Voices. Knowledge. Solutions.

March 17, 2023

The House of Representatives met on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week giving approval to its version of the state budget. The Senate met in regular session and worked through bills on the calendar. Both chambers approved an economic incentive package for the new Scout Motors manufacturing plant locating in the Midlands.  

House passes its version of the state budget 
The House of Representatives finalized and adopted its version of the state’s $38.8 billion budget on Wednesday morning. Included in the budget are the following items:  

  • $13.2 million added to the Local Government Fund base amount. House members fully funded the LGF at 5% for FY 2023-2024 according to Act 84, which passed into law in 2019;  

  • $250 million in additional one-time funds to county transportation committees, also known as CTCs, for secondary and low-volume primary roads;  

  • $40.1 million to cover 1% of the increase in public employers’ retirement system contributions;   

  • $750,000 for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment services for first responders, which includes the additional $250,000 from FY 2022-2023;  

  • $121.5 million for the state’s share of the state health plan, including expanded well visits, prescribed contraceptives for dependents, and annual gynecological visits for women;  

  • $3 million in recurring dollars to fund the V-SAFE program;   

  • $2 million additional money in one-time dollars for tourism promotions;  

  • $12 million in one-time dollars for destination-specific tourism grants;  

  • $20 million to the Office of Resilience for disaster relief;   

  • $1.5 million in recurring funds to supplement the state’s 10 Councils of Governments;    

  • $3.784 million in recurring dollars for the Firefighter Cancer Fund;   

  • $1.6 million to coroners to fund the local child fatality review team program;  

  • $12 million to the Rural County Stabilization Fund;  

  • $18 million in one-time dollars to the Conservation Bank for grant funding;  

  • $4 million to the Department of Mental Health for an alternative transportation program; and  

  • $400,000 to the Department of Public Safety for a mental health for incarcerated individuals pilot program.  

The House of Representatives kept the following provisos in the budget from the House Ways and Means Committee version:     

SC State Treasurer: This proviso requiring the State Treasurer to withhold all or a portion of state payments from municipalities not meeting the auditing and reporting requirements has been suspended for the last two years. The Ways and Means Committee asked that the original language be restored and the Treasurer to resume withholding state payments.  

PEBA: State Health Plan: This proviso provides for an employer health insurance premium increase of 3.8% and a subscriber premium increase of 0% for the standard State Health Plan for Plan Year 2024.  

Short-term Rentals: This proviso prohibits political subdivisions from enacting or enforcing an ordinance that prohibits short-term rentals, unless the political subdivision also provides financial incentives for the purchase and rental of affordable housing and zoning allowances in exchange for an affordable covenant of at least 20 years. If a political subdivision violates this provision or enacts any such ordinance, the State Treasurer shall withhold their portion of the Local Government Fund. The proviso defines “short-term rental” as an individually or collectively owned residential house or dwelling unit or group of units that is rented wholly or partially for residential use for any period of time greater than three consecutive days. 
PEBA: PORS and SCRS Return to Work: For compensation earnings during the current fiscal year, the earnings limitation does not apply if a member of the Police Officer Retirement System or SC Retirement System has not been engaged to perform services for a participating employer in the system or any other system provided in this title for compensation in any capacity, whether as an employee, independent contractor, leased employee, joint employee, or other classification of worker, for a period of at least 12 consecutive months subsequent to retirement. 

The House of Representatives adopted the following amendment as a proviso:   

PEBA: PORS Critical Need Return to Work: For compensation earnings during the current fiscal year, the earnings limitation does not apply if a retired member of the Police Officer Retirement System returns to work in a critical-needs law enforcement position as determined by the Law Enforcement Training Council.  

The budget now goes to the Senate Finance Committee for debate. For information on the budget, contact Joannie Nickel (jnickel@masc.sc) at 803.354.4794.   

ARP allocation bill passed by the Senate 
The Senate approved S604, the bill to authorize the expenditure of the state’s remaining state American Rescue Plan funds, was given second reading on Wednesday and third reading on Thursday. Next, S604, which allocates $586 million to the Rural Infrastructure Authority to fund applications received under the SC Infrastructure Investment Program, will be taken up by the House Ways and Means Committee. 

For questions about the allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funding, contact Erica Wright (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.  

From the Dome to your Home podcast 
The Municipal Association has launched another podcast, dedicated only to legislative information. The From the Dome to Your Home podcast offers more guests, more insight and more legislative information all year round. Enjoy both City Quick Connect for municipal information and project highlights and From the Dome to Your Home for everything legislative.  

From the Dome to your Home Podcast 

Committee Report

Senate Finance Sales and Income Tax subcommittee 
S284 – Allows local accommodations and hospitality taxes to be used for the development of workforce housing – favorable report 
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows local accommodations and hospitality taxes to be used for the development of workforce housing. 

Senate Judiciary Committee 
S252 – Enacts the Law Enforcement Personal Information Privacy Protection Act – favorable report 
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows law enforcement officers to formally request that their personal identifying information held by the state or a local government be held confidential.  

Senate Judiciary subcommittee 
S514 – Makes several changes to the current law regarding youth access to tobacco – favorable report as amended. The amendment lowered the proposed licensing fee for tobacco retailers in the original bill and clarified local law enforcement’s ability to enforce the requirements in the bill. 
Summary of the bill as introduced:  Makes several changes to the current law regarding youth access to tobacco.