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Hotlist: March 11

Hey there!

Last week at the Statehouse was slightly calmer after weeks of frantic work. The House spent its time getting ready for budget week, and the Senate spent the week debating judicial reform. Let’s dive in:

The Saga Continues: After a week’s worth of testimony, the Labor, Commerce, and Industry subcommittee met again to discuss amendments to the ‘10-year Energy Transformation Act’ (H.5118). The amendment has not been drafted yet, but it is meant to address a few of the concerns that have been raised. Is it a step in the right direction? Sure. Is it enough that we could support the bill? Not even close.

The legislation will still authorize and endorse a huge, risky natural gas plant in Canadys, South Carolina. The legislation still allows for the initial clearing, excavation, dredging, and construction of a major facility before any certificate is granted. The legislation will still make it harder for South Carolinians to challenge eminent domain proceedings that condemn their land. I could go on. The parallels between this legislation and the legislation that led to the VC Summer debacle remain intact.

As I said, the amendment isn’t finished yet, so neither is the subcommittee’s work. They’ll meet again after budget week to adopt changes and move the bill forward. We’ll be watching and reporting back every step of the way.

Planning for Growth: This week, a Medical, Military, Public, and Municipal Affairs subcommittee met on the Transferable Development Rights bill (H.4996). This bill authorizes a tool that lets towns and counties shift growth away from areas they want to protect and into areas that are advantageous for growth. These programs can protect open land, wetlands, farmlands, and more while increasing density, affordable housing, and efficient public services in other areas. We were there to support the legislation, but the committee adjourned debate to learn more. We look forward to another opportunity to usher this legislation forward!

Coming Up: It’s Budget Week in the House! The legislative week starts today and will continue until the House passes a budget. As I noted a few weeks ago, it is a leaner year than the last few as the “Covid Boom” has finally worn off. You never know what can happen during a budget week, so we will be watching to ensure our agencies are adequately funded and that there aren’t any sneaky provisos sprinkled in. 


Updates

  • Energy
    • Dominion Energy wants to raise customer electric bills again. Its recent request to raise rates would increase the average monthly customer bill by about $5, starting in September. Regulators will hold public hearings to hear from customers about the hike—stay tuned for more information! Read more here
  • Land, Water, Ocean

Action Center

Here’s a round-up of current actions you can take to help us advance conservation policy during this legislative session. If you’ve already taken these actions, thank you! We’ll add more actions and provide updates as things unfold.


In the News

Santee Cooper, Dominion Energy bill mirrors failed VC Summer legislation. Here’s how. | The State


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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