We have to chuckle about the colorful antics of the Senate Public Utilities Committee, Sen. Bill Seitz. Apparently left with little else to defend against a freeze on the renewable mandates, opponents of Senate Bill 310 have resorted to whining about Chairman’s Seitz conduct. After sitting through more than a year of hearings ourselves, we marvel that Seitz could sit still at all as an endless parade of lobbyists and environmental ideologues have tried every way known to man to protect their guaranteed renewable market. Thank you Senator Seitz, for fiercely defending the people of our state! The opponents below, need to remember to wear their big boy pants to such hearings…
Opponents of a bill turning back Ohios alternative energy targets say the Senate utilities chairman has disrespected and intimidated witnesses during hearings on the measure, allegations he denies….
Seitz, a lawyer and veteran lawmaker known for colorful floor speeches and candid quips, says opponents are taking him out of context. He says he’s allowed many hours of opponent testimony on the bill, more than many other committees hearing other controversial bills.
Of the Bataan Death March comment, he said, “I don’t recall saying it, but if I did I was probably referring to the endless parade of witnesses they’ve brought forward to try to filibuster this bill.”
Seitz said the April 9 hearing about which Sawmiller complained lasted 5½ hours….
Seitz says the group — among Ohio’s most vocal and well-funded to speak out against freezing percentage targets for the use of renewable and alternative energy sources — is raising claims about his behavior to stir up support for its position on the bill.
“They haven’t succeeded in their efforts to filibuster the bill out of existence, so now they’re complaining about the process,” he said…
A bill effectively repealing those targets repeatedly stalled last year, so a new proposal was brought before Seitz’s committee proposing freezing targets at 2014 levels. That would halt percentage increases scheduled to continue for 11 more years, a move opponents say is an effective repeal.
State Sen. Bill Coley, a member of the utilities committee, said Seitz has “probed and pushed and prodded” witnesses during testimony on both bills this past year, but he has not disrespected anyone.
“Bill is just being Bill, but I don’t think he went over the top,” said Coley, a Middletown Republican. “I can understand people being surprised if they expected that their position would just be accepted without question or if they expected to be handled with kid gloves. He definitely did not do that, but nor do I. We ask tough questions, that’s our job.”