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​​From the Dome to Your Home

 The Senate and House of Representatives met in regular session this week debating bills on the calendar. Both chambers stayed late on Wednesday with the House debating amendments to the Senate version of the budget and the Senate debating an abortion bill. Senators continued debate on Thursday and stayed until early Friday morning to finish the debate.

There is one week (three legislative days) left in the 2018 legislative session. Since this is the second year of a two-year session, all bills that haven't passed will die and have to be reintroduced at the beginning of the 2019 session.

The plastic bag ban bill remains on the Senate contested calendar with three senators objecting to the bill.

Abandoned buildings tax credit bill passed by the House
The House of Representatives gave second reading to S1043 on Thursday by a vote of 92 to 0 and third reading on Friday. This bill extends the abandoned buildings tax credit until 2021. Passed in 2013, the Act created an incentive for the rehabilitation, renovation and redevelopment of abandoned buildings in South Carolina. S1043 will ensure the incentive remains in place to give developers certainty for future projects planned after the incentive's current sunset in 2019.  

Next, the Senate will have to concur or nonconcur on the House amendment to the bill. Please call your senators and ask them to concur on the House amendments to S1043

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

House recalls local accommodations flexibility bill
House members recalled S917 from the House Ways and Means Committee and placed it on the House calendar. S917 allows accommodations and hospitality tax revenue to be used to control and repair flooding and drainage at tourism-related lands. Next week, the House will debate this bill.  

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

House amends the budget
The House of Representatives adopted numerous amendments to the Senate version of the budget on Wednesday. On Thursday, the Senate insisted on its version of the budget, sending the budget to a conference committee to finalize the differences. Senators Leatherman, Matthews and Bennett and Representatives White, Cole and Clyburn are the conferees.

Included in the House version of the budget:

  • 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.
  • Proviso (52A) allows the S.C. Department of Transportation to use federal-aid funds to relocate water and sewer lines in compliance with federal guidelines. 
  • Proviso (40A) allows anyone that retired before December 31, 2017, to return to work for a covered employer without the earnings limitation.

Included in the Senate version of the budget: 

  • No additional money in the Local Government Fund leaving the fund at $222.6 million.
  • Beach renourishment funded at $11 million.
  • The 1 percent pension employer contribution credit in the FY 2018 budget is funded at the same level in the FY 2019 budget.
  • $500,000 in nonrecurring post-traumatic stress disorder funding for first responders. This money was in the FY2018 budget, but it was not included in the House version of the budget passed in March.
  • Proviso (48A) requires political subdivisions using Rural Infrastructure Authority funds for water infrastructure projects to follow the state procurement code's definition of "specifications" for products and services when bidding those projects.  
  • Proviso (70) requires the SC State Law Enforcement Division to determine if municipalities are inhibiting their employees' attempts to comply with state or federal laws requiring that they check the immigration status of people applying for various public services. It also requires SLED to determine if municipal law enforcement officials are checking the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens. Municipalities that SLED does not certify as "compliant" will lose undisbursed portions of their Local Government Fund allocation.
  • Proviso (58) requires cities and towns to perform national background checks and fingerprint employees with access to federal tax information.  

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

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.

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. 

 More resources

Weekly legislative action