Recap of issues facing state legislature

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The 2018 legislative session was consumed by concerns over the VC Summer nuclear plant fiasco in Fairfield County. SCANA and its partner, Santee Cooper, halted construction on a nuclear power facility in Fairfield County in the summer of 2017.

Santee Cooper is a state asset. It owns various electric utility production facilities around the state as well as a water company in Berkeley County, two major recreational lakes, and a vast power distribution network.

Santee Cooper's portion of the debt associated with the Fairfield County nuclear power plant is approximately $4.5 billion. The House of Representatives has established a committee to evaluate the disposition of Santee Cooper and the associated benefits.

I continue to push for the General Assembly to hire an investment banker to guide the General Assembly through the asset sale of Santee Cooper. We will need to evaluate the findings of the House committee before we can determine a course of action. The ultimate disposition of the Santee Cooper operations will be of great importance to the state.

In October, the House of Representatives met in Columbia to vote on the Governor's vetoes and to finalize tax conformity issues. New federal tax cuts caused a windfall of approximately $180 million for South Carolina.

The House voted to return that money to the citizens of the state in the form of tax conformity.

The S.C. General Assembly passed five pieces of legislation directed at the pandemic of opioid addiction. It is anticipated that these new laws will help slow growth of opioid addiction in our state.

We will be working for a commitment from the state infrastructure bank to support the construction of a new bridge coming onto the island.

The Beaufort and Jasper County Delegation offices have been pressing the S.C. Ports Authority to move ahead with the construction of the Jasper ocean terminal.

Beaufort County voted for the referendum to bond out the purchase of rural and critical lands throughout the county.

Daufuskie Island has several issues that we will be working on in the 2019 session, including use of utility vehicles and supplemental power generation at the public water utilities on the island.

Looking to the upcoming 124th General Assembly, three issues will take center stage in 2019: pension reform, the sale of Santee Cooper and tax reform.

The South Carolina retirement system is inadequately funded. Delegation members and I will introduce legislation to move the existing defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, more like a 401(K) plan.

Throughout 2018, there was a special committee that had been established to evaluate the potential for tax reform in South Carolina. The findings of that committee will be discussed and ideas will be promoted on how to reform our tax structure in South Carolina.

Jeff Bradley is the representative for District 123 in the State House of Representatives. JeffBradley@schouse.gov

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