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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. Senators amended and passed ethics legislation and a roads bill, while the House worked through the calendar. The crossover deadline was Thursday. Bills that did not pass out of the originating chamber have a much more difficult time passing after the deadline.

Business license bill update
A House Labor, Commerce and Industry ad-hoc subcommittee heard testimony on Wednesday but did not take action on H4967, the Business License Compliance Reform Act. Miriam Hair, the Municipal Association's executive director, testified on behalf of cities and towns. The subcommittee also took testimony from other stakeholders including tax experts, the SC Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the South Carolina Association of Counties and the Homebuilders Association of SC.

H5109, the South Carolina Business License Tax Standardization Act, 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. No testimony was specifically taken on this bill.

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.

Stakeholders and legislators plan to continue work on the business licensing issue through the summer and fall months in preparation for the 2017 legislative session.

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

State budget update
The full Senate started debating the Senate Finance Committee version of the budget on Thursday. They plan to continue the debate on Tuesday through next week. The committee version of the bill includes an additional $28 million in nonrecurring funds for the Local Government Fund. That brings the LGF total in the Senate Finance Committee version of the budget to $240.6 million. This version of the budget also includes $72 million in flood relief and $20 million in beach renourishment funds.

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 indigent defense proviso that requires cities and towns to pay for public defenders to represent indigents in municipal court remains in the budget. 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.    

Dilapidated Buildings Act update
H3039 was debated on the floor of the House on Tuesday and failed to receive second reading. This means the House bill is dead for the year. 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 update
The full House Judiciary Committee meeting was canceled this week so representatives did not take action on the enclave annexation bill.  H4834, the Local Government Efficiency Act, 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. Read this blog post for background on H4834. For more information on this bill, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

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Weekly legislative action