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​From the Dome to Your Home

The House of Representatives met in regular session this week, while the Senate met only in subcommittees and committees. Both chambers will meet in regular session next week. This was a busy week for the Association's 2019 Advocacy Initiatives as well as other legislative issues for cities and towns.

Advocacy Initiatives Update

  • Flexibility with hospitality and accommodations tax revenue
    H3132 and S217 were introduced in the House and Senate to give cities more flexibility with state and local accommodations and hospitality tax revenue to control and repair flooding and drainage in tourist-related areas. S217 was given a favorable report by the Senate Finance Sales and Income Tax subcommittee on Tuesday morning, and the Senate Finance Committee passed it out to the full Senate later that day. Melissa Carter, research and legislative liaison for the Association, testified in favor of this bill at the subcommittee meeting. It will be on the Senate calendar for debate next week. Please call your senators and encourage them to support S217 to give cities and towns the flexibility with these local dollars. For more information on this advocacy initiative, contact Melissa (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.
  • Local Government Fund dependability
    H3137, sponsored by a bipartisan group of House members, was introduced to change the LGF formula to a more reliable funding level from year to year. The House Ways and Means General Government Legislative subcommittee was scheduled to debate this bill on Thursday but the meeting was canceled. For more information on this advocacy initiative, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.
  • Reduce wait times for new hires at the Criminal Justice Academy
    The Senate Finance Criminal Justice subcommittee and the House Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice subcommittee both met on Wednesday to hear the budget request from the SC Criminal Justice Academy. Tiger Wells, director of governmental affairs for the Association, testified in favor of the Academy's budget request to move revenue for the Academy to a recurring line item. Kassy Alia, founder and CEO of Serve and Connect, and police chiefs and sheriffs from across the state attended the hearings and expressed their support for the budget request. For more information on this advocacy initiative, contact Tiger (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Zero millage bill passed by Senate Finance Committee
The Senate Finance Property Tax subcommittee amended and passed out favorably S227, a bill that allows cities without an operating millage to impose a millage. The subcommittee amended the bill to include a restriction on the initial amount that a city could impose. Scott Slatton, legislative and public policy advocate for the Association, testified in favor of this bill, along with Roger LeDuc, city administrator for the Town of Edgefield and Sen. Mike Gambrell (R-Abbeville, Anderson, Greenwood), the primary sponsor of the bill. Later in the day, the full Senate Finance Committee passed this bill to the full Senate for debate next week. For more information on this bill, contact Scott (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Increase in tort claims cap passes out of subcommittee
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee amended and passed out favorably S7, a bill that increases the $300,000 limit on what a single person may recover from the state or a local government to $1 million. The bill also increases the $600,000 limit for a single occurrence to $2 million. The subcommittee amended the bill to require the SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office to be the agency that publishes notice of the cap adjustment. The subcommittee also amended the bill to change the effective date to one year after publication of the notice of cap adjustment. Tiger Wells testified against this increase in subcommittee. For more information on the tort claims cap increase, contact Tiger (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Hometown Legislative Action Day 2019
Hometown Legislative Action Day is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 2019, at the Marriott in Columbia. Registration information is available now. The preregistration deadline is January 22.

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