It’s here! This week is the last week of the 2019 legislative year. Thursday at 5 pm will be “sine die” and the end of the 2019 legislative session. That means it’s do-or-die for legislation until January 2020.
As we work to get the most out of the next three days, I need your help. We still have a chance to stop offshore drilling from happening in SC with a budget vote in the House. And the Energy Freedom Act is almost done in the Senate. Let’s get it done!
What happened last week:
- Offshore Drilling: While the Federal government continues to waffle about offshore drilling in the Atlantic, the House Ag Committee voted two competing offshore drilling bills out of committee last week.These competing bills address the permitting of onshore infrastructure for offshore drilling by either preventing state and local governments from issuing permits for infrastructure (anti-drilling, H.3087) or requiring these permits to be issued (pro-drilling, H.3471).
Sending two bills that do opposite things to the floor of the House for a vote is unusual. Usually, the committee is supposed to discuss the differences and send out the “best one.” In this final week of session, we may have an interesting floor fight on our hands and see some fireworks in the final days.
Thankfully, a bipartisan group of 36 Representatives has already signed on as co-sponsors to Rep. McCoy’s and Stavrinakis’s anti-offshore drilling infrastructure bill (H.3087) that will protect our coast. Whereas, only 5 Representatives have signed onto Rep. Burns’s misguided legislation that intends to encourage infrastructure to support offshore drilling.
- Senate Logjam Continued: The Senate spent most of the week discussing the future of Santee Cooper, creating a logjam that prevented any other bills from moving (including the Energy Freedom Act).At the end of session on Thursday, May 2, Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) asked the Senate for unanimous consent to give H.3659, The Energy Freedom Act, second reading.
The Senate agreed, which means that the Senate will now take the bill up for third reading and review amendments on Tuesday May 7th – it’s last Senate hurdle. After it hopefully passes out of the Senate on Tuesday, it’ll go to the House for a concurrence vote with Senate amendments. From there, it’ll head to the Governor’s desk.
It’s a nail biter with only 3 days left to the get H.3659 passed by the General Assembly. With such little time left, we can’t take anything for granted.
The week ahead:
- House Budget Provisos (and Offshore Drilling): The House will be reviewing budget provisos (similar to amendments) from the Senate this week. Budget provisos are only good for one year, but can have a long-lasting impact. South Carolina Senators approved a budget proviso (the vote was 40-4) that would block the massive onshore infrastructure needed for offshore drilling and seismic testing. Now we need to Representatives to agree with the Senate proviso on offshore drilling.Please help us ask House members to concur with the Senate budget proviso on offshore drilling.
- Clean Energy: To keep the Energy Freedom Act alive, Senators will discuss amendments and hopefully give the bill third reading tomorrow, Tuesday!I know you’ve taken action and sent emails already this year, and we appreciate every single action. With a last push, we can notch a win in clean energy this year. Click here to make a call to your Senator. We will guide you through the process and it only takes a minute!