Legislative Committee – Special Call to Action

February 18, 2020

The South Carolina House of Representatives is expected to hold another special committee meeting on two Article V United States Constitutional Convention resolutions this coming Thursday, February 20th. The hearing begins one hour after the SC House adjourns for the day, likely to occur somewhere between 12p-2p. The committee is expected to meet in the Blatt building, room 110, on the Statehouse grounds.  

Please call and ask the committee members listed below to oppose the Article V US Constitutional Convention resolutions. Talking points are attached to this message. Also, for those who can attend the hearing, your presence would mean a lot to the committee. We do not want members taking testimony to look out into an open room or a room full of only pro-Article V supporters. Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions. 

Tommy Pope, Chairman (R-York-47) (803) 734-2701, (803) 984-6616 (cell)

Jason Elliott (R-Greenville-22) (803) 212-6877

Will Wheeler (D-Lee-50)  (803) 212-6958

Pat Henegan (D-Marlboro-54) (803) 212-6896

Paula Calhoon (R-Lexington-87) (803) 212-6924

Stewart Jones (R-Laurens-14) (803) 212-6713, (803) 250-1135 (cell)

Melissa Oremus (R-Aiken-84) (803) 212-6917

We were present for this past week’s debate. The committee meeting lasted over four hours and included testimony from constitutional scholars and Convention of States representatives. Many committee members asked questions and seemed to be engaged in witness testimony. Chairman Pope reiterated, the purpose of this committee is to provide recommendations and feedback to the full SC House Committee on Judiciary. 

As of right now, there is also an Article V Constitutional Convention resolution (S 125) SC Senate sub-committee hearing scheduled for Wednesday, February 26th. The hearing might be subject to change or cancelation depending on what happens with the debate over Santee Cooper. Please stay tuned for additional updates. 

Week #5 Update

The debate over Santee Cooper began as lawmakers finished week five of the 2020 session. 

On Thursday, the 13th, a joint SC Senate Finance Committee and SC House Ways and Means Committee meeting was held to brief both groups and other General Assembly members on the SC Department of Administration’s report on the vetting of the proposed Santee Cooper bids. Three possible scenarios have emerged. 1. Sell Santee Cooper to Florida based NextEra Energy. 2. Hand over part management to Virginia based Dominion Energy. (You’ll likely recall Dominion recently purchased SCANNA/SCE&G.) 3. Reform Santee Cooper from within and keep it as a state owned utility.  According to the Charleston based newspaper, The Post and Courier, (as published on February 12, 2020): 

“NextEra’s offer would require the company to privatize Santee Cooper’s roughly $6.8 billion bond debt, which is rather expensive. It would pay the state government more than $500 million for Santee Cooper. It would give current Santee Cooper and co-op customers $400 million in refunds and electric rate credits. It would also pay another $541 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project, which was filed on behalf of Santee Cooper and co-op ratepayers.

Dominion would hire three people to manage Santee Cooper’s affairs, but the utility would remain under state ownership. The three Dominion employees would still report to whomever is the CEO of Santee Cooper. Dominion would provide this service at cost, and it would seek to find other cost-saving measures by coordinating with neighboring SCE&G, which it also owns. 

Santee Cooper’s proposal would allow the company to remain a state asset, while holding down customers’ bills through cost-cutting measures. Santee Cooper’s executives found an additional $2.3 billion in savings, which they did not forecast for last year. Santee Cooper’s team would pay off $4.7 billion of its $6.8 billion bond debt by 2039. The utility would also need to reform how it is governed and regulated in South Carolina.”

For those who own or lease property on lakes Marion and Moultrie, it is important to note that all three plans continue to maintain both bodies of water. 

