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April 4th, 2022
By Megan Chase
With just three legislative days left before the April 10 crossover deadline, we saw a flurry of activity in House and Senate Committees last week and a few legislative wins. After this week, any bill that has not moved through one chamber will not pass this year and will need to start the whole process over again next year.
The Trails Tax Credit Bill (H.3120) passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee last Thursday, a much-needed step in order to make crossover. As a reminder, this bill provides a tax credit to property owners who allow a public recreational trail easement on their property, which could help bolster community health, alleviate overcrowding on existing trails, and drive economic development. We expect this bill to be taken up on the House floor this week, so now is the time to reach out to your Representative and ask for their support of this bill! Read more about this bill here and find helpful hints on how to contact your legislator.
Ways and Means hits pause on Conservation Enhancement Act
After promising signs for the Conservation Enhancement Act (H.4956) in the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing Tuesday, the full W&M Committee adjourned debate on the bill the next day, meaning it will not pass this year. Chairman Murrell Smith emphasized his support for the bill and committed to refiling and shepherding it through the legislative process next year.
Good news for property rights and protections against pipeline spills
On Tuesday, the Eminent Domain Moratorium bill (H.3524) passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously and is expected to be taken up on the Senate floor this week. This bill extends the moratorium on private, unregulated petroleum pipeline companies from construction and use of eminent domain until June 30, 2024, giving us time to work on the much-needed regulatory infrastructure to protect property rights and local waterways from pipeline spills.
House Agriculture Committee advances two bills to manage waste
The E-Waste bill (H. 4775), introduced by House Ag Chairman and Upstate Representative Davey Hiott, authorizes the E-Waste recycling program under DHEC until 2029 and clarifies the process for disposing of certain computers, monitors, printers, and TVs, ensuring that they don’t end up in landfills. Sound familiar? UF helped pass a two-year E-Waste extension bill (H.4035) last year, hoping for a stakeholder process that would provide valuable input in making the program better. You can read more about the stakeholder process that led to this legislation here.
The Hazardous Waste bill (H.4999) creates a system where companies responsible for cleaning up contaminated sites could apply to use site-specific cleanup standards rather than the statewide standards DHEC currently requires. Site-specific standards are already in use on certain federal CERCLA sites and can take into account future land use and risks to potential receptors (i.e., drinking water, residences), but there is concern that this bill could allow more contamination to remain in place. As identified during the hearing, small changes are needed to clarify DHEC’s authority when the bill reaches the House floor. We will closely watch this bill and, if passed, keep DHEC accountable as they begin to implement these new standards.
All eyes on the House and Senate floors. While the Senate Finance Subcommittees will continue to develop their version of the State Budget (Health and Human Services; Natural Resources and Economic Development), we can expect full days of debate in the House and Senate chambers ahead of the crossover deadline this week.
If you have registered to attend our Annual Lobby Day and Oyster Roast on April 26th, please contact me so that we may coordinate the Upstate advocates!
This is a free event hosted by the SC Conservation Coalition that provides the opportunity to meet fellow advocates, legislators, and staff who value conservation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.
Until next week...
State Policy Director
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