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​From the Dome to Your Home

The Senate and House of Representatives met in regular session this week. The House worked through bills on the calendar, while the Senate debated the sale of Santee Cooper. There are now only three more legislative days until the General Assembly adjourns for the year on Thursday, May 9. The House of Representatives plans to debate the Senate changes to the budget on Tuesday.

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 SC Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act bill is still in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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. Please encourage your senator to vote in favor of H3137 next week. 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.

Business licensing bill in a subcommittee
The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Business and Commerce subcommittee met on Wednesday afternoon to hear testimony on H4431, a business license bill. This bill changes the methods by which a business license is processed, and mandates sweeping changes in the way the business license tax is assessed, collected and enforced. Tiger Wells, director of governmental relations, testified on behalf of cities and towns. The subcommittee adjourned debate on the bill and instructed stakeholders to work over the summer to write a bill that was beneficial for everyone. For information on this bill, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Zero millage bill on the House calendar for debate
S227, the Senate bill that allows municipalities without an operating millage on January 1, 2019, to impose an operating millage, was approved by the House Ways and Means Property Tax subcommittee and later by the full House Ways and Means Committee. The bill will be on the House calendar for debate next week. For information on this bill, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.
 
Utility relocation bill passes the House
The House of Representatives gave S401, the Senate version of the utility relocation bill, a third reading on Wednesday. S401 requires an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project to bear the cost of relocating water and sewer lines. The bill is now back in the Senate for approval. For information on this bill, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.
 
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.