The complexity and importance of the General Assembly’s next move cannot be understated. During a floor debate between SC Senators Luke Rankin (R-Horry) and Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) the remark was made that dealing with Santee Cooper might be the biggest and most complex issue the SC General Assembly has ever done. As such, the General Assembly will have both Judiciary Committees and both the SC House Ways and Means and SC Senate Finance Committees involved too. The special law requires each chamber’s special committee to make a recommendation to the body within the next 30 days, afterwitch, general debate begins.  Due to the recent Santee Cooper developments, the SC Senate will not meet in the statewide session this Tuesday, the 18th. Instead, the SC Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing with SC Department of Administration Executive Director, Marsha Adams, to learn more about the three different Santee Cooper proposals. I fully expect many of the other SC Senate members to be present as well. Looking forward, the SC Senate is still debating S 419, the education overhaul bill. Introducing Santee Cooper into the mix certainly complicates the body’s calendar.

The SC House worked through their regular calendar this past week. The body also announced they will not meet in statewide session March 17th-19th and April 14th-16th. 

Looking forward, things are about to get very hethic at least in the SC Senate, maybe the SC House too. Remember, the SC House is more leadership driven, whereas the SC Senate operates at a much slower place because it is far more deliberative. Keep-in-mind, the upper chamber still has not started a general debate on S 419, the education overhaul bill either. SC Senators have spent the past five weeks proposing and debating only amendments. As a result, many still feel the bill needs a lot of work. By adding Santee Cooper into the mix AND the upcoming debate over the state budget, it is hard to imagine how they are going to get anything else done, given we only have 12 weeks remaining in the 2020 regular session. We will see what happens. 

We will be in Columbia this coming week meeting with legislators and tracking the latest Santee Cooper developments in addition to the Article V Constitutional Convention resolutions. If you would like to join me at the Statehouse to meet your lawmaker and observe a SC House or SC Senate session, please email me to schedule a date and time. Your presence would be welcomed. 

As always, if you would like more information on a given issue or feel as if we are not covering something that deserves attention, please reach out to me directly. My contact information is above and below for your reference. 

*Please note, I do not directly distribute our weekly legislative updates. They come from the South Carolina AFL-CIO office. If you wish to be added to our eblast list, please e-mail information@scaflcio.org

John Brisini, Legislative Liaison  

843.302.2153 cell

brisjl@ai-group.biz

General Information

**Note: Below is the list of legislation the SC AFL-CIO is currently tracking. You can read the full text of the bill/resolution by clicking on the number. Bills/Resolutions are in order by chamber then number. Any action the SC AFL-CIO is taking will be highlighted in yellow, new developments will be highlighted in green, and new additions for the week will be highlighted in blue.  

**Reminder:  You can watch and listen to many live proceedings of the South Carolina House of Representatives and the South Carolina Senate by clicking HERE then selecting the appropriate links in the red box located in the upper lefthand corner. If you are curious to exactly how a bill becomes law in South Carolina you can access additional information HERE.  

Legislation Currently Being Tracked

SC Senate

  • S 4; General Bill Summary: Increasing Teacher Pay: Monitoring
  • S 6; Joint Resolution Summary: Reapportionment of Districts: Monitoring
  •  S 9; General Bill Summary: Driving in the Left-hand Lane: Monitoring
  •  S 11; General Bill Summary: Eliminating Daylight Saving Time: Monitoring
  •  S 15; General Bill Summary: Personal Finance Class Requirement for High School: Monitoring
  •  S 20; General Bill Summary: Healthcare/Health Insurance Coverage Expansion: Monitoring
  •  S 28; Concurrent Resolution Summary: Calling for a Federal Constitutional Conv.: Oppose, Monitoring
  •  S 36; Joint Resolution Summary: Asking Voters if they Support Expanding Medicaid in SC: Support, Monitoring

S 37; General Bill Summary: Exceptions to Voter ID:Support, Monitoring

            S 51; General Bill Summary: 1st Responders Qualifying for Workers Comp. as a result of PTSD: Support, Monitoring

            S 65; General Bill Summary: Increasing Teacher Pay: Support, Monitoring

            S 112; Joint Resolution Summary: Calling for a Federal Constit’l Convention: Oppose, Monitoring

