The House of Representatives and Senate met in regular session this week. The Senate Finance committee began to debate the state budget and will continue discussion next week. The crossover deadline for bills to pass either the House or Senate is Tuesday, May 1. Any bill not passed by one body of the General Assembly by May 1, will take a two-thirds vote of members who are present to place that bill on the calendar.
Local Government Fund Update
The Senate Finance committee began its work on the budget bill this week and plans to work into next week. Committee members heard testimony from several state agency heads but did not take any action on the bill. It is critical that all local officials contact all senators this weekend about increasing the Local Government Fund from the House version of the budget.
House Budget Overview
The budget as passed by the House includes funding the Local Government Fund at 71 percent of the full funding level. This is a cut from FY 12 budget which funds the Local Government Fund at 76 percent of the full funding level. The House also approvedH4710, the bill that allows the General Assembly to cut the Local Government Fund.
Representative Jim Merrill’s proviso regarding lobbying activities also remains in the House version of the budget. This proviso prevents all local government entities and associations from using taxpayer funds for lobbying activities. This would curtail local governments’ ability to provide information to the General Assembly about how legislation could affect residents and businesses in their cities and towns. The proviso is 89.129.
For talking points and background on the Local Government Fund, the House version of the budget and H4710, contact Melissa Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1251 or visit theAssociation’s website for more information.
Freedom of Information Act Bill Passes the House
The House of Representatives gave second reading to H3235, the bill that changes the reporting requirements under the current Freedom of Information Act. The bill removes the FOIA exemption for legislators, prohibits public bodies from charging for administrative time in gathering records and caps the charge for copies at the prevailing market rate. The amendment also requires that if the records are more than 24 months old, the public body may take up to 45 days to comply with the request. Contact Ed Schafer (email@example.com) at 803.933.1203 with questions on the bill.
House Retirement Bill Update
The Senate Finance subcommittee working on H4967, the House version of the retirement reform bill, did not meet this week. Subcommittee members did not take action on the bill but plan to pass out a bill next week. Visit this link for a summary of proposed changes included in the House version of the bill. For more information on the bill, contact Melissa Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1251.
Brokers Tax Bill
S1419 makes changes in the state’s surplus lines brokers’ law to bring municipal and state brokers’ premium tax collections into compliance with the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bill passed the Senate on April 19. The bill was given first reading by the House of Representatives this week and was referred to the House Labor, Commerce and Industry committee. For more information on the bill, contact Melissa Carter (email@example.com) at 803.933.1251.
Weekly Bill Introductions
Access bills that were introduced this week and bills that received action from a subcommittee or committee through our legislative tracking system complete with short summaries. Visit the legislative tracking system to see and comment on all bills pending in the House and Senate.
Committee Action This Week
The Association’s legislative team covered these bills in committee or subcommittee and provided testimony where needed. Click on the bill's link for a full chronology of amendments and committee progress.
Senate Finance committee
H3934 – Discount on the assessment of undeveloped acreage subdivided into lots - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment allows for the multi-lot discount to be extended through 2014 giving developers up to three additional years to claim the discount.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Outlines that the discount on the assessment of undeveloped acreage subdivided into lots applies to a developer that has five lots instead of 10 lots and that if the application for the discounted rate comes after May 1 but before June 1, the owner shall receive the discounted rate but the discount is reduced.
S1409 – Clarifies rehabilitation expenses related to bank franchise fees – favorable reportSummary of the bill as introduced: Clarifies that the tax credit for rehabilitation expenses may be taken against franchise taxes on banks.
S1100 – Expands the list of projects that can be included in a county capital project sales tax – favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Expands the authorized projects that are allowed to by funded by a county capital project sales tax to include dredging, dewatering, construction of spoil sites and disposal of spoil materials.
H3346 – State tax credit for installation of solar energy equipment – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows a state tax credit for the installation of solar energy equipment equal to 35 percent of the installation cost.
S418 – Proviso Codification Act of 2011 - no action on this bill even though it was on the agenda.Summary of the bill as introduced: Provides for the codification in the SC Code of Laws of certain provisos contained in the annual general appropriations act.
Senate Judiciary committee
S934 – Annexation and utility services outside of the annexed area – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires a municipality utilizing the definition of contiguous to annex property that is adjacent to a special purpose district but not the special purpose district itself to provide municipal services to the special purpose district at the same rate that entities within the municipality are charged.
S1353 – Disclosure of economic interest statements by public officials – the committee did not take action on this bill even though it was on the agenda. Senators later recalled the bill from the committee and placed it on the Senate calendar.Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires a person that is required to file an economic interest statement to file for any year in which that person holds office for any portion of the year
S10 – Creates the Commission on Streamlining Government and Reduction of Waste – favorable report as amended by the subcommittee
Summary of the bill as introduced: Creates the Commission on Streamlining Government and Reduction of Waste and provides for its procedures to submit recommendations.
H3604 – Resolution that encourages walkable, mixed-use town centers - favorable reportSummary of the bill as introduced: Encourages the SC Councils of Governments to adopt model ordinances intended to enable the retrofitting of shopping malls and shopping centers into dense, walkable, mixed-use town centers.
H3248 – Limits on prosecuting certain ethics violations - recommitted to subcommitteeSummary of the bill as introduced: Allows ethics actions to be brought until four years after a public official, public employee or public member leaves office after certain ethics violations.
H3417 – Allows emergency medical and rescue response services to be special purpose districts - favorable report as amended by the subcommitteeSummary of the bill as introduced: Includes emergency medical and rescue response services as an authorized purpose for which a special purpose or public service district may be established.
H4451 – Illegal to use an electronic communication device while driving a vehicle – favorable report as amended by the subcommittee. The subcommittee amendment strikes all of the original language in the bill as it was introduced and replaces it with language that prohibits anyone under 18 years old from using a cell phone unless he has a hands free device. The amendment also prohibits anyone from using a cell phone while driving in a school zone or work zone.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Makes it illegal for a person to use an electronic communication device while driving a vehicle.
Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry subcommittee
H4652 – Restricts labor unions in the state – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires employers to conspicuously post certain notice concerning the rights of an employee concerning joining a union and provides certain restrictions on government contracts.
House Education and Public Works committee
H4487 – Requires SC Department of Transportation to pay for relocation of public water and sewer lines – favorable report. This bill was amended in subcommittee to strike all of the original language in the bill as it was introduced and replace it with language creating a study committee to study the issue.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires the Department of Transportation to pay all costs related to relocating water and sewer lines that are maintained and operated by a public water system or a public sewer system that are located within the right-of-way of a state transportation improvement project.