Animal Shelter Standards — S. 841
Originally, Section 11 of this bill required county animal shelters to meet various standards related to housing dogs and cats. SCAC opposed this section in the interest of Home Rule. The Senate amended Section 11 to make the shelter standards and most of the enforcement requirements permissive for local government. The standards would only apply to counties who adopt the standards outlined in the code.
These standards include requiring specific spacing and temperature ranges in shelters and providing quality time and enrichment for animals. The standards also require county animal control officers to inspect and keep written reports on every animal shelter within the county. The Senate gave S. 841 a third reading after adopting the amendment described above. S. 841 is in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) —
This legislation requires DOR to notify both the taxpayer and the effected county of a department determination regarding tax liability. Counties are authorized to appeal department determinations. The legislation also requires DOR to notify effected counties of a taxpayer’s written protest of a property tax assessment or a protest of a property tax exemption denial. S. 793 further requires DOR to notify the counties effected by a claim for refund by notifying the chief executive officer, auditor, assessor, and treasurer of each affected county. Finally, the bill limits any refund to the three tax years immediately preceding the departmental determination unless the Administrative Law Court approves the refund. The Senate amended S. 793 to exclude individual taxpayers, and then passed the bill. It is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.
Capital Projects Sales Tax for Economic Development — S. 889
S. 889 amends the Capital Project Sales Tax (CPST) statute to allow a CPST to be imposed for purposes of economic development. A Senate Finance subcommittee amended the bill to restrict the projects to land purchases, infrastructure, and site development, or any combination of these projects. The subcommittee gave S. 889 a favorable report as amended.
Ways and Means Subcommittees Finishing Up Work on the Budget
Ways and Means subcommittees finished their work on the budget this week. The proviso subcommittee is scheduled to look over provisos next week. The Board of Economic Advisors will provide the estimate of revenues Ways and Means will use to determine appropriations on February 15.
There has been very little discussion in these meetings regarding the Local Government Fund (LGF). Click here for a news article discussing comments made about the LGF by Senators. House and Senate members need to be contacted. Please explain the importance of this important tax relief!
Please contact your House member and ask that the LGF increase by the same percentage as this year’s General Fund growth!
SCAC’s policy position regarding the LGF is as follows:
“Support amending the Local Government Fund Formula to set the base funding level at $223.2 million with a yearly increase in the fund that corresponds with the growth in the State General Fund up to 5 percent. Also, standardize a list of state mandates that all counties are responsible for in order to quantify the need for the LGF.”
DON’T MISS OUT! The 2018 SCAC Mid-Year Conference & Institute of Government is February 21 and 22
The SCAC Mid-Year Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia on Wednesday, February 21. Copies of the registration material and conference agenda are available on the SCAC website, where you can also register online. The program will include a legislative panel and other timely topics. Following lunch, buses will provide transportation to the State House for visits with legislators. The legislative reception will be Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m.
In an effort to increase the legislators’ participation in the Legislative Reception, the location has been changed to The Palmetto Club in downtown Columbia. Shuttle service will be provided to transport county officials to and from the reception to the Embassy Suites Hotel. Parking will be available for those who wish to drive.
Now is the time to start lining up appointments to see your senators and representatives or arranging a joint meal, function, or meeting.
Institute of Government classes are being offered on Thursday, February 22 and include: Strategic Planning, Public Speaking, Economic Development, and The Policy Role of Council.
The Council Chairperson's Workshop will be offered free-of-charge on Thursday, February 22, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. This workshop is open to all council chairmen and vice chairmen, and registration is required. You may register for the Institute classes and the Council Chairperson's Workshop on the SCAC website.
Other Legislative Action this Week
Judicial Salaries — S. 725 & S. 910. These bills increase salaries for judges in South Carolina. Both bills were amended extensively in their respective subcommittees and no amendments have been published, so the following descriptions are based on conversations with Senate staff and are not based on official language.
