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NC lawmakers continue to shine, no wait that other thing

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Apparently counting votes is no longer necessary to reach a majority decision. 



Over the objections of Democratic lawmakers, a Senate committee approved legislation Wednesday to end the state’s 6-year-old renewable energy program.

Opponents of the bill shouted “No!” when voting to show their frustration at Republican chairman Bill Rabon’s refusal to count votes with a show of hands. In what was clearly a razor-thin margin, both sides said they would have won if the votes had been counted.

“North Carolina is not a banana republic,” Democratic Sen. Josh Stein of Raleigh, one of the no votes, said after the meeting. “That was no way to run a proceeding.”

It was also evident that the Republicans are split on the legislation that would end a state policy of requiring electric utilities to buy green electricity from solar farms and other renewable generators.

At least a half-dozen Republicans voted with Democrats against the controversial bill Wednesday. Supporters say the program has created new jobs and generated economic activity.

“It looks very bad to the public,” Nesbitt said. “And it clearly appears to the public that the vote was called the wrong way.”

The Senate bill, which had languished for nearly six weeks, now moves to the commerce committee. Supporters need to get the bill to the House side by May 16 to keep the legislation alive for this session.

The bill, which is closely watched by 16 national and state conservative organizations, has become a measure of party discipline. The American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform and The Heartland Institute are among the organizations pushing to make North Carolina a testing ground for rolling back policies that favor renewable energy.

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But I'm sure they have our best interests at heart

Fracking giant Halliburton nixes NC's chemical disclosure rule

After more than six months of congenial meetings, the N.C. Mining & Energy Commission was set to approve its first fracking rule Friday, perhaps the most important of all the safety rules the commission will write to protect the public and safeguard the environment.

The standard spells out which chemicals fracking operators have to publicly disclose when drilling natural gas wells in North Carolina.

But commissioners learned Thursday the proposal they had approved in committee in March is on ice.

The problem: Fracking giant Halliburton has told North Carolina’s environmental regulators the rule goes too far. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources is working to get the rule changed.

In the latest challenge to the commission’s autonomy, its chairman, James Womack, stunned his fellow commissioners Thursday with the disclosure that they will not be voting on the proposed chemical disclosure rule Friday as originally planned.

“We’re anticipating some changes to the substance of the rule,” Womack said during a meeting of the commission’s Rules Committee. “We still have contention about the rule.

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I was just about to post about the oral vote.  It is not uncommon for parties to file bills in both houses so that part is no big deal.


But doing an oral vote on a contentious bill like that is ridiculous even in committee.  I worked for 5 years at the NC Legislature and sat in at minimum three committee meetings a day and every full session, and do not recall ever seeing a chairman not take a hand vote if the oral vote was even remotely in doubt.  Not to point fingers, but there was also different leadership during the time I was there.


What these guys are doing is embarrassing this state both in the policy they are filing and the way they are handling their business.  It is a sham shame.





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