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April 25th, 2023
By Megan Chase-Muller
Remember that this is the first year of a two-year session, giving us more time next year to advance conservation priorities, and we aren't quite down to the wire yet. But we are running out of time to pass legislation that can help protect the Upstate’s land, water, and communities this year.
With three weeks left, we could use your help in advocating for our conservation priorities. Consider reaching out to your legislators to voice your support for at least one of these bills that have made crossover (click on the link for more info):
The Senate passed its version of the state budget with little controversy last week. This budget is clearly supportive of conservation initiatives in both the House and Senate versions, and we appreciate all the hard work from Senate Finance Chairman Harvey Peeler (Cherokee) and House Ways & Means Chairman Bruce Bannister (Greenville).
Conversations on the DHEC Reform Bill continued last week in a Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee hearing. We’re nearing closer to a final set of recommendations but there is still much to be worked out between the House and Senate versions. The Senate version of this bill (S.399), which retains much of the original language from previous years, notably differs from the House version (H.4124) that has received support from the conservation community.
The joint resolution (H.3209) that would extend deadlines for development permits received second reading – the last major hurdle - in the Senate last Thursday. In January we talked about this bill after it was amended to address some of its more concerning aspects.
Tuesday (4/25), after the House adjourns: The Workforce Housing bill (S.284) we discussed last month has a Ways & Means subcommittee hearing. This bill would authorize municipalities to use accommodations and hospitality taxes for affordable housing.
Tuesday (4/25) at 10 am: The House Economic Development and Utility Modernization Ad hoc Committee will meet again to further conversations about how to address the demand by SC residents and businesses for clean, affordable energy. They will hear from the PEW Charitable Trust on leveraging federal dollars from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act to benefit the state.
Tuesday (4/25), 1.5 hours after the House adjourns: The bill that would help SC DNR protect rare and endangered species by prohibiting the public release of their location records (H. 4047) has a hearing in the House Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Wednesday (4/26) at 9 am: The Trails Tax Credit Bill (H.3121) championed by Spartanburg Representative Max Hyde will receive a Ways & Means subcommittee hearing. This bill would expand public access to green spaces by providing an income tax credit (10 cents per square foot) to property owners who agree to add a voluntary, perpetual trail easement.
Wednesday (4/26) at 11 am: The Medical Affairs subcommittee considering the Senate version of the DHEC Reform bill (S.399) will have one more hearing this week.
Wednesday (4/26), after the House adjourns: the solar property tax exemption bill (H.3948) we’ve discussed that would provide incentives for the adoption of solar and battery storage will be considered in a Ways & Means subcommittee.
While some of these bills did not make the crossover threshold, it’s important for them to gain as much ground as they can in committee before the end of the session.
Until next week...
State Policy Director
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