            S 125; Concurrent Resolution Summary: Calling for a Federal Constit’l Conv.: Oppose, Hearing Scheduled

            S 128; General Bill Summary: Debt Collection Relating to Wage Garnishment: Oppose, Monitoring

            S 130; General Bill Summary: Increasing Teacher Pay to Southeastern Average: Support,Monit’g

            S 135; Joint Resolution Summary: Redistricting in South Carolina: Support, Monit’g

            S 140; Joint Resolution Summary: Replacement of Voting Machines: Support,Monit’g

            S 142; General Bill Summary: Provision for Early Voting: Support, Monitoring

            S 147; Joint Resolution Summary: Establishing a Minimum Wage in SC: Support, Monitoring

            S 149; General Bill Summary: South Carolina Minimum Wage Act: Support, Monitoring

            S 157; General Bill Summary: Increasing Teacher Pay in SC to the National Average: Support,Monitoring

            S 182; General Bill Summary: Providing for an Election Ballot Paper Trail Action: Support, Monitoring

            S 183; General Bill Summary: Providing Funding for New Voting Machines which Produce a Papertrail 

:Support, Monitoring

  • S 192; Concurrent Resolution Summary: Calling for an Article V Convention of the States

:Oppose, Monitoring

            S 202; General Bill Summary: Auditing Elections: Support, Monitoring

  • S 215; General Bill Summary: Increasing Teacher Pay: Support, Monitoring
  • S 220; General Bill Summary: Ban the Box SC AFL-CIO: Support, Monitoring
  • S 230; General Bill Summary: Creates the “South Carolina Redistricting Commission” Support,Monitoring
  • S 232; General Bill Summary: Paying Teachers the National Average: Support, Monitoring
  • S 249; Joint Resolution Summary: Amending the SC Constitution to include the “SC Redistricting Commission”: Support, Monitoring
  • S 250; General Bill Summary: Requires Convicted Elected Officials to Pay for the Special Election: Support, Monitoring
  • S 254; General Bill Summary: Establishes the “South Carolina Redistricting Commission” Support,Mont’g
  • S 268: Joint Resolution Summary: Amends the South Carolina Constitution to Include Term Limits: Support, Monitoring
  • S 269; General Bill Summary: Establishes Term Limits for the General Assembly: Monitoring
  • S 270; General Bill Summary: Places Restrictions on Judicial Appointments: Monitoring
  • S 372; General Bill Summary: Establishes Pay Equity in South Carolina: Support, Monitoring
  • S 374; General Bill Summary: SC Election Security Council: Monitoring
  • S 488; General Bill Summary: “SC Inclusionary Zoning Act”: Monitoring
  • S 521; General Bill Summary: Not Reporting Workplace Injuries: Oppose: Monitoring

