Your friendly Government Relations Team at CVSC hopes your favored team won the Superbowl on Sunday – and how about that halftime show, my fellow millennials?
Last week, the Senate continued to debate the Compassionate Care Act on Tuesday and Wednesday and the House found itself debating some election bills. This held up our work a bit, but makes this week even busier. Here’s where we are!
SC Conservation Enhancement Act: Now we have two land protection bills in the House and the Senate:
- Senator Campsen introduced the Conservation Enhancement Act, S.1039.
- Representative M. Smith, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced his companion bill, H.4956.
These bills restore deed stamp funding to the Conservation Bank,expands the Bank’s board, and (in Senate version only) allocates sales tax on outdoor recreational equipment for land management. While we would love to see more funding for land management, CVSC supports both of these efforts to double protected lands.
Stay tuned for a press conference at 12:30 on Wednesday, February 16th, where Governor McMaster, Senator Campsen, and other supporters will share remarks on the bill on the first floor of the State House. You’re welcome to join us in person if you like!
Funding: State agencies continued to present their budget requests in the House. As this process winds down, the Ways and Means committee will begin the process to present a budget to the House of Representatives in March. Of interest, the Office of Resilience asked for over $17-million dollars to fill their reserve account to be used in the event of natural disasters and to complete their resilience plan.
Additionally, the Senate Finance Committee finalized its proposal for the use of the Savannah River Site settlement proceeds. Of the $525-million in funds to be allocated, the committee proposes that $341.25-million goes to Aiken, Barnwell, and Allendale counties; $52.45-million goes to Bamberg, Colleton, Edgefield, Hampton, Lexington, orangeburg, and Saluda Counties; and $131.3-million goes to the County Transportation Committee. The funds going to counties can be used for capital items, like water and sewer; economic development; education facilities; and job creation. We were glad to see the fund allocation concentrated on the communities most affected by the federal government’s failure to remove bomb-grade plutonium from the site of a major construction project failure at SRS.
Clean Drinking Water (PFAS): I am so thankful for those of you who have taken the time to reach out to your Senator to urge them to pass S.219. Once again, we find ourselves on a crowded Medical Affairs Committee Agenda this Thursday at 10 am, but we hope to have the opportunity to be heard and that this bill is finally passed favorably out to the full Senate.courage your Senator to support clean drinking water
Please join us this week
If you are looking for a fun opportunity to engage with some of your legislators, fellow voters, and the CVSC team, please join us on Wednesday, February 16th at 5:30 pm as we welcome everyone back to the Statehouse for another year of fighting to protect the South Carolina we love. This is an in-person event, and we encourage you to only attend if you feel comfortable doing so and to take proper COVID precautions. To attend, please register here.
Thank you for continuing to use your voice. We cannot do this work without you!
P.S. If you want to learn how South Carolina cities can respond to the climate crisis, join CVSC at the Climate Ready Columbia Conference in April!