Legislative Hotlist: April 4, 2023
It’s April, it’s crossover week, and Wednesday is Lobby Day. My cup runneth over! There is a lot to talk about and a lot to do! Let’s dive in:
A Tale of Two DHEC Reform Bills: This story is getting complicated. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee reported H.4124 favorably out of committee with one amendment. This amendment would preserve the current status of the automatic stay of permitting decisions when a permit is appealed to the administrative law court, and we are thrilled to see it. Is the bill perfect? No. Does this version address some of the concerns that we’ve had? Yes! Can we support it in its current form? Sure!
So, H.4124’s next step is the House floor this week. It is a full calendar, but rumor on the street says that the Speaker wants this out of the House by crossover.
In the Senate, a Medical Affairs subcommittee had its third and final hearing on S.399, Senator Peeler’s version of Reform. They heard a lot about the public health side of the split. The Chairman of the subcommittee, Tom Davis, pledged to complete their work in the next two-three weeks. What’s that mean? The Senate bill will have missed crossover. Does that mean the bill is dead? Nope—a two-thirds vote will get you just about anything these days.
Which bill will be the final vehicle? Your guess is as good as mine.
Happy Crossover Week! It’s Crossover week, y’all, and the calendar is packed. Of the bills we listed last week, the DHEC reform bill (discussed above) and the Conservation Enhancement Act, H.3786, have made it on the calendar. If you’ve registered for our Lobby Day and Oyster Roast tomorrow, you’ll be on the front lines of protecting those bills and getting them across the finish line!
What about the Senate? They’ll be in perfunctory session so that the Senate Finance Committee can discuss their budget proposal. As a reminder, here are the appropriations we are watching—we need robust funding for land protection, resilience, and for our agencies to be able to do the work they are charged with.
What else are we watching? Companion Bills for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) introduced by Rep. Bart Blackwell and Senator Tom Davis (H.3937 and S.542, respectively). A C-PACE program will help commercial property owners install energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to their buildings. Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) lets these property owners finance the improvements through a voluntary tax assessment which allows for longer repayment. This makes the improvements a much more attractive option and requires no public funding. Both of these bills had a subcommittee hearing last week and will make their way to their respective full committee agendas. We support these bills and look forward to working with members to get them passed!
Lobby Day: We invite you to join us this week for the SC Conservation Coalition’s 20th Annual Lobby Day and Oyster Roast on Wednesday, April 5th. Please find more information and register here for a day of advocating for conservation in the SC legislature, networking with fellow CVSC volunteers and partners, and celebrating our work in SC. The Lobby Day and Oyster Roast are both free to attend. If participating in Lobby Day, please plan to meet us at our registration table near the Visitor’s Entrance of the State House (Gervais St side) at 9:15 am on Wednesday, April 5th. Lobbying will continue through the early afternoon. The Oyster Roast will kick off at 5:30 pm that night and run until 8:00 pm at the Market Building at 701 Whaley in Columbia.
We hope to see you there!
The Legislative Hotlist is a weekly update from our Government Relations Director, Meagan Diedolf. Sign up for emails to get the Hotlist delivered directly to your inbox!