Legislative Hotlist: March 7, 2023
We are approaching the halfway mark for this first year of session, and budget week is right around the corner! Let’s dive in:
In the News: Last week, we had a successful press conference celebrating Rosenwald School Day on February 28th. Representative Pat Henegan, Senator Vernon Stephens, Dr. Val Littlefield, and Mr. Ralph James gave remarks on the history of Rosenwald Schools in South Carolina and their personal stories. The event was well attended by Rosenwald alumni and activists from all over the state—a huge thank you to those who could join us!
Budget Week: Next week marks House Budget week, where the full House of Representatives will deliberate the appropriations bill. That means session starts on Monday rather than Tuesday, and we are in for a long week! As a reminder, here are where the numbers stand for conservation priorities:
- The Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) got $7 million for water quality revolving loan fund matches and for assistance for small and rural utilities. If this seems low, remember that RIA was allocated over $500 million in ARPA dollars in H.3604.
- The Office of Resilience got $20 million for its Disaster Relief and Resilience Reserve Fund.
- DHEC got:
- $5.6 million for permitting services
- $4.5 million for “sustaining agency workforce through competitive salaries”
- $47.5 million for the Dam Safety Emergency Fund (almost all of this will go to the Contestee Dam site).
- The Department of Natural Resources got:
- $6 million for employee recruitment and retention
- $20 million for habitat protection and land conservation acquisitions
- $10 million for marine resources and coastal infrastructure maintenance
- $3 million for state water planning
- Finally, the Conservation Bank got $18 million for conservation grant funding.
DHEC Reform: Last week, the full Senate Medical Affairs committee heard the DHEC reform bill (S.399). The committee determined that the bill needed further consideration and referred it back to the subcommittee. We’ll let you know when the bill comes up again in committee—in the meantime, we will be engaging with lawmakers to make the bill as strong as possible.
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. 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 9:15am on Wednesday, April 5th. Lobbying will continue through the early afternoon. The Oyster Roast will kick off at 5:30pm that night and run until 8:00pm 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!