for more than an hour after the committee’s Republican chair wouldn’t allow a Democratic lawmaker to ask questions of a witness supporting the measure.

Democrats, whose votes are considered important to pass House Bill 6, also said they were kept in the dark until the last minute about Wednesday’s hearing itself, as well as a lengthy list of GOP-authored changes unveiled at the meeting.

House Democrats have already expressed concern about HB6, which seeks to scrap the state’s green-energy mandates in favor of subsidies to “clean-energy” power producers. Supporters say it would save Ohioans money on their electric bills and rescue two Northern Ohio nuclear power plants, while opponents claim the bill is a “bailout” for FirstEnergy Solutions, the owner of the plants.

The walkout came after Joe Price of Canton-based Timken Steel kicked off a long list of witnesses set to testify in favor of the bill before the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. After two Republican committee members asked Price questions, committee Chair Nino Vitale declined to allow Democratic state Rep. Kristin Boggs of Columbus to question Price, citing his earlier announcement that the committee would only spend a total of five minutes on each witness.”

— Jeremy Pelzer,

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