Hal Stallworth Hal Stallworth
March 27, 2018

The buzz leading up to a solar showdown last week, aided by your efforts at Lobby Day, was deafening. Unfortunately, the House did not make it through enough of their agenda this past week to have the residential solar debate.

The House is taking this week off for their Spring Break. After that, there will be one more week before Crossover Day, the date before which a bill must have passed to the other chamber in order to have a chance to become law. While they’re on break this coming week, please keep reminding your Representative that you support solar growth in SC so we can get H.4421 passed quickly when they return. Please ask your Representative to vote for solar growth when they return.

If you were able to join us this week for Conservation Lobby Day – THANK YOU! It was my first time as staff, and I can tell you, it was just as nerve-wracking and exciting as when I participated as a volunteer. The party afterwards was a great chance to relax and enjoy good conversations over perhaps my favorite pastime, shucking those wonderful South Carolina oyster clusters. Again thank you… and if I didn’t see you this time, we have our final lobby day coming up on April 24th, so please save the date!

Here’s what else is going on…
THE WEEK AHEAD
• Anti-Home Rule – With the House on break this week, we have an opportunity to focus on stopping a bad bill in the Senate. If it passes the Senate, H.3529 will limit the ability of citizens to work with their local government to find local solutions to local problems. Specifically, the bill prohibits communities from adopting local ordinances affecting disposable containers – including plastic bag and styrofoam. Despite intense debate about the role of state and local government and the detrimental effect of plastics on our coastal economies, the bill passed out of the House 73-41 this February. The bill recently passed out of a LCI subcommittee on a 4-3 vote and is headed to full committee. This is our last chance to defeat the bill before it heads to the floor of the Senate. We narrowly avoided it being scheduled for a full Committee vote this past week. We need your help keeping up the pressure. Please ask your Senator to oppose this erosion of Home Rule.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM LAST WEEK

 Conservation Bank Reauthorization – I’m excited to share the good news with you – H.4727 passed the Senate last week 38-0! Thank you for helping us communicate the importance of land protection to your legislators. This bill will permanently reauthorize the Conservation Bank, maintain its independent agency status, and allow it to continue its competitive grants process to protect private and public lands in SC. There are also a whole host of transparency and process improvements that will help the Bank be an even stronger force for land protection. The bill still has to have differences worked out between the House and Senate versions, but we’re almost over the finish line! Stay tuned for how you can thank your legislators for their support.

 Solar Habitats – In the midst of Lobby Day this week, we were able to join our wildlife habitat partners in celebrating another win! H.4875 passed the House 98-11 and now heads over to the Senate. This bill will create a voluntary vegetative management standard for solar sites that will lead to native vegetation and habitat around solar sites that are beneficial to game birds, songbirds, wild pollinators, small mammals and other wildlife. DNR and other state agencies, federal partners, and conservation non-profits will work collaboratively to develop the voluntary standards. 

And, if you have any questions about these bills or want to read more about our conservation priorities for this session, check out our summary of 2018 legislative priorities here. >>

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