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State House Report Week 5 – Electric Co-ops, Judges, and Scammers

The bipartisan House Utility Ratepayer Protection Committee met again this week to further discuss the future of electric cooperative ratepayers who rely on Santee Cooper for their electricity. The Committee’s main concern, and my main concern, continues to be the protection of all ratepayers. The fact-finding meeting lasted several hours as representatives from the electric cooperative industry discussed their current status and future trajectory.

As with SCE&G ratepayers, Santee Cooper also passed on VC Summer costs to electric cooperative ratepayers. While each power bill might vary depending on the service region, electric cooperative ratepayers, as a whole, pay about 5% off their total electricity costs in VC Summer fees. The Santee Cooper bill is still pending in our ratepayer protection package and I will provide you further updates on protecting ratepayers as information becomes available.

On Wednesday, the Senate and House met together to vote on 23 judicial positions. The South Carolina Constitution requires judges to be elected by members of the General Assembly in a Joint Assembly. Prior to being judicial candidates, individuals seeking judicial office are screened by a committee to ensure they are upstanding citizens and possess the competency and qualifications necessary to serve on the bench.

Finally, the House Labor Commerce and Industry Committee finalized plans to vote next week on a bill to combat telephone scammers and spoofers. You may have even received one of these telephone calls yourself. For those not familiar, using local phone numbers to disguise the true geographic location of the caller is a technique called spoofing. These scammers target the elderly and in some cases even use social media to mine information then used to confuse unsuspecting victims. The new bill set to be voted on next week would set regulatory penalties and allow state enforcement authorities to investigate and fine people who break the anti-spoofing law.

I am a member of the House Republican Caucus. As always, 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 at 864 918-4859.