From the Dome to Your Home

The House of Representatives and the Senate met in regular session this week. The House of Representatives honored the memory of the late Representative Joe Neal from Richland County who passed away suddenly on Tuesday night. Rep. Ralph Norman (R – York) resigned on Thursday from the House of Representatives to run for the U.S. Congress. Both business license bills were read across the House desk on Wednesday and placed on the House calendar.

Business license bills on the House calendar – ACTION REQUIRED
Rep. Bill Sandifer (R – Seneca) and 13 other sponsors introduced two bills, H3650 and H3651, on February 2 that drastically cut city revenues  and create tax inequities for small businesses due to special tax exemptions. Last week, the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee passed both of these bills out of committee to the House floor. The committee reports were read across the House desk on Wednesday and placed on the House calendar.
Taken together, the bills adopt the standardization measures discussed by business stakeholders and cities. However, the bills would also 

  1. grant exemptions to certain business types forcing elected officials to choose between increasing business license rates for all other businesses or reducing city services,  
  2. strip the authority of cities and towns to manage business licensing, and
  3. move the insurance and telecommunications collection programs from the Municipal Association, governed by city officials, to a state agency.

What can you do TODAY?
Call your House members TODAY and urge them to vote NO on these bills that go far beyond the goal of standardizing the business licensing process. Encourage them to support continued work to return the bill to its original purpose of streamlining the business license process without exemptions and without control shifted to a state agency. House members plan to work longer on Tuesday afternoon to get through bills on the calendar.

Now is the time to contact your House member! Here are several points to emphasize about these bills:

Removes local authority: Takes authority from locally elected city councils and gives it to a state agency resulting in growing state government and bureaucracy.

Hands out exemptions to special interests: Picks winners and losers by handing out tax exemptions to some businesses which guarantees tax increases for others.

Creates ambiguities and inconsistencies: Generates confusion with ambiguous language that complicates the business licensing process for cities and businesses instead of streamlining it.

Reduces revenue to cities: Contact Melissa Carter ( at 803.933.1251 for assistance on estimating the financial impact this bill would have on your city or town.

As you talk to your legislators about this bill, please share any feedback with Casey Fields ( at 803.933.1256. For questions on these bills, contact Miriam Hair ( at 803.933.1204 or Melissa Carter ( at 803.933.1251.
House Retirement Bill passes out of committee
H3726, the House version of the bill that reforms the S.C. Retirement System, passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. The full House will now debate the bill next week. This bill proposes to pay down the unfunded liability of the state retirement system and reduce the assumed annual rate of return from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent.

These bills increase the employer contribution rate for S.C. Retirement System and Police Officers Retirement System by 2 percent effective July 1. This increases the employer contribution 1 percent each year through 2023 ultimately producing an employer rate of 18.56 for SCRS and 21.24 for PORS. The bill also places a cap of 9 percent on the employee contribution rate effective July 1. There is no reduction in cost of living adjustments for retirees.

The bills also make a number of administrative changes to the S.C. Public Employment Benefits Authority and the S.C. Retirement System Investment Commission. For questions on these bills, contact Melissa Carter ( 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.


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Weekly legislative action