What a week! It may have been another slow legislative week for conservation; but, it was definitely an exciting and full week for me. Last week, I had the opportunity to talk with many legislators who are obvious champions of a clean and safe South Carolina.
Specifically, that sentiment was apparent at the Conservation Coalition breakfast last Wednesday. Several legislators mentioned that moving South Carolina towards a 100% clean energy state is a high priority. That’s encouraging!
But, even with this movement towards a cleaner, safer, and healthier South Carolina, we know that there is still much work to do. Check out what we were up to last week and what you can look out for this week! And remember, you can always find the latest actions you can take on priority legislation in our Action Center.
What happened last week?
Protecting SC from Offshore Drilling: Senator Campsen’s offshore drilling bill, S.870, now sits on the Senate floor. But, as mentioned in last week’s update, the Senate has been bogged down in debate regarding education reform. We’ll continue to watch how this bill progresses.
In the House, H.3087 continues to wait for a vote, despite overwhelming, bipartisan co-sponsorship. With the Senate bogged down, we need movement in the House now more than ever. Click this link and have our system patch you through to your Representative’s office so you can urge them to push for a vote → take action today!
PSC Reform: The “PSC Cooling-Off” bill (H.4776) will prohibit commissioners from being employed or retained by a public utility for a period of three years following their service at the Commission. This bill passed out of the House LCI committee on Thursday and will be up for a vote in the House this week.
The General Assembly also finally passed legislation to reopen the application period for the Public Service Commission. That means we have until noon on February 28th to find and encourage folks in congressional districts 1, 3, 5, and 7 to apply for a seat on the Commission. For more on this process, visit upowersc.com
Wildlife Protections: “The Turtle Bill” (H.4831 introduced by Rep. Hixon), passed the House 100-5 and is now set to move through the Fish, Game, and Forestry Committee in the Senate. This bill will protect native reptiles and amphibians from the illegal wildlife trade. Senator Sheheen’s version of the bill (S.885) sits in the same committee. Senators will review which bill should move forward.
What’s happening this week?
Santee Cooper: We expect the report from the Dept. of Administration on Santee Cooper to come out any day now, which will set the General Assembly into action on the next steps. You can still help us push legislators to advocate for a 100% clean energy commitment from Santee Cooper. Transitioning to 100% clean energy will lower bills, create jobs, and protect us from air and water pollution.
Offshore Drilling: Help us push for a House vote on offshore drilling this week while the Senate continues their debate on the education bill. Please call your Rep today and ask them to push for a vote!
Solar Access: South Carolina homeowners want to have easier access to solar and legislators are listening. Some Homeowner Associations are making rules to prohibit homeowners from placing rooftop solar panels on their homes. But thankfully, Representative Bill Herbkersman and Senator Davis have sponsored legislation (H.5011 and S.1032), which will ensure homeowners have reasonable access to rooftop solar by limiting the ability of Homeowner Associations to create anti-solar rules.
Please take action to encourage your Representative and Senator to co-sponsor these bills and tell them that you agree with the majority of South Carolinians who want solar freedom!
As always, thanks for all you do for conservation!