From the Dome to Your Home: May 11

A weekly legislative summary from the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

The House of Representatives and Senate met in regular session this week. The Senate Finance committee adopted its version of the state budget on Wednesday night, increasing the Local Government Fund with one-time dollars. Debate in the Senate this week centered around bills that would allow those candidates who missed the deadline for filing statements of economic interest to appear on the June 2012 ballot. All attempts to pass bills and amendments to allow this change failed. Both the House and Senate were not in session on Thursday for Confederate Memorial Day.  

Budget Update

The Senate Finance committee adopted its version of the budget bill on Wednesday night. The bill now heads to the full Senate for debate. 

Local Government Fund Update

The Senate Finance committee’s version of the budget includes an additional $40 million for the Local Government Fund, funding the FY13 LGF at 88 percent. While this means additional funds to support local programs and services in the FY13 budget, the recurring dollars remain at only 71 percent of the funding formula required in state statute, the same as the House version of the budget. This new money became available this week because the Board of Economic Advisors revised its revenue estimate for FY12 and FY13 with an additional $274 million dollars for the Senate Finance committee to budget. The Senate Finance committee has not taken any action on H4710, the bill that allows the General Assembly to cut the Local Government Fund. 

Lobbyist Proviso Amended

Representative Jim Merrill’s proviso regarding lobbying activities was amended and passed by the Senate Finance committee. The amendment prevents counties, municipalities and associations from using Local Government Fund dollars to compensate employees for lobbying activities. This version of the proviso could create accounting issues for cities and towns to track specifics of how LGF dollars are spent. 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 (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251 or visit the Association’s website for more information. 

Senate Adopts Retirement Reform Bill 

H4967, the Senate Finance amended version of the House retirement reform bill remains on the Senate uncontested calendar. The Senate did not take up this bill this week. They plan to address the retirement bill before the budget debate. Visit this link for a summary of proposed changes included in the House and Senate versions of the bill. For more information on the bill, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) 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 House Labor, Commerce and Industry Insurance subcommittee gave this bill a favorable report with an amendment last week. The amendment changes the language in the bill about the ability to join a multi-state compact. This week, the full House Labor, Commerce and Industry committee adjourned debate on the bill. For more information on the bill, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) 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 WeekThe 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 Judiciary subcommittee

S1381 – Temporary permits for possession of alcohol - favorable report with an amendment. Senate legislative staff is working on the amendment and it will be posted in the tracking system as soon as it is available.Summary of the bill as introduced: Provides further for the elections for a favorable referendum vote for a temporary permit for the possession, sale and consumption of alcohol by the drink in a county or municipality

Senate Judiciary committee

H3665 – Penalties for carrying a firearm into a business that sells alcohol – favorable report as amended by the subcommitteeSummary of the bill as introduced: Establishes a penalty for anyone that carries a firearm into a business that sells alcoholic beer, liquor or wine for consumption

H4821 – Filing court documents electronically – recommitted to the subcommitteeSummary of the bill as introduced: Allows the filing of court documents by electronic means from an integrated e-filing system and requires the fees generated from e-filing to be used for court technology

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.

S390 – Criminal record check fees reduced for municipalities – favorable report as amended by the subcommittee.Summary of the bill as introduced: Clarifies the definition of charitable organizations which pay a reduced fee for criminal record searches to include local park and recreation volunteers through a commission, municipality or county

H4675 – Clarifies the ban on video gaming machines - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment only makes technical changes.Summary of the bill as introduced: Clarifies that existing regulations on bingo and raffles do not allow any devices prohibited under the state's current video gambling ban 

Senate Transportation Aeronautics subcommittee

H3918 – Increases authority of the Aeronautics Division to regulate land around public airports -favorable report as amended. Senate legislative staff is still working on the amendment and as soon as it is available, it will be posted.Summary of the bill as introduced: Increases the authority of the Division of Aeronautics to regulate land use in the vicinity of public airports and to remove imminent or foreseeable hazards to aviation safety

House Labor, Commerce and Industry committee

S1125 – Ineligibility of people discharged from employment for cause to receive benefits -favorable report as amended by the subcommittee.Summary of the bill as introduced: Prevents a person discharged from employment for fraudulent activity from collecting unemployment benefits for 20 weeks beginning with the date the person filed the benefits request.

House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee

S1321 – Changes to the Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act of 2010 – favorable reportSummary of the bill as introduced: Restructures the degrees of arson and changes penalties for an offender on parole to purchase a weapon. The changes also include code sections on youthful offenders and controlled substance offenses

Senate Judiciary subcommittee

H4088 – Adds certain violations to offenses exempt from additional assessments in magistrates court – carried overSummary of the bill as introduced: Add violations of fish, game and forestry to the offenses exempt from the additional assessments for offenses tried in magistrates’ court

Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee

H4092 – Smoking bans on campuses of public institutions of higher learning – favorable reportSummary of the bill as introduced: Prevents smoking in buildings on campuses of public institutions of higher learning when it is prohibited by the governing body of the institution

H5131 – Provides individuals with disabilities access to public pools – favorable reportSummary of the bill as introduced: Memorializes the US Justice Department to revise its regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 pertaining to places of public accommodation providing individuals with disabilities access to amenities including access to pools. This resolution would require that this access may be provided by use of a portable chairlift, rather than a permanent chairlift

Senate Judiciary subcommittee

H5104 – Testimony under oath to the General Assembly - favorable report as amended. As soon as the amendment is written by Senate legislative staff, it will be posted.Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires all testimony given to a committee or subcommittee of the General Assembly to be under oath and creates the offenses of contempt of the General Assembly and criminal contempt

House Judiciary Election and Ethics Laws subcommittee

S391 – Changes the time that absentee ballots may be open in elections – the subcommittee did not take action on this bill although it was on the agenda.Summary of the bill as introduced: Changes the time in a general, municipal, special and primary election in which absentee ballots maybe opened from 2 p.m. to 9 a.m.

H5216 – Allows candidates to file statements of economic interest – adjourned debateSummary of the bill as introduced: Gives any person that was prohibited from appearing on the June 2012 primary ballot as the result of failure to file a statement of economic interest an opportunity to file a statement of economic interest and appear on the ballot. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jonathan Edwards May 19, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Thanks for posting such valuable information. We're lucky to have this information supplied so readily. www.jonathanpedwards.com
Hal Millard May 19, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Our pleasure Jonathan. It is a pretty handy and fairly concise way to keep up with the goings-on at the State House.


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