‘Banana Republic’ In North Carolina: GOP Committee Chair ‘Approves’ Bill To Gut Clean Energy Without Counting Votes

North Carolina State Sen. Bill Rabon (R)

The ALEC-sponsored bill to gut North Carolina’s clean energy standard failed last week in one House committee. But as the Charlotte Observer reports, last night it passed a Senate committee over shouted objections to do something most people take for granted in a democracy — counting votes to see which side has more.


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.

The Senate bill would keep the utilities’ clean energy requirement at a laughable 3 percent and get rid of the mandate entirely by 2023. Utilities support the standard: Duke Energy has found that the clean energy promoted by the standard helps with peak load, is reliable, and makes a profit. North Carolina agriculture showed up to testify in favor of the standard, from farmers to the Pork Council. (Pork farmers would rather use the methane from swine waste lagoons to make energy instead of letting it waft into the atmosphere.)

Who opposed it? Mostly radical conservative groups like the Heartland Institute, the Koch Brothers, ALEC, Art Pope, the American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, and their friends in the North Carolina State Legislature.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Bill Rabon heard the loud nays (consisting of at least six Republicans voting with Democrats) and without allowing a show of hands to count, approved the legislation out of committee. This is democracy in action in North Carolina:

(Video: NC Policy Watch)

This Senate bill moves to the Commerce Committee for a vote and would have to pass there as well as before the full Senate by May 16 to get to the House in time to pass this legislative session.

If it gets there the House version’s sponsor, ALEC member Mike Hager, will have to bring his version back before his Public Utilities and Energy Committee for a re-vote after his bill failed there last week. Hager was in the Senate committee room, talking with staff as this “vote” took place.

Gutting laws that have wide support and economically benefit the whole state becomes easier when you can do it just because you say so, and don’t have to worry about counting votes.

24 Responses to ‘Banana Republic’ In North Carolina: GOP Committee Chair ‘Approves’ Bill To Gut Clean Energy Without Counting Votes

  1. Jake says:

    Voice votes should be illegal.

  2. ray johns says:

    Let’s get mobilized against these pro-ALEC sons of bitches anti-democratic cretins , like the Koch brothers, who would rather be left alone to despoil the whole planet then pay their fair share in taxes.

  3. Julian Boche says:

    This is very typical Republican MO. Hate the planet suppress the votes.

  4. Kay says:

    The Republicans should not be allowed for one minute to say they want to maintain or create jobs. This clean energy bill has created so many jobs in North Carolina and promised to create more…(All those handsome guys on the roof tops)…They prefer the Keystone XL which creates 35 temporary seasonal positions

  5. Robert Walker says:

    And you call President Obama “Socialist”? Excuse me, but what happen to the democratic process? I know, all you GOP have become more like Dictators than Constitutionalist Lawmakers.

  6. Peter Anderson says:

    I don’t think we should identify the source of the state bills to repeal RPS laws as “radical conservative groups,” anymore than we should call a dog a tail, when it is fundamentally about the dog. It is no coincidence that these repeal laws pop up just at the same time as wind passes the crossover point with fossil generation in many places and solar in some places. It’s the coal companies. It’s the oil companies. It’s the gas companies. That’s the dog. ALEC and the others are just the tail.

  7. Tami Kennedy says:

    Contraire following this past election where the GOP won both houses and the governorship the Banana Republic of North Carolina is regressing in all its glory.

  8. M Tucker says:

    We have many examples of Republican opposition to democracy. From attempts to make it harder for citizens to cast votes to attempts to halt voting for Senator and have them appointed. Republicans are not defenders of democracy or the Constitution. They favor a dictatorship of the few over the majority, authoritarian rule, and opposition to public education.

  9. Jackie says:

    That is one way Romney could have won the election without his billionaire friends spending all the money just don’t count the votes. Even former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor admitted the High Court voted political and not Justicial when appointing George W. Bush President in the fixed Chad Florida mess. State by State we are losing Democracy to elected idiots who are paid.

  10. Endofmore says:

    NC made sea level rise illegal
    I think that was a good idea

  11. RadGal70 says:

    That’s the Republican way – if you can’t win by persuasion, cheat.

  12. Lou Grinzo says:

    And this disgusting, thuggish behavior will continue exactly as long as voters let them get away with it. When voters start paying attention and punishing politicians at the ballot box for such actions it will stop faster than you can say the Pledge of Allegiance.

  13. DallasNE says:

    A John Boehner in the making. The only vote that counts is that of the Chairman. Power corrupts absolutely.

  14. noen says:

    Republicans are traitors. They are fascists waiting to take over our country and turn it into a right wing dictatorship.

  15. David Smith says:

    I think it’s called fascism.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    As expected, they just grow nastier and nastier, and they have an infinite capacity for evil. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s the Supreme Court ‘deciding’ that the votes should not be counted in Florida, all over again. At least in Taiwan, Ukraine or South Korea there would have been a nice punch-up as the putsch was executed.

  18. langostino says:

    So, you are saying it will never end?

  19. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yeah but they’re ‘uncivilized’, ME

  20. lizardo says:

    Correction (as shown in the name-plates this is actually Senator Bob Rucho, not Bill Rabon (they are co-chairs of that committee) who is doing the dirty deed.

    He’s the SOB who railroaded through NC’s fracking bill last year, in a variety of committees, though not responsible for it’s final passage in the NC House with one accidental yes vote which was not allowed reversed even though it happens and usually is fixed right away.

    Truly disgusting behavior. What is interesting is that the pork industry (factory farm, ugh) used to be heavy hitters in Raleigh and could write their own bills virtually. I guess they didn’t donate enough this cycle or they were subject to a Jack Abramoff type scam.

  21. zoom314 says:

    Rule by almost decree, this is how bought and paid for Repubs rule, no vote counts… UnAmerican to the Nth degree.

  22. ALEC vs Big Oil is a distinction without a difference.

  23. The Republicans have fascists in all but name.

  24. lakeBoy says:

    Even neoCons like Karl Rove, used fascist marketing techniques for Bush’s elections. Seems these techniques have not worked lately. People are finally finally wising up