What a week! Remember how I said things get busier at the Statehouse as we approach crossover (the deadline for a bill to cross from one chamber to the next to pass into law this year) on April 10? Well, this week was a testament to how quickly things can move when there’s a looming deadline.
What happened last week:
- Clean Energy: We cleared another hurdle! Thursday, on day 85 of our 100 Day Clean Energy Campaign, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee passed H.3659 (4-1) to the full judiciary committee with a favorable report. There were some adjustments to the bill, but it’s still headed in the right direction. Attempts to weaken the bill were defeated.
Many thanks to Senators Gambrell, Massey, Sabb, and Hutto for voting in favor of the bill. Senator Climer voted no. This is great news, but Duke Energy is working to slow the bill and cause issues along the way and we must keep pushing through full committee and then to the floor of the Senate.
- Dam Safety Rollbacks: Despite a lobby day by special interest groups intent on weakening dam safety laws, S.107 was sent back to the Senate Finance Committee from the floor of the Senate. This adds a significant hurdle for the bill to move forward before the April 10 crossover deadline. The Finance Committee wants to review a tax credit in the bill meant to relieve the financial burden on dam owners faced with repairs.
As the Finance Committee digs into this dangerous rollback of dam safety protections, we’re hopeful that additional review will result in removing the low hazard exemption in the bill and strengthening of dam safety protections for our state. In the meantime, this slow down is a good pause button on a troubling piece of legislation. Take action now and ask your Senator to vote no on S.107.
- Melting Plastics: H.4152 would allow plastic pyrolysis – the melting and gasification of “hard to recycle” plastic waste to turn them into petroleum-based fuel for other industrial purposes. This might be a good alternative for plastics disposal if done properly, but there are too many unanswered questions regarding this new and unproven technology. This bill passed out of House Ag and Natural Resources last week and is awaiting a vote on the House floor.
Right now, the bill is too broadly written and could put South Carolina at risk from bad actors, bad industry, and out of state waste. Accordingly, CVSC and our conservation allies are continuing to work to improve the bill and make sure it’s handling the disposal of plastics in an environmentally safe and responsible way. We plan to work hand-in-hand with Senators to ensure the best possible outcome for all of South Carolina.
The week ahead:
- Clean Energy: H.3659 (The Energy Freedom Act) is in the full Senate Judiciary Committee TOMORROW, Tuesday, where Senators can vote to send the bill to the Senate floor. Please take action RIGHT NOW on this critically important bill.
We are at day 91 of the 100 Day Clean Energy Campaign and need the momentum around this bill to continue if we’re going to secure a clean energy future for our state. That’s why your action is so critical! Speaking of action on clean energy, once you contact your Senator to support H.3659, why not sign up to join us at a Rally for Solar Freedom TOMORROW, April 2, at 1 p.m. in the first floor lobby of the Statehouse? People from all over the state are coming in and you never know what you will miss! With the bill in committee later that afternoon, the timing couldn’t be better for hundreds of clean energy supporters to show up at the Statehouse and be a part of the movement that gets positive energy legislation across the finish line. Sign up here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rally-for-energy-freedom-tickets-59003038677
- Home Rule (Plastic Bag Bans): A third subcommittee meeting is scheduled this Thursday afternoon for S.394. This is the bill that strips communities of their right to find local solutions to local plastic pollution. Not only does it further erode Home Rule (the ability of local governments to govern), it would allow more plastic pollution all across our state – creating unsightly litter, harming wildlife, and putting public health at risk. Please, take action today and urge your Senator to vote NO on this misguided legislation.
- Melting Plastics: H.4152 (discussed above) is awaiting a vote on the House floor, which may occur any time this week. Our House allies are aware of our concerns regarding this bill, but we’re already looking ahead to the Senate and the opportunities to stop or improve this bill if it should make it to the other chamber.
As we approach the end of the legislative year, we’re going to need your help to pass good legislation and stop bad legislation. Thank you for your continued action.