S. 725 sets the salary for the Chief Justice at $170,000, which will be 105 percent of an associate justice’s salary. An associate justice’s salary is the base salary upon which all other judicial salaries are calculated. S. 725 decouples magistrates and master-in-equity salaries from a circuit judge’s salary and freezes their salaries at the amount they received in FY 2016-2017. S. 725 was given a favorable report as amended by a Senate Finance subcommittee.
S. 910 sets the salary for the Chief Justice at $180,000 and it increases every four years at the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) up to 5 percent. In this bill, the magistrates and masters’ salaries are not decoupled so they will increase significantly if the bill passes and automatically increase every four years at the rate of CPI. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee carried over S. 910 but said they plan to report S. 910 out to full Senate Judiciary Committee without having another subcommittee meeting.
Plastic Bags Bans — H. 3529. H. 3529 prohibits a political subdivision from passing an ordinance that regulates or prohibits the use or disposition of plastic bags and other auxiliary containers. It does not affect county ordinances or agreements that regulate solid waste or recyclables. The bill was amended on the House floor to exempt the use of auxiliary containers within the boundaries of property owned by a county to include such properties as coastal tidelands and wetlands, public beaches, rivers, and any other bodies of water maintained by a county. The bill passed the House as amended and has been sent to the Senate LCI committee.
Accommodations and Hospitality Tax — S. 917. This bill would allow a political subdivision to spend state and local accommodations tax and local hospitality tax revenue for the control and repair of flooding and drainage at tourism-related lands or areas. S. 917 was amended by the Senate Finance Committee to define nuisance flooding and prevent the taxes from being spent on litigation costs related to those projects.
S. 917 is pending second reading on the Senate Calendar.
Four Percent Assessment on Estate Properties — S. 587. This bill provides that if a property owner that receives the 4 percent owner-occupied assessment ratio dies, the property will retain the 4 percent assessment ratio until the estate is closed, there is a deed of transfer, or deed of distribution. The property cannot be rented to retain the 4 percent assessment ratio. The Senate adopted the committee amendment to provide that the property may be rented up to 72 days as provided in current law. The amendment also provides that the property would only automatically receive the 4 percent ratio for the year of the owner’s death and the following property tax year. S. 587 was given third reading and sent to the House.
Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Property Tax Exemption — S. 759. This bill would exempt from all property taxes the dwelling house and up to a one acre lot of a person that furnishes satisfactory proof to DOR that they are at least 50 percent disabled because of a brain or spinal cord injury. This exemption would apply to the injured owner as well as to their surviving spouse. After receiving the fiscal impact statement that predicted a $23 million impact to local governments, Senate Finance Committee amended the bill to require a 100 percent disability to receive the exemption, which will drastically reduce the fiscal impact. A revised fiscal impact statement provides that it will reduce local government revenues by $3.7 million. Senator Hutto proposed an amendment this week to cap the exempted value at $250,000, but the bill was carried over before the amendment was adopted.
Manufacturing or Industrial Nuisances — H. 3653. As introduced, this bill prohibited a political subdivision from adopting an ordinance or resolution declaring a manufacturing or industrial facility, or an expansion of such a facility, that is operating in accordance with state law, a nuisance. The House concurred with a Senate amendment that deleted the preemption language. As a result, H.3653, as passed by both chambers, prohibits a property owner from filing a nuisance suit against an industrial or manufacturing facility when the facility began operation or expanded before there was a change of the use of the property owner’s land.
Deployment Property Tax Extension — S. 911. This bill requires counties to offer property tax extensions to a taxpayer serving with the US Armed Forces or National Guard in or near a hazard duty zone. The taxpayer must apply for the extension and provide proof of deployment if the auditor requires proof. The extension runs from the date of deployment until 90 days after their return. No interest may be charged until after the 90-day timeline lapses. A Senate Finance subcommittee amended S. 911 to allow the taxpayer’s agent to apply for the extension and gave S. 911 a favorable report as amended.
View/Download Full Text for Newly-Introduced Legislation
Note: If you would like to offer comments to the SCAC staff, please call us toll-free at 1-800-922-6081, fax to (803) 252-0379, or send an email. You can also go to www.scstatehouse.gov and click on "Legislation," then "Introduced Legislation."
