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From the Dome to Your Home

The Senate and House of Representatives met under the terms of the sine die resolution, or adjournment resolution, on Wednesday, June 15, to take up conference reports and other legislation permitted in the resolution. Legislators plan to return to Columbia on June 28 to take up budget vetoes. 

The general election primaries on Tuesday brought more changes in the House of Representatives. Thirteen House members retired this year and did not run for reelection. After the primary, seven more incumbent House members lost their elections. The House of Representatives will see 20 new House members with a possibility of more after primary runoff elections and the general election in November.

State budget conference report adopted and sent to the governor
The conference committee adopted the committee report on H5150, the state budget bill, last week. On Wednesday, the House and Senate adopted the conference report sending it to the governor’s desk for line-item vetoes. Included in the conference committee’s version are these items:

  • $12.5 million added to the Local Government Fund base amount. Legislators fully funded the LGF at 5% for FY 2022-2023 in accordance with Act 84, which passed into law in 2019.
  • $37 million to cover 1% of the increase in public employers' retirement system contributions.
  • $750,000 for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment services for law enforcement and first responders. This includes the conference committee’s additional $250,000 in recurring dollars for the SC Law Enforcement Division and SC Labor, Licensing and Regulation for PTSD treatment services.
  • $4 million in additional funds for tourism advertising in nonrecurring dollars.
  • $1 million to supplement the state's 10 councils of governments.
  • $3.5 million for the Firefighter Cancer Fund.
  • $2 million in additional recurring dollars for the rural stabilization fund for a total of $12 million.
These provisos were included in the conference report and adopted by the House and Senate:

  • Increase employer State Health Plan premiums by 18.1% as of January 2023. The SC Public Employee Benefit Authority requested this increase, which would apply to cities and towns that are on the State Health Plan.
  • Remove the compensation cap for return-to-work retirees in the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System after a 12-month break in service.
  • Allow political subdivisions, including cities and towns, to implement or procure cleaning, sanitization and disinfection services and products that, at a minimum, meet the most current requirements and guidelines issued by the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control to mitigate the impact of any COVID-19 strains, as well as other communicable diseases.
  • Create a Governor’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. The advisory committee annually shall select a state law enforcement officer of the year, a county law enforcement officer of the year and a municipal law enforcement officer of the year. Each winner shall be recognized by the governor and awarded $10,000, which is not subject to South Carolina income taxes.
For questions on the state budget, contact Joannie Nickel (jnickel@masc.sc) at 803.354.4794.

E-waste bill conference report adopted 
H4775, the e-waste bill, was sent to a conference committee for Senate and House members to debate the differences in the two bills. The conference committee unanimously adopted the House version of the bill that only includes language on e-waste. House and Senate members adopted the conference report, sending the bill to the governor’s desk for his signature or veto. 

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

Service fees language included in conference report 
S233, a bill that exempts certain homeowners from property taxes, was amended to include language from S984, the bill that requires any service or user fee to be used to the nonexclusive benefit of the payers. This bill was sent to a conference committee to iron out differences. The conference committee unanimously adopted the Senate version of the bill that includes the language from S984. Both the House and the Senate adopted the conference report, sending the bill to the governor’s desk for his signature or veto.

S984 was introduced in response to the Burns vs. Greenville County Council court ruling that prohibited local governments from charging road maintenance fees and telecommunications fees to make improvements to roads and public safety communications. 

For questions about this bill, contact Scott Slatton at (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203. 

Squat truck bill dies in conference committee 
S908, the bill that prohibits motor vehicle modifications that result in the front fender being raised, or squat trucks, was in a conference committee because the House and Senate could not agree on the same version of the bill. Conference committee members met on Wednesday, but still could not agree on language and did not report the bill out of the conference committee. This procedure kills the bill for the year.  

For questions about this bill, contact Scott Slatton at (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203. 

Heirs property bill conference report adopted 
S560 is a bill that creates an heirs’ property study committee to examine methods to address heirs’ property. The House version of this bill had additional election law language. The conference committee adopted the Senate version of the bill that only includes the heirs’ property language. The Municipal Association has an appointment to the study committee. House and Senate members adopted the conference report, sending the bill to the governor’s desk for his signature or veto.  

For questions about this bill, contact Erica Wright at (ewright@masc.sc) at 803.354.4793.

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. Listen to the City Quick Connect podcast every Friday during the session for details on the week’s legislative activities, in-depth discussion on bills and action by the General Assembly.