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Hotlist: March 18

Hey there!

Last week, legislators began meeting on Monday and it threw my clock way off kilter. Why Monday? It was House Budget Week! A long week means a lot happened, let’s dive in:

The Budget: Generally, we expect late nights when the House debates the budget, but I was pleasantly surprised to be home at a reasonable hour on Monday and Tuesday as the House swept through the appropriations bill section-by-section. The Freedom Caucus did introduce around 50 amendments geared toward limiting state spending. One amendment would have gutted the entire budget of the Office of Resilience. Another would have prohibited the Department of Commerce from spending any money to attract renewable energy into the state. The former was tabled and the latter was ruled out of order. 

Thus, the budget remains unchanged from what we saw weeks ago. It now heads to the Senate Finance Committee where they will take the bill up and insert their own proposals.

Common Sense Measures: On Wednesday, a Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee heard testimony on S.999, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Signage bill. In short, this bill simply requires any person possessing a NPDES permit, which allows discharge into waterways, to post a sign at the point of discharge. CVSC supports this legislation as a common sense way to help folks make informed decisions on where they swim or fish.

However, the SC Chamber of Commerce stated in the hearing that they are worried about unsolicited calls–we believe the need to protect our waterways and public health should be a greater concern. The committee did not vote on the bill and decided to reconvene to hear more.

The Week Ahead: We are back to a regular session this week and we have a lot to look forward to. We are expecting the House Labor, Commerce, and Industry subcommittee to have a final hearing on the ‘10-year Energy Transformation Act’ (H.5118) tomorrow. The subcommittee won’t be taking testimony and will instead be discussing member amendments. They are planning a full committee meeting on Wednesday. It is difficult to predict, but this could be on the House floor for a vote as early as next week. If your lawmakers haven’t already heard from you, now is the time to reach out! 

CVSC does not support the bill, and we are already beginning to see the fallout that such legislation could have. In a surprise move, Commissioner Tom Ervin resigned from the Public Service Commission (PSC) last week in protest of H.5118, which he says undermines the PSC’s ability to regulate utilities and protect the public. 

We are closely monitoring H.5118 as it moves throughout the legislature and will continue to keep you informed and aware of opportunities to take action as things progress.


Updates

  • Energy
    • In a surprise move, Commissioner Tom Ervin resigned from the Public Service Commission last week. Ervin is protesting the ‘10-year Energy Transformation Act’ (H.5118), which he says undermines the PSC’s ability to regulate utilities and protect the public. John Tynan, President of CVSC, responded, “I can certainly see why a commissioner would not want to be forced to make those one-sided decisions.” Read the full article here!
  • Events
    • Mark your calendars! The Green Tie Awards are set to take place on September 18th, from 11 am – 1:30 pm at Historic 701 Whaley in Columbia. Since 2009, the Green Tie Awards have brought together South Carolina’s political, business, and conservation communities to honor the achievements of leaders who have protected our state’s natural heritage in the General Assembly and within their communities. Please be sure to save the date, we’ll have more information to come soon!

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


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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