First and foremost, thank you! The South Carolina conservation community shared a few wins last week, thanks to passionate conservation voters like you.
Before the special legislative session convened last week, there were quite a few unknowns and uncertainties – some still remain. But more importantly, we see that your actions are inspiring pro-conservation actions from the legislature – and that continues to give us hope for the future. In fact, it is because of your advocacy that more of our state leaders are understanding and embracing the importance of ensuring clean air, unpolluted water, and protected land for all.
What Happened Last Week
- Forecasting a drop in state revenue, the Senate passed their version of a 2020-2021 budget with a 40-3 vote to make sure state agencies remain strong and reliable. The House could accept, deny, or take no action on the Senate’s budget this week. You can read more about the Senate’s budget here.
- A conservation favorite, H.4831 (the Turtle Bill), passed the Senate and returned to the House with amendments. The bill aims to protect native reptiles and amphibians from the illegal wildlife trafficking, similar to efforts adopted in other Southeastern states. We hope the House will concur on the bill this week.
- The Energy Market Reform Study Committee Bill, H.4940, passed the Senate with amendments. This week the House has the option to review changes and, hopefully, concur with the bill. This bill seeks to establish an electricity market reform study committee charged with assessing the ratepayer and clean energy benefits of various energy market reforms, including joining or creating a Regional Transmission Organization.
- Last Wednesday, Governor McMaster signed the COVID-19 absentee expansion bill into law. This bill allows all South Carolina voters to vote, without reason, via absentee ballot for the November general election. Absentee ballot applications must be received by county offices by 5 p.m. on Oct. 24th if sent by mail and by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30th if applications are received in person. Read more about this legislation here.
What to Expect This Week
PSC Elections: On Wednesday, the entire SC General Assembly will cast votes for 4 out of the 7 seats on the Public Service Commission. This is the government body that makes energy-related decisions, like how much we pay for power and where that power comes from.
If you haven’t already, click here to send a message to your state Senator and Representative. Those appointed this week will be responsible for charting our energy future, making decisions over the next 4 years that will impact South Carolinians for decades to come. So make your voice heard – and join us in demanding the best, most qualified energy regulators for South Carolina - contact your lawmakers now: https://p2a.co/8weuLQH
Green Tie Awards: Please join CVSC on tomorrow, September 22nd at 7:30 p.m. for a virtual reception honoring our 2020 Green Tie Award Honorees. The Green Tie Awards recognize elected officials and public servants for their efforts to protect South Carolina’s air, land, and water. This year, we are proud to honor Senator Tom Young, Representative Beth Bernstein, Representative John King, and Marilyn Hemingway (CEO of the Gullah Geechee Chamber of Commerce).
Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors! The 2020 Green Tie Awards Virtual Reception is free to attend. Please RSVP online here.
As mentioned above, last week was a full legislative week for South Carolina, and a lot of impactful legislation was debated and even passed. It invites the anticipation of another encouraging legislative week for the conservation community as we closely watch our state leaders take up two pieces of environmental legislation. Tune in with us by clicking this link.
Again, thank you for all that you do to help improve the health and safety for all South Carolinians, and we look forward to having you join us for our annual Green Tie Awards tomorrow evening!