Updated: S786 was added to the House calendar this afternoon over objections of Democratic lawmakers. After speeding through two House committees yesterday evening and this morning, the bill passed its second reading by a small margin, 63-52. Lawmakers can submit amendments to the bill before Thursday’s session and the bill’s third reading.
After narrowly passing the House Finance Committee in a 19-14 vote this morning, the Senate’s massive fracking bill is headed to the House floor for debate, possibly this afternoon.
An amended version of S786, the Energy Modernization Act, passed the House Public Utilities Commission Tuesday evening.
Rep. Mike Stone, R-Harnett, yesterday added amendments to the bill which could see drilling permits issued as early as May of next year.
Amendments were not allowed in committee this morning. Chairman William Brawley, R-Mecklenburg, said lawmakers would have to bring any amendments to the bill to the House floor.
The committee instead debated the financial aspects of the bill, including tax incentives that would draw oil and gas companies to the state.
Rep. Susi Hamilton, D-New Hanover, questioned why the fracking industry was being given a favorable tax-rate to entice it to the state while other industries were not.
Rep. Grier Martin, D-Wake, said it was clear that the bill was being fast-tracked, something he said is only done when lawmakers are trying to hide things or be secretive.
He compared the Legislature’s fast-tracking the fracking bill to hastily pushing the lottery bill through too quickly and without measure.