Home » Legislative Hotlist: February 7, 2023

Legislative Hotlist: February 7, 2023

Last week at the Statehouse was relatively slow for Conservation. The Senate continued to be mired in debate over an education bill, and the House kept session rather short throughout the week. That doesn’t mean the lobby team wasn’t working hard behind the scenes to keep our issues top-of-mind! However, it does mean this is going to be a short Hotlist. Let’s dive in:

Show Me the Money: The House’s state budget development process is starting to wind down as agencies get their final requests into the various Ways and Means Subcommittees. Of note this week, the Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) mentioned the large pot of money coming down from the Federal infrastructure law for water and sewer projects totaling about $50 million over the next five years. Like many of the grant dollars flowing down from these Federal programs, this one will require a state match of 20%, or $11.4 million. If RIA–and other entities looking to take advantage of these opportunities–don’t provide the match, then they miss out on those funds and the opportunity to do those transformational projects. CVSC encourages the Ways and Means Committee to look for these opportunities so we don’t miss out.

This week, the Ways and Means Committee will continue its work. Today, the Economic Development subcommittee will hear from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, as well as the Office of Resilience.

Natural Gas: Last Monday, CVSC briefed the Public Service Commission on the connection between the economic risks of our use and reliance on natural gas and its impact on our electricity bills. Albert Lin, the Executive Director of Pearl Street Financial, was our invited expert, and we took advantage of his time and introduced him to a few lawmakers. I learned a ton, and if you want to dig into this weedy, yet fascinating topic, you can watch Albert’s presentation (look at the January 30th video, Docket  ND-2022-72-E).

We Need Your Help! Recently, Representative Brandon Newton introduced his Alternative Fuel Property Tax Credit bill, H.3824, with bipartisan co-sponsors to extend an income tax credit to individuals or businesses that install an electric vehicle charging station. This bill will help incentivize businesses and individuals to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure by extending an income tax credit for a portion of the installation cost. It’s imperative that we build more charging infrastructure across the state to support the increase in electric vehicle adoption by consumers. This credit is already extended to those with natural gas or petroleum stations, so bringing electric charging into the fold makes sense. We would love this bill to zip through the legislative process, so please encourage your legislator to cosponsor the bill now (or thank them if they’ve already signed on)!

Permit Extensions are Back and Heading to the Senate: H.3209, which retroactively extends permits issued by DHEC, was successfully amended by the House to limit its scope significantly to DHEC and Ocean of Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) permits already in existence in 2020. The debate got unexpectedly heated when Representative Josiah Magnuson attempted to amend the language to acknowledge perceived “government overreach,” but the amendment was tabled, and the bill got second and third readings. It now heads to the Senate where it sits in the Judiciary Committee. We hope the amended version survives the Senate process, so we will keep an eye out for further changes. Stay tuned! 

Save the Date: We hope you’ll join us at our upcoming events! 

CVSC 20th Anniversary Celebration: Columbia 
Date: March 18 | Time: 5:30 pm 
Location: Seibels House & Garden (1601 Richland St, Columbia, SC)

CVSC 20th Anniversary Celebration: Charleston
Date: March 19 | Time: 2:30 pm 
Location: Founder’s Hall at Charlestowne Landing (1500 Old Towne Rd, Charleston, SC) 

SC Conservation Coalition Lobby Day and Oyster Roast
Date: April 5 | 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!

Back to all News