Posts in Category: Budget

Issue 18-18 - May 11, 2018 

Friday, May 11, 2018 12:39:00 PM Categories: Annual Conference Budget LGF

The General Assembly adjourned Sine Die at 5:00 on Thursday, but left themselves some additional work to do in the next few weeks. A resolution was passed which states that the General Assembly will come back in session on May 23 and 24. This session is limited to consideration of legislation concerning the V.C. Summer Nuclear units, the budget, conference committee reports, expressions of sympathy, and unanimously agreed to local legislation. The General Assembly will return again on June 27 and June 28. This session is limited to the same items as the May 23-24 session, with the addition of gubernatorial vetoes and income tax conformity.

Watercraft Taxation Legislation passes the General Assembly H. 4715.

This bill changes the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

Thank you to Senator Chip Campsen and Representative Roger Kirby for their work in getting this important legislation passed.

Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) Still Alive – Please Contact Your House Members And Senators And Ask That They Support Section 15 of S.1043.

This legislation requires DOR to notify both the taxpayer and the affected county of a department determination regarding tax liability. Counties are authorized to appeal department determinations. The legislation also requires DOR to notify affected counties of a taxpayer’s written protest of a property tax assessment or a protest of a property tax exemption denial. The legislation further requires DOR to notify the counties affected 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 DOR notification language was attached in the Senate to S. 1043, the abandoned buildings revitalization act extension. The bill is now in conference committee.

→Please contact the General Assembly and ask that they support Section 15 of S. 1043. This section contains the DOR notification legislation.

S. 1043 is the Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act Extension. The underlying bill extends the abandoned buildings tax credit for two years, allows a multi-floor redevelopment to qualify for the tax credit on separate floors if they are subdivided for different income-producing purposes, and redefines textile mill sites for purposes of rehabilitation.

The Senate placed several other bills into S. 1043. Two of these could impact county property taxes:

Section 5 of the Senate version of S. 1043 exempts from property taxes a leasehold interest conveyed by the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) for residential use. The exemption only applies to the land.

Section 7 of the Senate version of S. 1043 exempts leased church vehicles from property taxes.

The Senate conferees on S. 1043 are Sens. Ronnie Cromer, Scott Talley, and Glenn Reese. The House conferees are Reps. Gary Simrill, Derham Cole, and Todd Rutherford.

Again, please ask your members of the General Assembly to contact these conferees and ask them to support DOR notification to local governments.

State Budget Still in Conference Committee, Likely to Meet Next Week.

The budget conference committee met briefly this week, mainly to agree to meet next week. The Local Government Fund will be funded at the same level as last year, $222,619,411.

Both the House and the Senate funded the same 1 percent PEBA employer retirement credit that they funded last year. This is not an increase and, therefore, if a COLA has been granted or more employees have been hired, it will not equal a full 1 percent. Counties will still be required to increase their employer contribution 1 percent for FY 18-19 as mandated by Act No. 13 of 2017.

The budget conferees are Reps. Brian White, Derham Cole, Bill Clyburn and Sens. Hugh Leatherman, John Matthews, and Sean Bennett.

Other Legislation of Interest.

Litter and Illegal Dumping — H. 4458. This bill expands the definition of litter and reduces the fine for littering less than 15 pounds from $200 to a range of $25 to $100. The definition of illegal dumping also includes discarding animal carcasses and penalizes this activity with a fine range of $200 to $500. In addition to any fine, unsupervised litter pickup or community service is also required, but a person convicted under this section may pay additional fines to buy their way out of community service at a rate of $15 an hour. This legislation does not apply to individuals on private property they own or those littering on private property with permission. Local governments may still pass and enforce ordinances that regulate the upkeep of property, and the Solid Waste Act will prevail if it conflicts with this law. H. 4458 was amended in the House to prevent an individual performing unsupervised litter pickup from bringing any claim against a county for an injury incurred while picking up litter. H. 4458 is enrolled for ratification.

Golf Cart and Moped Ordinance — H. 4466. This bill, as amended, authorizes counties and cities to enact ordinances that regulate or require safety equipment for moped and golf cart rentals that operate on public streets and highways. The Senate added language banning the operation of drones over state or federal military installations to H. 4466. The House non-concurred with the Senate amendment and the bill is going to conference committee.

Referendums for Sunday Alcohol Sales — S. 820. This bill amends Code Section 61-6-2010(C) which relates to referendums that would allow for the sale of alcohol on Sunday. These referendums may only be held once every 48 months. S. 820 received third reading in the House and has been enrolled for ratification.

Pawnbroker Regulation — S. 810. This bill, as amended by the House, requires pawnbrokers to enter data about their merchandise into an electronic database that is accessible by law enforcement. The bill also allows law enforcement to seize property that they have probable cause to believe is stolen or misappropriated for the purposes of the criminal investigation. Law enforcement may only hold the seized property for a period of 10 days, after which, the property must be returned to the pawnbroker or rightful owner, if found. The Senate concurred with the House amendments to the bill and it is now enrolled for ratification.

Drone Use over Jails — S. 176. This bill prohibits the operation of drones within a distance of 500 feet horizontally or 200 feet vertically of a prison or jail without written consent of the facility. FAA registered commercial drone operators are exempt from these restrictions if the drone is used for the purposes of monitoring utilities and infrastructure. The S.C. Department of Corrections and jails are required to submit their “no-fly” boundary restrictions to the Aeronautics Commission in a format compatible with Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This data must be submitted within 30 days of the bill’s effective date so that the Commission can publish these restricted areas on its website. S. 176 was enrolled for ratification.

Coroner’s Supplement — S. 170. This bill requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children under the age of 18 who have died in the county. The bill also provides a supplement of at least $35,000 annually to each coroner. Additionally, the bill creates the Coroners Training Advisory Committee which will certify and govern the qualifications of coroners and deputy coroners. The Committee has the authority to recommend a coroner’s suspension to the Governor and the loss of funding to the county council in the event a coroner is not in compliance with the law. The bill was enrolled for ratification.

Expungements — H. 3209 & H. 3789. H. 3209 provides that if a person is convicted of an offense that is repealed, but the elements of the offense are similar to an existing offense that is eligible for expungement, then the repealed offense is eligible for expungement. The bill also expands the list of offenses eligible for expungement and provides more flexibility for those with multiple convictions to choose which conviction to expunge. In certain situations, multiple offenses arising from the same incident can be considered as one offense and treated as one conviction for expungement purposes. H. 3209 was enrolled for ratification.

H. 3789 contains similar language as H. 3209 but also creates an expungement program for youths. Current law requires youthful offenders to wait five years from completion of their sentence to apply for expungement. H. 3789 provides that youths with a conviction eligible for expungement could apply for expungement upon completion of the S.C. Youth Challenge Academy and Jobs Challenge Program. Only 16- to 18-year-olds can attend the Academy. A conference committee has been appointed for H. 3789.

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 on tourism-related lands or areas. The House’s version of the bill provides that only political subdivisions in a county that has collected at least $14 million in state accommodations taxes are eligible for these types of expenditures, and no more than 30 percent of these taxes may be expended for this purpose. The bill also prevents the taxes from being spent on litigation costs related to those projects and requires the revenue to only be spent on flood control and drainage if the flooding relates to sea-level rise.

SCAC prefers the Senate’s version of this bill which allows all 46 counties to use accommodations and local hospitality tax revenue for flooding and drainage, regardless of the amount of state accommodations taxes the county has collected. A conference committee has been appointed to work on the bill. The House appointees are Reps. Mike Pitts, Kirkman Finlay, and Heather Ammons Crawford. The Senate appointees are Sens. Tom Davis, John Scott, and Stephen Goldfinch.

SCAC's 51st Annual Conference Registration Now Open

SCAC’s 51st Annual Conference will be held August 5–8, 2018, at the Hilton Head Marriott Hotel. The registration brochure and hotel reservation forms have been mailed to county officials. You may register for the conference online by visiting: http://www.sccounties.org/annual-conference. In making hotel reservations, please keep in mind that the Institute of Government classes will be held Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5. Should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the SCAC staff toll free at 1-800-922-6081 or at (803) 252-7255.

Call for 2018-2019 NACo Steering Committee Nominations

Do you want a voice in creating the national legislative policies of the National Association of Counties (NACo)? Consider filling out a NACo nomination form to be appointed to one of the policy steering committees. As a steering committee member, you are responsible for developing national policies and priorities affecting counties, and serve as NACo’s frontline for grassroots efforts. Committees meet at the NACo legislative and annual conferences, and one other time during the year. You will be responsible for your own travel and conference expenses.

The nomination form is available here. Completed forms must be submitted to SCAC no later than Friday, May 18. The nominations will be processed by SCAC and forwarded to NACo for approval by the NACo President after the NACo Annual Conference in July. Appointments will be announced in September and NACo will contact the committee members directly. If you have any questions regarding the NACo Policy Steering Committee nomination process, please contact Anna Berger with SCAC at 1-800-922-6081 or via aberger@scac.sc.

Issue 18-17 - May 4, 2018 

Friday, May 4, 2018 9:20:00 AM Categories: Budget

Three legislative days remain in the session. The House finally “re-amended” the budget this week and sent the appropriations bill back to the Senate so a conference committee could be appointed. Much of the budget debate in the House centered on amendments dealing with abortion. The Senate spent the entire week debating abortion, placing many legislative priorities in jeopardy. Please contact your House members and senators this weekend and discuss these issues with them.

Please Contact Your Senator about Watercraft Taxation Legislation — H. 4715.

This bill changes the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year. The bill moved from the consent calendar to the uncontested calendar this week as a result of the abortion debate. It is imperative that this bill receive second reading by Wednesday of next week.

→ Please call your senator today and ask that they support H. 4715!

Please Contact Your Senator about Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation — H. 3896.

This bill allows a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of this bill. This bill is currently on the uncontested calendar. It is likely that there is a pending amendment to the bill.

→ Please contact your senators today and ask they support the passage of this legislation.

Please Contact the House about Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) — S. 793.

This legislation requires DOR to notify both the taxpayer and the affected county of a department determination regarding tax liability. Counties are authorized to appeal department determinations. The legislation also requires DOR to notify affected 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 affected 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.

Please Note: Because the Ways and Means Committee never met, this bill did not receive a full committee hearing. It did pass a Ways and Means subcommittee. If we are to get this bill passed, it must be recalled from the Ways and Means Committee and placed on the House calendar on Tuesday.

→ Please call your House member today and ask that S. 793 be recalled from the Ways and Means Committee and placed on the House calendar.

State Budget Sent to Conference Committee.

The House began debating the Senate version of the budget this week. The chairman introduced a new amendment which for the most part amended the Senate version back to the House version. They did not suggest any increase to the Local Government Fund (LGF). The LGF will be funded at the same level as last year at $222,619,411.

Both the House and the Senate funded the same 1 percent PEBA employer retirement credit that they funded last year. This is not an increase and, therefore, if a cost of living adjustment has been granted or more employees have been hired, it will not equal a full 1 percent. Counties will still be required to increase their employer contribution 1 percent for FY 18-19 as mandated by Act No. 13 of 2017.

The tobacco preemption language discussed last week was ruled out of order and the House and Senate passed different provisos prohibiting counties from becoming sanctuary cities.

The budget conferees are Reps. Brian White, Derham Cole, Bill Clyburn and Senators Hugh Leatherman, John Matthews, and Sean Bennett.

The following bills need legislative action on Tuesday to stand any chance of passage. Please contact the members of General Assembly and ask for your legislator’s support and help.

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 land purchases, infrastructure, and site development involved in economic development.

→ This bill is in the Ways and Means Committee. Please contact your House members and ask that S. 889 be recalled from the Ways and Means Committee and placed on the calendar.

Electronic Liens — H. 3684. This bill would permit the DOR to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. This bill passed the House and is in the Senate Finance Committee.

→ Please contact your senators and ask that H. 3684 be recalled from the Finance Committee and placed on the calendar.

Other Items of Interest.

Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act Extension — S. 1043. This bill originally extended the provisions of the abandoned buildings tax credit for an additional six years. The bill also reduces the extension to two years, allows a multi-floor redevelopment to qualify for the tax credit on separate floors if they are subdivided for different income-producing purposes, and redefines textile mill sites for purposes of rehabilitation. S. 1043, as amended by the House, was sent back to the Senate.

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 on tourism-related lands or areas. It prevents the taxes from being spent on litigation costs related to those projects and requires the revenue to only be spent on flood control and drainage if the flooding relates to sea-level rise. S. 917 was recalled from the House Ways and Means Committee and is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Animal Shelter Standards — S. 841. S. 841 was amended by the House Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs Committee to remove the section containing the shelter standards as well as other provisions about which counties had expressed concern. The committee adjourned before taking a vote on this bill so it remains in committee. There will be continued efforts to recall this bill to the House floor.

Coroner’s Supplement — S. 170. This bill requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children under the age of 18 who have died in the county. The bill also provides a supplement of at least $35,000 annually to each coroner. The bill is pending second reading on the contested House calendar.

Pawnbroker Regulation — S. 810. This bill, as amended by the House LCI Committee, requires pawnbrokers to enter data about their merchandise into an electronic database that is accessible by law enforcement. The bill also allows law enforcement to seize property that they have probable cause to believe is stolen or misappropriated for the purposes of the criminal investigation. Law enforcement may only hold the seized property for a period of 10 days, after which, the property must be returned to the pawnbroker or rightful owner, if found. It is pending second reading on the contested House calendar.

Drone Use over Jails — S. 176. This bill prohibits the operation of drones within a distance of 500 feet horizontally or 200 feet vertically of a prison or jail without written consent of the facility. The House Judiciary Committee amended the bill to exempt FAA registered commercial drone operators from these restrictions if the drone is used for the purposes of monitoring utilities and infrastructure. Another amendment requires the Department of Corrections and jails to submit their “no-fly” boundary restrictions to the Aeronautics Commission in a format compatible with Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This data must be submitted within 30 days of the bill’s effective date so that the Commission can publish these restricted areas on its website. The bill received a favorable report as amended.

Recording Fees — H. 3337. This bill provides flat fees for certain documents that are filed or recorded with the registers of deeds (RODs) and clerks of court. This would be a departure from the current practice of charging fees based on page numbers for certain documents, which can lead to the county rejecting documents due to payment error from miscounted document pages.

