Greg Duckworth | Protecting Ratepayers
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22 Jan Protecting Ratepayers

The inclement weather that left much of the state with snow and ice, unfortunately, halted floor action for two days this past week. However, the winter storm did not prevent House committees from getting to work on important legislation or hearing more about a proposed deal from Dominion Energy to purchase SCANA, a private utility company based in South Carolina.

I’ve heard from so many of you about the importance of protecting ratepayers (residential customers paying an electric bill) over the past weeks and months. As a result of the failed VC Summer nuclear project (a joint project of Santee Cooper & SCANA), Dominion Energy, a private energy company based in Virginia, has emerged as a potential buyer of SCANA.

In fact, Dominion Energy and SCANA entered into a purchase agreement, and Dominion CEO Thomas Farrell appeared last week at a bipartisan House committee to explain the details. The testimony was thoughtful, even if lengthy, and controversial at times, but it allowed my colleagues and I to glean the necessary information we need in order to proceed. I will have another update for you on ratepayer protection next week.

By way of update, the House introduced six additional bills to address the opioid misuse epidemic and all six were referred to the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee. This committee is tasked with studying these bills and passing them to the full House for consideration on the floor. Our goal is to move diligently and get our proposed reforms sent to the Senate for a vote.

Last week, Assistant Majority Leader Eddie Tallon (R-Spartanburg) also introduced legislation to remove the barriers drug companies face when providing lethal injection drugs. In effect, our state is unable to execute death row inmates until this is in place. The slaying last week of York County Sheriff’s Department Detective Michael R. Doty underscores the need for this legislation so the death penalty continues without delay. Please join me in praying for the family of Detective Doty and the three other injured officers from the York County Sheriff’s Office.

State education officials immediately moved to buy new school buses after the Senate voted unanimously to join the House in overriding Gov. McMaster’s vetoes against using surplus lottery funds to pay for school buses. After the vote, state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said her office would use the $20.5 million to buy more than 200 badly-needed buses to replace aging, fire-prone vehicles. That means 210 old and dangerous school buses will be taken off the road.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me.