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South Carolina’s Energy Reform Bill Looking at 2025 for Governor’s Desk

Energy reform urgency concept

South Carolina’s Energy Reform Bill Looking at 2025 for Governor’s Desk

Leaders at South Carolina’s legislature are facing questions of timing, with an important energy reform bill making its way slowly towards a definitive decision. The “South Carolina Energy Security Act”, seen as a crucial legislation to maintain steady power supply within the state, may not reach Governor Henry McMaster until 2025. The governor himself has been highly vocal about accelerating the progress of the bill, urging lawmakers to decisively act on the alarming energy situation.

Urgency amid Assembly Dissolution

At a recent news conference, McMaster stated, “We cannot wait. This is something that we cannot put off because it is upon us now.” This urgency comes despite the adjournment of the General Assembly’s regular 2024 legislative session last week. However, lawmakers are able to still make legislative progress over the next several months on outstanding legislature like this energy reform bill. The timeframe, evidently, depends on who you ask.

Bill’s Journey in the Assembly

The bill was a top priority for the Speaker of the House, Murrell Smith, and started its journey in the House of Representatives earlier this year. Following extensive review and testimonies in the lower chambers conducted by a special committee, the House passed the bill, aiming for actions to cater to South Carolina’s increasing population and industrial growth. Smith spoke out about the references to the state’s power generation and transmission problems in the bill.

However, upon reaching the Senate towards the end of the year, the bill experienced a delay. Senators felt a need to thoroughly examine the bill before taking action, resulting in its slimming from 70-plus pages of reforms to a concise four-page, non-binding resolution. The revised bill now merely emphasizes the significance of creating new power sources and the role the General Assembly plays in this issue.

The Next Steps for the Bill

The bill is currently with a conference committee, a group of lawmakers who are entrusted with delivering a compromise that can be sent to the governor’s desk. The committee comprises of three House members and three senators. The committee’s actions are not mandated, and should no resultant legislation emerge, the bill will die away.

The key members of the House are keen to start working on the resolution immediately, but the Senate has plans to form its own special committee in the fall to take testimonies and review the bill. As per current arrangements, lawmakers can reconvene as late as November for a session, before the general election, should they settle on this bill by then. Otherwise, the bill will need a re-introduction next year, thereby repeating the legislative process starting next January.

Despite the supposed delay, lawmakers remain optimistic that the pressing urgency of the matter will ensure a solution sooner or later. However, the lack of a concrete timeline fuels concerns regarding the promised energy reform in South Carolina and its potential to solve the state’s existing power supply issues.

South Carolina’s Energy Reform Bill Looking at 2025 for Governor’s Desk Spartanburg SC

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