The Senate Judiciary Committee carried the bill over due to concerns that the bill could potentially increase fees and due to the RODs opposition to a proposed amendment. The bill, which the RODs initially supported, was likely to be amended to provide an exception for certain time-share documents. The RODs could not support this amendment, which would defeat the bill’s purpose and would potentially cut recording fee revenue for counties with time-share properties. By being carried over, the bill will not pass this session. The RODs and time-share interests are expected to work on a compromise before the next session.

Referendums for Sunday Alcohol Sales — S. 820. This bill amends Code Section 61-6-2010(C), making technical changes regarding the referendums that allow for the sale of alcohol on Sunday. The Senate version provided that these referendums may only be held once every 24 months; current law limits them to once every 48 months. The House Judiciary Committee amended the bill, reinserting the 48 month requirement.

Call for 2018-2019 NACo Steering Committee Nominations

Do you want a voice in creating the national legislative policies of the National Association of Counties (NACo)? Consider filling out a NACo nomination form to be appointed to one of the policy steering committees. As a steering committee member, you are responsible for developing national policies and priorities affecting counties, and serve as NACo’s frontline for grassroots efforts. Committees meet at the NACo legislative and annual conferences, and one other time during the year. You will be responsible for your own travel and conference expenses.

The nomination form is available here. Completed forms must be submitted to SCAC no later than Friday, May 18. The nominations will be processed by SCAC and forwarded to NACo for approval by the NACo President after the NACo Annual Conference in July. Appointments will be announced in September and NACo will contact the committee members directly. If you have any questions regarding the NACo Policy Steering Committee nomination process, please contact Anna Berger with SCAC at 1-800-922-6081 or via aberger@scac.sc.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Ratifications

The following bills have been passed by both chambers and are now before the Governor for signature or veto:

(R. 183) H. 4644. Establishes the Solid Waste Emergency Fund.

(R. 186) H. 4683. Enacts the “Beachfront Management Reform Act.”

(R. 191) H. 4951. Appropriates monies from the Capital Reserve Fund for fiscal year 2017-2018, and allows the unexpended funds to be carried forward for the succeeding fiscal years and expended for the same purposes.

Issue 18-16 - April 27, 2018 

Friday, April 27, 2018 11:26:00 AM Categories: Budget

Only six legislative days are left, and there is plenty of opportunity to make this an extremely successful session! Please contact your senators and House members regarding the policy positions discussed below. As you can see, thanks to your work last week, several legislative items moved closer to passage. Your contacts today could make the difference.

Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation Moved to the Senate Calendar — H. 3896.

This bill allows a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of this bill.

→ Please contact your senators today and ask they support the passage of this legislation.

Watercraft Taxation Legislation Moved to the Senate Calendar — H. 4715.

This bill changes the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

→ Please call your senator today and ask that they support H. 4715!

Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) Passes Ways and Means Subcommittee — S. 793.

This legislation requires DOR to notify both the taxpayer and the affected county of a department determination regarding tax liability. Counties are authorized to appeal department determinations. The legislation also requires DOR to notify affected 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 affected 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.

→ S. 793 will likely be heard by the full Ways and Means Committee next week. Please contact all members of the Ways and Means Committee and ask that they support this important legislation.

State Budget being Debated on the House Floor. . . Again.

The House began debating the Senate version of the budget this week. The chairman and several other Ways and Means members introduced the first amendment, which amended the Senate version back to the House version and contained a few new provisos, one of which preempts local ordinances dealing with tobacco (see full proviso below). They did not suggest any increase to the Local Government Fund. The House adjourned debate on this amendment and will take the budget up again next week.

There is still time to ask your House members to amend the budget with increased funding to the Local Government Fund. Please call them and ask that they support this important tax relief for their constituents!

Click here to view the op-ed The State recently ran highlighting the General Assembly's failure to fully fund the LGF.

Tobacco preemption proviso: House amendment 1a to the budget would add the following language to the budget:

“No agency or other political subdivision of the state including, but not limited to, municipalities, counties or any agency thereof, may adopt any order, ordinance, rule or regulation concerning the sale, purchase, distribution, advertising, sampling, promotion, display, possession, ingredients, flavors, nicotine content, pricing, licensing or taxation of tobacco products, alternative tobacco products, and vapor products.”

These Bills Need Subcommittee Hearings: The following bills need legislative action soon to stand any chance of passage. This is likely the last week these could be considered. Please contact the members of General Assembly and ask for your legislator’s support and help.

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 land purchases, infrastructure, and site development involved in economic development.

→ This bill is in the Ways and Means Committee. Please contact your House members and ask S.889 be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Electronic Liens — H. 3684. This bill would permit the DOR to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. This bill passed the House and is in the Senate Finance Committee.

→ Please contact your senators and ask that they support H. 3684! Ask that the bill be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Other Items of Interest.

Four Percent Assessment on Estate Properties — S. 587. This bill provides that if a property owner who 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 for more than 72 days to retain the 4 percent assessment ratio. The bill 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 a favorable report by a House Ways and Means subcommittee.

Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act Extension — S. 1043. This bill originally extended the provisions of the abandoned buildings tax credit for an additional six years. The Senate Finance Committee amended S. 1043 to reduce the extension to two years and to allow a multi-floor redevelopment to qualify for the tax credit on separate floors if they are subdivided for different income-producing purposes. S. 1043 was given second reading by the Senate.

Solid Waste Emergency Fund — H. 4644. This bill creates a Solid Waste Emergency Fund to address future circumstances at a solid waste facility that may present an imminent and substantial danger to human health and the environment. Under the bill, a permit to construct a new solid waste management facility or to expand an existing facility may not be issued until the applicant provides documentation of compliance with land use and zoning ordinances from the applicable local government. The bill also requires facilities that recycle construction and demolition debris to submit a permit application to DHEC. The Senate gave third reading to H. 4644 on Thursday and it has been enrolled for ratification.

Coroner’s Supplement — S. 170. This bill requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children under the age of 18 who have died in the county. The bill also provides a supplement of at least $35,000 annually to each coroner. This supplement is contingent upon state appropriation or “financial support from other sources.” After paying each coroner’s supplement, any excess amount from the funding source is to be disbursed to coroners pursuant to a formula based on county population. Information obtained by the Child Fatality Review Team would not be subject to subpoena unless certain exceptions apply such as child abuse. S. 170 is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Employment First Initiative — H. 4093. This bill encourages state agencies and all political subdivisions to adopt policies that will integrate more employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. The bill appoints a 17-member oversight commission to study how to better integrate persons with disabilities into the workforce and make recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly. The Senate Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee (LCI) gave H. 4093 a favorable report.

Homebuilders License — H. 3846. The Senate LCI Committee amended the bill so that now it only addresses a licensed homebuilder’s ability to obtain specialty registrations. The bill as amended was given a favorable report.

Beachfront Management Reform Act — H. 4683. This bill creates the Beachfront Management Reform Act and requires the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to establish a beach preservation policy. The bill lays out the criteria that DHEC must use to establish new baselines and setback lines. The House concurred with the Senate amendments to the bill and it has been enrolled for ratification.

Recording Fees — H. 3337. This bill provides flat fees for certain documents that are filed or recorded with the register of deeds and clerks of court. This would be a departure from the current practice of charging fees based on page numbers for certain documents which often leads to rejection due to miscounted page numbers. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee adopted an amendment that changes the effective date to July 2018 and a technical amendment. There was discussion about considering an amendment that would accommodate voluminous timeshare documents that are often thousands of pages. H. 3337 passed the subcommittee as amended.

Pawnbroker Regulation — S. 810. This bill, as amended by the House LCI Committee, requires pawnbrokers to enter data about their merchandise into an electronic database that is accessible by law enforcement. The bill also allows law enforcement to seize property that they have probable cause to believe is stolen or misappropriated for the purposes of the criminal investigation. Law enforcement may only hold the seized property for a period of 10 days, after which, the property must be returned to the pawnbroker or rightful owner, if found. The LCI Committee gave the bill a favorable report as amended.

Litter and Illegal Dumping — H. 4458. This bill expands on the definition of litter and reduces the fine for littering less than 15 pounds from $200 to a range of $25 to $100. The definition of illegal dumping also includes discarding animal carcasses and penalizes this activity with a fine range of $200 to $500. In addition to any fine, unsupervised litter pickup or community service is also required, but a person convicted under this section may pay additional fines to buy their way out of community service at a rate of $5 an hour. The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill to increase the community service buyout rate to $25 an hour. This legislation does not apply to individuals on private property they own or those littering on private property with permission. Local governments may still pass and enforce ordinances that regulate the upkeep of property, and the Solid Waste Act will prevail if it conflicts with this law. The Senate Judiciary Committee gave H. 4458 a favorable report.

Community Service Liability — S. 949. This legislation provides that county personnel who participate in community service programs in which a probationer is completing community service as a condition of their probation are immune from civil liability in the event the probationer is injured while performing their community service requirements. This does not affect liability under the Tort Claims Act. The bill is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Animal Shelter Standards — S. 841. S. 841 was amended by a House Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs subcommittee to remove the section containing the shelter standards as well as other provisions about which counties had expressed concern. This bill will be on the next agenda of the full committee.

Call for 2018-2019 NACo Steering Committee Nominations

Do you want a voice in creating the national legislative policies of the National Association of Counties (NACo)? Consider filling out a NACo nomination form to be appointed to one of the policy steering committees. As a steering committee member, you are responsible for developing national policies and priorities affecting counties, and serve as NACo’s frontline for grassroots efforts. Committees meet at the NACo legislative and annual conferences, and one other time during the year. You will be responsible for your own travel and conference expenses.

The nomination form is available here. Completed forms must be submitted to SCAC no later than Friday, May 18. The nominations will be processed by SCAC and forwarded to NACo for approval by the NACo President after the NACo Annual Conference in July. Appointments will be announced in September and NACo will contact the committee members directly. If you have any questions regarding the NACo Policy Steering Committee nomination process, please contact Anna Berger with SCAC at 1-800-922-6081 or via aberger@scac.sc.

Issue 18-14 - April 13, 2018 

Friday, April 13, 2018 12:54:00 PM Categories: Budget LGF

“Crossover” deadline occurred on Tuesday and the Senate completed its work on the budget. Only 12 legislative days remain in this two-year session. This means that now is the time to contact members of the General Assembly regarding any legislation that needs to pass this year. Additionally, now is the time that members begin putting amendments on bills in an attempt to pass legislation that has either stalled or not been heard at all. Please watch carefully for alerts from SCAC. Often, only immediate action can prevent bad legislation from passing.

State Budget No Local Government Fund (LGF) Increase.

Like the House, the Senate funded the LGF at the same level as last year, $222,619,411.

You have one more opportunity to push for increased funding to the LGF. The House will re-amend the bill when it is returned from the Senate. Although unlikely, the bill can be amended with a LGF increase.

Please contact your House members and ask for this increase.

Please remind all members of the General Assembly that their failure to increase this tax relief means that means that 100 percent of the cost associated with mandated increases in retirement contributions, health insurance contributions, and providing state services will fall upon the county taxpayers.

The Senate adopted several provisos this week of which county officials need to be aware:

Proviso 54.__. This proviso states that if a political subdivision receives funds from the Rural Infrastructure Authority for a water infrastructure project, any political subdivision's procurement involving an expenditure of those funds shall comply with the State Procurement Code.

Proviso 100.21. This proviso allows the Emergency Management Division to utilize existing fund balances to provide the non-federal cost share to state and local government entities for work that is eligible under the Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program for Hurricane Irma and the 2014 Ice Storm disaster. Counties and municipalities must submit an application for such funds by July 31, 2018.

Proviso 108.16. This proviso states that compensation received in the current fiscal year by a retired member of the South Carolina Retirement System or the South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System to undertake an activity for a participating employer of either system that has traditionally been performed by employees of the participating employer is considered earnings from covered employment for the purposes of the retirement earnings limitation. This is intended to prevent employers from circumventing the earnings limitation by employing individuals as independent contractors.

Proviso 113.5. This proviso suspends §§6-27-30 and 6-27-50. Section 6-27-30 requires 4.5 percent of general fund revenues of the latest completed fiscal year be appropriated to the Local Government Fund (LGF). Section 6-27-50 states that the Aid to Subdivisions Act, which includes the LGF, may not be amended or repealed except in separate legislation solely for that purpose. Senator Rex Rice introduced, and the Senate adopted, this amendment which states that if the LGF was fully funded, an additional $118,591,723 would need to be appropriated for the Local Government Fund.

Proviso 117.___. This proviso authorizes state agencies, state institutions, and political subdivisions to obtain state and national criminal history background checks and investigations performed by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on all employees and contractors with access to federal tax information. SLED is authorized to conduct fingerprint-based state and national background checks for state agencies, state institutions, and political subdivisions which have access to federal tax information.

The proviso also states that an employee or contractor of a state agency, state institution, and political subdivision with access to, or that uses federal tax information must:

(1) agree to a national background check and the release of all investigative records to the state agency, state institution, or political subdivision for the purpose of verifying criminal history information for non-criminal justice purposes; and

(2) supply a fingerprint sample and submit to a state criminal history background check and investigation to be conducted by the SLED, and then submit to a national criminal history background check to be conducted by the FBI.

Costs associated with these background checks are to be paid by the state agency, state institution, or political subdivision. The cost can be passed onto the contractor. Additionally, state agencies, state institutions, or political subdivisions must establish written policies concerning the implementation and use of the background checks and investigations conducted pursuant to this provision.

Proviso 117.___. This proviso requires SLED to publish an Immigration Compliance Report (ICR). SLED may conduct investigations necessary to ensure the accuracy of information provided by counties and municipal governments within the ICR. The ICR shall contain a list of county and municipal governments that SLED has certified to be compliant with sections 17-13-170(E) and 23-3-1100, as well as compliance with any federal laws related to the presence of an unlawful person in the United States in the previous fiscal year. The ICR must be provided to the General Assembly, the Governor, and the State Treasurer by December thirty-first of the current fiscal year. The State Treasurer shall withhold any remaining disbursement from the Local Government Fund to any county or municipality that is not certified as "compliant" in the ICR.

