From the Dome to Your Home: The Weekly Review of the S.C. General Assembly

A weekly legislative update from the S.C. Municipal Association.

The House of Representatives and Senate met in regular session this week adjourning sine die at 5 p.m. on Thursday. An adjournment resolution was adopted by the House and Senate to bring back legislators on June 19 and June 26 to meet in conference committees and handle vetoes. Any legislation not passed or not in a conference committee by 5 p.m. yesterday is dead for the year and must be re-introduced next session. 

Local Government Fund Update

The House of Representatives adopted an amendment to the Senate version that changes the budget back to the version originally passed by the House. The House further amended the budget to include an additional $10 million to the Local Government Fund. This is $30 million less than the Senate version of the budget. The Senate nonconcurred with the House amendment to the budget and a conference committee was appointed. Reps Brian White, Murrell Smith and Harry Ott were appointed in the House. The Senate has not yet appointed conferees.

The Senate Finance committee never took action on H4710, the bill that allows the General Assembly to cut the Local Government Fund. 

Lobbyist Proviso Amended

The Senate and House versions of the budget include Representative Jim Merrill’s proviso regarding lobbying activities. The House version of the proviso prevents local governments from using any taxpayer dollars for lobbying, while the Senate version prevents counties, municipalities and associations from using only Local Government Fund dollars to compensate employees for lobbying activities. The conference committee will determine which version of this proviso will be in the final budget. The original proviso is 89.129. 

For talking points and background on the Local Government Fund, the budget and H4710, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251 or visit the Association’s website for more information. 

Retirement Reform Bill Still in Conference Committee

Retirement reform conference committee members met this week to debate the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, but have not agreed on a final version. Conference committee members are Reps. Bingham, Merrill and Cobb-Hunter and Senators Ryberg, Alexander and Setzler. Conference committees and conference reports are allowed to be considered during the extended session on June 19. Visit this link for a summary of the differences between 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 Update

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 Senate passed the bill on April 19. The House of Representatives passed the bill on June 5 with an amendment. The one difference between the two versions of the bill concerns the state’s ability to join a multi-state agreement for collecting and distributing the tax to reciprocal states. Time ran out in the regular session before the Senate could vote on the House version of the bill. The Association will continue to work on passage of a bill before the brokers’ tax is due in 2013. For more information on the bill, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251. 

Broadband Bill Update

Senators spent considerable time this session debating H3508, the broadband bill. Senator Malloy continued to hold the floor this week and express his strong belief that all areas of the state must have access to high speed broadband to be economically competitive. Senators Malloy and Hutto introduced amendments favorable to local governments and these amendments were adopted by the Senate. The Senate passed H3508 on third reading. However, the House did not take up the Senate amendments prior to sine die adjournment. For more information on the bill, contact Ed Schafer (eschafer@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203. 

Passed Bills

Bills passed from both the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions are available on the Association’s legislative tracking system. 

Weekly Bill Introductions

Access bills that were introduced this week through our legislative tracking system complete with short summaries. Committee Action This WeekThere were no standing committee meetings this week. Most of the action took place on the floor of the House and Senate and in conference committees for specific bills.

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