The disgust with North Carolina Sen. Bob Rucho today is broad and bipartisan.
Yesterday in the state Senate finance committee, which he chairs, Rucho prevented any debate on provisions of House Bill 332 that would undermine a policy central to the success of North Carolina’s solar industry.
Then he broke Senate rules by refusing to allow an individual tally of votes and declared a failed bill passed.
As the News & Observer reports:
Senate finance chairman Sen. Bob Rucho pushed through a bill freezing renewable energy rates on Wednesday, cutting off discussion and refusing to allow a head count instead of a voice vote.
He declared the bill had passed, despite a louder and possibly more numerous chorus of “no” votes. The meeting ended with several senators, including at least two Republicans, openly complaining about the way Rucho had handled it.
“It wasn’t even close,” Sen. Jerry Tillman, a seven-term Republican from Archdale, told Rucho afterward.
Rules adopted by the Senate earlier this year require the presiding officer to hold a “division,” an individual tally rather than just by voice, if it is called for prior to the vote. In this case, the committee’s leading Democrat, Sen. Dan Blue of Raleigh, called for a division. Rucho refused and moved forward with a voice vote.
After the committee meeting, Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte tweeted:
Just watched raw abuse of power in Finance committee. A bill got more Nays than Ayes but was deemed "passed" and meeting adjourned. #ncga
— Sen. Jeff Jackson (@JeffJacksonNC) May 20, 2015
Even former Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers called out legislators for their regressive tack on proven clean energy policies. “They are not focused on the future,” Rogers told an audience at Charlotte Business Journal’s Energy Inc. Summit today. “They are focused on the past.”
The benefits of clean energy are abundant, but the game in Raleigh is rigged. Since opponents of sound energy policies that promote job growth and create billions in local economic benefits can’t win adhering to the rules, they break them. Bob Rucho has more than earned his nickname, “Napoleon Rucho.”
If you’re still finding it hard to believe Sen. Rucho could treat the democratic process with such brazen disregard, well, here’s his most recent tweet from back in January 2014.
Left wing extremists cry foul when they get back the same as they give out. Treat people with respect if that is what you expect in return.
— Bob Rucho (@SenatorBobRucho) January 9, 2014
Sen. Rucho, respectfully, treat people with respect if that is what you expect in return.
If HB332’s flawed passage is allowed to stand, the bill could be brought up on the Senate floor for a full vote. If that happens, we hope the bipartisan outrage with the way the bill has been handled thus far, and the fact that it’s bad policy to begin with, remains.