Legislative Hotlist: March 21, 2023
Last week was the longest. Session started on Monday as the full House debated the appropriations bill. This week should be calmer because the House is taking a break! Let’s dive in:
T’was Budget Week: The debate over the budget was heated. Tempers often flair as the House debates appropriations, but this year the dynamics between the Freedom Caucus, the Republicans, and the Democrats were fiery. Despite all the back-and-forth, the appropriations bill, H.4300, got second reading on Tuesday. Even better, conservation was never on the chopping block. So, our priorities made it through the debate unscathed!
We’ll be watching the Senate Finance committee as it takes its crack at H.4300 over the next weeks. Stay tuned!
DHEC Reform: Last week, Senator Tom Davis’ medical affairs subcommittee took up S.399 to hear from the agencies affected as well as other organizations that interact with DHEC’s environmental side. The Conservation Community testified to discuss our concerns. We look forward to working with Senators to make this bill the best it can be.
This week, the committee will hear from those interested in the public health side of the agency. The pressure is on as the crossover day deadline approaches. If a bill hasn’t passed through one chamber of the General Assembly successfully by the time April 10th hits, the bill is effectively dead for the year unless the other body can muster a two-thirds vote to resurrect it!
Ways and Means: Now that the budget is finished in the House (for now), the Ways and Means Committee can start holding hearings on some of our other priorities!
Take Action: What are we watching for?
- Trails Tax Credit bill, H.3121. This bill would provide an income tax credit to a property owner who adds a voluntary, perpetual trail easement to their property and provides the qualifying criteria. This incentive will expand access to our State’s beautiful trail system so more people can enjoy the beauty of the outdoors! Ask your Representative to support H.3121!
- Conservation Enhancement Act, H.3786, which would restore the deed stamp funding mechanism for the Conservation Bank. This ties land conservation to development, and we couldn’t be more excited to support it! Show your support for H.3786!
- Alternative Fuel Property Tax Credit bill, H.3824, which would help incentivize businesses and individuals to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure by extending an income tax credit for a portion of the installation cost. Encourage your legislator to cosponsor the bill now (or thank them if they’ve already signed on)!
Lobby Day: We invite you to join us for the SC Conservation Coalition’s 20th Annual Lobby Day and Oyster Roast on Wednesday, April 5th. 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. 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!
Triple Your Impact! Right now, we’re halfway through year one of the 2023-2024 legislative session, and our work at the State House is really ramping up. In the busy months ahead, your donation will help CVSC protect more green spaces with historic and cultural significance, expand electric transportation to improve air quality, and fight against environmental rollbacks.
For a limited time, every gift will be tripled to boost our efforts and make an immediate impact at the State House. A generous donor has pledged to triple every donation we receive in March, up to $5,000! This means your gift will go three times as far in the fight for South Carolina’s water, land, air, and energy! Make your donation here.
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!