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​From the Dome to Your Home

The Senate met in regular session this week, continuing work in subcommittee and committee meetings and debating bills on the floor. The House of Representatives adopted its version of the budget on Wednesday and adjourned for the week.

House adopts budget
The House of Representatives gave third and final reading to its version of the budget in the early hours of Wednesday morning. House members made very few changes to the House Ways and Means Committee version of the budget. The House version of the budget includes the following items:

  • Beach renourishment funded at $11 million.
  • The 1 percent pension employer contribution credit funded in the FY 2018 budget is again funded in the FY 2019 budget.

Contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251 for information on specific budget items.

Municipal Tax Relief Act receives subcommittee hearing
S426, the Municipal Tax Relief Act sponsored by Senator Greg Hembree (R-Horry), received a subcommittee hearing this week from the Senate Finance Sales and Income Tax subcommittee. This bill would allow a municipality to impose a sales tax, through a referendum, not to exceed one percent, for municipal tax relief and for certain authorized capital projects.

Mayor Marilyn Hatley from North Myrtle Beach and Councilmember Amy Ryberg Doyle from Greenville testified in favor of the bill. Senators Cromer (ch), Peeler, Reese, Nicholson, Scott and Gregory voted to carry over the bill for more testimony and amendments. They plan to schedule another subcommittee hearing in the next couple of weeks for further action. If you have a senator on this subcommittee, please contact him and urge him to support S426. For more information on this bill, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.

Senate version of utility relocation bill moves to full committee
A Senate Transportation subcommittee gave a favorable report to S932, the Senate version of the utility relocation bill. This bill requires the owner of a road improvement project, such as the S. C. Department of Transportation, to bear the cost of relocating a public utility's water and sewer lines. The House version of the bill, H3739, is on the contested calendar for debate by the full House. Utility relocation is one of the 2018 Municipal Association Advocacy Initiatives. Scott Slatton has been a member of a long-standing study committee on utility relocation that worked on language for S932. For questions on this bill, contact Scott (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Plastic bag ban bill passes out of subcommittee
The Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Regulatory and Local Government subcommittee met again on Thursday to debate H3529, the bill that bans local governments from passing ordinances that regulate plastic bags. Subcommittee members voted to give the bill a favorable report. Senators Massey, Williams, Gambrell and Corbin voted in favor of the bill. Senators Setzler, Sabb and Davis voted against the bill. Next, the bill will be debated by the full Senate, Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. Please thank Senators Setzler, Sabb and Davis for supporting local government.

This bill will ban municipalities from adopting ordinances regulating local use of plastic bags. Cities that adopted ordinances before January 31, 2018, or are located within a county that adopted an ordinance before January 31, 2018 will be allowed to continue enforcing them. Future ordinances on the subject, even those amending pre-existing ordinances, would possibly be banned. For questions on the bill, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Engineer's Practice Act changes signed into law
This week, Governor Henry McMaster signed H3649, which clarifies for building officials and the construction industry when an engineer's seal is needed on construction documents for nonresidential structures. The change in the law is effective immediately. Read more about the bill and this week's blog post. For more information on this law change, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Stay in touch
The Municipal Association legislative team is on Twitter this session bringing you updates from the State House lobby and committee and subcommittee meetings. Follow Melissa Carter (@MelissaMuniSC), Scott Slatton (@ScottMuniSC) and Tiger Wells (@TigerMuniSC) on Twitter for updates. Also follow the Association at @MuniAssnSC. Read the week's featured tweet from the State House during the plastic bag ban subcommittee meeting.
 
Weekly bill introductions
Use the Association's legislative tracking system to access bills that were introduced this week and bills that received action from a subcommittee or committee. The system also allows readers to comment on all bills related to local government pending in the House and Senate.

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Weekly legislative action