South Carolina General Assembly
122nd Session, 2017-2018
Journal of the Senate

                                                  NO. 8









Friday, January 19, 2018
(Local Session)

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

The Senate assembled at 11:00 A.M., the hour to which it stood adjourned, and was called to order by the ACTING PRESIDENT, Senator CROMER.


The following remarks by Senator MASSEY were ordered printed in the Journal of January 9, 2018:

Remarks by Senator MASSEY

Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT. I want to take a few minutes if I can and follow up on Senator LEATHERMAN's comments about V.C. Summer and, in particular, I want to make sure first of all that everybody's heard about the offer that's pending right now from Dominion. There are some people who have heard more about it than others. Obviously that's one of the things that I have learned throughout this process -- that where you get your news has a big impact on what you've heard about this. If you get your news out of the Upstate, or maybe in the Pee Dee, or over on the Coast, you may not have heard as much about V.C. Summer as some of the rest of us who get our news from the Midlands or in the Charleston area. It's been in the newspapers about every day for the last several months. But I'm happy to, and I know Senator SETZLER is also, to talk about the specifics of things that this committee dealt with and what we learned. I wanted to say, first of all, that it was a real learning experience. I learned a lot more about utility regulation than I quite honestly ever really cared to know.

But, first thing I wanted to say is, we know that the Dominion offer is out there. Senator LEATHERMAN asked that we be deliberative -- that we consider these things. I think that's important. I will tell you this is gearing up to be a hugely lobbied effort. There are a lot of lobbyists that are going to be involved in this. You are going to get a lot of information about it. My request is that you not make a decision on anything until you've had the opportunity to hear a lot more. You are going to get one version of things. I promise you, there is more than one version. Because I will tell you, on the face of it, telling customers that they are going to get a $1,000 refund and how their bill will be lowered is pretty appealing. If you don't know all that is behind it, that's a very appealing offer. But I promise you there is a lot more to it than just that. So I'd encourage you just to listen to everybody. Listen to whatever comes, but don't make a decision yet. Senator LEATHERMAN said he's asked the special investigative committee to reconvene in order to specifically question Dominion and SCANA about the details of that offer. When we do that, we are going to try to publicize those meetings so that people who are not on the committee can come and listen, because I think it's very important that everybody learn as much about this as possible. Some of us have just had more of an opportunity to learn about it than others. There is a whole lot of information out there, and I agree with what Senator LEATHERMAN said -- this is a really big deal. The decisions that we are going to be asked to make and the legislation that we are going to discuss will have immediate consequences for customers and employees. But they also have long-term consequences for our State as a whole. There are a lot of unknowns, and I think it's important that we all understand what those consequences are as best we can.

One of the more difficult things that Senator SETZLER and I have been struggling with these last few months is that there are so many unknowns. We are forced to try to guess on some stuff, and that's tough. Especially on something that is potentially as consequential as this. There are a lot of things to be talked about with Santee Cooper. I am glad that Senator LEATHERMAN brought those things up. I will tell you, I haven't made a decision on Santee Cooper yet. Senator SETZLER may want to speak on this, as well. But I think most of us feel, even though we have heard a lot of stuff from Santee Cooper, there is more we need to get. This has been a very interesting learning experience about how the debacle happened, how we got to where we are procedurally, how we got to where we are substantively, and how we started with this process. I mean how the utility started with this process from when they began pushing the Base Load Review Act 11 years ago, how that played out, and then to what they were able to do with the Base Load Review Act that probably surprised a lot of people who voted on it. Some things have happened in the interim. Now, I have a lot of opinions about these things. I know that other folks who served on the committee also have opinions about them. There are probably those who didn't serve on the committee who have opinions about things. I guarantee you that we are going to learn a lot more as this process goes on. Because this special committee is going to be looking specifically at the details of this offer that's on the table. The only reason that we are involved in that is because it affects legislation that we are dealing with and it requires regulatory approval, but it specifically deals with legislation that we are dealing with. I will mention that again in just a second. So that's what the special committee is going to be looking at -- specifically, just the details of that deal. The Judiciary Committee is going to be looking at specific legislation. There are a couple of Bills that were introduced on the Senate side. There were lots of Bills that were introduced on the House side. From what we hear, the House is likely to pass every one of those next week. It is all going to be on us, folks. The decisions on this are going to be made in the Senate. So it's going to be really big. That's why they are going to be concentrating their lobbying efforts on the Senate. If you have not already been lobbied on this, it's coming. Prepare for it. It will probably be one of the most intense lobbying efforts you have ever seen. I will tell you real quick, that I think the big fight on this is going on our side. There are a lot of different issues and Bills. There is one Bill and one issue in particular where the big fight rests, where they have drawn the line, and that is -- can SCANA or Dominion or whomever continue charging customers for V.C. Summer? That is going to be the issue where the fight is. You are going to get lots of opinions on why that's a good thing or why that's a bad thing. But that is the issue. That's the issue that's going to decide everything, I think. I just wanted to say -- I'm happy to talk about what we learned. We can go from the very beginning through the very end. We can answer whatever questions as best we can. Hopefully between Senator SETZLER, myself, and the other committee members, could answer the questions that you have. But I want to share with you the information that we've learned. It is probably a lengthy process and I could stand up here for a while and talk about that. But I will tell you that you are going to have some pretty intense lobbying efforts on this matter. It is going to be primarily about that one issue. I just ask that everybody listen to what anybody wants to tell you. But don't make a decision too quickly. Because again, this is some pretty serious stuff. It's got far-reaching consequences not only for the customers of SCANA and Santee Cooper, but also for the employees of SCANA and Santee Cooper. This issue has long-reaching consequences for the State as a whole. There are big issues to consider and significant consequences at stake. I will be happy to answer questions or we can put that off to another time. Listen to all the information that's out there, and then make the most informed decision you are able to after receiving as much information as you can.



The following co-sponsors were added to the respective Bill:
S. 878 (Word version)     Sens. Goldfinch and Rice


On motion of Senator JACKSON, with unanimous consent, the Senate stood adjourned out of respect to the memory of Ms. Donella Brown Wilson of Columbia, S.C. Ms. Wilson was a teacher and champion for civil rights who passed away at the age of 108 years old. Donella was a member of the NAACP and the oldest living graduate of Allen University. Ms. Wilson was a pillar of her community and will be dearly missed.



On motion of Senator MALLOY, with unanimous consent, the Senate stood adjourned out of respect to the memory of Dr. Luns C. Richardson of Hartsville, S.C. Dr. Richardson was President Emeritus of Morris College where he served since 1974. He was also the pastor of Thankful Baptist Church in Bamberg for 56 years. Dr. Richardson was a remarkable man who will be dearly missed.


At 11:04 A.M., on motion of Senator McLEOD, the Senate adjourned to meet next Tuesday, January 23, 2018, at 2:00 P.M.

* * *

This web page was last updated on Friday, January 19, 2018 at 11:11 A.M.