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Budget Week – The Secret is Patience

There’s a famous quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” That’s exactly what these legislative times call for – patience. Although there’s so much happening at our South Carolina statehouse, much of it is forcing us to watch and wait. From both chambers deciding the impending outcome of Santee Cooper to the House beginning to debate its budget this week, we are in a period when legislative stamina is required.

In this week’s legislative update, you’ll be able to see exactly what I mean when I say that these times call for patience. Read on to explore what happened last week and what you can look forward to this week.

What happened last week?
Santee Cooper: As both Senate and House chambers work to find the best idea for the state owned utility, it is clear that both chambers believe reform of Santee Cooper is needed.

After weeks of hearing testimony from all three bidders, the Senate Finance and the House Ways and Means committees decided to reject all proposed bids from the Department of Administration (DOA). And, with the looming deadline approaching, the Senate Finance Committee has formed a special committee that will make recommendations to further assist its decision on how to move forward with Santee Cooper reform.

At the same time, H.5335 was introduced, referred to, and passed through the House Ways and Means full committee. This bill proposes to first reform and then sell Santee Cooper, addressing governance and transparency issues as part of both elements. The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote.

Take a closer look into the legislative steps that were made last week by reading the latest article by The State here.

What’s happening this week?
Santee Cooper: While some House members want to negotiate a better deal with bidder, NextEra, members of the Senate Finance Committee have decided that instead of selling the state-owned utility, they want to reform it. More specifically, a special Senate Finance committee will meet tomorrow to dig deeper into the details of previous testimonies and craft a pathway to legislatively keep and to reform Santee Cooper.

Also, as stated above, H.5335 will be headed to the House floor for a vote, but the House will take up the state budget first.

We know that this process has been extremely complicated, and we’ll continue to keep you informed. Ultimately, this is an opportunity to remain watchful as we push for best practices that promote clean energy generation with a clean energy workforce.

30 By 30: The Thirty by Thirty Resolution in the House (H.5125) and Senate (S.1024) establishes a state goal of conserving at least 30 percent of the land within South Carolina by 2030. Although bold, we believe that this goal is achievable. And, while there may not be any 30 by 30 legislative action this week, there is still something we can do. Urge your legislators to cosponsor these bills today!

House Budget: Before the House leaves for vacation, they will be debating the budget all week. As you know, this process often reveals how the devil is in the details. We will be monitoring conservation agency budgets, like DHEC and DNR. We expect to see funding for the State Water Plan confirmed, as well as funding for the Conservation Bank.

Conservation Lobby Day – NEW DATE: Our SC Conservation Coalition Lobby Day and Oyster Roast on Tuesday, March 24th is fast approaching. This all-day event is full with lobby training, lobbying at the Statehouse, and an evening oyster roast. Register now while there’s space! You don’t want to miss this fun, annual event!

As always, thank you for using your voice to advocate for a clean and robust South Carolina. And, don’t forget to visit our Action Center.

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