Legislative Update: Week 5, 2020
This week brought about one of the biggest decisions the General Assembly will ever face, the fate of our state-owned utility Santee Cooper. Much of the work in the State House over the next few weeks will focus on the Santee Cooper issue and drafting this year’s state budget. Between these two important issues, we plan to continue the work we started last session on education reform and streamlining the process of business license fees.
3 Options for Santee Cooper
On Tuesday, the General Assembly received from the Department of Administration (DOA) their report outlining three finalized options for the future of South Carolina’s state utility, Santee Cooper. These options include a sell/purchase option; an option to bring in an outside manager, and an option to reform Santee Cooper. After reviewing numerous offers, the DOA completed their evaluation, chose the best three options for the state-owned utility, and reported to the General Assembly.
1. Sell Santee Cooper to private-owned utility NextEra
2. Come to terms with a management agreement with privately-owned Dominion Energy
3. Reform Santee Cooper while keeping state ownership and management
Now, the House and Senate must decide on the best option for ratepayers and taxpayers in South Carolina. Ways and Means Chairman, Murrell Smith, appointed ten members to an Ad-Hoc Committee to go through all of the information in the DOA report and bring their findings to the full House within 30 days. This is all in response to the billions in debt accumulated from the failed V.C. Summer nuclear plant project that has resulted in lawsuits and higher rates for electric customers who are served by Santee Cooper as well as most Electric Co-ops, many of whom purchase electricity for their customers. It’s an issue we must push to a resolution as soon as possible.
Read the Speaker’s full statement here.
Read the full DOA report here.
Other Legislative News:
Moving Slow Drivers Out of the Left Lane (H. 4835 and S. 9): The House and Senate are considering bills that would discourage slow drivers from staying in the left-hand lane. The House version of the bill would give a $200 fine and points against your driving record if a slower driver in the left hand-lane knows that he is being overtaken by a faster car and will not move over.
Identity Theft (H. 3066): This bill requires the destruction of arrest records for those who are arrested as a result of mistaken identity and require that to be done at no charge to the person who was wrongfully-arrested. This bill now goes before the Senate for their consideration.
VP Visits SC:
Vice President Mike Pence visited South Carolina on Thursday to help President Trump’s Victory campaign in Columbia and Charleston. He spoke with business leaders at Nephron Pharmaceuticals in Columbia before flying to Charleston to speak to cadets at The Citadel. All in a day’s work!
Useful Link of the Week:
It’s now easier to find state-funded childcare, just visit palmettoprek.org. The new website helps parents find free or nearly free childcare available near their home or workplace, whether in Head Start programs, state-funded full-day 4-year-old classes in public and private schools, or childcare centers that take taxpayer-funded vouchers. Programs like these helps make sure our children are ready for kindergarten!
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Keep up with the SC House GOP Caucus: