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Legislative Updates 2024: March 11 - March 15

March 19th, 2024
By Megan Chase-Muller


  • State Budget passes House, Senate budget moving along in subcommittees
  • Update on NPDES Sign bill (S.999) hearing
  • Ten-Year Energy Transformation Act (H.5118)


Not surprisingly for this time of year, we have seen a steady flow of activity on our priorities. With this year’s “crossover” date on April 10th looming — the deadline by which a bill needs to have passed out of its originating chamber before heading to the other — we’re running out of time to advance these legislative priorities.

Last week we reviewed where our priorities are at the halfway point of the legislative session. You can read that update here.

news from the statehouse

State Budget passes House, Senate budget moving along in subcommittees

The House passed the $13.2 billion state budget Wednesday after two full days of floor debate and our budget priorities remain largely intact. As expected, we’re seeing a leaner year compared to the past few years, primarily due to the end of federal COVID-related funding, but have been impressed with the continued prioritization of land conservation and resilience dollars. Read here for a refresher on how all state agency conservation budgets work in tandem to ensure state, federal, and private dollars are maximized to protect important habitat, flood-prone areas, and other critical conservation lands.

We hope to see these commitments honored as the Senate continues its budget subcommittee work. Last week, the Conservation Bank presented a well-received budget request to the Senate Finance Natural Resource and Economic Development subcommittee, and the new Department of Environmental Services presented their budget to the Health and Human Services subcommittee.

Delay on NPDES Sign Bill

Last Wednesday, the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee hearing to consider the NPDES Sign bill (S.999) was well-attended by people who use our waterways to fish, paddle, and recreate. Much of the hearing was used to hear from an opponent of the bill who made the argument that requiring a NPDES permit holder to place a sign next to their outfall would place undue burden on industries and was duplicative of publicly accessible information about NPDES permit locations on the SC Watershed Atlas. While I am a supporter and user of the SC Watershed Atlas, and Upstate Forever uses it for much of our Clean Water program work, it does require a good deal of training to use and cannot be used without an internet connection.

The bill was carried over after the clock ran out, and we expect another Subcommittee hearing to be scheduled soon. Ultimately, we hope that the Subcommittee will continue to accept comments from water users and individual members of the permitted community that demonstrate that this bill is a low-cost, simple mechanism for public notice without creating significant regulatory hoops.

Energy bill conversations heating up

The House LCI Public Utilities Subcommittee will convene on Tuesday to consider what we expect to be substantial changes to the Ten-Year Energy Transformation Act (H.5118). Adding to the heightened state of affairs, this article from the Post and Courier reported last week that a Commissioner for the SC Public Service Commission, Tom Ervin, announced his resignation in response to the bill and the changes expected to restrict the PSC from conducting its duties responsibly. We will keep you up to date on the development of this bill. Remember, you can still talk to your legislator about this bill and convey to them the importance of public input and adequate review for energy projects.

You can read more about this bill here and reach out to your legislator here.

the week ahead

Tuesday (3/19), 3:00 pm: the Full Senate Finance Committee will receive a revenue update from the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, which will inform the rest of the Committee's budget work.

Tuesday (3/19), 1 hour after adjournment: The House LCI Public Utilities Subcommittee will meet to discuss changes to the Ten Year Energy Transformation Act (H.5118).

Wednesday (3/20), 1 hour after adjournment: the full House LCI Committee is scheduled to meet to take up H.5118, pending a favorable report Tuesday.

Be on the lookout for additional opportunities to get involved throughout the Legislative Session and learn more about the issues that affect our daily lives. We’ll continue to keep you informed on their progress and ways to get involved throughout the legislative session! 

Until next week...

Megan Chase-Muller
State Policy Director

Odds and Ends and Actions:

Did you receive this Update as a forward and want to sign up for it yourself? You can do so right here. The Legislative Update will hit your mailbox every week during session (January through May).

Did your senator or representative do something awesome this week? Tell them! Use this link to find out who represents you, and if you love a bill they are supporting, please let them know. You can also just use the link to tell them what is important to you.

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