We made it through crossover week at the Statehouse! Thankfully, the Energy Freedom Act made it to the floor of the Senate. We also stopped several bad bills from making crossover (the day a bill has to make it from one chamber to another to have a chance of becoming law this year) last week: the Plastics Ban-Ban, Dam Safety Rollbacks, and Melting Plastics. Each of these puts the health and safety of our communities at risk and we’re thrilled that we’ve been able to slow them down this year.
While the Senate works on the budget this week, the House is on furlough — giving us all a bit of break.
What happened last week:
- Clean Energy: H.3659, the Energy Freedom Act, passed out of the full Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously! Staving off some bad amendments in subcommittee and committee, the bill made it to the floor largely intact.Last Wednesday was day 100 of our 100 day agenda. We’ve come a long way, but aren’t done yet. Once it passes the Senate, the House will have to decide if they concur with Senate amendments. If they don’t concur, a conference committee from both chambers will get together to iron out differences in the bill. We’ll let you know when to take action again.
- Plastics and Home Rule: Unfortunately, the Senate LCI Committee voted this week to send S.394 to the floor of the Senate. Senator Sandy Senn worked to amend the bill to improve the negative impact it will have on communities searching for plastic pollution problems but was ultimately unable to stop or improve the bill. Thanks go to Sen. Senn (R – Charleston), Davis (R – Beaufort), and Bennett (R – Dorchester) for voting against the bill in Committee. While this bill did not make crossover, we may still have a Senate floor debate before the end of session.Your voice is important in this issue, please click here and send a message to your Senator urging them to vote NO on S.394.
- Offshore Drilling: The bills addressing the permitting of onshore infrastructure for offshore drilling (there are two — one good – H.3087, one bad – H.3471) passed to full House Ag Committee Thursday evening (the day after crossover) and both are expected to make it to the floor this year. Please join us in praising the actions of Representatives Hewitt, McCoy, Stavrinakis, Clary, Moore, Rivers, W. Newton, Henderson Myers, and Williams for speaking out against offshore drilling and showing their support for H.3087. This will be an interesting and heated debate. Read more about these bills in the Post and Courier.
- Melting Plastics: H.4152, the bill that will allow pyrolysis or the melting of plastic waste in SC, failed to make crossover this week in the House after Representatives slowed it down on the House floor. Many thanks go to Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell for leading the fight to question the intent and language in the bill. This has bought us some time to work with our partners and Representatives to see if we can improve the bill (or stop it if it’s a bad deal for South Carolina).
The week ahead:
- Clean Energy: The Senate is working on the budget next week so a vote on H.3659 won’t come up before April 23rd. Once we hit that week, we’ll only have 9 legislative days left, so the pressure will be on. Stay tuned for more opportunities to take action as we make our final push.
- Home Rule (Plastic Bag Bans): This week is a good opportunity to fight against this misguided attempt to usurp home rule from local communities working to address local plastic pollution. We need your help. Please take action today and ask your Senator to vote NO on S.394.
As always, you can continue to follow our weekly hotlist and more opportunities to take action at www.cvsc.org.