Last week was the 15th week of the 2019 legislative session. This week is the final week of the 2019 regular session, as the General Assembly will adjourn at 5:00 p.m. on May 9. Here are the highlights from last week in the Senate:
SANTEE COOPER – The Senate continued discussion of the future of Santee Cooper. On Thursday the Senate amended H. 4287 and returned it to the House of Representatives. The amended version creates a confidential process whereby the Department of Administration will hire experts to solicit bids from companies interested in buying Santee Cooper and from companies interested in managing Santee Cooper.
Additionally, Santee Cooper will be required to submit a proposal as to how it would reform and reorganize if the General Assembly elects not to sell or hire a manager. Central Electric Cooperative, the entity that contracts with Santee Cooper to sell power to all electric cooperatives across the state, would be required to negotiate with all bidders to create a new service contract.
Upon completion of that process, the experts would recommend one potential buyer and one potential manager to the General Assembly along with Santee Cooper’s reform proposal. The General Assembly would then debate which of those three options to choose. I do not expect this process will be completed before the end of 2019.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
The last week of the legislative session is always chaotic, and I expect that to be the case this week, as well. That is especially the case this year because the Senate spent the last two weeks focused only on Santee Cooper. Here are a couple issues that I expect to receive a lot of discussion:
ENERGY FREEDOM ACT – I have heard from a number of folks who have received mailers about the South Carolina Energy Freedom Act, H. 3659. The bill would allow for a larger number of rooftop solar panels and expand opportunities for large industrial solar projects that we have seen across the state.
TAX BREAKS FOR THE CAROLINA PANTHERS – You have probably heard that the Carolina Panthers have expressed interest in moving their headquarters and practice facilities to Rock Hill. To do that, the Panthers have asked for job development tax credits to help pay for infrastructure needs and the completion of a new interchange on I-77. I expect the bill to come up this week, and it will likely receive a heated debate.
SCDOT ROAD PROJECTS – SCDOT now has an interactive map to allow citizens to see the road and bridge projects going on around the state. You can see that map here.
HOW IS THE GAS TAX BEING USED? – SCDOT’s website allows you to view a detailed revenue statement and project list that is funded by the Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund (IMTF). SCDOT updates this site monthly as the revenue comes in. You can see that report here.
DO YOU NEED A REAL ID? – SCDMV is now issuing Real ID licenses and identification cards. If you intend to get a Real ID, DMV encourages you to avoid long lines and get the new ID before the September 30, 2020 deadline. See below for frequent questions with answers:
WHY WOULD YOU NEED A REAL ID? – To board any commercial airline flight, enter a secure federal building, or visit a military installation on and after October 1, 2020, you must have a REAL ID or another federally approved identification such as a valid US Passport or military ID.
DO YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR CURRENT ID SOON? – There is no need to rush to DMV now. In fact, unless your driver’s license or ID card is expiring, there is really no reason to wait in line to change your card right now. If you do decide to get a Real ID, make sure you take the correct documentation to change your current license or ID card to a Real ID.
To see the documentation you will need for a Real ID or get more information, please see SCDMV’s Real ID page here.
WANT TO SEE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ACTION? – The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 2:00, Wednesdays at 12:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday mornings, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and committees here.
OUR SENATE DISTRICT – Senate district 25 consists of all of Edgefield County and parts of Aiken, Lexington, McCormick, and Saluda Counties. If you’d like to see the district map, go here.
SPEAKING WITH GROUPS – Several groups, clubs, and classes around our Senate district have invited me to attend their meetings and provide legislative updates. If you would like me to come and speak with your group, please let me know.
EMAIL UPDATES – If you know of people in or around District 25 who do not receive my updates but would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me. You can also forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for the updates at www.senatormassey.com.
P.O. Box 551
Edgefield, SC 29824
Cell Phone: (803) 480-0419