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State House Update: Floor Debates 2.0

This week will be a continuation of last week’s floor debates in the House. They will debate and likely vote on the Auto Stay and the Anti-Home Rule (or Banning Plastic Bag Bans) bills. A new bill will also be on the calendar this week — the Nuisance Bill — which gives immunity to industries who expand from nuisance suits. These three bills all attempt to limit citizens’ voices. We need to you turn up the pressure and make sure your legislators know how you feel about these important issues.

Please visit our Legislative Action Center for opportunities to contact your legislators.

Immunity from Nuisance Suits: S.323 and H.3653 remove the rights of neighboring landowners to take action to ensure the safe and healthy enjoyment of their property. Essentially the bills provide industry a blanket immunity from noise and odor impacts to nearby properties (these, among others, are called nuisance complaints). If these bills pass, citizens will not be able to take action to protect their property from nuisance issues.

Supporters of the bill argue that the bill is intended to prevent an existing industry from being sued if a nearby property is sold and a new resident moves nearby. Existing nuisance laws and court precedent have already established a process for addressing disputes that arise between industries and their neighbors. The current system is not broken and is not being abused and should be maintained.

  • House Status: H.3653 will be debated and voted on by the House this coming week. Please ask your Representative to oppose this bill. CVSC will score a vote for this bill as anti-conservation.
  • Senate Status: S.323 will get a Senate LCI Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, March 8th at 10:00 am in Room 307 of the Gressette Building.

Saving the Automatic Stay: If passed, S.105 and H.3565 will weaken citizens’ ability to successfully challenge the government when a citizen believes a permit is incorrectly issued (before it’s finalized). These bills neuter what is known as the Automatic Stay – a pause button that prevents harm from occurring while the permit challenge is considered. The “stay” allows the court to assess the facts and law in order to determine whether the permit was properly granted. The “stay” avoids irreparable harm to an affected party or place before that harm occurs.

This tool may be used by a wide range of entities – conservation groups, wastewater utilities, hospitals, restaurants, and any other entity that must obtain, or may be affected by, a DHEC permit for operation.  

The stakes are high in permit challenges, for both an applicant and a challenger. Allowing a permitted activity to begin with a faulty permit or requiring citizens to post high bonds would significantly harm citizens’ ability to successfully challenge the government and unnecessarily increase costs of a project.

Read more about the automatic stay here.

  • Senate Status: Unfortunately, S.105 passed out of Senate Judiciary last week. Please thank Senator McElveen for his continued work to protect South Carolinians. Also, please thank Senators Kimpson and Young for asking great questions in committee. Please contact your Senator and ask them to oppose this bill.
  • House Status:  A vote on this bill has been delayed for weeks, but we expect it to be debated and voted on this coming week. Please keep up the pressure and contact your Representative and ask them to oppose this bill. CVSC will score a vote for this bill as anti-conservation.

Anti-Home Rule (or Banning Plastic Bag Bans): If passed, H.3529 will prevent our cities and towns from find local solutions for local problems — taking away what is referred to as “Home Rule” and what has been a cornerstone of our governmental structure in South Carolina.

Despite being a “home rule” state, the plastic bag companies are fighting to take away our right to make decisions about plastic use in our communities and the control of recycling waste.

We support coastal municipalities, like Isle of Palms and Folly Beach, that have taken the lead on this issue to reduce plastic waste on our beaches. Their commitment will protect marine life, birds, and the natural beauty we expect to see along our coast.

For more information, please read this media coverage.

  • House vote status: A vote on this bill has been delayed for weeks, but we expect it to be debated and voted on this coming week. We must keep up the pressure. Please reach out to your Representative and urge them to vote against this Anti-Home Rule Bill. CVSC will score a vote for this bill as anti-conservation.


Please Register for the Conservation Lobby Day and Oyster Roast on March 21, 2017

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