Legislative Hotlist: February 21, 2023
This week in the Statehouse continued to be focused on conservative social policy. That doesn’t mean your CVSC government relations team didn’t use our time wisely, though. Let’s dive in:
Electric Vehicles at the Legislature: Electric vehicles (EVs) have been in the news a lot over the past several months. South Carolina is attracting millions of dollars in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing. We are seeing more charging infrastructure popping up (See also H.3824,which will help incentivize more charging stations). Even better, electric vehicles are becoming a more affordable option for average families—and federal tax incentives will only help bring down those costs.
If South Carolina is going to be a prime location for EV and battery manufacturing, we have to make the state more EV and energy storage friendly—that takes education and good policy. To that end, last week, CVSC partnered with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) to put on an electric vehicle ride-and-drive at the Statehouse. The event was hosted by Senators Scott Talley and Marlon Kimpson, as well as Representatives Deon Tedder and Bobby Cox (Huge shout out to them!). SACE drove in three electric vehicles and let legislators and staff drive around Columbia with an expert in the passenger seat.
The event was a huge success! Legislators from both chambers and both sides of the aisle were able to experience the benefits (and the super fun driving experience) of EVs firsthand. We hope they’ll keep that experience in mind as EV policies come up for consideration.
Budgeting: The full Ways and Means Committee of the House will deliberate the budget this week. We’ll be watching to see that our agencies are funded properly and that we are still prioritizing conservation! Once the full committee takes a vote on the appropriations bill—it will head to the floor for debate!
Clean Energy Tools: Over the last two weeks, we have seen a slew of bills filed that add another tool in the toolbox for businesses and individuals to adopt clean energy solutions. Representative Bart Blackwell and Senator Tom Davis have introduced companion bills (H.3937 and S.542, respectively) that 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.
Another clean energy champ, Representative Nathan Ballentine, has introduced two bills that provide a sales tax exemption (H.3949) and a property tax exemption (H.3948) for solar energy equipment. The more tools in the toolbox we can provide citizens with, the more clean energy adoption we’re going to see—and that is good for everyone!
Rosenwald Day: Representative Pat Henegan introduced a resolution last week (H.3968) to establish February 28th as Rosenwald School day in South Carolina to honor the philanthropic work done by Julius Rosenwald and Booker T. Washington towards the advancement of education for African Americans in the South. This day brings us one step closer to educating everyone on these cultural landmarks and to ensuring they’re protected and cherished in the future. Join us for a press conference on the 28th at 11:30 on the first floor of the State House to celebrate the day and to advocate for policy that advances the state toward that goal!
Save the Date: We hope you’ll join us at our upcoming events!
March 18 | 5:30 pm
Seibels House & Garden (1601 Richland St, Columbia, SC)
March 19 | 2:30 pm
Founder’s Hall at Charlestowne Landing (1500 Old Towne Rd, Charleston, SC)
April 5 | Details to come
CVSC 20th Anniversary Celebration: Greenville
Fall 2023 | Details to come
And finally, don’t forget to check out the full list of bills we’re tracking on our website. That’s a wrap for now!
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!