We’re now one month into session, and legislators and lobbyists are hard at work. As you probably guessed, that’s both a good thing…
And a not-so-good thing.
You, however, have been excellent!
We’ve asked you to sign petitions, and you have. We’ve asked you to email your legislators, and you have. We’ve asked you to make phone calls and attend events and share information on social media, and you have.
On behalf of the entire CVSC team: Thank you.
We have some more opportunities available for you to help keep legislators on track and thank them for their hard work in 2018.
• Stop Offshore Drilling Rally – We hope you can join us and our conservation partners next week on February 13 for the Offshore Drilling Rally in Columbia. Our friends at Coastal Conservation League are organizing buses from the Lowcountry and the Upstate. Learn more about the day’s activities and how to sign up for a ride here. >>
• Conservation Coalition Legislative Breakfast – Join us on February 22 from 8-10 am in room 112 of the Blatt House of Representatives building in Columbia. We’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast from Blue Marlin with legislators and their staff. This is a great opportunity to break bread, enjoy some coffee, and discuss our shared conservation values. Please RSVP here. >>
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST WEEK
• Immunity for Industry (Nuisance) – Senators finished the filibuster on H.3653 last week with an amendment that addresses the most egregious elements of the bill. Even with the amendment, this is still a really bad bill that makes it more difficult for South Carolinians to hold neighboring industry accountable for noise and odor issues. And despite our best efforts, it passed the Senate. We appreciate the 14 Senators who voted against the bill and want to give special thanks to Senators Sheheen, Davis, Hutto, Kimpson, Fanning, Martin, Bright Matthews, and Campsen who spoke out against the bill.
• Energy – House members continued to fight for ratepayers this week as they passed H.4375 by a vote of 119-1. This bill will temporarily halt the ability of utilities to charge customers for the botched nuclear project under the Base Load Review Act. In a rare speech from the House floor, Speaker Jay Lucas shared that “We need to protect the ratepayer. That is our job. That is what we were elected to do.”
• Litter – H.4458 passed the House easily last week and is now headed over to the Senate for discussion. This bill addresses fines and enforcement related to littering and illegal dumping in South Carolina, further assisting local communities in addressing this prolific problem. Many thanks to the Representatives who pushed this important bill, with a special shout out to Reps. Johnson and Dillard.
• Conservation Bank – The House version of the Conservation Bank Reauthorization bill, H.4727, moved out of subcommittee last week. Both the testimony and discussion about the future of the Bank was very positive – encouraging signs that we will be able to see the Bank reauthorized this session. We look forward to working with House and Senate members in the weeks ahead as this bill heads to the full Ways and Means Committee, then hopefully to the House floor and on to the Senate.
• Shoreline Management – Many thanks to all of the great shoreline management advocates who testified this week on ways to improve S.927. This bill would undo decades of study, collaboration, and implementation of sound coastal management policies that balance conservation and shoreline development. Go here to join the discussion on how to improve this bill and H.4683, its House counterpart, so that we can be responsible to shoreline property owners and conservation needs.
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Home Rule and Plastic Bags – Though we’ve managed to hold it off for the first month of session, it looks like H.3529 may come up for a vote on the House floor this week. This is the short-sighted legislation that undermines the rights of local municipalities to find local solutions to local plastic pollution problems. Please go here to let your Representative know that you believe communities should have the right to find local solutions to local problems and ask them to vote against this awful bill.
• Auto Stay – Like the anti-home rule bill, we also expect a vote on this rollback of citizen’s rights, S.105, this week in the House. This is the bill that will take away an important pause button in the permitting process – meaning permit applicants won’t start work on their projects before their permit is final. Contact your Representative today and tell them to VOTE NO on this rollback of citizen’s rights. >>
Please remember to take action on these bills in our Legislative Action Center.
If you have any questions about these bills or want to read more about our conservation priorities for this session, check out our summary of our 2018 legislative priorities here.
As always, thanks for all you do!