An hour after Sen. Peter Galbraith (D-Windham) took to the floor Friday morning, his colleagues were on the verge of bum-rushing him.
With the Senate hoping to adjourn the next day, Galbraith (pictured at right) was making good on his pledge to stall the body's business in order to protest a campaign finance bill he has taken to calling "a sham."
His colleagues, whose criticism of Galbraith is no longer off-the-record nor behind his back, had mostly drifted out of the room. But the Windham County senator kept at it, interrogating to no end his seat-mate and district-mate, Sen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), who had written an earlier draft of the bill.
White was hoping to send the legislation to conference committee, where discrepancies between House and Senate versions could be worked out in time to be signed into law this year. But Galbraith, who says portions of the bill are unconstitutional and indefensible, was hoping to amend the bill or run out the clock.
All of the sudden, the mild-mannered majority leader, Sen. Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden), stood up across the room to make a point of order. Describing it as "an airtight procedural motion," Baruth secured permission from the presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, to quote from Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure and the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
"An ancient rule governing debate is that, quote, 'No one is to speak impertinently or beside the question superfluously or tediously,'" Baruth said. "I would rest my motion on the word 'tediously,' which means 'tiresome because of length or dullness.' The reason why I believe it to be airtight is that I believe the senator has spoken tediously, and I believe the lieutenant governor would have two options: to uphold my motion or to rule that this has not been tedious—"
"Mr. President, is this a debatable proposition?" Galbraith interjected.
"No it's not," Scott said and then declared a brief recess.