Proviso 118.___. The Senate appropriated $3,119,137 in non-recurring money to the Parks and Recreation Development Fund. This proviso directs Parks, Recreation and Tourism to allocate $30,000 to each county area as the minimum distribution. Then, three-quarters of the remaining funds must be allocated to each county area on a per capita basis, and one-quarter may be used by the department for planning, development, and renovation of new state parks and recreation facilities.

You can make a huge difference in the success of your SCAC Legislative Program.

With only 12 legislative days left, contact needs to be made with your members of the General Assembly regarding these bills:

Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation — H. 3896. This bill allows a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of this bill.

→    This bill is now in Senate Judiciary Committee. Please contact your Senators and ask that they support H. 3896! Ask that the bill be reported out of committee as soon as possible.

Watercraft Taxation — H. 4715. This bill changes the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

→    This bill is in Senate Fish Game and Forestry Committee. Please contact your Senators and ask that they support H. 4715! Ask that the bill be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing as soon as next week.

Electronic Liens — H. 3684. This bill would permit the Department of Revenue (DOR) to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. This bill received third reading this week in the House. It will likely be referred to Senate Finance Committee.

→    Please contact your Senators and ask that they support H. 3684! Ask that the bill be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing as soon as next week.

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 land purchases, infrastructure, and site development involved in economic development. This legislation has passed the Senate and is in the Ways and Means Committee.

→    This bill is in Ways and Means Committee. Please contact your House members and ask for S.889 be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) — S. 793. 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.

→    This bill is in Ways and Means Committee. Please contact your House members and ask S.793 be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Other Legislation of Interest

Temporary Plates — S. 1083. This bill authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to establish a system to issue temporary tags for vehicles that are purchased. The tags will have specific identifying numbers to match the vehicle with the owner. This will help to prohibit fraudulent sales as well as falsifying expiration dates of temporary tags. The department will also set up an electronic system for county auditor’s offices, dealerships, and other entities authorized to issue temporary plates that will allow the Department to track all temporary permits that are issued. The bill was given a favorable report by a House Education and Public Works subcommittee.

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. It does 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 Senate Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee amended the bill to exempt county and municipal parks as well as increased the fines for a violation and gave the bill a favorable report.

Coroner’s Supplement — S. 170. This bill requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children under the age of 18 who have died in the county. The bill also provides a supplement of at least $35,000 annually to each coroner. This supplement is contingent upon state appropriation or “financial support from other sources.” After paying each coroner’s supplement, any excess amount from the funding source is to be disbursed to coroners pursuant to a formula based on county population. A House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs subcommittee adopted an amendment to provide that information obtained by the Child Fatality Review Team would not be subject to subpoena unless certain exceptions apply such as child abuse. S. 170 received a favorable report as amended by the subcommittee.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Ratifications

The following bills have been passed by both chambers and are now before the Governor for signature or veto:

(R. 164) S. 1014. Provides that the state interest shall prevail if a conflict exists between the antitrust laws of the State and the United States and the exercise of power by a regional health services district with respect to ownership, operation, management, or lease of a hospital, or healthcare facility.

(R. 165) S. 1038. Provides that for any county which began the reimposition of a capital projects sales tax on April 1, 2013, and reimposed that tax at the 2016 general election, the tax reimposed on April 1, 2013, is extended until April 30, 2020, and the tax reimposed at the 2016 general election is delayed until May 1, 2020, and expires on April 30, 2027.

Issue 18-13 - April 5, 2018 

Friday, April 6, 2018 9:44:00 AM Categories: Budget LGF

The Senate was off this week, therefore, all legislative action took place in the House Chamber. Thanks to numerous calls and emails from county officials, this was a successful week. Please make sure to thank your House members for their efforts. Remember, there are only 15 legislative days left. Please contact your senators and House members regarding the very important issues discussed in the Friday Report.

Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation — H. 3896

This bill allows a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of this bill. H. 3896 passed the House this week. Thanks to Rep. Duckworth for introducing this bill and strongly defending it on the floor of the House. A roll call of the vote on this bill is attached. Please thank your House member for their support.

→    Please contact your senators and ask that they support H. 3896! Ask that the bill be reported out of committee as soon as possible.

Watercraft Taxation — H. 4715

This bill changes the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

H. 4715 passed the House unanimously this week. Thanks to Rep. Kirby, the other cosponsors, and all the House members for supporting this bill.

→    Please contact your senators and ask that they support H. 4715! Ask that the bill be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

State Budget — Let Your Senator Know: It Is Time For Property Tax Relief Through An Increase In The Local Government Fund

Like the House, the Senate Finance Committee funded the LGF at the same level as last year, $222,619,411.

This means that 100 percent of the cost associated with mandated increases in retirement contributions, health insurance contributions, and providing state services will fall upon the county taxpayers!

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.”

The most recent projected General Fund increase is $375,853,463, which is a 4.6 percent increase.

SCAC’s position only asks that $10.8 million of this new money be appropriated to the LGF.

→    Please contact your senator and ask them to support the county taxpayers when they take up the budget on the floor on Monday.

Other Legislation of Interest

Electronic Liens — H. 3684. This bill would permit the Department of Revenue (DOR) to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. The House adjourned for the week before reaching this bill. Please ask your House members to give this bill second and third reading next week.

Business Personal Property Tax Filings — H. 4021. This bill provides a sales tax exemption for perishable food manufacturers. The House Ways and Means Committee adopted an amendment that would require all business personal property tax returns to be filed with DOR. Current law gives auditors the option to do this and SCAC opposes any requirement to file these returns with DOR. H. 4021 passed the House and is in the Senate.  

Homebuilders License — H. 3846. This bill, as amended, provides that a residential property owner who makes certain improvements and repairs to their home is exempt from requirements found in Title 49, Chapter 50, such as obtaining a building license and permit. The bill also places additional restrictions on a residential specialty contractor. The bill received third reading in the House.

Whistleblower Act — H. 3448. H. 3448 amends the Whistleblower Act, which allows employees to report wasteful spending, fraud, or other wrongdoing by a public body. The bill removes the $2000 cap on rewards for reporting wrongdoing and also removes the one-year limitation on the period during which the employee is protected from retaliatory employment action such as termination. SCAC’s policy position is to oppose any legislation that would remove the $2000 cap on rewards when the employee’s report results in public money savings and oppose any legislation that removes the one-year statute of limitation that requires an employee to bring a suit for retaliatory employment termination within one year of their report. The House recommitted the bill to the Judiciary Committee.  

Golf Cart and Moped Ordinance — H. 4466. This bill, as amended, authorizes counties and cities to enact ordinances that regulate or require safety equipment for moped and golf cart rentals that operate on public streets and highways. The House amended the bill to provide that the owner of a permitted golf cart may register the golf cart for multiple addresses such as a permanent residence, business address, and vacation and rental homes. The amended bill passed the House.

Issue 18-12 - March 29, 2018 

Thursday, March 29, 2018 4:39:00 PM Categories: Budget Finance & Taxation

The House took off this week for Easter break. The Senate will take their Easter vacation during the upcoming week. That means this is an excellent week to meet with your senator at home to discuss the budget and other legislation discussed in this report.

State Budget — Senate Finance doesn’t want to give county property taxpayers relief either

The Finance Committee completed its work on the budget this week, failing to even mention the Local Government Fund (LGF).

Like the House, the Finance Committee funded the LGF at the same level as last year, $222,619,411.

The actions of the House and Senate Finance means that 100 percent of the cost associated with mandated increases in retirement contributions, health insurance contributions, and providing state services will fall upon the county taxpayers!

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.”

The most recent projected General Fund increase is $375,853,463, which is a 4.6 percent increase.

SCAC’s position only asks that $10.8 million of this new money be appropriated to the LGF. This money can obviously be found in this 8 billion dollar budget.

Please contact your senator at home and ask them to support the county taxpayers when they take up the budget on the floor on April 9. Ask them why they can’t support this minor increase in the LGF in an 8 billion dollar budget.

House Action Next Week — Please contact your House members about these key legislative items

Next week, the House will take up several bills on its calendar in an attempt to pass legislation prior to the “crossover deadline.” It takes a super-majority vote of the other chamber in order to consider legislation that does not meet this deadline. Therefore, it is important that county officials contact their House members regarding the legislation that follows.

Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation — H. 3896

This bill allows a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of this bill.

→    Please contact your House members and ask that they support H. 3896!

Watercraft Taxation — H. 4715

This bill changes the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

H. 4715 was amended by House Ways and Means Committee to move the implementation date to January 1, 2020, and received a favorable report as amended.

→    Please contact your House members and ask that they support H. 4715!

Electronic Liens — H. 3684

This bill, an SCAC policy position, would permit the Department of Revenue (DOR) to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. The House Ways and Means Committee gave H. 3684 a favorable report.

→    Please contact your House members and ask that they support this bill.

Business Personal Property Tax Filings — H. 4021.

This bill provides a sales tax exemption for perishable food manufacturers. The House Ways and Means Committee adopted an amendment that would require all business personal property tax returns to be filed with DOR. Current law gives auditors the option to do this and SCAC opposes any requirement to file these returns with DOR. H. 4021 is on the House calendar.

→    Please contact your House members and ask that they oppose this requirement.

Municipal Capital Projects Sales Tax — S. 426

S. 426, as introduced, would allow a municipality, by ordinance, to hold a referendum for the same purposes as the current countywide capital projects sales tax. A Senate Finance subcommittee took this bill up again this week. The subcommittee adopted amendments that include:

  • Municipalities would be allowed to call for the creation of the Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission (the commission that forms the question of what projects will be put on the referendum.)
  • If a countywide capital projects sales tax failed, municipalities within the county could then adopt a Municipal Capital Projects Sales Tax, subject to a referendum.
  • A county could opt out of the provisions of the Countywide Capital Projects Sales Tax and allow a municipality to adopt a Municipal Capital Projects Sales Tax, subject to a referendum.

Although the amendments were clearly adopted to assuage county concerns, the legislation still would allow municipalities to undercut the shared Capital Project Sales Tax both counties and cities currently enjoy.

Please contact your senators and ask that they oppose this bill.

Please tell them:

The cities already have a capital projects sales tax. The countywide capital projects sales tax requires the creation of a commission that requires three representatives appointed by the municipalities and three appointed by the county. The cities have equal representation as the county.

Everyone benefits from the countywide capital projects sales tax. The countywide capital projects sales tax allows for projects that benefit the county as a whole, and not just the citizens in a small area.

This will end the ability for counties to use the capital projects sales tax. Municipal representation on the Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission could veto any plan from the commission, holding off a countywide Capital Projects Penny to ensure their city gets one instead.

Other Legislation of Interest

Assault on EMS and Firefighters S. 1096. This bill provides harsher penalties for those who assault individuals in a certain category, which includes emergency medical service providers and firefighters. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee amended the bill to add more individuals to this protected category. The bill received a favorable report as amended.

Utility Relocation S. 932. This bill provides circumstances under which an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project must bear the costs related to relocating water and sewer lines. S. 932 requires the entity undertaking the project to pay 100 percent of the costs of relocating any water and sewer lines that are within the right-of-way and owned by a public utility that has 10,000 or fewer taps or connections and serves a population of 30,000 or less. The entity undertaking the project must pay 100 percent of the costs, up to 4 percent of the total project costs, of relocating water and sewer lines within the right-of-way and owned by a public utility with more than 10,000 taps or connections or that serves a population of more than 30,000. The bill received third reading in the Senate.

Pawnbroker Regulation S. 810. This bill at one point required counties to adopt ordinances requiring pawnbrokers to enter data about their merchandise into an electronic database provided by the sheriff. The bill also allows law enforcement to seize property that they have probable cause to believe is stolen or misappropriated. The Senate adopted an amendment to remove the requirement that counties adopt such an ordinance and gave the bill third reading.

Beachfront Management Reform Act H. 4683. This bill creates the Beachfront Management Reform Act and requires DHEC to use the setback lines established by January 31, 2012, through 2016, and then initiate new baselines and setback lines after December 31, 2023. The bill also lays out the criteria that DHEC must use to establish these new baselines and setback lines. The Senate Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee adopted amendments before giving the bill a favorable report.

Referendums for Sunday Alcohol Sales S. 820. This bill amends Code Section 61-6-2010(C) which relates to referendums that would allow for the sale of alcohol on Sunday. The Senate adopted a strike and insert amendment that deletes the provision in 60-6-2010(C)(1)(c) which states “in a case of a county or municipality where temporary permits are authorized to be issued pursuant to this section as of June 21, 1993…” The amendment also provides that these referendums may only be held once every 24 months. Current law limits the referendum question to once every 48 months. S. 820 received second reading as amended by the Senate.

Compassionate Care Act S. 212. This bill legalizes and regulates the production and use of medicinal marijuana. The Senate Medical Affairs Committee gave the bill a favorable report as amended.

Issue 18-11 - March 23, 2018 

Friday, March 23, 2018 10:01:00 AM Categories: Budget Finance & Taxation

The next two weeks will be busy as the House and Senate work to pass bills in an effort to beat the crossover deadline. However, the House is taking furlough next week. This means next week is an excellent time to speak with your house members back home. Please talk to them about the legislation discussed in this Friday Report.

State Budget - Full Senate Finance Begins Work on the Budget

The full Finance Committee began its work on the budget this week, taking up provisos passed through its subcommittees. Now is the time to contact your senator and ask for increased funding in the Local Government Fund.

The House funded the Local Government Fund (LGF) at the same level as last year, $222,619,411.

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.”

The most recent projected General Fund increase is $375,853,463, which is a 4.6 percent increase.

SCAC’s position only asks that $10.8 million of this new money be appropriated to the LGF.

Please note that the House also recommended the same flat amount be appropriated for 1 percent of the eventual 6 percent retirement contribution increase. This means that the appropriation will not cover exactly 1 percent. Additionally, counties must plan for this year’s 1 percent increase and a projected increase in health insurance costs. Without state-shared revenue, county taxpayers will pick up the costs of these mandated increases.

Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation — S. 833 & H. 3896

These bills allow a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of these bills.

S. 833 is pending second reading on the contested calendar. Please contact your Senate delegation, and ask that they support this legislation!

H. 3896 was moved to the contested calendar on Thursday. Please contact your House members while they are home next week and ask that they support this important legislation!

