Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to move a bill without the votes

Need to get a bill out of committee but don't have the votes? Not a problem! Simply follow N.C. Republicans' razzle-dazzle system for getting around those nitpickers who think the majority rules.

A couple of Republican legislators have volunteered to demonstrate how it's done. First up, please welcome .... Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County. He's the co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

On Wednesday, his committee spent 45 minutes debating a bill on renewable energy. Right now, utilities such as Duke Energy are required to have 12.5 percent of their retail sales come from renewable sources by 2021. The bill would essentially end that program, reducing the requirement to 3 percent and eliminating it in 2023.

A similar bill was voted down 18-13 in a House committee last week. That was a mere speed bump, thanks to Rabon's ingenuity. Following the debate, Rabon called for a voice vote, despite protests from bill opponents who wanted a show of hands to be counted. The voice vote was evenly split, those who were there say, so Rabon simply declared that the bill had passed. At least a half dozen Republicans voted with Democrats against the bill, and both sides say they would have won had Rabon counted the vote instead of just listening to it.

But voters will never know whether it had the votes or not, and that's the beauty of the Republicans' approach. For another shining example of how to do it, please welcome ... Sen. Tommy Tucker of Union County.

Tucker, co-chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee, hosted a debate last month over a bill that would let local governments pull their legal notices from newspapers and run them only on their government web site. The committee was divided, and Tucker called for a voice vote. The margin was razor-thin one way or the other, so Tucker declared -- voila! -- the bill had passed. Whether it actually had the support of a majority of committee members, the public will never know, because Tucker refused to count the vote and declared the meeting adjourned.

Savvy, eh?

A Senate rule (unlike House rules) prohibits roll call votes in committee, which is a screwy rule. But the rules permit what's called "division," in which each committee member raises his or her hand as a "yea" or "nay" vote.

But that would mean actually counting the votes. And we all know how inconvenient that can be.

-- Taylor Batten


 

14 comments:

HDLadee said...

Taylor..I don't agree with this either BUT this is no different than what Obama does when he doesn't get his way... Except he just pulls out his trusty pen and writes an Executive Order. So how about asking him to play fair too when his freedom snatching bills are rejected? Or would that be too hypocritical?

Andy said...

Sounds like the dem vote at the DNC regarding the subject of having god and Jerusalem in their platform. Except it wasn't close to even.

Abby Normal said...

Taylor, tell us once again how the Democrats passed the lottery bill.

tarhoosier said...

This is your gubmint, people. Cherish it.

blockhead said...

From above: "...this is no different than what Obama does when he doesn't get his way. Except he just pulls out his trusty pen and writes an Executive Order."

That started me wondering, so I checked. Here's what I found: Obama has one of the lowest counts of executive orders of any president in history. It is fewer than half of what Reagan issued, about 60% fewer than George H.W. Bush, and roughly the same as George W. Bush. The aforementioned post is what happens when we let blind, unfocused hatred of a president influence our judgment - or should that be intellectual integrity?

Frank Grady said...

Dems taught 'em everything they know - only it seldom made the press.

Frank Grady said...

Executive orders come in various stripes - legitimate clarification of legitimate presidential responsibility, as most are, or seizure of power when "Congress won' t act", of extra-legal stripe, as in de facto amnesty of young Latinos, for which there is no legal basis whatsoever, certainly not in "prosecutorial discretion" since it was an affirmative grant of credentials to which they bare not entitled.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Abby Normal,
On the lottery, the Senate took a roll call vote, which ended in a 24-24 tie, which Lt. Gov. Perdue broke. They called a special session that two opponents didn't attend, which we decried in an editorial at the time.
-- Taylor Batten

Jason said...

Gotta say...
Deceptive much, Tyler?

Headline says "How to pass a bill without the votes"

Article is about getting a bill out of committee, NOT about passing the bill. Passing a bill requires a real vote. Getting a bill out of committee isn't a very formal process.

Shame on you for lying to your readers.

BiBr said...

Taylor: How is this different than what Democrats and liberals do all the time. Quite picking on the Republicans already. We all know you can't stand them...

kantstanzya said...

Mr. Batten has almost gotten to the point he is embarrassing himself with this constant daily nit picking over the GOP legislature.

If he wants a real object lesson in how to pass a bill without the votes and without the support of the voters maybe he should try Obamacare. Remember the lies, the bribes,the late night votes, the no debate, the not even reading the bill, the refusing to hold hearings etc etc to squeeze out the narrowest of margins for a bill that was always unpopular and becomes more unpopular the more is revealed about it.

Now THAT was a true lesson in Democracy in action.

Skippy said...

Hey I think it is a great idea that Duke Power who "lent" Obama $10,000,000, the same Obama that never bothered to pay back Duke's shareholder this amount, be forced to meet this mandate due to the big fat lie that global warming. Of course, this paper doesn't think that is even worth a mention, nor of course consecutive years of double digit rated increases thanks to this fraudulent science mandate.

Not_a_hypocrit said...

I don't think anybody can give Republicans credit for questionable procedures in the NC Statehouse. I think Bauknight & Company had tactics that had never been used in the legislative process in any governing body.

Frank Grady said...

For clarity, the lottery vote was taken after the regular session was over in a special session hurriedly called BECAUSE the two legislators were known to be away without hope of return. It was a farce on the democratic process and puts these little antics decried by TB, mainstays of Dems past, look penny ante.