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From the Dome to Your Home

Senate and House members were in Columbia this week in regular session working on the calendar and in subcommittee and committee meetings. The Senate Finance Committee worked on the provisos in the House version of the budget, while the House of Representatives amended the roads bill and worked through bills on the calendar.

Dilapidated Buildings Act action
There was action this week in both the House and Senate on the Dilapidated Buildings Act. The House Judiciary Committee passed H3039 favorably out of full committee, and it's now on the calendar for debate by the full House of Representatives on Tuesday. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommitted S194, its version of the bill, back to the subcommittee. This means the Senate bill is dead for the year.

This bill gives cities and towns another tool to deal with dilapidated buildings through the appointment of a receiver to either repair or demolish the property. For more information on DBA, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Annexation bill out of subcommittee
H4834, the Local Government Efficiency Act, was passed favorably by a unanimous vote out of the House Judiciary Special Laws subcommittee. This enclave annexation bill is sponsored by 12 Republican and Democrat House members. The bill allows cities, by ordinance, to annex property that is 25 acres or less that has been completely surrounded by the municipality for at least five years. Next, the bill will be on the House Judiciary Committee's agenda. Read this week's blog post for background on H4834. For more information on this bill, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

State budget update
The Senate Finance Committee began debating the House version of the budget on Tuesday. Finance Committee members debated provisos this week and will continue next week with funding allocation. The House version of the budget includes $212.6 million in recurring dollars for the Local Government Fund. This is the same amount as last year. The budget also includes $72 million in flood relief and $40 million in beach renourishment funds. The House version of the budget allocates $415 million to the SC DOT for road repair.

The indigent defense proviso that requires cities and towns to pay for public defenders to represent indigents in municipal court remains in the House version of the budget. The Senate Finance Criminal Justice subcommittee did not recommend the proviso be removed from the budget, and attempts to remove the proviso at full committee have so far been unsuccessful. Get background on the indigent defense proviso in this Uptown article. For more information on the indigent defense proviso, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

For more information on the budget, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.    

Roads bill update
The House of Representatives amended H3579, the roads bill passed earlier by the House and amended by the Senate. The amendment removed the $400 million funding requirement added by the Senate and made changes to the SC DOT governance structure. Appointment of DOT commission members would have to be approved by the entire General Assembly. For more information on the roads issue, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Business license bill update
H5109, the South Carolina Business License Tax Standardization Act, is currently awaiting subcommittee action in the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. This is the bill that the Municipal Association and members of the business community have been working on for many months to standardize business licensing practices across the state.

It is important that the bill has multiple sponsors to show support. Please contact your city's House members and ask them to sponsor H5109. Link to the full explanation of the bill here, get a summary of the bill here or read this blog post and listen to the podcast for a Q & A with details of the bill.

For information on business licensing, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.

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Weekly legislative action