SC House of Representatives

  • H 3010; Concurrent Resolution Summary: Reducing the Cost of Higher Education in South Carolina: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3017; Concurrent Resolution Summary: Calling for a Federal Constitutional Convention : Oppose, Hearing Scheduled, See Above
  • H 3018; Concurrent Resolution Summary: Daylight Saving Time: Monitoring 
  • H 3019; Concurrent Resolution Summary: Requesting Federal Assistance for Education in SC: Monitoring
  • H 3022; Joint Resolution Summary: Calling for a State Constitutional Conv.: Oppose, Monitoring
  • H 3031; General Bill Summary: Expanding Voter Registration in SC: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3033; General Bill Summary: Aims to Eliminate Straight Ticket Voting: Monitoring
  • H 3037; Joint Resolution Summary: Medicare Expansion in SC: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3040; General Bill Summary: Expands Early Voting in South Carolina: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3041; General Bill Summary: Combining Driver’s and Voter Registration: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3043; General Bill Summary: Upgrading SC Voting Machines w/Paper Ballots: Support,Monitoring
  • H 3044; Joint Resolution Summary: Aims to Change Redistricting in SC: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3054; General Bill Summary: Creates the South Carolina Redistricting Com.: Support,Monitoring
  • H 3062; General Bill Summary: “South Carolina Whistleblower and Public Employee Protection Act”: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3091; General Bill Summary: “South Carolina Inclusionary Housing Act”: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3094; General Bill Summary: “Teachers Bill of Rights”:Support, Monitoring
  • H 3106; General Bill Summary: First Responders Qualifying for Workers Comp. Due to PTSD Sprt,Mtr’g 
  • H 3114; General Bill Summary: Establishes a $10.10/hour Minimum Wage Action: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3125; Joint Resolution Summary: Calling for a Federal Constitutional Conv. Oppose, Hearing Sched’d
  • H 3139; General Bill Summary: “South Carolina Equal Pay for Equal Pay Act”: Support, Mon’g
  • H 3147; General Bill Summary: “South Carolina State Equal Pay for Equal Pay Act” Support, Monitoring
  • H 3158; General Bill Summary: Requiring High School Students to Take a Personal Finance Class Mon’g
  • H 3163; General Bill Summary: Ban the Box: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3166; Joint Resolution Summary: Federal Constitutional Convention: Oppose, Monitoring 
  • H 3167; Joint Resolution Summary: “South Carolina Redistricting Commission”: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3209; General Bill Summary: Electing the POTUS by Majority Vote: Monitoring
  • H 3217; General Bill Summary: Establishes a Base State Minimum Wage: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3239; General Bill Summary: Uniform and Antidiscrimination Act: Support, Monitoring 
  • H 3246; General Bill Summary: Daylight Saving Time: Monitoring
  • H 3265; General Bill Summary: “South Carolina Public Utility Employee Whistleblower Act”: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3266; General Bill Summary: Early Voting in SC: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3302; General Bill Summary: Providing Paper Ballot Voting Machines: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3304; General Bill Summary: Voting Machines Which Provide a Paper Trail: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3326; General Bill Summary: Outlawing Denial of Employment Due to Creditworthiness: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3335; General Bill Summary: Daylight Saving Time: Monitoring 
  • H 3340; General Bill Summary: Equality Under the Law: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3390; Joint Resolution Summary: “South Carolina Redistricting Commission”: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3391; Joint Resolution Summary: Amendment to US Constitution, Equal Rights for All Under the Law: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3395; General Bill Summary: Establishes a Base State Minimum Wage: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3401; General Bill Summary: Repeals Right-to-Work; “Freedom of Employment Contract Act”: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3432; General Bill Summary: “South Carolina Citizens Redistricting Commission”: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3463; General Bill Summary: Ban the Box: Support, Monitoring 
  • H 3467; General Bill Summary: Establishes a $13/hr Minimum Wage: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3589; General Bill Summary: Prohibits Certain Employment Practices: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3597: General Bill Summary: Expands Time Allowed in Voting Booth: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3615: General Bill Summary: Establishes Pay Equity in SC: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3616; General Bill Summary: Established the SC Election Security Council: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3660; General Bill Summary: SC Compassionate Care Act: Monitoring
  • H 3664; General Bill Summary: Law Enforcement and Worker’s Compensation: Support, Monitoring
  • H 3722; General Bill Summary: Prohibits a Polic’l Subdivision from Regulating Employee Scheduling: Oppose, Monitoring
  • H 3759; General Bill Summary: “South Carolina Career Opportunity and Access for All Act”: Monitoring
  • H 3789; General Bill Summary: “Workplace Freedom Act”: Monitoring
  • H 3809; Joint Resolution Summary: Calling for a 5% Pay Increase for State Employees: Monitoring
  • H 4154; General Bill Summary: $17.00/hr Minimum Wage: Support, Monitoring

Charles Brave, Jr., President

SC AFL-CIO

803-926-8680

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