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From the Dome to Your Home

The S.C. General Assembly convenes on Tuesday, January 9, for the second half of a two-year legislative session. Prefiling bills for the 2018 session wrapped up on Wednesday. 

2018 Advocacy Initiatives
The Association's board of directors approved the 2018 Advocacy Initiatives in October. The initiatives represent challenges identified by local officials during the Regional Advocacy meetings. Each action item represents a recommended change to state law that would give local governments more tools to meet these challenges.

This year's initiatives are

Encourage business growth and development
For businesses, time is money. Implementing standardized business licensing practices saves businesses time and supports local economic growth.

Action Item

  • Standardize business license tax collection processes across the state.

Provide quality services
Residents and businesses expect a positive quality of life and economic prosperity in their hometowns.  To achieve this, dependable and consistent revenue sources are necessary to support the efficient and effective delivery of municipal services.

Action Items

  • Update the formula for the Local Government Fund to ensure a reliable revenue source for cities and towns.
  • Increase flexibility for municipalities to raise revenue to support specific capital projects.
  • Allow cities to annex certain enclaves by ordinance.
  • Increase flexibility for municipalities to more effectively use local hospitality/accommodations tax and victims assistance funds.

Increase funding for law enforcement
Law enforcement agencies face challenge of recruiting, hiring and training highly qualified officers. Increased funding for training and resources will result in safer streets and communities.

Action Items

  • Increase reliable funding to offer more training opportunities for law enforcement officers.
  • Increase funding for body worn cameras.
  • Equip cities and towns with the tools to meet law enforcement challenges created by the opioid epidemic.

Expand funding sources for infrastructure
Long-term management of infrastructure extends beyond building roads, fixing potholes and cleaning drainage ditches. Cities and towns need resources and flexibility to prioritize and address local infrastructure challenges.

Action Items

  • Increase municipal representation on county transportation committees.
  • Increase funding for drainage projects to mitigate damage to flood-prone areas.
  • Identify funding sources for relocating municipally owned utilities forced to move due to road and bridge construction.

Reduce blight
Dilapidated structures pose a public safety threat in municipalities of all sizes. Additional tools to clear blight will ensure the safety of residents and visitors and spur economic development opportunities for business owners.

Action Item

  • Establish options to recover public funds spent to demolish or clean blighted property.

Check out the December Uptown story on the initiatives and read the City Connect blog for more details on each advocacy initiative beginning now through January.

The Association's advocacy staff has been working on strategy for the action items that make up the advocacy initiatives since the Regional Advocacy Meetings in August and September.

Hometown Legislative Action Day 2018
Hometown Legislative Action Day is scheduled for Tuesday, February 6, 2018, at the Marriott in Columbia. Registration and hotel information are available now. The preregistration deadline is January 23 and the deadline to reserve a hotel room is January 10.

Prefiled bills in the House and Senate
The House and Senate prefiled bills on November 9, December 6 and 13 for the 2018 legislative session. Check the legislative tracking system for summaries on prefiled bills that affect cities and towns. For more information on these bills, contact Casey Fields (cfields@masc.sc) at 803.933.1256.

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