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​From the Dome to Your Home

The House of Representatives and the Senate met in regular session this week. House members worked through bills on the calendar, while the Senate concentrated on Santee Cooper reform legislation. The Senate plans to begin debate on its version of the budget on Tuesday. 

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

Senate Finance Committee adopts budget 
The Senate Finance Committee adopted its version of the budget this week. The Senate Finance Committee version of the budget includes: 

  • $17.6 million to the Local Government Fund base amount. This is the same amount that House members included in the budget.  
  • $3.7 million for the supplemental insurance policy for South Carolina firefighters diagnosed with cancer in compliance with Act 168 passed by the General Assembly in 2020. This is the same amount included in the House budget. 
  • $500,000 in recurring funds for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment services for first responders. This is an item that has been included in the budget since 2016, but it was funded with non-recurring money. $250,000 is allocated to the SC Law Enforcement Assistance Program for police officers, and $250,000 is allocated to the SC First Responders Assistance and Support Team for firefighters. This is the same amount included in the House budget. 
  • 1% credit for employers’ retirement system contributions. This is the same amount in the House budget. 
Provisos added to the Senate Finance Committee version of the budget include: 

Proviso 78.fti exempts title insurance companies that located to the state in FY 2021 from paying the municipal business license tax on a portion of their gross premiums as required by current law. Sen. Ronnie Cromer (R - Newberry) introduced this proviso in the Senate Finance Committee where it was adopted. 

Proviso 105.afs directs the SC State Auditor to issue a statewide contract for auditing services for cities and towns to conduct annual audits and directs the State Auditor to convene a working group of stakeholders to develop appropriate audit requirements for cities and towns. 

Proviso 98.9 compels 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. 

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

Municipal parking bill passes full committee  
The House Education and Public Works Committee passed S40, the municipal parking bill, to the House floor. The House plans to debate the bill next week. 

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.