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May 9th, 2022
By Megan Chase
This week marks the end of the 2022 Legislative Session — I'm still in disbelief by how quickly the weeks have passed. Remember we are in the 2nd year of a two-year session, so any legislation that has not passed this year will need to be filed again next year. With just three days left until Sine Die, there is still much work to be done to ensure our legislative priorities reach the finish line.
Missed last week’s update? Click here for a recap on Lobby Day and the Eminent Domain Moratorium made law!
The DHEC Breakup Bill (S.2) was given new life after it passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee with a substantial amendment that empowers the Department of Administration to study and make recommendations to the General Assembly on the most effective means of agency reform and restructuring. More details to come in the final Legislative Update next week.
The Offshore Wind Joint Resolution (H.4831) was carried over again last week. After the seemingly noncontroversial legislation took a turn into uncharted waters three weeks ago, we have not seen much movement in the weeks since then and hope to see the original intent of the bill restored on the Senate floor this week. Click here to learn more about this legislation and here for a look at some of the changes that have been made.
The Solar on Superfund Bill (S.901) and the County Green Space Sales Tax Act (S.152) were placed on the contested calendar Wednesday after over a dozen House members requested debate on the bills. While legislators called for debate on S.901 before the bill could be explained, debate for S.152 was requested after a question was raised on how potential green spaces would be identified. We anticipate the House to revisit both of these bills in the week ahead.
Recent news from the SC Public Service Commission heightens the urgency to pass legislation like the Solar on Superfund Bill that enables creative solar development in our state. Last week, the PSC voted to deny an innovative solar program proposed by Duke Energy that was expected to save South Carolina ratepayers $18 million. On behalf of Upstate Forever and four additional organizations, the Southern Environmental Law Center supported Duke’s proposed “Smart $aver Solar” program, which would have lowered electric bills, reduced peak demand, and contributed to a cleaner grid.
The Trails Tax Credit Bill (H.3120) has a last-minute hearing in a Senate Finance subcommittee this Tuesday at 10:00 a.m! There is still a chance for this legislation to pass this year, giving us a critical tool for expanding public access to outdoor recreation and boosting economic development. Learn more about this bill here.
Following up on our conversations about how South Carolina produces and distributes power throughout the state, I encourage you to watch the Electricity Market Reform Measures Study Committee meeting on Tuesday at 9:30 am. You can watch that hearing here and learn more about this committee here.
As the General Assembly concludes its two-year Legislative Session this week, we’ll work with our partners — likely down to the wire — to advance the legislation we’re counting on to protect the Upstate's natural resources and communities.
Until next week...
State Policy Director
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