The Conservation Voters of South Carolina (CVSC) today released the 2019-2020 Conservation Scorecard, the primary yardstick for evaluating the conservation records of every member of the SC Legislature. The Scorecard is available online at cvsc.org/scorecard/legislative-scorecard/
Since 2002, CVSC has held legislators accountable at the Statehouse for votes on priority conservation issues through the Scorecard. As a result, CVSC has helped to foster strong bipartisan leadership to protect the air, land, and water across South Carolina.
The 2019-2020 Legislative Session was dominated by ambitious conservation goals that turned into impactful policy changes, despite setbacks in 2020 with the abrupt early end to the year.
“As we work to educate, advocate, and elect conservation champions at the South Carolina Statehouse, the Scorecard is the best guide to help South Carolinians hold their elected leaders accountable for their actions in the legislature,” said John Tynan, Executive Director of CVSC.
In the 2019-2020 legislative session, state legislators passed historic clean energy legislation, enacted a temporary ban on offshore drilling, blocked attempts to strip local communities of their rights to regulate plastic pollution, and stopped rollbacks of environmental permits for an industry that sought to melt plastics for fuel. This session’s Scorecard highlights several of the votes that presented members of the SC Legislature with a real choice – distinguishing those legislators who are working for conservation of South Carolina’s natural resources and those who are not. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at cvsc.org/scorecard/legislative-scorecard/
Continuing the longstanding tradition of strong bipartisan leadership in both chambers on conservation legislation, 15 Representatives and 28 Senators scored 100% or more on the Scorecard. The Scorecard also highlighted sponsorship and co-sponsorship of key conservation policies, leading to large “sponsorship bumps” from stand-out lawmakers like Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) with a 42 point bump, Sen. Sandy Senn (R-Charleston) with a 23 point bump, and Sen. Tom David (R-Beaufort) with a 19 point bump. In the House, Reps. Mandy Powers Norrell (D-Lancaster), JA Moore (D-North Charleston), Russell Ott (D-St. Matthews), Will Wheeler (D-Bishopville), and Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston) all had 11 points or more of “sponsorship bumps” while Reps Gary Clary (R-Clemson) and Weston Newton (R-Beaufort) each had 20 points or more of “sponsorship bumps.”
At the time of release of the Scorecard, numerous energy policies introduced in the 2019-2020 session remain unsettled, and due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the legislative calendar, it is possible that additional priority votes will occur in late 2020. Given the digital and versatile nature of the Scorecard, CVSC will update the Scorecard regarding outcomes of the deliberations and priority votes for the conservation community (if applicable) on these bills later this fall.
Conservation Voters of South Carolina is a bipartisan, statewide, nonprofit organization that fights for clean air, water, and land in South Carolina by holding elected leaders directly accountable for a safe and healthy South Carolina.