Watercraft Taxation — H. 4715 & S. 1051

These bills change the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bills tax boats the same way automobiles are taxed and provide that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

H. 4715 was amended by House Ways and Means Committee to move the implementation date to January 1, 2020, and received a favorable report as amended. Thanks to Rep. Kirby and the other House co-sponsors for sponsoring this bill, and to Reps. White, Whitmire, and Pitts for supporting this bill through the committee process.

S. 1051 is in the Senate Fish, Game, and Forestry Committee. Thanks to Senator Campsen for sponsoring this legislation. Please ask your senator to support S. 1051 and request that it be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Municipal Capital Projects Sales Tax — S. 426

S. 426 would allow a municipality, by ordinance, to hold a referendum for the same purposes as the current countywide capital projects sales tax. Enacting this bill would allow cities to undercut your authority to create a capital project sales tax for your citizens.

A Senate Finance subcommittee has previously considered, and then carried over, this bill. The subcommittee may meet again on the bill next week. Please contact your senators and ask that they oppose this bill.

Please tell them:

The cities already have a capital projects sales tax. The countywide capital projects sales tax requires the creation of a commission that requires three representatives appointed by the municipalities and three appointed by the county. The cities have equal representation as the county.

Everyone benefits from the countywide capital projects sales tax. The countywide capital projects sales tax allows for projects that benefit the county as a whole, and not just the citizens in a small area.

This will end the ability for counties to use the capital projects sales tax. Municipal representation on the Capital Projects Sales Tax Commission could veto any plan from the commission, holding off a countywide Capital Projects Penny to ensure their city gets one instead.

Other Legislation of Interest

Electronic Liens — H. 3684. This bill, an SCAC policy position, would permit the Department of Revenue (DOR) to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. The House Ways and Means Committee gave H. 3684 a favorable report. Please contact your House members and ask that they support this bill.

Business Personal Property Tax Filings — H. 4021. This bill provides a sales tax exemption for perishable food manufacturers. The House Ways and Means Committee adopted an amendment that would require all business personal property tax returns to be filed with the Department of Revenue (DOR). Current law gives auditors the option to do this and SCAC opposes any requirement to file these returns with DOR. H. 4021 is on the House calendar. Please contact your House members and ask that they oppose this requirement.

Court Reporting — S. 516. This bill amends Section 14-17-325 to change the time period that clerks of court have to report General Session case dispositions to the SC State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Clerks currently have 30 days to report the disposition of each case to SLED, which is done through the state Case Management System. The bill would reduce that time to 10 days. Additionally, clerks would only have 48 hours to report certain orders such as restraining orders and orders of protection. The Senate Judiciary Committee briefly discussed the bill but did not take action due to time. There are several amendments that are expected to be offered at the next committee meeting, one of which will change all the reporting requirement deadlines to five days.  

Status Offenders and Expungements — S. 580. This bill, among other things, provides that juveniles who are tried as adults may no longer be housed in adult jails. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee amended the bill to provide that juvenile status offenders are to be housed in group homes instead of a juvenile jail and removed a provision that would require automatic expungement of a person’s status offenses once the person turns 17 years old. The bill received a favorable report as amended.

Sanctuary Counties and Cities — H. 4496. This bill requires SLED to certify that all cities and counties comply with certain immigration laws. A county that is not certified by July 1, 2019, will have its LGF distributions withheld until their compliance is certified. A county that falsifies compliance will lose three years of its LGF distributions. Ultimately, the sheriff or police will be the entities responsible for complying with these immigration laws.

During the House Judiciary committee meeting, Reps. Weeks and McEachern fought to protect county government by pointing out that this bill will set a bad precedent of allowing the legislature to punish local governments by withholding LGF distributions. They also highlighted how the counties would be punished for the actions of a local law enforcement agency that counties have no control over. Despite this, H. 4496 received a favorable report as amended and is on the House calendar. Please thank Reps. Weeks and McEachern for standing up for the LGF and county government.

Utility Relocation — S. 932. This bill provides circumstances under which an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project must bear the costs related to relocating water and sewer lines. S. 932 requires the entity undertaking the project to pay 100 percent of the costs of relocating any water and sewer lines that are within the right-of-way and owned by a public utility that has 10,000 or fewer taps or connections and serves a population of 30,000 or less. The entity undertaking the project must pay 100 percent of the costs, up to 4.5 percent of the total project costs, of relocating water and sewer lines within the right-of-way and owned by a public utility with more than 10,000 taps or connections or that serves a population of more than 30,000. The Senate Transportation Committee gave S. 932 a favorable report and it is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Homebuilders License — H. 3846. This bill would allow an unlicensed homebuilder who builds his own home or makes improvements to his existing property to do so without obtaining a waiver from the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation if intending to sell or rent within two years of construction or improvements. The House Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee (LCI) amended the bill with a strike and insert so that a residential property owner can make general improvements to his home without obtaining a building permit. The bill was given a favorable report as amended and is on the House calendar.  

Nursing Mothers — H. 4717. H. 4717 requires all governmental buildings to make certain room accommodations for the exclusive use of women to breastfeed children or express breast milk. There is an opt-out provision for state-owned buildings and school districts, but not for county buildings. The bill was amended at a House 3M subcommittee so that the governing body of a county may exempt a county building if they determine that the demand for the use of the specified room by employees and the public is insufficient to merit the cost. The subcommittee adopted the amendment, but gave the bill as adopted an unfavorable report.

MLK Day — H. 5040. This bill would require all state and county buildings and offices, excluding medical, protective and emergency services, to be closed on the third Monday in January in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. A House 3M subcommittee amended the bill so that it only applies to school districts and gave the bill a favorable report as amended.

Conservation Easements — H. 4889. This bill allows the holder of a conservation easement to contest an action to condemn property encumbered by the easement under certain circumstances. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee carried the bill over for further study.  

Compassionate Care Act — S. 212. This bill legalizes and regulates the production and use of medicinal marijuana. A Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report as amended.

Pawnbroker Regulation — S. 810. This bill, as amended, requires counties to adopt ordinances requiring pawnbrokers to enter data about their merchandise into an electronic database provided by the sheriff. The bill also allows law enforcement to seize property that they have probable cause to believe is stolen or misappropriated. An amendment is expected to be offered to remove the requirement that counties adopt an ordinance. S. 810 received a favorable report as amended by the Senate LCI Committee and is on the Senate calendar.

Referendums for Sunday Alcohol Sales — S. 820. This bill amends Code Section 61-6-2010(C) which relates to referendums that would allow for the sale of alcohol on Sunday. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee adopted a strike and insert amendment that deletes the provision in 60-6-2010(C)(1)(c) which states “in a case of a county or municipality where temporary permits are authorized to be issued pursuant to this section as of June 21, 1993…” The amendment also provides that these referendums may only be held once every 24 months. Current law limits the referendum question to once every 48 months. The bill received a favorable report as amended.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 1131 — Removes the $10,000 earnings cap for certain members who participate in the TERI program as of October 31, 2017.

S. 1136 — Authorizes schools, after consulting with a school counselor or resource officer, and after notifying the parents, to petition the probate court to determine whether or not a student is in need of mental health services.

S. 1138 — Requires a water or sewer utility that is subject to the Public Service Commission’s supervision and regulation to establish customer classes based upon geographic service location.

S. 1139 — Enacts the “Taxpayer Transparency Act.”

S. 1140 — Requires a county to post certain information on its website, maintain the website, make public a certain website database, and ensure that information on the website is easily accessible.

House Bills

H. 5151 — Authorizes the process of examining absentee ballots to begin at 9:00 a.m. on the day immediately prior to election day, and removes the oath witness signature requirement.

H. 5153 — Requires workers‘ compensation hearings be held in the district in which the injuries occurred instead of the county in which the injury occurred.

H. 5155 — Provides for comprehensive sentencing reform.

H. 5158 — Authorizes a county to charge a one-time impact fee on a private developer for each new residential and commercial unit constructed in that county.

H. 5161 — Makes it unlawful to smoke a tobacco product in a vehicle in which a minor is a passenger.

H. 5163 — Provides for a referendum to be held at the 2018 general election for the voters of Greenville County to determine whether or not they favor the Greenville Health System (GHS) being governed by a board of directors appointed by the legislative delegation, or whether they approve of GHS’s agreement to lease its assets to a private entity.

H. 5170 — Authorizes naval criminal investigative service agents to enforce state criminal laws.

H. 5171 — Exempts certain agrotourism businesses from the admissions tax.    

H. 5173 — Prohibits a vehicle from being equipped with certain signs, screens, or other devices that utilize an electronic or remote means to display intermittent, changing, flashing lights or colors.

H. 5178 — Removes the earnings cap under the South Carolina retirement system for covered employees returning to work who retired before November 1, 2017, as well as the police officers retirement system for covered employees returning to work who retired before December 31, 2017.

H. 5180 — Requires a county to post certain information on its website, maintain the website, make public a certain website database, and ensure that information on the website is easily accessible.

H. 5181 — Enacts the “Taxpayer Transparency Act.”

Issue 18-9 - March 9, 2018 

Friday, March 9, 2018 10:57:00 AM Categories: Alternative Energy Budget LGF
State Budget

The House is scheduled to take up the budget on Monday at 1:00 p.m.

The Ways and Means Committee funded the Local Government Fund (LGF) at the same level as last year, $222,619,411.

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.”

The most recent projected General Fund increase is $375,853,463, which is a 4.6 percent increase.

SCAC’s position only asks that $10.8 million of this new money be appropriated to the LGF.

Please note that Ways and Means also recommended the same flat amount be appropriated for 1 percent of the eventual 6 percent retirement contribution increase. This means that the appropriation will not cover exactly 1 percent. Additionally, counties must plan for this year’s 1 percent increase and a projected increase in health insurance costs. Without state-shared revenue, county taxpayers will pick up the costs of these mandated increases.

Please contact your legislators and ask that they increase the LGF!

Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation — S. 833 & H. 3896

These bills allow a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unhealthy conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of these bills.

S. 833 is awaiting consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee met this week but had to adjourn before reaching any bills on the agenda. Please contact your Senate delegation and ask that they support this legislation.

H. 3896 is in the House Judiciary Committee awaiting a hearing by a subcommittee. Based on conversations with House staff, H. 3896 should be heard by a subcommittee the week of March 19, after the House finishes the budget. Please contact your House members and ask that they co-sponsor this important legislation and request the Judiciary Committee to schedule it for a subcommittee hearing after the House finishes the budget.

Watercraft Taxation — H. 4715 & S. 1051

These bills change the way boats are taxed and the way boat registration with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is renewed, an SCAC policy position. The bill taxes boats the same way automobiles are and provides that the DNR registration stickers expire annually, as opposed to the current three-year cycle. Boat owners would not receive their DNR stickers until their property taxes on the boats are paid every year.

H. 4715 was amended by a House Ways and Means subcommittee to move the implementation date to January 1, 2020, and received a favorable report as amended. Thanks to Rep. Kirby and the other House co-sponsors for sponsoring this bill. Please ask your House members to support H. 4715 and ask that it receives a favorable report from the full Ways and Means Committee at their next meeting.

S. 1051 is in the Senate Fish, Game, and Forestry Committee. Thanks to Senator Campsen for sponsoring this legislation. Please ask your senator to support S. 1051 and request that it be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing.

Other Legislation of Interest

Electronic Liens — H. 3684. This bill, an SCAC policy position, would permit the Department of Revenue (DOR) to develop an internet accessible system for filing liens, as opposed to them being physically filed at the county level. A House Ways and Means subcommittee gave H. 3684 a favorable report.

Alternative Energy Property Tax Exemption — H. 4421. H. 4421 addresses a wide array of issues dealing with the solar industry. Most of these issues SCAC does not have a position on, however, SCAC opposes one section of the bill as it creates two property tax exemptions for alternative energy generating projects, including solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and landfill gas energy. The first provision exempts 80 percent of the value of the alternative energy equipment for commercial projects, which equates to a 2.1 percent assessment ratio. The second provision exempts all alternative energy equipment rated to produce 20 kW or less and defines these to be “residential,” regardless of the class of property they are on or the ownership of the equipment. Rep. James Smith proposed an amendment, which was adopted, in the House Judiciary Committee meeting to remove the 80 percent property tax exemption for solar farms. SCAC supported this amendment. H. 4421 is on the contested House calendar.

Solid Waste Emergency Fund — H. 4644. This bill creates a Solid Waste Emergency Fund to address future circumstances at a solid waste facility that may present an imminent and substantial danger to human health and the environment. Under the bill, a permit to construct a new solid waste management facility or to expand an existing facility may not be issued until the applicant provides documentation of compliance with local land use and zoning ordinances. The documentation of compliance must come from the applicable local government. The bill also requires facilities that recycle construction and demolition debris to submit a permit application to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The House gave H. 4644 third reading and it has been sent to the Senate.

Abandoned Watercraft — H. 4976. This bill allows sheriffs to assist DNR in the removal of abandoned watercraft within their jurisdictions. The bill was amended to extend the authority to local governments as well. The House gave H. 4976 third reading and it has been sent to the Senate.

Conservation Easements — H. 4889. This bill allows the holder of a conservation easement to contest an action to condemn property encumbered by the easement under certain circumstances. The House gave H. 4889 third reading and it has been sent to the Senate.

Beachfront Management Reform Act — H. 4683. This bill creates the Beachfront Management Reform Act and requires DHEC to use the setback lines established by January 31, 2012, through 2016, and then initiate new baselines and setback lines after December 31, 2023. The bill also lays out the criteria that DHEC must use to establish these new baselines and setback lines. The House gave H. 4683 third reading and it has been sent to the Senate.

Litter and Illegal Dumping — H. 4458. H. 4458 expands on the definition of litter and reduces the fine for littering less than 15 pounds from $200 to a range of $25 to $100. Litter control officers have testified that this will lead to more enforcement. The definition of illegal dumping also includes discarding animal carcasses and penalizes this activity with a fine range of $200 to $500. The fines increase with subsequent convictions. In addition to any fine, unsupervised litter pickup is also required.

This legislation does not apply to individuals on private property they own or those littering on private property with permission. Local governments may still pass and enforce ordinances that regulate the upkeep of property and the Solid Waste Act will prevail if it conflicts with this law. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee gave H. 4458 a favorable report.

