None

From the Dome to Your Home

The Senate and House of Representatives met in regular session this week and adjourned at 5 p.m. on Thursday to end the 2019 regular session. Legislators plan to return to Columbia on Monday, May 20, to complete work on the budget conference report. Since this is the first year of a two-year session, all bills will remain active for the 2020 session.

The utility relocation bill, S401, was adopted, enrolled for ratification and will be sent to the governor for his signature or veto. H3137, the Local Government Fund formula bill, was sent to a conference committee with Sens. Scott, Cromer and Corbin and Reps. Bannister, Cobb-Hunter and Finlay.

S440, which made changes to the Textile Revitalization Act, was adopted, enrolled for ratification and will be sent to the governor for his signature or veto.

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 remains in a House committee, while the SC Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act bill is still in the Senate Judiciary Committee. S227, the zero millage bill, was moved to the House contested calendar and will be ready for debate in January 2020.

Details of all bills passed during the session will be available in the year-end report at the Municipal Association's Annual Meeting in July. The year-end report will also include bills that are still active for the 2020 session.

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. This bill will remain in committee for the 2020 legislative session. 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. Different versions of the bill were passed by the House and Senate and, therefore, sent to a conference committee. 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
    Both the Senate and the House of Representatives allocated recurring 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. Budget conferees will determine the final amount allocated to the Academy. For more information on this advocacy initiative, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

State budget bill in conference committee
The state budget bill was referred to a conference committee on Thursday to iron out the differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. Budget conference committee conferees are Sens. Leatherman, Jackson and Bennett and Reps. Murrell Smith, Simrill and Rutherford. 

The House version of the budget includes:

  • $11.1 million is added to the Local Government Fund base amount of $222.6 million for a new base amount of $233.7 million.
  • The 1% credit for employer's retirement system contributions, which was funded in the FY 2019 budget, is again funded in the FY 2020 budget.
  • $22 million in nonrecurring funds are provided as a match for FEMA funds for Hurricane Florence.
  • $2 million in recurring funding is provided to the Criminal Justice Academy to reduce its funding dependence on fees and fines.
  • An additional $1.47 million is provided to the Criminal Justice Academy for mobile training.
  • Exempts retired state employees from the $10,000 earning cap as long as the retiree has been retired from the state for 12 consecutive months.
 The Senate version of the budget includes:

  •  $9.5 million is added to the Local Government Fund base amount of $222.6 million, establishing a new base amount of $232.1 million.
  • The 1% credit for employers' retirement system contributions, which was funded in the FY 2019 budget, is again funded in the FY 2020 budget.
  • $22 million in nonrecurring funds are provided as a match for FEMA funds for Hurricane Florence.
  • $500,000 in nonrecurring PTSD funding.
  • $2 million in recurring funding is provided to the Criminal Justice Academy to reduce its funding dependence on fees and fines.
  • Proviso 109.14 protects existing collections programs, removes the restriction on processing, and specifically permits counties and municipalities to contract with private third parties to assist in the collection of business license taxes so long as business data is submitted to the municipality rather than the private third party. The proviso also limits contact between private, third-party collection entities and businesses to one instance, and creates a study committee to develop reforms related to third-party collection entities.
  • Proviso 117.21 requires nonprofit organizations that receive contributions from an entity that receives money in the state budget bill to provide detailed statements about their staff salaries, positions and programming to the state Executive Budget Office and Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. The proviso further requires a nonprofit organization to agree to an audit by the State Auditor before it can accept contributions from covered entities.
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

Committee action summaries