There are two important takeaways from this afternoon’s kerfuffle outside the office of Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell. Most of the attention, including mine, is on his closed-door meeting with the entire Senate Natural Resources Committee and his confused rationalization for banning the media. Campbell actually blocked the doorway, twice, as Seven Days’ Paul Heintz and WCAX-TV’s Kyle Midura tried to gain entry.
The closed-meeting aspect certainly deserves more scrutiny, maybe even a court challenge; but we shouldn’t lose sight of the equally offensive substance of the meeting. That involved Campbell’s attempt to single-handedly amend — or possibly derail — a major piece of energy legislation known as the RESET bill.
The House had passed the thing. It had gotten through Senate committees with minor changes, and reached the final stage (third reading) on the Senate floor. And then, at the last minute, Campbell bigfoots the whole process. Legislative rules required that the bill pass the Senate today (Thursday) in order to be considered by the House on Saturday, when it’s scheduled to adjourn. If the Senate passes the bill Friday, which seemingly depends on Campbell’s good graces, the House would have to agree by a three-quarters majority to suspend its rules in order to vote on the bill.
So there’s a chance this very important bill won’t pass, and it’s all thanks to your Senate President Pro Tem.