Community Service Liability — S. 949. This legislation provides that county personnel who participate in community service programs in which a probationer is completing community service as a condition of their probation are immune from civil liability in the event the probationer is injured while performing their community service requirements. This does not affect liability under the Tort Claims Act. The Senate Corrections and Penology Committee amended the bill to clarify that workers’ compensation laws do not apply to probationers injured while performing community service and extended the civil liability immunity to charitable organizations involved in community service programs. The bill passed the Senate and has been sent to the House.

Cremation Permits — H. 3197. This bill prohibits coroners from charging a fee to issue a permit for cremation. Currently, while coroners must issue a permit in order for a cremation to be performed, nothing in the law says whether or not they can charge a fee. The House adopted an amendment to further prohibit coroners or medical examiners from charging a fee for a Burial-Removal-Transit Permit and passed H. 3197.

Indigency Screening — H. 4830. This bill provides for a procedure for the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon (PPP) services to assist the courts in determining when a person is indigent for purposes of appointing an attorney. The House Judiciary Committee adopted the subcommittee report that makes this a pilot program in six counties with PPP providing a report to the General Assembly with recommendations no later than January 1, 2019. The bill was also amended to give judges more discretion in determining indigency. The House further amended H. 4830 to require more documentation from the applicant and require that the applicant be the one providing the documentation. H. 4830 passed the House as amended.

Sanctuary Counties and Cities — H. 4496. This bill requires SLED to certify that all cities and counties comply with certain immigration laws. A county that is not certified by July 1, 2019, will have its LGF distributions withheld until their compliance is certified. A county that falsifies compliance will lose three years of its LGF distributions. SCAC provided the bill’s sponsor with an amendment to change the penalty from withholding LGF distributions to disallowing certification of officers by the Criminal Justice Academy for any entity that doesn’t comply. A House Judiciary subcommittee took the amendment under advisement and gave H. 4496 a favorable report.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 1082 — Provides that a leasehold interest conveyed by the Public Service Authority for residential use is exempt from property taxes.

S. 1083 — Authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to administer an electronic system for county auditors' offices to use in issuing temporary license plates.

S. 1086 — Provides that a coroner, in the absence of next of kin of a deceased person, shall take custody of all property of value found on or about the deceased, make an exact inventory on his report, and surrender the property to the person entitled to its custody or possession.

S. 1093 — Excludes sales tax from being imposed on video streaming services received by a customer over the internet.

S. 1096 — Provides that a person is guilty of the offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature if they intentionally injure a healthcare professional, to include, but not limited to: EMS workers, firefighters, emergency room physicians, and nurses.

S. 1105 — Makes it unlawful for a senator to appear as an attorney in a magistrate court in a county represented by the senator.

House Bills

H.4950 — Provides for the state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018.

H. 4951 — Provides for the capital reserve fund for fiscal year 2017-2018.

H. 5062 — Provides that a defendant or accommodation bondsman may pledge real estate in lieu of bond delivery.

H. 5080 — Establishes requirements for emergency service system billing and insurance coverage practices applicable to non-network emergency medical service providers.

H. 5091 — Authorizes public schools to install and use magnetic door strips on classroom door frames to better secure classrooms during a lockdown.

H. 5092 — In addition to the clerk of court, authorizes the Child Support Services Division of the S.C. Department of Social Services to initiate income withholding to enforce child support.

H. 5096 — For purposes of legal residence, extends the 4 percent property tax assessment ratio to members of the U.S. Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State in the same manner as it applies to members of the Armed Forces.

Ratifications

The following bills have been passed by both chambers and is now before the Governor for signature or veto:

(R. 138) S. 105. Provides that 90 days after a contested case is initiated in the Administrative Law Court, a party may move to lift an automatic stay or for a determination of the stay’s applicability.

(R. 144) H. 3929. Establishes specific requirements for the review and appeal of decisions by DHEC regarding the permitting of certain animal facilities, other than swine facilities.

Issue 18-7 - February 23, 2018 

Friday, February 23, 2018 8:59:00 AM Categories: Budget LGF

The SCAC Mid-Year Conference was a big success. Thank you to all county officials who came, attended workshops, and met with legislators. These are the actions that ensure both legislative victories and strong, flourishing counties.

Ways and Means Completes Work on the Budget

Ways and Means made quick work with the budget this week. The Local Government Fund was funded at the same level as last year, $222,619,411.

It is important to contact your senators and House members if we are to see any increase in the LGF this year.

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.”

The most recent projected General Fund increase is $375,853,463 which is a 4.6 percent increase.

SCAC’s position only asks that $10.8 million of this new money be appropriated to the LGF.

Please explain the importance of this property tax relief and ask that the LGF appropriation be increased!

Nuisance Property Cleanup Legislation — S. 833 & H. 3896

These bills allow a county to provide by ordinance that the owner of any property in the county must keep their property clean of debris and other unsightly conditions that constitute a public nuisance. If the property owner fails to correct the conditions constituting a nuisance, then the county may enter the property, correct the conditions, and collect the cost of the cleanup on the property tax bill. This authority is currently provided to municipalities and this legislation would simply extend the same authority to county governments. Farm land is exempt from the provisions of these bills.

S. 833 was given a favorable report by a Senate Judiciary subcommittee this week. Special thanks to Senators Goldfinch, Johnson, Sabb, Climer, and Talley for supporting this bill through subcommittee. Please contact your Senate delegation, and ask that they support this legislation.

H. 3896 is in the House Judiciary Committee awaiting a hearing by a subcommittee. Please contact your House members and ask that they cosponsor this important legislation and request the Judiciary Committee to schedule it for a subcommittee hearing.

Alternative Energy Property Tax Exemption — H. 4421

H. 4421 is a multi-faceted bill addressing a wide array of issues with the solar industry that SCAC does not have a position on. SCAC opposes section 9 of H. 4421, however, as it creates two property tax exemptions for alternative energy generating projects, including solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and landfill gas energy. The first provision exempts 80 percent of the value of the alternative energy equipment for commercial projects, which equates to a 2.1 percent assessment ratio. The second provision exempts all alternative energy equipment rated to produce 20 kW or less and defines these to be “residential,” regardless of the class of property they are on or the ownership of the equipment. This legislation has been supported by the solar industry for several years and represents an affront to Home Rule and to the good-faith negotiations multiple counties have entered into with various solar companies. Please contact your House members and ask that they support an amendment to delete Section 9 of H. 4421. Counties across the state have been very successful in recruiting nearly $1 BILLION in solar investment, which makes this statewide property tax break unnecessary and obsolete. A House Judiciary subcommittee adjourned debate on H. 4421 but it is expected to be advanced out of subcommittee next week.

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 land purchases and site development related to economic development projects.

This legislation is currently on the Senate Calendar awaiting second reading. Please ask your Senator to pass this legislation.

Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) — S. 793

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 effected 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.

S. 793 is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee. Please ask your House member to request a subcommittee hearing for this legislation.

Other Legislation of Interest

Dealer Tags — H. 4618. This bill as introduced is simply a technical cleanup to confirm that a car dealer must sell at least 15 vehicles in a year to receive dealer license plates and be exempted from paying property taxes. SCAC has a policy position opposing reducing this threshold below 15. During debate on the House floor, an amendment was introduced to delete any threshold to get dealer plates. This means that as long as any person in South Carolina registers as a car dealer, they can get at least two dealer plates even if they sell ZERO vehicles in a given year. This could have a drastic negative impact on county property tax revenues. H. 4618 was moved to the contested calendar after this amendment was proposed. Please ask your House members to vote against this amendment and any other reduction of the 15-vehicle threshold to receive dealer plates.

Forty Year Retreat Policy — S. 784. This bill prohibits the seaward movement of the baseline after December 31, 2019. The baseline is used in combination with erosion rates to determine the setback line. Both lines are then used to guide development and support the state’s beachfront management goals. S. 784 received a favorable report from a Senate Agriculture Committee and is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Utility Relocation — H. 3739. This bill provides circumstances under which an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project must bear the costs related to relocating water and sewer lines. A House Education and Public Works subcommittee adopted a strike and insert amendment to mirror the language found in S. 932, which is a compromise between the utilities and SCDOT. The amendment requires the entity undertaking the project to pay 100 percent of the costs of relocating any water and sewer lines that are within the right-of-way and owned by a public utility that has 10,000 or fewer taps or connections and serves a population of 30,000 or less. The entity undertaking the project must pay 100 percent of the costs, up to 4.5 percent of the total project costs, of relocating water and sewer lines within the right-of-way and owned by a public utility with more than 10,000 taps or connections or that serves a population of more than 30,000.
H. 3739 is pending second reading on the contested House calendar.  

Animal Facilities — H. 3929. This bill establishes specific requirements for the review and appeal of decisions by DHEC regarding the permitting of certain animal facilities, other than swine facilities, which are regulated in another section of the Code. The bill sets forth setbacks, buffers, and other requirements that must be met in order for DHEC to approve a permit. The Senate adjourned before giving H. 3929 second reading so it will remain in interrupted debate in the special order slot on the Senate calendar.

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 third reading on the Senate calendar.

Deed Recording — H. 3337. This bill provides flat recording fees for documents that are filed with the register of deeds and clerks of court. This would be a departure from the current practice of charging fees based on page numbers for certain documents which often leads to erroneous fees due to miscounting page numbers. H. 3337 passed the House will be introduced in the Senate next week.

Pretrial Home Monitoring — H. 4829. This bill provides numerous conditions that a court may impose on a defendant who is released on an electronic pretrial release and monitoring program. Defendants participating in this program must pay the fees for program enrollment and home monitoring equipment use. However, the bill provides that the program’s governing authority, typically the Sheriff or Solicitor, must pay the fees for those who are indigent. SCAC, along with other interested parties, is working to have the bill amended so that an indigency fund is created to prevent local governments from funding the program costs for indigents. A House Criminal Laws subcommittee adjourned debate on H. 4829.

Indigency Screening — H. 4830. This bill provides that the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon (PPP) Services will conduct indigency screening for the purposes of public defender appointments. Currently, judges, public defenders, or clerks of court make the determination of indigency and collect applications for public defender appointments. The bill is not clear on which entity will accept the application fees. A House Criminal Laws subcommittee adopted an amendment for a one-year pilot program where PPP will perform indigency screening in six counties before the statewide program begins. H. 4830 received a favorable report as amended.

Court Reporting — S. 516. This bill amends Section 14-17-325 to change the time period that clerks of court have to report General Session case disposition to SLED. Clerks currently have 30 days to report the disposition of each case to SLED. The bill would reduce that time to 10 days. Additionally, clerks would only have 48 hours to report certain orders such as restraining orders and orders of protection. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee heard limited testimony on the bill. Due to time limits, SCAC and the clerks were unable to express their concerns with the bill and how the reduced reporting times provide a hardship on the clerks’ office. The subcommittee adjourned debate on S. 516 but will take the bill up again next week so that everyone is given the opportunity to testify.

Deployment Property Tax Extension — S. 911. This bill requires counties to offer property tax extensions to a taxpayer serving with the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard in or near a hazard duty zone. The taxpayer or his agent 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. S. 911 is pending third reading in the Senate.

Telemedicine — H. 4529. H. 4529 authorizes physician assistants and certain Board of Nursing licensees to perform delegated medical acts by telemedicine without a doctor.
H. 4529 received third reading in the House and has been sent to the Senate.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 1026 — Requires the Greenville Health System Board of Trustees to terminate the Master Affiliation Agreement and the Lease between the Greenville Health System and the Upstate Affiliate Organization and unwind contracts entered into with other health systems outside of the Greenville Health System and to be sold through a competitive bidding process.

S. 1028 — Closes the South Carolina Retirement System to new members as of July 1, 2019 and establishes the “South Carolina Shared-Risk Defined Benefit Plan.”

S. 1034 — Creates the Palmetto Pride Advisory Committee for the purposes of providing recommendations to the Take Palmetto Pride in Where You Live Commission.

S. 1038 — Changes the time frames when a capital project sales tax is reimposed.

S. 1039 — Requires the tag placed by law enforcement on an unattended vehicle on the highway or other property must be capable of reflecting light.

S. 1040 — Provides that beginning July 1, 2019, all new employees that come into the state retirement system must participate in a defined contribution plan.

S. 1043 — Extends the provisions of the South Carolina Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act until December 31, 2025.

House Bills

H. 4963 — Provides that beginning July 1, 2018, every public school shall have one resource officer in school for every 500 students enrolled at the school.

H. 4966 — Requires monthly mandatory active shooter training in all public schools, subject to a fine with the proceeds being turned over to the county treasurer for ordinary county purposes.

H. 4972 — Enacts the “School Protection Officer Act.”

H. 4975 — Defines “assault weapon” and “high capacity magazines” so as to prohibit the possession, sale, manufacture, or distribution of bump stocks or trigger cranks.

H. 4976 — Provides that under certain circumstances, a sheriff may enforce the provisions pertaining to the abandonment of a watercraft or outboard motor.

H. 4977 — Provides for a joint ticket of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, sets campaign contribution caps for jointly elected statewide candidates, and moves the filing period for a candidate to the next business day if March 30 falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

H. 4990 — Provides that it is unlawful to sell an assault rifle to a person less than 20 years of age.

H. 5000 — Creates the “Optional Shared-Risk Defined Benefit Plan.”

H. 5001 — Enacts the “Clean Energy Access Act.”

H. 5004 — Requires a former public official to close their campaign account before they can serve as a lobbyist.

H. 5005 — Increases the lobbyist and lobbyist principal’s registration fees.

H. 5007 — Provides for the crime of threatening to destroy or cause damage to a public building, including public schools and post-secondary institutions, by the use of a weapon.

H. 5008 — Requires each public school to have a full-time employee whose sole responsibility is to monitor the school surveillance system during regular school hours.

Issue 18-5 - February 9, 2018 

Friday, February 9, 2018 9:20:00 AM Categories: Budget LGF
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) —
S. 793

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.

Please Note:

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.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

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.

House Bills

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.

Ratifications

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.

Issue 18-3 - January 26, 2018 

Friday, January 26, 2018 9:06:00 AM Categories: Budget LGF

Highlights for this legislative week include the Governor’s State of the State address on Wednesday, the House debate on legislation dealing with the Public Service Authority and fallout from the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station failure, and Senate debate on H. 3653, dealing with manufacturing or industrial nuisances.

