It was truly a mixed bag of news from the Statehouse last week as legislators dug into the nitty-gritty details of just how proposed legislation would affect South Carolinians. Our legislators have a lot of competing high-priority items right now, but luckily we were keeping score in session week four.
What happened last week:
- Energy: Clean energy discussions are ongoing in the House and Senate as we make progress on the 100 Day Clean Energy Agenda. A strong coalition of solar industry groups, clean energy advocates, and conservation organizations continued to add cosponsors to both the House and Senate bills. This week, Representatives Young, Garvin, Powers Norrell, and Cobb-Hunter signed on in support of these critical energy competition bills and we thank them for their support. Remind your legislators to support clean energy legislation today!
- Offshore Drilling: As the Federal government continues the push for offshore drilling off the coast of South Carolina, our legislators are firmly resolved in their opposition. Over 25 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 9 in the Senate signed on to the bill by Reps. Peter McCoy and Leon Stavrinakis and bills in the Senate by Sen. Campsen and Sen. Harpootlian that would prevent onshore infrastructure necessary for offshore drilling. Please help us by thanking legislators that have signed onto antioffshore drilling legislation. Let’s keep up the momentum and take action to keep offshore drilling away from our coast.
- Home Rule/Plastic Bags: It was a quiet week on this topic after the anti-home rule bill was introduced the week before. Your emails and phone calls are protecting our communities’ rights and keeping this bill at bay – keep it up!
The week ahead:
- Dam Safety Rollbacks: Unfortunately, the Senate is considering taking action to rollback dam safety regulations by exempting over 1,600 “low hazard” dams from the state’s Dam Safety Program. Not only is this legislation unnecessary (DHEC can already exempt low hazard dams if they don’t pose a threat) but it’s also dangerous. The majority of the 80+ dams that failed in the last 4 years have been low hazard dams – destroying private property, damaging roads and infrastructure, and causing loss of life. Please tell your Senator to reject a rollback of the Dam Safety Program.
And finally, we have good news for those of you that want to follow your legislator and legislative happenings more closely – there’s an app for that! Check out the new SC Legislature app on iTunes (not on Android devices, yet) and download it in advance of our SC Conservation Coalition events this spring.
What’s coming up:
- Feb. 21 Legislative Breakfast with the Conservation Coalition – RSVP today. From 8-10 am in Room 112 of the Blatt Building, we’ll enjoy breakfast from Blue Marlin while chatting with legislators and our friends in the SC Conservation Coalition about our legislative priorities and conservation values.
- March 19 Conservation Coalition Lobby Day and Oyster Roast – Save the Date!
As always, you can continue to follow our weekly hotlist and find more opportunities to take action at www.cvsc.org.