The Senate and House of Representatives met in regular session this week and worked through bills on their calendars. The General Assembly adjourned sine die on Thursday without an adjournment resolution. Without the resolution, the only way the General Assembly can return in session is by a call of the governor. There are no limitations on what members can debate when they are called back into session by the governor.
Both the House and Senate indicated in session this week that without the sine die resolution, Governor Henry McMaster plans to call the General Assembly back into session several times over the rest of the month. The House of Representatives plans to return to Columbia on Tuesday, May 16, to debate an abortion bill. The Senate plans to return to Columbia on Tuesday, May 23, to receive and vote on the budget conference report with the House returning the next day to do the same.
House and Senate members also suggested that they could be in session the last week in May to handle budget vetoes or any remaining issues they want to debate.
House and Senate members could not agree on a version of the state budget, so a budget conference committee was appointed. Conferees plan to meet next week to iron out the differences in the two versions of the budget. The conferees are Sens. Peeler, Alexander and Setzler and Reps. Bannister, Herbkersman and Weeks.
Municipal audits enrolled for ratification
S31, the bill that allows cities and towns with less than $500,000 in total revenues the option of providing a compilation of financial statements instead of a full audit, was enrolled for ratification on Thursday with the Senate concurring on the House amendments to the bill.
The House approved amendments that includes language that shifts the responsibility of collecting county audits from the state’s comptroller general to the state treasurer and allows the treasurer to grant a 90-day extension to counties that show probable cause for an extension. Next, the bill goes to the governor’s desk for his veto or signature.
The Municipal Association included the permitting of financial statements for smaller cities in its 2023 – 2024 Advocacy Initiatives.
For information about this bill, contact Erica Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.354.4793.
Affordable housing bill enrolled for ratification
S284, the bill that allows state and local accommodations taxes to be used for the development of workforce housing, was enrolled for ratification on Thursday after the Senate concurred on House amendments. The amendments delete references to hospitality taxes; impose an annual 15% cap on the amount of accommodations taxes that may be used for workforce housing; include a seven-year sunset; and require a report to the General Assembly on the effect that the implemented legislation has on tourism and workforce housing. Next, the bill goes to the governor’s desk for his veto or signature.
For questions about the affordable housing bill, contact Scott Slatton (email@example.com) at 803.933.1203.
Squat trucks with the governor
S363, the bill that prohibits motor vehicle modifications that result in a motor vehicle's front fender being raised 4 or more inches above the height of the rear fender, is on the governor’s desk for his signature or veto. The Municipal Association included banning squat trucks in its 2023 – 2024 Advocacy Initiatives.
For questions about the squat truck bill, contact Erica Wright (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.354.4793.
Bond reform legislation in conference committee
H3532, the bill that creates sentencing enhancements for persons who commit certain additional crimes while on pretrial release on bond, remains in a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Conference committee members include Sens. Malloy, Hembree and Adams; as well as Reps. Jeff Johnson, Robbins and Wetmore.
For questions about the bond reform bill, contact Erica Wright (email@example.com) at 803.354.4793.
Tobacco flavoring bill enrolled for ratification
H3681, the bill that prohibits municipalities from enacting laws, ordinances or rules pertaining to ingredients and flavors of cigarettes or e-cigarettes, was enrolled for ratification after the House concurred with the Senate amendments. The Senate amendment includes language from S414 regarding tobacco enforcement. The bill now goes to the governor for his signature or veto.
This bill allows cities and towns to continue to control zoning for shops that sell these products, and grandfathers in cities and towns that have ordinances adopted before 2021 relating to ingredients and flavors of tobacco.
For more information on this bill, contact Scott Slatton (firstname.lastname@example.org) or 803.933.1203.
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.
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Senate Judiciary Committee
H3782 – Amends the definition of video service in relation to franchise authority – although the bill was on the agenda, the committee did not take action on the bill.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Amends the definition of video service in relation to franchise authority to include direct-to-satellite and streaming services.
S109 – Enacts the South Carolina Constitutional Carry Act of 2023 – favorable report as amended. The amendment strikes and inserts the House version of the bill. The amendment also amends felony possession penalties to conform to federal law.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows anyone to carry a handgun, whether concealed or not, without a permit.