Local Government Fund (LGF) and the State Budget

South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission (RSIC): Retirement Investments on the Upswing

The RSIC appeared before a Ways and Means budget subcommittee this week to discuss the state of the system. The RSIC reported that the increased revenue allocated to the commission by the most recent retirement law changes was working to decrease the unfunded liability. They further reported that the system exceeded the statutory rate of return of 7.25 percent last year and is on track to do so this year. They reported an 11.9 percent rate of return last year and predicted a 9.67 percent rate of return this year.

Local Government Fund — Please contact your legislator.

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.”

H. 3099, which is currently sponsored by Representatives Ott, Cobb-Hunter, B. Newton, and T. Alexander would implement SCAC’s position. Ask your House member to co-sponsor this bill and seek its passage through ways and means!

2018 SCAC Mid-Year Conference & Institute of Government 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.

Please Note:

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

Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) — S. 793. Senate Finance Committee reported S. 793 out favorably as amended. The legislation requires DOR to notify both the taxpayer and the affected county of a department determination regarding tax liability. Counties are authorized to appeal department determinations. The legislation also requires DOR to notify affected 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 affected 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 committee adopted the subcommittee amendment to exclude individual taxpayers from the bill. S. 793 is pending second reading on the uncontested 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. Senate Finance Committee amended S. 587 to provide that the property may be rented up to 72 days as provided in current law. The committee further amended the bill to provide 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. The committee reported the bill out favorably with an amendment and it is pending second reading on the uncontested Senate calendar.

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 is pending. S. 759 was given a favorable report as amended and is pending second reading on the uncontested Senate calendar.

Litter and Illegal Dumping — H. 4458. H. 4458 includes in the definition of litter to include cigarette butts and cigarette components and reduces the fine for littering less than 15 pounds from $200 to a range of $25 to $100. Litter control officers testified that this will lead to more enforcement. The bill also defines illegal dumping to include animal carcasses and penalizes this activity with a fine range of $200 to $500. The fines increase with subsequent convictions. Unsupervised litter pickup may be ordered by a judge in lieu of the fines for any of the violations. None of these provisions will apply to someone on private property they own, or littering on private property with permission. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee amended the bill to provide that local governments may still pass and enforce ordinances that regulate the upkeep of property. The amendment also provides that the Solid Waste Act will prevail if it conflicts with this law. The committee gave this bill a favorable report as amended and it is pending second reading on the uncontested House calendar.

Shelter Standards — S. 841. Section 12 of this bill would require county animal shelters to meet various standards related to housing dogs and cats. The standards range from requiring specific spacing and temperature ranges to providing quality time and enrichment for animals housed at the shelters. The standards also require county animal control officers to inspect and keep written reports on every animal shelter within the county. SCAC opposes this section in the interest of Home Rule. S. 841 is on the contested Senate calendar and many senators have heard from their county officials who are asking that counties be exempted from section 12. Thanks to those who have contacted their senator.

Manufacturing or Industrial Nuisances — H. 3653. This bill prohibits 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, to be a nuisance. The Senate began debate on H. 3653 and adopted several amendments further defining manufacturing and industrial facilities before carrying the bill over. The bill remains in the Special Order priority slot on the Senate calendar.

Solid Waste Emergency Fund — H. 4644. This bill creates a Solid Waste Emergency Fund to address future circumstances at a solid waste facility that may present an imminent and substantial danger to human health and the environment. Under the bill, a permit to construct a new solid waste management facility or to expand an existing facility may not be issued until the applicant provides documentation of compliance with local land use and zoning ordinances. The bill also requires facilities that recycle construction and demolition debris to submit a permit application to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). A House Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee adjourned debate on H. 4644 to obtain more information from DHEC about the costs associated with a new permit.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 911 — Requires counties to allow for a deferment of property taxes for Armed Service members in or near a hazard duty zone.

S. 915 — Requires all contributions received by a candidate to be deposited into an interest on campaign account known as an “IOCA”, with a certain percentage of all funds deposited into an IOCA to be remitted to the Ethics Commission.

S. 917 — Allows the proceeds from the state accommodations tax, local hospitality tax, and local accommodations tax to be used for the control and repair of flooding and drainage at tourism-related lands or areas.

S. 927 — Enacts the “Beachfront Management Reform Act.”

S. 928 — Authorizes a special purpose district that has obtained a work of art by a gift or other means to transfer ownership of the art piece to a nonprofit organization that displays works of art .

S. 931 — Requires all contributions received by a candidate to be deposited into an interest on campaign account known as an “IOCA” with a certain percentage of all funds deposited into an IOCA to be remitted to the Ethics Commission.

S. 932 — Provides that an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project shall bear the costs of relocating water and sewer lines.

S. 935 — Provides an income tax credit to an individual or business that constructs, purchases, or leases certain solar energy property and places it in service in this state.

House Bills

H. 4644 — Establishes the Solid Waste Emergency Fund.

H. 4645 — Requires that the Department of Administration or the owner of a public building, as applicable, must post visual notification markers along the perimeter of an outdoor area of public property owned by the county where chemicals are to be applied at least 48 hours prior to the application.

H. 4670 — Creates a state work program within the Department of Corrections.

H. 4671 — Amends the Marijuana and controlled Substances Tax Act.

H. 4673 — Exempts beneficiary designations under the employee benefit plans administered by the Public Employment Benefit Authority (PEBA) from being revoked under a family court action such as divorce.

H. 4677 — Authorizes counties, by ordinance, to institute a convenience fee for the electronic payment of traffic and other citations issued electronically by law enforcement officers of that jurisdiction.

H. 4678 — Exempts all-terrain vehicles purchased in another state from sales tax if they paid the sales tax in the other state.

H. 4679 — Enacts the “Air Ambulance Affordability Act.”

H. 4682 — Repeals §56-9-70 and §56-9-80, which deal with establishing proof of financial responsibility by the filing of a bond or a certificate of deposit of money or securities.

H. 4683 — Enacts the “Beachfront Management Reform Act.”

H. 4685 — Provides that beginning July 1, 2019, the state Fiscal Accountability Authority shall transfer state public institutions of higher learning to a not-for-profit organization for the purpose of operating them as private institutions.

H. 4696 — Provides criminal penalties for persons found to have violated a building code or regulation adopted pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 9, Title 6.

H. 4699 — Provides an income tax credit to an individual or business that constructs, purchases, or leases certain solar energy property and places it in service in this state.

H. 4700 — Credits the proceeds of the property tax on airlines to the State Aviation Fund.

H. 4703 — Enacts the “South Carolina Natural Gas Pipelines Initiative Act.”

H. 4706 — Enacts  the “South Carolina Net Neutrality Protection and Maintenance Act.”

H. 4707 — Prohibits counties from regulating firearm accessories.

H. 4709 — Removes various places from the list of locations that a concealed permit holder is prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon.

H. 4715 — Prohibits a watercraft certificate number or decal from being issued when property taxes are outstanding on the watercraft.

H. 4718 — Gives part-time school cafeteria workers the option of whether or not to become members of the state retirement system.

H. 4725 — Extends the availability date to participate in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive Program (TERI) to June 30, 2021.

H. 4726 — Defines “automotive recycler” for purposes of duties imposed on a demolisher or secondary metals recycler.

H. 4727 — Makes various changes to the South Carolina Conservation Bank.

Issue 18-2 - January 19, 2018 

Thursday, January 18, 2018 5:08:00 PM Categories: Budget LGF

It was a very short week at the General Assembly. Both chambers cancelled Wednesday and Thursday sessions as a result of the inclement weather. On Tuesday, the House read across legislation dealing with the Public Service Authority and fallout from the VC Summer Nuclear Generating Station failure. The Senate disposed of the gubernatorial vetoes.

2018 SCAC Mid-Year Conference & Institute of Government — 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.

Please Note:

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.

Vetoes Overridden

The House and Senate took up the Governor’s vetoes on the FY 17-18 budget. Of interest to the counties are the following:

  • The Governor’s veto of over $20 million in lottery proceeds directed to the lease purchase of school buses was overridden.
  • The Governor’s veto of $800,000 in certified surplus lottery proceeds directed to Aid to County Libraries was overridden.
  • The Governor’s veto of Proviso 34.61 was overridden. This proviso directs that funds in each county's Hazardous Waste Fund County Account must be released by the State Treasurer, upon the written request of a majority of the county's legislative delegation representing the economically depressed area of the county, to be used for infrastructure within the economically depressed area of that county. "Infrastructure" includes improvements for water, sewer, gas, steam, electric energy, communication, and other ancillary services that may be made to a building or land which are considered necessary, suitable, or useful to an eligible project that has a documented impact on economic development.
Local Government Fund (LGF) and the State Budget

Local Government Fund. There has been very little discussion regarding funding of the LGF in Ways and Means. If there is to be any increase in this important tax relief, it is very important that county officials contact their representatives.

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.”

H. 3099, which is currently sponsored by representatives Ott, Cobb-Hunter, and B. Newton would implement SCAC’s position. Ask your House member to co-sponsor this bill and seek its passage through Ways and Means!

Election Commission. The Ways and Means Legislative, Executive, and Local Government subcommittee heard budget requests from various agencies on Tuesday. The State Election Commission made a request for $650,000 as reimbursement for the unusually high number of special elections that were held last year. Normally they spend between $100,000 and $200,000, but last year they spent closer to $1 million. They also requested a recurring amount of $250,000 for cybersecurity. The voter machines are at the end of their life cycle and the Commission is requesting $20 million to replace the system. This figure may be higher as the cost of the machines will depend on the new federal standards that are expected to be released in June. In the meantime, the Election Commission is requesting $4 million to refresh the current machines by replacing the touch screens. There was a brief discussion about increasing poll worker pay and the subcommittee asked the Commission to provide additional information for them to consider regarding a poll worker pay increase.

Other Legislative Action this Week

Notification to Counties by the Department of Revenue (DOR) — S. 793. A Senate Finance subcommittee reported S. 793 out favorably this week. The legislation requires DOR to notify both the taxpayer and the affected county of a department determination regarding tax liability. Counties are authorized to appeal department determinations. The legislation also requires DOR to notify affected 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 affected 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.

Vic Carpenter, Kershaw County Administrator, testified before the subcommittee and was instrumental in getting the bill out and to full committee.

Please thank Senator Sheheen for introducing this legislation and ask the Senate Finance Committee to report this bill out favorably.

Four Percent Assessment on Estate Properties — S. 587. This bill provides that if a property owner who 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. A Senate Finance subcommittee amended S. 587 to provide that the property may be rented up to 72 days as provided in current law. S. 587 was given a favorable report as amended and will be on the next Senate Finance Committee agenda.

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. A Senate Finance subcommittee gave S. 759 a favorable report but noted that a fiscal impact statement has not been prepared for this legislation.

Administrative Law Court Automatic Stay — S. 105. The House Judiciary Committee failed to adopt the subcommittee’s amended version of the bill and instead adopted the Senate’s version of S. 105. The bill provides that a party may move to lift an automatic stay 90 days after a contested case is initiated in Administrative Law Court. Hearings are to be held within 30 days after a motion is filed. The court shall then lift the stay unless certain factors are proven such as a likelihood of irreparable harm if the stay is lifted, or if continuing the stay serves the public interest. The process to lift a stay under these proposed changes would not apply to a contested case involving hazardous waste.

Mistreatment of Police or Service Animals — S. 6. This legislation increases the penalties for injuring or killing a police dog or horse. The full costs of restoring or replacing the dog or horse must be paid by those convicted under the proposed legislation. The House Judiciary Committee carried over S. 6.  

Manufacturing or Industrial Nuisances — H. 3653. This bill prohibits 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, to be a nuisance. The Senate set H. 3653 for Special Order, ensuring that it will be taken up this year.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

 

H. 4618 — Reduces the minimum number of motor vehicle sales a dealer must make before he may be issued a dealer plate from 20 to 15 sales in a 12-month period.

H. 4627 — Revises the number of permits per year a person may obtain to grow industrial marijuana.

Issue 18-1 - January 12, 2018 

Thursday, January 11, 2018 4:31:00 PM Categories: Budget LGF

The General Assembly officially began the 2018 Legislative Session on Tuesday. As the second year of a two-year session, all legislation introduced last year is still in play. This week the House took up the Governor’s vetoes on the budget. The Senate will take up the vetoes the House overrode next week. Most non-budget discussion regarded Dominion Energy’s proposed purchase of SCANA.

SCAC Legislative Program – Now is the Time to Reach Out to Legislators!

You received SCAC’s Policy Positions for the 2018 Session last week. This contains the legislative policy positions adopted by the Legislative Committee. The policy positions are also available on the web at www.sccounties.org.  

The positions represent an ambitious legislative program, but SCAC believes it will be a successful one.

County officials must convey their support for these positions to members of the General Assembly.

Legislators give more weight to contact from someone who lives in their district.

When SCAC staff speaks to legislators on an issue, the end result is almost always more favorable if they have already been contacted by their local officials. It is also important that legislators hear the details of how a bill will impact their constituents from county officials so they understand the local impact of legislation.

The 2018 SCAC Mid-Year Conference & Institute of Government, discussed next, is the perfect time to both learn and to meet with your members of the General Assembly.

Please let SCAC staff know what legislators tell you when you meet with them.

SCAC staff will keep you up to date through the Friday Report and use Legislative Alerts and email blasts for issues which need quick action. SCAC staff is available to answer any questions you may have on legislative issues. Please utilize your SCAC staff!

2018 SCAC Mid-Year Conference & Institute of Government — 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.

Please Note:

In an effort to increase the legislators’ participation in the Legislative Reception, the location has been changed to the Palmetto Club in downtown Columbia.

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.

Local Government Fund (LGF) and the State Budget

State revenues are expected to grow about 4.1 percent this year. Unfortunately, there is a potential shortfall of $45.8 million in FY18. The plan is to address this shortfall during the budget process because a reduced estimate would have triggered an across the board cut.

Currently, the Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) plans to certify around $304.1 million in increased General Funds for the General Assembly. Almost $92 million of this will be committed to cover the State employer’s share of the State Health Plan ($60 million) and the required retirement systems increases ($32 million).

The Ways and Means subcommittee which initially considers funding of the LGF is the Legislative, Executive, and Local Government subcommittee. This subcommittee is comprised of Reps. Bill Herbkersman, Chair; Alan Clemmons; and Todd Rutherford.

