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Rate Hike Bill Still Stalled

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What once looked like a slam-dunk attempt to ease Duke Energy’s ability to hike your electricity rate has hit a road block in the state House. 

The politics of the also-stalled vote to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto are straightforward. Republicans need the votes of seven Democrats, and thus far they don’t have those votes. House leaders keep recycling the veto override vote on the calendar and putting it off to the next day, hoping enough anti-budget votes will be out of the room or enough arms will be twisted.

In contrast, it appears Senate Bill 559 just doesn’t have the votes to pass the House in the first place. A number of Republican representatives are allied with most Democrats in opposition to the bill in its current form, which is widely opposed by industry, consumer protection, and clean energy groups. 

A motion to approve turning the bill’s controversial multi-year rate hikes section into a study commission instead appears to have the votes to pass. In the face of this, the bill was sent back to the Rules Committee on July 16th, and has been sitting there, waiting for further consideration.

The common denominator on this bill and the budget is legislative leaders’ refusal to engage in open negotiations with anyone — the governor, legislative Democrats, clean energy stakeholders, and even dissenting members of their own party. That’s not the way to govern in a theoretically representative democracy.

NCLCV’s eye remains on both of these bad bills, and we will let you know when it’s time to take action once more.

Up next, Wind Blows Past Coal in Texas >>

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