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March 15th, 2022
By Megan Chase
Arriving just as abruptly as the “Spring Forward” time change over the weekend, we have reached the halfway point in the Legislative Session. With our conservation partners, we have been keeping tabs on the bills, budgets, and resolutions that affect our communities in the Upstate. Read below for where some of these bills stand.
Missed last week’s update? Click here for updates from the first nine weeks of session.
At this point in the Legislative Session, time is running out to get bills through committees and at least one chamber. We’ve provided a list of bills we’ve kept track of since the start of 2022 and their status with just a few weeks before the April 10 “Crossover” date. You can click on the bill name for a brief overview from our previous updates.
Bill Spotlight: PFAS
The PFAS bill (S.219) authorizes DHEC to address ongoing contamination of toxic PFAS chemicals that have been found at concerning levels in drinking water sources throughout the state, including the Upstate’s Enoree River, Lake Greenwood, Reedy River, Broad River, and the North and South Tyger Rivers. The bill is up for consideration in Medical Affairs Committee this Thursday at 10 am (watch that hearing here).
Other bills we’re following:
The Conservation Enhancement Act (S.1039, H.4956) - Introduced this year, this bill has yet to receive a subcommittee hearing in the Senate Finance or House Ways and Means Committee, which have been busy with budgets.
The Plastic Pellet “Nurdles” pollution bill (S.596) passed the Senate last year and now needs to pass out of the House Agriculture Committee. No one wants these pesky plastic pellets in South Carolina waters or harming wildlife.
The Wind Energy Study Bill (H.4831) – Introduced by Greenville Representative Jason Elliot this year, this bill swiftly passed out of the House and is now waiting for a hearing in the Senate LCI Committee.
The Mining Bill (H.3892) – While we saw this bill gain bipartisan support last month, the bill resides in the House Agriculture Committee and will likely get a few fixes to ensure it's successful in protecting public land from the impacts of intensive mining.
The DHEC Restructuring Bill (S.2) - A priority bill for Senate Finance Chairman Harvey Peeler, this bill was contested last week and then set for special order to be taken up on the Senate floor this Wednesday.
We’re in House Budget week, meaning long days of debating the Appropriations Bill (H.5150) on the House floor. This week should be interesting given that the House changed its budgetary rules last week so that any proviso offered in the budget that would change statutory law would require a 3/5 vote for consideration during budget deliberations.
SC DNR and Office of Resilience budget requests will be heard at a Senate Finance subcommittee meeting on Wednesday at 9:15 am.
As mentioned, the PFAS Joint Resolution (S.219) will be taken up at the Senate Medical Affairs Committee this Thursday at 10:00 am.
These things happen. Due to the House being on furlough the week of March 22nd, we are moving the Conservation Coalition Lobby Day and Oyster Roast to Tuesday, April 26th to be able to interact with and include House members. Don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions!
Until next week...
State Policy Director
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