This subcommittee heard from SCAC and MASC regarding the LGF on Tuesday. Both SCAC and MASC expressed support for SCAC’s position regarding funding of the LGF.

Please contact the members of the Legislative, Executive, and Local Government Ways and Means subcommittee and ask that they increase the LGF 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.”

Representative Ott has introduced legislation which would implement this position in the House. Ask your House member to co-sponsor this bill and seek its passage through Ways and Means!

Other Legislation of Interest

Mistreatment of Police or Service Animals — S. 6 and H. 3243. This legislation increases the penalties for mistreatment, injuring, or killing a police dog or horse. It also makes it a felony to kill a service animal. A House Judiciary subcommittee took up H. 3243, increased the penalties further, and then incorporated those changes into the Senate companion bill, S.6. That bill was reported out favorably with an amendment.

Shelter Standards — S. 841. Section 12 of this bill would require county animal shelters to meet various standards related to housing dogs and cats. The standards range from requiring specific spacing and temperature ranges to providing quality time and enrichment for animals housed at the shelter. The standards also require county animal control officers to inspect and keep written reports on every animal shelter within the county. SCAC opposes this section in the interest of Home Rule. S. 841 was introduced in the Senate this week and placed on the calendar without reference. S. 841 is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Animal Facilities — H. 3929. This bill establishes specific requirements for the review and appeal of decisions by DHEC regarding the permitting of certain animal facilities, other than swine facilities, which are regulated in another section of the Code. The bill sets forth setbacks, buffers, and other requirements that must be met in order for DHEC to approve a permit. The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee gave H. 3929 a favorable report as amended and the bill is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 755 — Requires sheriffs to maintain at least one onsite drop-off box throughout the year that is available to the general public for the purpose of disposing of controlled substances.

S. 757 — Requires the Senate Committee on Interstate Cooperation to conduct a study on the feasibility of the state exempting itself from the provisions of daylight savings time.

S. 759 — Authorizes a property tax exemption for the dwelling house and one acre of land for a person with a brain or spinal cord injury.

S. 761 — Authorizes the Department of Administration to study the requirements of a single, standardized, fully integrated paperless incident and case management system to be used by the state’s solicitors, public defenders, courts, and law enforcement agencies.

S. 762 — Enacts the “Recognition of Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact Act.”

S. 764 — Authorizes the Ethics Commission to access a candidate’s income tax returns by a two-thirds vote of the Commission during a pending investigation or open complaint.

S. 765 — Redefines lobbyist as any person who is employed, appointed, or retained, with or without compensation, by another person to influence certain official actions by direct or indirect communication with public officials or public employees.

S. 766 — Provides that all contributions received by candidates shall be deposited into an interest on campaign account known as an “IOCA” that benefits the Ethics Commission.

S. 769 — Authorizes a concealed permit holder to carry a concealed weapon on school property leased by a church for church services of official church activities if the church provides express permission to the permit holder.

S. 773 — Increases the penalties for the offense of failure to stop a motor vehicle signaled by a law enforcement vehicle.

S. 774 — Repeals §§ 58-36-60 and 58-36-110, both relating to the notice of intent to excavate or demolish.

S. 775 — Provides that for counties that have adopted the Council-Administrator form of government, the terms of the members shall begin on the third business day following the certification of their election.

S. 776 — Requires SLED to compile and maintain a report listing every county that is in compliance with the state statutes regarding immigration.

S. 782 — Authorizes a county’s legislative delegation to remove the Governor’s appointment authority over the recreation commission and devolve the power to the county.

S. 783 — Allows a person to have an additional expungement if they have had a prior expungement pursuant to § 34-11-90(e).

S. 788 — Repeals § 10-1-165, which prohibits the relocation, removal, or renaming of certain monuments and memorials located on public property.

S. 790 — Exempts certain political subdivisions from the provisions of § 10-1-165, which prohibits the relocation, removal, or renaming of certain monuments and memorials located on public property.

S. 791 — Enacts the “Multifamily Dwelling Safety Act”, which requires the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation to adopt a multifamily dwelling balcony code and to conduct periodic inspections.

S. 792 — Provides that aircraft property taxes shall be credited to the State Aviation Fund.

S. 793 — Enacts the “Property Tax Procedure Act.”

S. 800 — Enacts the “South Carolina Economic Development Tax Incentive Evaluation Act.”

S. 801 — Provides for the appointment of chief magistrates by the senatorial delegation of each county.

S. 804 — Makes it unlawful to possess within or bring telecommunication devices upon the grounds of a correctional facility .

S. 806 — Requires the Ethics Commission to establish a new online campaign account monitoring and auditing department.

S. 810 — Authorizes counties to enact ordinances requiring the payment of taxes or fees related to pawn transactions or purchases.

S. 818 — Changes the primary date for candidates from the second Tuesday in June to the first Tuesday in May.

S. 820 — For purposes of counties issuing temporary permits to sell beer and wine off premises regardless of the day or hour of sales upon a referendum vote, amends § 61-6-2010 by deleting a prior reference to a certain date.

S. 822 — Deletes the earnings limitation under the retirement system for certified educators returning to employment, and for police officers under the police officer retirement system who return to work.

S. 829 — Creates a study committee to look at Act 388 and review the effects it has had on the various classes of property, the impact on school funding, and on property taxpayers.

S. 833 — Authorizes a county to adopt an ordinance requiring residential and commercial property owners to keep their lots free of rubbish.

S. 837 — Provides for a tax credit equal to 20 percent of new tax revenue paid by a taxpayer who has made a qualifying capital investment at their place of business.

S. 838 — Requires a provision in the annual budget bill that directs the manner in which funds are to be expended to specifically state the source of the funds, the authorized expenditures, and any program for which funds will be reduced as a result of the provision.

S. 854 — Provides that for purposes of disability retirement, members of the State Retirement System or the Police Officers Retirement System are considered to be in service on the date the application for disability is filed if the last day the member was in the system was no later than a year from the date of filing.

S. 864 — Revises the filing and filing fees that may be charged in the Register of Deeds or Clerks of Court.

S. 866 — Provides that the tax credits for the purpose of solar machinery and equipment shall be repealed on January 1, 2029.

S. 867 — For purposes of statements of economic interest, requires the name of each organization which paid for or reimbursed actual expenses of the filer, including payments or reimbursements by the organization to the government entity with which the filer serves or is employed, or for the filer’s attendance at an event based upon the filer’s office or position.

S. 874 — Adds organ procurement organization vehicles to the definition of authorized emergency vehicles.

S. 876 — Allows the Department of Public Safety to impose a $200 fine in addition to the penalties already provided in statute for driving over certain speeds on two-lane and four-lane highways.

S. 889 — Requires the ordinance for a capital project sales tax to specify whether the purpose of the tax proceeds would include economic development projects such as infrastructure and land purchases.

House Bills

H. 4381 — Authorizes the Legislative Ethics Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives as the registration authority and records custodian for legislative special interest caucuses.

H. 4382 — Authorizes a joint resolution to provide that a statewide advisory referendum must be conducted at the 2018 general election on the question of whether SC should no longer observe daylight saving time.

H. 4392 — Enacts the “Multifamily Dwelling Safety Act” which sets minimum code standards for balcony railings that are constructed primarily of wood and are located in multifamily dwellings.

H. 4396 — Creates the Office of Freedom of Information Act Review within the Administrative Law Court.

H. 4398 — Repeals § 10-1-165 relating to the prohibition on the relocation, removal, or renaming of certain monuments and memorials erected on public property.

H. 4402 — Establishes the “Witness Protection Act.”

H. 4403 — For purposes of trespassing and the posting of notice of trespassing, provides an alternative method of posting notice by placing clearly visible purple-painted boundaries.

H. 4404 — Authorizes the issuance of certain ID cards to qualified retired law enforcement officers and provides for the circumstance under which they may carry a concealed weapon.

H. 4405 — Requires drivers to yield to a physician responding to an emergency while driving a private passenger car equipped with a flashing green light on the dash board in the same manner as they do to emergency and law enforcement vehicles.

H. 4407 — Provides for penalties for the unlawful interference with a road or street identification sign.

H. 4409 — Provides that a church that allows a concealed permit holder to carry a weapon upon its premises is not civilly or criminally liable in the event there is an incident on the premises involving the permit holder.

H. 4411 — Repeals § 48-39-40 relating to the Coastal Zone Management Appellate Panel.

H. 4416 — Requires all political subdivisions of the state not subject to periodic reapportionment to be reapportioned to a population variance of less than 10 percent within three years of the latest census.

H. 4418 — Requires the Election Commission to amend the voter application form to allow a registrant to voluntarily disclose their political party affiliation and to maintain a record of those that disclose their affiliation.

H. 4424 — Provides that is illegal to possess, manufacture, or distribute bump stocks or trigger cranks to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic firearm.

H. 4427 — Enacts the “South Carolina Government Efficiency Act.”

H. 4429 — Provides that a bill that requires a fiscal impact statement must also include any estimated cost savings or offsets available.

H. 4430 — Allows a taxpayer to appeal the appraised value of a motor vehicle by submitting an appraisal of the motor vehicle by an authorized dealer.

H. 4435 — Enacts the “South Carolina Dreamers Act of 2018.”

H. 4442 — Provides that an employee may be granted a specified amount of paid leave time by their employer to attend certain elementary and secondary school conferences and activities.

H. 4443 — Expands the definition of ‘candidate’ to also include a person that maintains an open bank account containing campaign contributions.

H. 4444 — 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 official.

H. 4451 — Provides that in order for a homeowner to receive the homestead exemption, the home must also meet all of the requirements of the special assessment ratio tax of 4 percent and must be currently receiving the special assessment.

H. 4456 — Creates an independent redistricting commission.

H. 4458 — Expands the offense of dumping litter on private and public property to include cigarette butts and cigarette component litter, as well as deceased animals.

H. 4463 — Creates the offense of the unlawful discharge of a firearm in unincorporated areas without appropriate safety measures.

H. 4464 — Requires an owner or person in lawful possession of a firearm to report the loss or theft of the weapon to the appropriate local law enforcement agency.

H. 4465 — Requires the Department of Transportation to notify, in writing, all residential households within a 10 mile radius of a proposed road closure as well as the legislative delegation who represent the county in which the proposed road closure is located.

H. 4466 — Authorizes a county to adopt an ordinance to regulate the operation of certain unlicensed vehicles within its jurisdiction that are used for rental purposes.

H. 4469 — Provides that employees of a law enforcement agency who regularly issue parking violation tickets may also issue handicapped parking violation tickets.

H. 4470 — Creates the “Your Rights Under South Carolina Law” document to be issued simultaneously with a uniform traffic ticket.

H. 4471 — Creates a joint study committee to review state law and make recommendations on which traffic violations should be civil violations.

H. 4472 — Provides that a law enforcement officer who is directing or escorting a funeral procession is immune from liability as if they were performing other official duties.

H. 4480 — Creates the offense of driving under the influence of an electronic device.

H. 4481 — Prohibits an inmate who participates in the prison industries program and who is paid less than the federally established minimum wage from having part of the cost for room and board deducted from his wages.

H. 4484 — Allows for the corroboration of evidence in certain divorce actions through affidavits.

H. 4486 — Enacts the “Recognition of Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact Act.”

H. 4487 — Provides a process for DHEC to schedule certain controlled substances on an emergency basis and removes DHEC from the enforcement of drug laws and transfers that function along with the agents to SLED.

H. 4488 — Authorizes coroners and medical examiners to have access to data maintained in the prescription monitoring program in certain circumstances.

H. 4496 — Requires SLED to prepare and maintain a report of all counties that are in compliance with the state immigrations laws and withholds the Local Government Fund from any county found to be noncompliant.

H. 4500 — Requires the Ethics Commission to establish a new online campaign account monitoring and auditing department and requires all candidates to maintain their campaign accounts in financial institutions with online banking. The Ethics Commission must have access to the online banking information.

H. 4502 — Requires a public official whose office has been vacated because of a criminal conviction to reimburse the appropriate state or local election office for the cost of conducting an election to fill the vacated office.

H. 4503 — Prohibits a county from using the at-large or plurality at-large method to choose more than 50 percent of its council members.

H. 4504 — Changes the date voter registration books must be closed before an election from 30 days to 24 days.

H. 4505 — Establishes standardized provisions for municipal candidate filing.

H. 4506 — Allows poll managers to serve anywhere in the state as long they are registered to vote.

H. 4507 — Prohibits a county from enacting an ordinance that provides conditions of employment that exceed or conflict with federal or state law relating to scheduling practices.

H. 4508 — Authorizes a county legislative delegation to remove for cause a member of county board of registration and elections whose appointment the delegation recommended.

H. 4511 — Increases the fines for the obstruction of a highway by a railroad car, locomotive, or other object.

H. 4513 — For purposes of a horizontal property regime, requires the annual review of the value of an individual apartment in relation to the value of the whole property based on county tax records.

H. 4518 — Prohibits the transfer of seized assets from state law enforcement agencies to federal agencies without a court order.

H. 4520 — Requires all mortgages executed after June 1, 2018, to include a clause setting forth the name of the party who prepared the mortgage.

H. 4521 — Authorizes a court to exercise its contempt powers when a person is going to or returning from any court.

H. 4524 — Allows a taxpayer a tax credit for the installation of a diaper changing station at their business location.

H. 4525 — Provides that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council is authorized to approve aptitude testing and minimum test scores to serve as a prerequisite for admission into a basic training program at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

H. 4526 — Requires that all defendants in the summary courts of the state facing criminal charges with the possibility of imprisonment must be informed of their right to counsel.

H. 4528 — Affirms that the Greenville Health System’s governing board has the authority to create a health care system that meets its obligations and enter into contracts with other legal entities for strategic and operation management.

H. 4530 — Provides that if a qualifying charitable organization acquires property that will be exempt from taxes, the exemption takes effect as soon as the organization acquires the property.

H. 4534 — Authorizes counties to enact ordinances requiring the payment of fees and taxes on pawn transactions and purchases.

H. 4591 — For purposes of the state procurement code, provides that a business owned by a service-disabled veteran that resides in this state shall receive a 5 percent preference through the use of set-asides on contract awards.

H. 4593 — Enacts the “Rural Revitalization Act.”

H. 4594 — For purposes of the statutory provisions involving cruelty to animals and abandonment, defines the term “dog shelter.”

