From City Hall to the State House, this week was packed with “State of” addresses where our elected leaders outlined their ambitions for the year ahead. The Chamber got in on the act too, with Bryan Derreberry leading a “State of the Chamber” presentation at the Annual Business Leaders Summit on Thursday. [View Chamber Historical Data] Here are the biggest points from this week’s State of speeches:
- 373 VISITS
- 25 LIKES
State of South Carolina
Delivered by Governor Henry McMaster
Reinforced desire to sell Santee Cooper, called for a repeal of the Base Load Review Act and stated ratepayers should “get their reactors, or get their money back.”
Our agenda calls for legislation that secures the future energy needs of residents and businesses and ensures sufficient protection for ratepayers. The situation is still very much in flux. Our State Lobbyist is attending all committee meetings and hearings on this issue and we are closely monitoring what is being discussed. We continue to believe this issue will dominate much of the discussion at the State House this session.
State of the City of North Charleston
Delivered by Mayor Keith Summey
Key point: Emphasized quality of place investments, including parks, green space, schools and arts/performance venues as an economic driver. Recent public projects have made small businesses confident to invest and are driving community revitalization, particularly along the southern end of Spruill Avenue.
The connection between people, place and economy is the foundation of the One Region strategic plan. As a backbone supporter of One Region, the Chamber works to advance transformative projects such as Low Country Rapid Transit. Not only does this project have the potential to get cars off the road and reliably get workers to jobs, it will anchor major reinvestment and revitalization, particularly in North Charleston.
State of the City of Charleston
Delivered by Mayor John Tecklenburg
Flooding named top priority. Among steps cited to address flooding were: stringent new storm water standards, hiring a floodplain manager and a grant writer focused on flooding and beginning construction of the Low Battery Sea Wall.
Our Infrastructure Priorities Report calls for enhanced storm water and drainage systems to help relieve flooding during large rain events. This week, the Chamber’s Infrastructure Vision Committee decided to make region-wide storm water systems, and specifically how to pay for needed upgrades, a primary focus of the year.
In other news from the State House this week….
The Senate began debate on the Nuisance Lawsuits bill that was given special order last week. Sen. Sheheen (D-Kershaw) filed amendments and filibustered until the Senate adjourned Wednesday afternoon. There is a deal in the works and a compromise could be reached next week.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the House passed legislation that strengthened the Office of Regulatory Staff, the agency that oversaw the VC Summer project. The bill creates a consumer advocate position and gives the agency the ability to subpoena documents from utilities. The bill passed the House by a 114-1 vote and now moves on to the Senate.
Sticking with energy, on Wednesday, the House passed legislation to end the Public Utilities Review Committee, a group comprised of legislators and SC residents who screened members of the Public Service Commission. The committee will be replaced by another board that has strict restrictions, less control by the legislature and will not be able to accept contributions from utilities.
Have a great weekend!