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​From the Dome to Your Home

The Senate and House of Representatives met in regular session this week. There are now only six more legislative days until the General Assembly adjourns for the year on Thursday, May 9.

The tobacco preemption bill and the plastic bag ban bill remain on the Senate contested calendar, and the bill that prohibits the Municipal Association from collecting business licenses on behalf of cities remains in a House committee.

The bill that amends the Tort Claims Act was amended to lower the proposed liability cap increases and passed by the Senate. The bill is now in the House waiting to be taken up by a committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee carried over the SC Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act bill on Tuesday, and the state budget is back in the House of Representatives after being amended and passed by the Senate.

Advocacy Initiatives update

  • Flexibility with hospitality and accommodations tax revenue
    H3132 and S217 were introduced in the House and Senate to give cities the ability to use state and local accommodations and hospitality tax revenue to control and repair flooding and drainage in tourist-related areas. The Senate passed S217 and sent it to the House of Representatives, where it was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. Please encourage your House members to support S217. For more information on this advocacy initiative, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.

    Local Government Fund predictability
    H3137, sponsored by a bipartisan group of House members, was introduced to change the LGF formula to a more predictable funding level from year to year. The House of Representatives passed H3137. The Senate Finance Committee amended and approved H3137 and sent it to the full Senate for debate. It is currently on the Senate uncontested calendar. For more information on this advocacy initiative, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.
     
    Reducing wait times for new hires at the Criminal Justice Academy
    The House of Representatives allocated more than $3 million in funding to the Criminal Justice Academy to increase training for officers in its version of the state budget. With this additional funding, the academy can increase capacity and decrease wait times for admitting new officers. The Senate allocated $2 million in recurring funding to the Criminal Justice Academy. For more information on this advocacy initiative, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Utility relocation bill passes a House committee
The House Education and Public Works Transportation subcommittee gave S401, the Senate version of the utility relocation bill, a favorable report. S401 requires an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project to bear the cost of relocating water and sewer lines. Later in the week, the full House Education and Public Works Committee gave the bill a favorable report. The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives for debate next week. For information on this bill, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.
 
House Tax Policy Review Committee hears testimony on business licensing
The House Tax Policy Review Committee, an ad hoc House committee created by Speaker Jay Lucas last year, heard testimony on Thursday on business license taxes. Tiger Wells, director of governmental affairs for the Municipal Association, educated members of the committee on business licensing and the efforts of cities and towns over the last several years to standardize the licensing process. For information on this committee and the business license bill, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.
 
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.
 
Stay in touch
The Municipal Association legislative team is on Twitter bringing you updates from the State House when legislators are in Columbia for session. Follow Melissa Carter (@MelissaMuniSC), Scott Slatton (@ScottMuniSC) and Tiger Wells (@TigerMuniSC) on Twitter for updates. Also follow the Association at @MuniAssnSC

You can also listen to podcast versions of the legislative reports from the Association's City Quick Connect podcast.