- Last month, South Carolina Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Senator Chip Campsen introduced two bills to support conservation initiatives in the state.
- Senate Bill 280, the South Carolina Conservation Enhancement Act, would restore a portion of the deed recording fee to support the South Carolina Conservation Bank.
- Senate Bill 281, the South Carolina Public Lands Enhancement Act, would direct sales tax revenue from sporting goods stores to support access improvements on public lands owned, leased, or managed by the state.
Why It Matters: While sportsmen and women generate significant annual funding for conservation through the “user pays – public benefits” American System of Conservation Funding, increased use of public lands and increased development threats to private lands support the need for additional funding to improve access to public lands and conserve private lands in the Palmetto State.
South Carolina is one of the most rapidly developing states in the country and regularly ranks in the top 10 states to which people move, and that growth threatens the state’s natural resources and access to the outdoors. The South Carolina Conservation Bank has conserved more than 338,000 acres of farms, working forests, and other natural areas across the state in its 20-year history, and the South Carolina Conservation Enhancement Act would increase the ability of the Conservation Bank to conserve more land in the state. Specifically, twenty-five cents of each one dollar thirty cents would be credited to the South Carolina Conservation Bank Trust Fund which is a restoration of the deed recording fee that was previously dedicated to the Conservation Bank since its formation until 2018.
The South Carolina Public Lands Enhancement Act would dedicate the sales tax revenue on outdoor gear and sporting goods to the Public Lands Enhancement Fund for capital improvements that create, improve, or restore access to public lands and waters, natural resources including fish and wildlife populations, or recreational opportunities. The Public Lands Enhancement Fund could not be used for fee-simple title acquisitions.
The 2023 South Carolina legislative session will convene on January 10, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) looks forward to working with members of the South Carolina Legislative Caucus to support these bills that would complement the contributions of South Carolina’s sportsmen and women who, in 2021 alone, generated $31.32 million for state-based conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding.