H.4421 was introduced to eliminate the net metering cap on residential solar and allow our state’s solar energy sector to continue to produce thousands of good-paying clean energy jobs, lower power bills, and eliminate payment to utilities for “lost revenue” due to solar growth. This bill was broadly supported by the conservation community, solar industries, and a wide range of other stakeholders.
The bill was introduced by Representatives J.E. Smith (D-Richland), McCoy (R-Charleston), Ott (D-Calhoun), G.M. Smith (R-Sumter), Ballentine (R-Lexington), W. Newton (R-Beaufort), Bales (D-Kershaw), McEachern (D-Richland), Brown (D-Charleston), Henegan (D-Marlboro), Clary (R-Pickens), Arrington (R-Dorchester), Stavrinakis (D-Charleston), Caskey (R-Lexington), Norrell (D-Lancaster), Bernstein (R-Richl and), Knight (D-Colleton), Gilliard (D-Charleston), Funderburk (D-Kershaw), Loftis (R-Greenville), M. Rivers (D-Beaufort), Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) and King (D-York)
The bill came up on the floor of the House immediately after the defeat of a utility-written solar sabotage bill that was put there to derail it (see H.5045).
As part of series of 10 votes on H.4421 on April 5, 2018, clean energy champions (such as Representatives Stavrinakis, Ballentine, Clary, Caskey, Williams, and J.E. Smith) worked to secure a 64-33 victory on second reading. This second reading vote is the focus of this scored vote.
On April 10, however, Rep. Thayer raised a parliamentary inquiry concerning the bill – asking if 2/3 of the House would be needed for passage of the bill because the bill contained property tax exemptions and the SC Constitution requires 2/3 approval of the House and Senate for additional property tax exemptions. After lengthy discussions with Reps. James Smith, Mandy Powers Norrell, and others, Speaker Lucas ruled that a 2/3 vote would be required for passage. This set the threshold for approval at 82 votes.
Rep. James Smith and other clean energy champions like Peter McCoy, Katie Arrington, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Russell Ott, Gary Clary, and Mandy Powers Norrell took steps to try and remove the property tax provisions of the bill and reduce the need for an 82 vote supermajority. The only way to remove the offending section was to move the House into a “Committee of the Whole,” a tactic that had not been used in over 30 years in the SC House.
Anti-solar Representatives moved to table a motion by James Smith to move into the Committee of the Whole. The tabling motion succeeded by a vote of 54-51, preventing amendment of the bill. This vote is not scored.
Rep. Arrington then moved to reconsider the tabling vote in order to try again to enter the Committee of the Whole. This vote failed 55-54. For more information on this vote and its score, click here.
With all efforts to fix the bill exhausted, the bill proceeded to third reading with the supermajority vote requirement still in place. While the bill received a majority of votes with 61-44, it did not reach the 82 vote supermajority and therefore was defeated on third reading.
- This vote is a vote on a Pro-Conservation Bill.
- The Pro-Conservation Vote was YES for second reading of the bill
- There are other votes related to this bill, click here and here to view how they were scored.
- The bill died in the House.