Rebecca Haynes Rebecca Haynes
March 12, 2019

It’s almost time for my favorite day of the legislative year – Conservation Lobby Day – March 19th. This is the day that the small team of conservation lobbyists at the Statehouse gets backup – in the form of hundreds of conservation voters, like you.

Each of CVSC’s lobbyists and Coalition partner lobbyists has different strengths and legislative relationships that make us successful. But our common strength is the support from folks like you. When we tell you that legislators need to hear your voice, you respond. Legislators listen – and listen more closely to face-to-face interactions. That’s why I keep inviting you to lobby day.

At lobby day I get see constituents and legislators working together like no other day of the year.

Never been to lobby day before? We’ll start the day with an advocacy training where we’ll go over what to expect at the Statehouse, the hot legislative issues of the week, and even hear from a Representative and Senator. If you can’t make the training, feel free to meet us on the second floor of the Statehouse at noon, and I’ll get you up to speed.

Can’t break away until after work? Some of the best advocacy can happen over a beer and oyster shucking. Please join us at the oyster roast with legislators and the SC Conservation Coalition from 5:30-8 pm at 701 Whaley St.

Check out the schedule and register here: https://conservationlobbyday2019.eventbrite.com

What happened last week:

  • Clean Energy – S.332 (the companion to the Energy Freedom Act, H.3659), was discussed in a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee last week. There was lengthy and robust testimony and discussion from utilities, solar industries, and Senators about the bill, primarily around the contract-term length for large-scale solar contracts. Utilities want shorter (or no) minimum terms, which ultimately would kill the large scale solar industry because no contracts could be financed. The solar industry and conservation organizations want a 10-year minimum term, which gives a baseline of certainty for financing projects, bringing low-cost power onto the grid, and allowing this job-creating industry to thrive.

    While there are two more subcommittee hearings to dig into this and other items in the bill – on March 14th and March 20th – time is running out. Net metering caps are set to expire in the Upstate on March 15th and in early May throughout the rest of the state. Without action in the next few weeks, the entire rooftop solar industry could be at risk. So…help us keep up the pressure. Please keep asking your Senator to pass the Energy Freedom Act.

The weeks ahead:

  • Dam Safety – S.107, the rollback of dam safety protections for over 1,600 dams across the state, will be taken up in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this Thursday. We still need your help to stop this dangerous rollback of dam safety protections. Contact your Senator to tell them to keep dam safety protections intact.

  • House Budget Week – Today the House begins debate on the first draft of the budget. It is a long and grueling process that often goes late into the night as they discuss section after section and amendment after amendment. But our team of lobbyists will be there through it all.

    The budget is incredibly important when it comes to ensuring our state agencies have the funds necessary to implement the policies that you help us pass. And, as always, we’ll be keeping an eye out to make sure no anti-conservation riders get sneaked onto the budget in the wee hours of the evening.

  • Home Rule (Plastics Solutions) – On March 20, the day after lobby day, the Senate LCI subcommittee will hear more testimony on S.394, the anti-home rule bill. If passed, this bill would take away the ability of communities to pass local ordinances to help limit the use and impact of plastic bags and containers. Please continue to tell Senators to oppose this rollback of home rule. 

I look forward to seeing you next week at Lobby Day. If you can join me, we’ll talk to legislators about these issues and more. As always, you can continue to follow our weekly hotlist and more opportunities to take action at www.cvsc.org.

TAKE ACTION TODAY!