S. 964 — Makes it unlawful for a person to smoke in a motor vehicle while transporting a minor.
S. 968 — Provides that for the 2018 Gubernatorial election, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor shall run on a joint ticket.
S. 969 — Provides that the board of the State Housing Finance and Development Authority shall inform the county before evaluating an application for a federal housing tax credit and the county shall appoint nine members to a local government commission who will also vote on the application.
S. 976 — Authorizes a procedure by which a candidate for the Attorney General’s office may finance his campaign with public funds.
S. 977 — Enacts the “South Carolina Judicial Independence Act”, which provides a procedure by which candidates for the Attorney General’s office who agree to limitations may receive a predetermined amount of public funds for campaigns.
S. 978 — Authorizes a higher job tax credit amount in certain qualifying counties.
S. 981 — Allows the holder of a conservation easement to contest an action to condemn property encumbered by a conservation easement under certain circumstances.
S. 982 — Allows a person under the age of twenty-one who is serving a suspension or denial of a driver’s license or permit to enroll in the ignition interlock device program.
S. 983 — Provides that an owner of a dam may submit specifications to the Department of Transportation for a determination that the dam is excluded from the provisions of the law regarding dams and that the department may order the owner of a dam to make repairs to the dam if it is determined to be unsafe.
S. 984 — Allows a county whose one percent sales and use tax for capital projects will expire unless approved in a 2019 referendum to hold a referendum to re-impose the tax in 2018.
S. 985 — Provides for a resolution to suspend certain law provisions pertaining to the filing deadline for candidates in the 2018 election, to suspend the provisions pertaining to the date of the 2018 primary election, and provides for a new candidate filing period and a new primary and runoff dates.
S. 988 — Prohibits a person who has made a campaign contribution to a popularly elected public official within the previous four years from being appointed to a public office by that public official.
S. 989 — Establishes an independent redistricting commission.
S. 990 — Expands the definition of candidate to include anyone who maintains an open bank account containing campaign contributions.
H. 4836 — Provides that a dam that failed or suffered a breach during the 2015 flood that has a state road or highway running over it, SCDOT shall immediately proceed with repairing the road or highway if they do not have to save or repair the dam.
H. 4838 — Provides that certain persons who have been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a crime may recover the monetary value of the loss sustained through their wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
H. 4850 — Provides that criminal cases in which the penalty does not exceed three years may be transferred from general sessions court.
H. 4855 — Makes it unlawful for a person to smoke in a motor vehicle while transporting a minor.
H. 4857 — Provides credit limits for certain building sites that qualify for the abandoned buildings rehabilitation tax credit.
H. 4859 — Extends the property tax exemption for churches to property not owned by the church but used exclusively for church purposes.
H. 4869 — For purposes of certain payouts from the state retirement system such as the amounts to be paid upon termination of employment and optional forms of allowance, removes certain notarization requirements.
H. 4872 — Provides that the board of the State Housing Finance and Development Authority shall inform the county before evaluating an application for a federal housing tax credit and the county shall appoint nine members to a local government commission who will also vote on the application.
H. 4875 — Enacts the “South Carolina Solar Habitat Act.”
H. 4876 — Provides that effective July 1, 2018, public school districts shall ensure the continuous presence of school resource officers in public schools during regular operating hours.
H. 4880 — Authorizes the revenue from the local hospitality tax and the local accommodations tax to be used for the control and repair of flooding and drainage on tourism-related lands or areas.
H. 4888 — Requires the state fire marshal to publish a policies and procedures manual.
H. 4889 — Allows the holder of a conservation easement to contest an action to condemn property encumbered by a conservation easement under certain circumstances.
H. 4899 — Repeals §56-3-645 which deals with road use fees for vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen, and fuels other than motor fuel.
The following bill has been passed by both chambers and is now before the Governor for signature or veto:
(R. 136) H. 3653. Provides that the operations or expansions of manufacturing and industrial facilities may not be considered public or private nuisances in certain circumstances.