Last week was rough. I got the flu, but as fate would have it, the threat of bad weather in Columbia caused most activities in the House to be cancelled, so I didn't miss any votes.
Thankfully, I'm much better this week and wanted to let you know about this third week of the House session.
On Wednesday, as the lead cosponsor, I introduced legislation, H. 4683, that will reform the process for determining the beachfront jurisdictional lines and allow a much better notification and appeals process for property owners. These lines impact first and, in many cases, second row properties regarding the structures that can be built or rebuilt according to where these lines are established.
The current law created a crisis last year when many beachfront property owners were unaware of proposed line changes and we worked with SCDHEC to delay implementation. I'm pleased that all of the Horry and Georgetown County House members have signed on as cosponsors. I've been working with Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, on this legislation and he introduced the same bill in the Senate.
Also, on Wednesday I attended Gov. McMaster's State of the State address. I appreciate the Governor's strong message of support for tax cuts, investment in workforce development, school district consolidation to save taxpayers' money, stopping the opioid addiction epidemic and his strong stance against offshore oil drilling off our coast.
Regarding the V.C. Summer nuclear reactor spending disaster, Gov. McMaster said in his address to send him a bill that "prevents ratepayers from being charged in the future for the abandoned reactors." I agree with the Governor and the House passed two bills this week that draw upon the work of the House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee, which is developing a legislative package of bills to protect ratepayers and prevent another utility spending disaster.
One bill, H.4378, replaces the Public Utilities Review Committee with a new twelve-member Utility Oversight Committee, which is charged with screening Public Service Commission candidates, among other duties. The other bill, H. 4379, creates a Utilities Consumer Advocate within the Attorney General's Office to safeguard the interests of consumers in dealings with public utilities.
Both bills prohibit any member of the Utility Oversight Committee or the Consumer Advocate from accepting anything of value or campaign contributions from utilities.
I hope this weekly update is helpful. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Rep. Lee Hewitt
P.S. I can't emphasize enough the need for my campaign to raise more money. According to reports, it's very likely a Democrat will run against me in the election this year. Please help by clicking here today and donating the largest amount you can afford to my campaign. Thank you in advance!