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Hotlist: January 5

Hey, y’all!

It’s session time. On Tuesday, January 9th, the 2024 Legislative Session will officially kick off. Your government relations team here at CVSC has been busy all fall, and we’re ready to get to work at the Statehouse. Let’s chat about what the team is expecting over the next five months:

Chaos: Buckle up because it’s going to be a challenging year. It is the second year of a two-year session. If a bill doesn’t pass by sine die, it has to start fresh in 2025. Further, the ENTIRE General Assembly is up for reelection. Filing for elections closes at the end of March, and that means we can expect careful votes, bold motions, wild amendments, and, above all, chaos. Like last year, hot-button issues will take up a lot of the time and focus of members. We’ll have to work hard to ensure conservation remains a priority.

Where did we leave off again? Though 2023 is over, we have a few bills from last session that need a nudge over the finish line. 

  • The Working Agriculture Preservation Act (H. 3951) Representative Haddon introduced H. 3951, aiming to protect agricultural lands by creating a new fund at the Conservation Bank that would grant conservation easements to preserve working agricultural lands. The bill passed the House and, after some amendments, now sits in the Senate Finance Committee.
  • Trails Tax Credit bill (H. 3121) Representative Hyde introduced H. 3121, promoting new trails by providing an income tax credit to property owners who add a voluntary, perpetual trail easement to their property. The bill passed the House and currently sits in the Senate Finance Committee.
  • Alternative Fuel Tax Credit Bill (H. 3824) Representative Newton introduced H. 3824, aiming to promote electric vehicle charging stations by incentivizing businesses and individuals to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The bill passed the House and currently sits in…the Senate Finance Committee. Notice a trend?

What’s next? We are always excited to see what is going to be introduced on the first day of session. Though we’ve thumbed through the prefiles, you never know what else could pop onto the desk. As I peek into my crystal ball, I have a big prediction: we are going to see some big legislation on energy.

We’ve been talking about energy for a while. It all started an age ago with two committees focused on two different (but related) goals in the energy space: economic development and market reform. The conversations have evolved over the last year, and legislators have heard a lot from various stakeholders about our energy landscape and our vision for improving it. CVSC has worked hard to educate lawmakers on the benefits and necessity of renewable energy and common sense reforms that will help lower rates for all customers. The next several months are going to show us where the legislature landed. You can be sure that we will keep you informed on all of this and more. 

Meet Alan! We added to our team in September! Alan Lee will serve as CVSC’s Government Relations Manager. Alan joined us after clerking for a judge and working for a law firm in Charleston. We’re excited to have him on the team!

Actions & Updates

  • Elections
    • CVSC is proud to congratulate Tameika Isaac Devine on her victory in the special election for Senate District 19. In support of Tameika Isaac Devine’s campaign, CVSC PAC implemented an outreach program, sending out over 8,900 pieces of mail, running impactful digital displays, and multiple rounds of targeted messaging to over 10,000 voters via calls and text messages to encourage early voting as well as election day votes for Tameika. 
  • Partnerships
    • This month, CVSC Education Fund is launching the Palmetto Leadership Academy. The program aims to recruit, train, grow, and support tomorrow’s conservation leaders. The inaugural cohort is set to begin on January 25. 
  • Events
    • Legislative Preview Webinar: The 2024 Legislative Session is about to kick off, and you’re invited to join the CVSC government relations team at our Annual Legislative Preview Webinar on Monday, January 8th at noon! Get the inside scoop on our recent wins, sneak peeks into what’s coming next, and have all of your questions answered! Click here to RSVP.
    • Legislative Kick-Off Reception: Join CVSC from 5:30 to 8:00 pm on Tuesday, January 23rd at Bourbon in Columbia as we welcome partners, voters, and legislators back for another year of protecting the South Carolina we love. Click here to RSVP.
    • SCCC Lobby Day & Oyster Roast: Join the SC Conservation Coalition, a statewide alliance of over 40 conservation organizations, on Tuesday, February 6th, for our annual Lobby Day and Oyster Roast!  Be a part of making an impact at the State House while networking and celebrating conservation with fellow volunteers, staff, and elected officials. Click here to RSVP.

Shoutouts & Highlights

Thank you to our 2023 Donors! Last year, you empowered us to secure millions for conservation funding, spread awareness about the need for clean energy, and maintain and restore bedrock environmental protections for our health and natural resources. We couldn’t have done it without you!

In the News

The Legislative Hotlist is an update from our Senior Vice President of Government Relations & Policy, Meagan Diedolf. Sign up for emails to get the Hotlist delivered directly to your inbox!

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