We did it. We made it through the first year of the legislative session. Because of your hard work this year talking to your legislators, we made progress. We were able to keep several bad bills from passing into law, and we made significant progress on good legislation that we can capitalize on next year. We’ll be back in January 2018 to pick up where we left off.
For those of you tracking votes, expect a longer summary this summer after we’re through the final budget and veto process.
To prepare for next year, we’ll be taking time this summer and fall to meet with legislators in their home districts. Would you like to join us? Click here to sign up.
Here are some bills we need your help supporting:
Dam Safety Reform: H.3218 will give DHEC the tools and authority it needs to better protect citizens and dam owners. After passing the House, the bill is waiting for action in the Senate next year.
Solar Market Growth: Instead of bringing $1 billion in solar investment to South Carolina, a House Ways and Means Subcommittee stalled S.44 for the year.
Offshore Wind: H.4304 and S.724 will encourage offshore wind development in South Carolina. These bills were introduced late in session, but are so far receiving lots of support with over 50 house members signed on as co-sponsors. The bills will be up for debate in both chambers next year.
Offshore Drilling: H.4307 would block state agencies from approving the infrastructure needed to pursue offshore oil and gas drilling. This bill was introduced late in session, but will help us stop offshore drilling in SC. The bill will be in the House for debate next year.
Reauthorizing the Conservation Bank: After useful conversations in subcommittee, we’re looking forward to working with legislators on how to improve and reauthorize the Conservation Bank in 2018. In 2018, we will continue work on two bills (H.4014 and S.219) in the House and Senate.
Here’s the status of bills we succeeded in stalling this session and will look to improve next year:
Immunity from Nuisance Suits: If S.323 and H.3653 bills pass, citizens will not be able to take action to protect their property from nuisance issues from nearby industries. While these bills stalled out this session, they will still be up for debate in the Senate next year.
Saving the Automatic Stay: S.105 and H.3565 neuter what is known as the Automatic Stay – a pause button that prevents harm from occurring while a permit challenge is considered. The conservation community succeeded in stopping forward momentum, but these bills will still be up for debate in the House next year.
The Poultry Bill (H.3929) passed out of the House before the end of session. We are grateful that it was improved, but there’s more work to be done in the Senate next year. We want to make sure that we do not create a system that allows poultry operations to ignore the concerns of their neighbors. We want them to operate as good neighbors to property owners and our natural resources.
Protecting Home Rule: H.3529 would have prevented local governments from addressing plastic pollution from items like plastic bags. Thankfully it was stalled in the House this year, but will still be up for debate in House next year.
We are very proud of the successes that we’ve had this session. When conservation wins, it’s because of the care and support of our members and conservationists around the state, as well as the tireless efforts of the CVSC staff. We know that you are as invested as we are in protecting the South Carolina you love, and every session we try to honor that by supporting bills that will further that vision.
We are so grateful for your continued support and trust as we work for a future where our air, land, and water are protected.