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​From the Dome to Your Home

The House of Representatives met in regular session this week. The Senate met on Tuesday and Wednesday, but did not meet in session on Thursday to allow the Senate Finance Committee to work on its version of the budget. 

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives will reconvene next week for regular session. 

Tax credit extension enrolled for ratification 
The House passed S271, the bill that extends the benefits of the Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act until December 2025. The current act sunsets this December unless the General Assembly passes legislation to extend it. Senators adopted an amendment to the bill that adds “roads and railroad rights of way” as intervening connectors in the Textiles Communities Revitalization Act. This bill combines two of the 2021 Advocacy Initiatives for cities and towns. 

House members did not make any changes to the Senate bill, so the bill is immediately enrolled for ratification. It will then go to the governor for signature or veto.  

For questions on this bill, contact Joannie Nickel (jnickel@masc.sc) at 803.354.4794. 

Senate Finance Committee begins budget work 
The Senate Finance Committee began meeting on Tuesday to consider provisos and debate its version of the state budget. Committee members adjourned on Wednesday and will meet again next Tuesday morning to discuss funding levels for items within the budget. The full committee adopted the provisos addressing municipal audits that the subcommittee recommended last week.  

During FY 2021–2022, the provisos: 

  • compel the SC State Treasurer to release to cities and towns two years’ worth of  Local Government Funds being withheld from them as a result of having not completed annual audits; 

  • direct the SC State Auditor to issue a statewide contract for auditing services for cities and towns to conduct annual audits; and 
  • direct the State Auditor to convene a working group of stakeholders to develop appropriate audit requirements for cities and towns. 
Another proviso directed at cities and towns was included in the budget. Sen. Ronnie Cromer (R - Newberry) introduced a proviso adopted by the Senate Finance Committee that exempts title insurance companies from paying the municipal business license tax on a portion of their gross premiums as required by current law. In response to a fiscal impact request from the SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office about the proviso, the Municipal Association reported that the potential loss in revenue for cities and towns could approach $2.9 million annually. 

For questions on the budget, contact Joannie Nickel (jnickel@masc.sc) at 803.354.4794. 

Municipal parking bill passes subcommittee 
The House Education and Public Works Transportation subcommittee met twice on Thursday and heard testimony on the amended version of S40, the municipal parking bill. Subcommittee members unanimously gave the bill a favorable report. 

S40, sponsored by Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley), prohibits a municipality from altering or establishing parking facilities on any state highway without prior approval from the SC Department of Transportation. The Senate amendment replaced the original bill with the following language:  

  • The bill clarifies that alteration of parking facilities on state highways must receive prior approval from the SC Department of Transportation through an encroachment permit.  
  • The bill requires beach communities to offer free public beach parking, allows them to offer paid public beach parking and allows the SC Department of Transportation to restrict parking only if circumstances necessitate restrictions.  
  • The bill allows beach community parking fees to be used for maintenance of parking facilities; beach access, maintenance and renourishment; traffic and parking enforcement; first responders; as well as sanitation and litter control. 
For questions on the bill, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203. 

Stay in Touch The Municipal Association legislative team is on Twitter. Follow Scott Slatton (@ScottMuniSC), Joannie Nickel (@JoannieMuniSC) and Erica Wright (@EricaMuniSC) for updates from the State House. Also follow the Association at @MuniAssnSC.