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April 19th, 2021
By Shelley Robbins
There are four weeks left in the 2021 Legislative Session. The full Senate Finance Committee will take up the State Budget this week (H. 4100 and H. 4101). You can watch the meeting on Tuesday here, starting at 10am. The State Board of Economic Advisors is now estimating that South Carolina will have $1.7 billion more in revenues available at the beginning of the next fiscal year (July 1). These funds will be in addition to increased federal aid. Read more here. The Senate is planning to debate the budget on the floor the week of April 26 before sending it back to the House, where it will be revised to reflect the increased funding.
The Senate has a unique tool — Rule 32B — that can be used to slow a bill down if a Senator has concerns that need to be addressed. Under this rule, a Senator can place his or her name on a bill, and this action moves that bill to the Contested Calendar where it stalls. Any Senator can only have their name on five bills at any given time. You can view each day's calendar here, and you can see which bills are contested on any particular day. At the end of the bill's summary, the contested bills state "Contested by Senator __). However, in the final two weeks of session (almost upon us), a bill can be pulled to the floor from the Contested Calendar by majority vote of the Rules Committee. See who is on the Rules Committee here. The House does not have this unique provision.
The hearing for S. 2 — the DHEC Breakup Bill — scheduled for April 7 that was postponed until April 14 has been postponed once again to April 21, 30 minutes after the Senate adjourns. You can (hopefully) watch the livestream here. Read more about this bill here.
S. 464, the Santee Cooper reform bill, will likely get significant floor time this week. In an interesting twist, on April 15 NextEra sent a letter to Senate President Harvey Peeler reaffirming their interest in purchasing Santee Cooper and indicating they have revised their proposal and want to discuss it with leadership. This will impact nature of the floor debate (almost certainly by design).
S. 751 was filed this week by Senator Harpootlian and tweaks the language in the Energy Freedom Act dealing with the concept of cost shift.
H. 4149 the Utility Whistleblower bill, filed by House Labor, Commerce and Industry Chairman Bill Sandifer, makes it unlawful for a public utility to retaliate against an employee whistleblower.
S. 304, Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, is getting a House Labor, Commerce and Industry subcommittee hearing on Wednesday at 9am. You can watch it here. We are very excited about this bill and the prospect that passage will add more EV charging infrastructure to South Carolina's transportation corridors.
House bills that made crossover and await a hearing in the Senate:
H. 3120 Trails Tax Credit Bill ACTION CENTER.
H. 3979 Solar HOA Bill ACTION CENTER.
H. 3514 PFAS Bill ACTION CENTER. Deep Dive on PFAS here. PFAS Lobby Week webinar featuring Upstate Forever's Clean Water Advocate Megan Chase here.
Until next week...
Energy and State Policy Director
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