Here’s a new concept: A bill with multiple provisions in it should be a cohesive document with related parts, not a catch-all for whatever odds and ends that haven’t passed the General Assembly yet.
But that’s not always the way it works, especially as a session draws to a close and pet causes are parked on whatever transit they can find to carry them home.
Yet that was the message Sen. Bob Rucho, the Matthews Republican, imparted as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday morning. Senate Bill 763, titled Revenue Laws Technical Changes, was only going to be about tweaking tax laws and that’s all it was going to be.
Sen. Fletcher Hartsell found that out when he tried to amend the bill. Before Hartsell’s amendment could be explained, Rucho, who had a copy, rejected it.
“This isn’t technical and wouldn’t be in the right place,” Rucho said, adding that the Revenue Laws Committee would be studying whatever the issue was between sessions for possible action next year.
“I still want to run the amendment,” the Concord Republican replied.
“You can’t do that,” Rucho said.
“Since when, Mr. Chairman?” Hartsell shot back.
A brief back and forth ensued over whether the amendment was appropriate or not, until Rucho shut it down. “I’m making that decision and that will be it,” he said.
Sen. Tom Apodaca, the Hendersonville Republican and chairman of the Rules Committee, hesitantly proposed another amendment, having to do with license plates, which Rucho also rejected.
“We have a bill that relates to that, and would be better there,” Rucho said.
“I am surprised,” Apodaca responded.