Continuation of the Nuclear Debacle
The House voted to create a new position that would advocate for consumers in issues involving power utilities. The proposed ‘Utilities Consumer Advocate‘ would be in the Attorney General’s Office under the bill (H.4379) that was approved 114-1 in the House. Supporters say the new office would partially replace the functions of the current Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS), which was intended to act as a neutral analyst in utility issues that appear before state regulators. ORS has come under heavy criticism for not warning the public about the increasingly-tenuous position of an ill-fated nuclear construction project. The legislation is now in the Senate.
In the second reform approved by Representatives this past week dealing with the aftermath of a failed nuclear construction project, the House voted 104-5 to replace a board which helps pick the state’s energy regulators. H.4378 eliminates the legislative-controlled Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) and replaces it with a new Utility Oversight Committee that would include the general public and members appointed by the governor.
Governor Puts SCANA Acquisition in Doubt
In his first State of the State address Governor Henry McMaster dealt a blow in the deal to sell SCANA. He forcefully told legislators he wants the Base Load Review Act of 2007 (BLRA) eliminated. Virginia’s Dominion Energy has proposed buying the utility but only if it can continue to charge electric customers higher rates under the BLRA for the next twenty years. His statement drew a standing ovation from legislators. He also said he wants to sell Santee Cooper so customers won’t have to keep paying for the failed nuclear project.
SC’s New Prosperity
Governor McMaster used his State of the State address to proclaim that South Carolina is at the dawn of a new prosperity. He proposed tax cuts of two-billion dollars plus over the next five years to stimulate economic growth.
“We must act. We must heed the lessons of history,” he said. “We must respect the right of the people to their own money, for their own purposes, according to their own priorities.”
The governor also focused much of his speech on education programs.
“Just as we cannot have a thriving economy without an educated workforce, we cannot have a productive educational system without economic growth,” he said. “When a school district prospers, the schools in that district prosper.”
DUI-E to Get First Hearing
So many people want to testify in favor of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUI-E) legislation that I co-sponsored, that a series of hearings are planned starting next Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. In an unusual step, the bill (H.4480) will be heard by a Joint Subcommittee consisting of the Transportation and Motor Vehicles Subcommittee.
If you wish to testify ‘for’ or ‘against’ this important legislation, please contact the House Education and Transportation Committee. Legislators want to hear from all factions so we make the best decisions for constituents.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. Your feedback and assistance is critical in ensuring your voice is heard in our state government. If you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, or if you need assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 864-529-2860 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, you can go to www.schouse.gov, click on my name and see how I have voted on each and every issue before the house. You can also see any bills that I have sponsored or co-sponsored.