“A directive was sent out in the Republican caucus. We were not to visit Plott Hound or The Haymaker. We were not to pay attention to silly fringe websites like that which nobody, we were told, reads. Well, after about a week of you guys beating the snot out of them on this Millis bill, leadership is ready to play Let’s Make A Deal. Apparently, those websites are not so silly after all. You guys sure got their attention. Put some heat on them.”
The “Millis bill” we’re talking about is HB 681 — aimed at ending the state’s alternative energy mandates and lowering consumer power bills — that had been killed in committee thanks to FIVE Republican defectors.
Well, Tuesday night, the powers-that-be in the House huddled with Rep. Chris Millis and other supporters of the bill SOME components of the bill — watered down, though — were going to be inserted as amendments in a “Regulatory Reform” bill to be debated Wednesday night. Instead of a sunset on the mandates, the House approved a six percent cap on them. (You can almost feel Laura Leslie’s anger and resentment in this piece.)
Next stop: The North Carolina Senate. My House source had this prediction:
”Mr. Apodaca and Mr. Rucho in the upper chamber appear to take great pleasure in upsetting the applecart in the House. I can see the Senate taking this legislation, making it more conservative, wiping out the mandates altogether, and tossing it back to the House. I think things are just getting started. This is going to be fun.”
This time, Rep. Kelly Hastings voted YES. He took to social media to crow about his support for this version, and to take a shot at people who had criticized him for helping to kill HB681 in committee:
Stood firm? Millis’s initial bill phased out the mandates altogether. Hastings voted against it, calling it too liberal. This legislation, which Hastings voted for, only caps them at six percent. Hastings voted FOR the more liberal version — much closer to what the green crowd wanted — of the bill.
I could dismiss this is as the ramblings of a mealy-mouthed politician. But then, he has presented evidence that he is sometimes not all that clear about what’s going on in the House.
This guy was taking heat from conservatives across the state AND in his district. Voting AGAINST this bill would have earned him a rough primary in 2016. (He may still get one.)
One House member emailed me after seeing the above comments from Hastings on Facebook:
Here’s the thing about this whole solar situation that is so frustrating for members.There was NO need for this to be a knock down drag out fight in the GOP Caucus. (And it was!)
It should have been a slam dunk, easy lay-up for the GOP majority.The only reason the caucus “stood together” is because the blogs, Haymaker, Civitas, AFP and Plott Hound and random people on Facebook, held feet to the fire!!They proved to be stronger then the Big Solar lobby because the solar lobby was WRONG and everyone knows it.They did not attack Kelly “too soon”. They attacked him just in the nick of time.