H. 4598 — Allows a concealed permit holder to carry a weapon on school property leased by a church for church services if the church provides express permission to the permit holder.

H. 4600 — Authorizes certain community organizations to distribute opioid antidotes to a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

H. 4610 — Revises the freeholder procedure for the creation of a special tax district.

H. 4614 — Enacts the “South Carolina Net Neutrality Preservation Act.”

Issue 17-17 - May 12, 2017 

Friday, May 12, 2017 12:10:00 PM Categories: Alternative Energy Annual Conference Budget Roads

The House adopted S. 692, the Sine Die Resolution, this week. All bills that were not enrolled for ratification or assigned to a conference committee by 5:00 pm on Thursday, May 11, are stalled until the General Assembly reconvenes in January. The General Assembly will return on May 23 to take up conference reports, including the budget conference report, and any gubernatorial vetoes.

State Budget

After the General Assembly finished its work on the roads bill, the budget conference committee began to meet. The committee will continue to meet next week. They plan to have a budget conference report ready for adoption when the General Assembly returns on May 23.

The members of the conference committee are Senators Leatherman, Bennett, and Setzler and Representatives White, Pitts, and Stavrinakis.

For counties, the most significant difference between the House and Senate versions of the budget is the distribution of revenue to local governments. The House funded 1 percent of the mandated pension plan increase for all non-state PEBA entities. The Senate instead allocated money directly to local governments allowing the governing bodies to determine how to spend their allocation. This includes a $34 million increase to the Local Government Fund (LGF).

Most House members and Senators will be home this week. Please contact them and ask that they communicate their support for LGF funding to the budget conferees!

Roads Bill — H. 3516

The House and Senate overrode the Governor’s veto on the roads bill this week. As adopted, the bill raises the gas tax 12 cents over the next six years and raises various other fees. The bill drops the manufacturer’s assessment ratio from 10.5 percent to 9 percent but holds local government harmless by reimbursing all local revenue losses up to $85 million. If the cost of the reduction reaches $85 million, then the assessment ratio reduction will automatically adjust to keep the exemption at or below $85 million to ensure no negative fiscal impact to counties. The bill also adjusts the motor carrier property tax to capture out of state truckers. Seventy-five percent of this revenue goes to the counties, which equates to a one-time $13 million increase in these revenues in the first year of implementation. In future years, it is projected that counties will see a recurring increase of $795,000 over current motor carrier collections.

Alternative Energy Property Tax Exemption

This legislation creates two property tax exemptions for alternative energy generating projects, including solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and landfill gas energy. The first provision exempts 80 percent of the value of the alternative energy equipment for commercial projects, which equates to a 2.1 percent assessment ratio. The second provision exempts all alternative energy equipment rated to produce 20 kW or less and defines these to be “residential,” regardless of the class of property they are on or the ownership of the equipment. There were feverish attempts by the solar lobby to get this legislation added to other bills all the way up to the last minute of session. While these attempts proved unsuccessful, there will be attempts as soon as the General Assembly reconvenes in January to pass this legislation. Please thank your senators for working to defeat this legislation.

Legislation of Interest

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Rewrite H. 3352. The Senate amended H. 3352 by deleting the provisions creating the Office of Freedom of Information Act Review within the Administrative Law Court. All FOIA cases will be heard in circuit court within ten days of filing an action. H. 3352 was further amended to allow public bodies to withhold the release of documents until all fees for the documents have been paid. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and H. 3352 has been enrolled for ratification. SCAC will provide a Technical Bulletin outlining the changes to FOIA.

Work Zone Safety H. 4033. This bill enhances penalties for driving infractions in a work zone. Work zones are broadly defined to protect road maintenance workers and first responders. The penalties are further enhanced if injury or death occurs. The funds collected from penalties are sent to the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation to pay state and local police officers to patrol work zones. Ten percent of the fine proceeds are to be remitted to local government to cover costs associated with disposing of the charges in court. H. 4033 is enrolled for ratification.

Crime Victim Services S. 289. This bill is an attempt to consolidate victim services by creating the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division within the Office of the Attorney General. The Division will ensure that victims throughout the state have access to the same services, regardless of where they reside. S. 289 passed the House and has been sent back to the Senate with some technical amendments.  The Senate non-concurred in the House amendment. S. 289 now goes to conference. The House conferees are Representatives Tallon, Weeks, and McCoy. The Senate conferees are Senators Hutto, Shealy, and Timmons.

Animal Facilities H. 3929. H. 3929 establishes specific requirements for the review and appeal of DHEC decisions regarding the permitting of certain agricultural animal facilities. It also makes any local ordinance that regulates an agricultural operation or facility that is not identical to state law is null and void. This does not apply to new swine operations and new slaughterhouse operations. H. 3929 passed the House and is pending in the Senate to be considered in the next session.

Dealer Tags S. 488. This bill allows a person whose vehicle is being serviced by a car dealer to drive a dealer-owned loaner vehicle displaying a dealer tag. The vehicle displaying the tag must be part of a manufacturer program. Currently, only dealership employees and prospective buyers can drive a vehicle displaying a dealer tag. The bill provides that two dealer tags are to be issued for the first 15 vehicles sold in a year; current law allows two tags for the first 20 sold. The bill also allows a dealer participating in a manufacturing program to receive two tags for each additional 15 cars sold; current law allows one tag for each additional 15 cars sold. After receiving third reading in the House, S. 488 was enrolled for ratification.

Inmate Funeral Transport S. 271. This bill would allow an inmate whom the Department of Corrections determines is not a security risk to attend the funeral of a family member or visit a hospitalized family member whose death is imminent. The Department may engage the services of the local sheriff where the funeral or hospital is located to provide security and transportation for the inmate. For its services, the sheriff’s department may collect the cost of security and transportation for the inmate from a third party such as a family member or from the inmate’s trust account. S. 271 received third reading in the House and was enrolled for ratification.

State Health and Dental Eligibility S. 61. This bill amends SC Code 1-11-720(A) to provide that employees and retirees of political subdivisions and certain dependents are eligible for coverage under the state health and dental insurance plan. After being recalled from committee, the bill was given third reading in the House and enrolled for ratification.

Expungements H. 3789. Current law requires youthful offenders to wait five years from completion of their sentence to apply for expungement. This bill provides that youths with a conviction eligible for expungement could apply for expungement upon completion of the SC Youth Challenge Academy and Jobs Challenge Program. Only 16 to 18 year olds can attend the Academy.  When the bill returned to the House, it was amended to reflect the House’s original version.

The House also amended H. 3789 to include the provisions of H. 3209. H. 3209 provides that if a person is convicted of an offense that is repealed, but the elements of the offense are similar to an existing offense that is eligible for expungement, then the repealed offense is eligible for expungement. The bill also expands the list of offenses eligible for expungement and provides more flexibility for those with multiple convictions to choose which conviction to expunge. In certain situations, multiple offenses arising from the same incident can be considered as one offense and treated as one conviction for expungement purposes. The House returned H. 3789 to the Senate where no further action can be taken until next year.

SCAC's 50th Annual Conference Registration Now Open

SCAC’s 50th Annual Conference will be held July 30 – August 2, 2017, at the Hilton Head Marriott Hotel. The registration brochure and hotel reservation forms have been mailed to county officials. You may register for the conference online by visiting: http://www.sccounties.org/annual-conference. In making hotel reservations, please keep in mind that the Institute of Government classes will be held Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30. Should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the SCAC staff toll free at 1-800-922-6081 or at (803) 252-7255.

Call for 2017-2018 NACo Policy Steering Committee Nominations

Are you interested in serving on a NACo Policy Steering Committee? As a steering committee member, you are responsible for developing national policies and priorities affecting counties, and serving as NACo’s frontline for grassroots efforts. Committees meet at the NACo legislative and annual conferences, and one other time during the year. You will be responsible for your own travel and conference expenses.

Please visit the Recent News post for the nomination form. Completed forms must be submitted to SCAC no later than June 1, 2017. The nominations will be processed by SCAC and forwarded to NACo for approval by the NACo President after the NACo Annual Conference in July. NACo will contact the committee members directly by September. If you have any questions regarding the NACo Policy Steering Committee nomination process, please contact Anna Berger toll free at 1-800-922-6081 or via aberger@scac.sc.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Ratifications

The following bills have been passed by both chambers and are now before the Governor for signature or veto:

(R. 46) S. 200. For purposes of outdoor advertising signs, revises provisions that void permits for conforming and nonconforming signs removed in certain circumstances.

(R. 47) S. 315. Allows grants from the Loss Mitigation Grant Program to be made to counties to mitigate property losses due to flood.

(R. 51) H. 3516. Creates the Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund for road and bridge repair and maintenance and raises the gas tax by twelve cents to be phased in over six years and makes governance changes to the DOT Commission.

(R. 57) H. 3531. Limits the ownership, purchase, selling, and transport of large wild cats, non-native bears, or great apes and allows counties to pass ordinances to regulate the possession and treatment of these animals.

(R. 58) H. 3538. Enacts the “Persons with Disabilities Right to Parent Act.”

(R. 61) H. 3789. Increases the maximum amount of burial expenses payable under a workers’ compensation claim for accidental death to $12,000.00.

Issue 16-17 - May 5, 2017 

Friday, May 5, 2017 10:12:00 AM Categories: Alternative Energy Annual Conference Budget Roads

The Senate adopted S. 692 this week which is the Sine Die Resolution. If it is adopted by the House, all bills not enrolled for ratification or assigned to a conference committee by 5:00 pm on Thursday will be dead for the year. The Senate is coming in Monday at 1:00 to begin finalizing legislation before Sine Die adjournment.

State Budget

Work on the state budget stalled this week as it appears as though the General Assembly plans to finish work on the roads bill before a conference committee begins work on the budget. This gives county officials another week to contact their House and Senate members!

For counties, the most significant difference between the House and Senate versions of the budget is the distribution of revenue to local governments. The House funded 1 percent of the mandated pension plan increase for all non-state PEBA entities. The Senate instead allocated money directly to local governments allowing the governing bodies to determine how to spend their allocation. This includes a $34 million increase to the Local Government Fund (LGF).

Please contact other county officials and enlist their help!

  • The House DOES NOT fund the $10.6 million non-recurring LGF appropriation from last year. Your LGF distribution will be cut under the House plan.
  • The House appropriation also pays part of the pension increase for nonprofits and federal employers – not all of the $34 million will go to county and city governments.

Not only does the Senate’s distribution to the LGF allow counties to better meet the demands of mandated services, it also clearly supports the notion of home rule, allowing the county governing body to decide how to best allocate its resources.

The members of the conference committee are Senators Leatherman, Bennett, and Setzler and Representatives White, Pitts, and Stavrinakis.

Alternative Energy Property Tax Exemption

S. 44 creates two property tax exemptions for alternative energy generating projects, including solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and landfill gas energy. The first provision exempts 80 percent of the value of the alternative energy equipment for commercial projects, which equates to a 2.1 percent assessment ratio. The second provision exempts all alternative energy equipment rated to produce 20 kW or less and defines these to be “residential,” regardless of the class of property they are on or the ownership of the equipment.

S. 44 also provides that property in a FILOT prior to 2015 cannot take the exemption. Property placed in a FILOT in 2015 or 2016 can choose to take the exemption, if they notify the county of that choice within 30 days of the effective date of the act. Projects sited this year or that are currently under negotiation will automatically receive the statewide exemption. Twenty two counties that responded to an SCAC survey reported over 30 existing or potential projects totaling over $1 billion in potential investment. S. 44 would undercut most, if not all, of these locally-negotiated projects.

A House Ways and Means subcommittee adjourned debate on S. 44 this week on a 3-1 vote, however, the well-heeled lobbyists hired by the solar industry are stopping at nothing to get their state mandated property tax break. There will be attempts until the end of session to attach the provisions of S. 44 to House bills in the Senate, particularly H. 3867. Please contact your Senator and ask that they vote against any attempt to attach the provisions of the solar bill to H. 3867 or any other legislation.

Roads Bill — H. 3516

The conference committee began work this week on H. 3516, the roads bill. The conferees are Senators Sheheen, Campbell and Turner and Representatives Simrill, White and Rutherford. On Thursday, the committee adopted all provisions that were identical in both the House and Senate versions of the bill and carried over all other provisions. They began work on the contrasting sections of the bill today. Their goal is to have a final version to present to each chamber next week.

Legislation of Interest

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Rewrite H. 3352. The Senate Judiciary Committee gave H. 3352 a favorable report after much debate. Senator Bright-Matthews voiced cost concerns about the Office of Freedom of Information Act Review within the Administrative Law Court that the bill creates. She indicated that she plans to introduce an amendment on the Senate floor to have FOIA cases heard in circuit court on an expedited basis. H. 3352 is pending second reading on the Senate contested calendar.

Loss Mitigation Grant Program S. 315. This bill, among other things, changes the Department of Insurance’s loss mitigation grant program and the purposes for which grants may be awarded to local governments. Grants to local governments will no longer be for the purposes of building code programs, but instead for mitigating residential property loss. Criteria for grant eligibility under the Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program are also changed. The bill passed the House and enrolled for ratification.

Billboards S. 200. This bill deals with billboards damaged by an act of God. A Senate amendment removes the 60-day requirement for replacing conforming billboards and allows nonconforming billboards to be restored to their prior condition within 60 days of an act of God. The amendment also allows for nonconforming billboards to be restored after an act of vandalism upon meeting certain conditions. The House adopted an amendment requested by SCAC to require a sign owner to begin restoration of a billboard damaged by vandalism within 180 days of notifying DOT and passed the bill. The Senate concurred in the House amendment and S. 200 is enrolled for ratification.

Dealer Tags S. 488. This bill allows a person whose vehicle is being serviced by a car dealer to drive a dealer-owned loaner vehicle displaying a dealer tag. The vehicle displaying the tag must be part of a manufacturer program. Currently, only dealership employees and prospective buyers can drive a vehicle displaying a dealer tag. It was amended to provide that two dealer tags are to be issued for the first 15 vehicles sold in a year; current law allows two tags for the first 20 sold. The amendment also allows a dealer participating in a manufacturing program to receive two tags for each additional 15 cars sold; current law allows one tag for each additional 15 cars sold. The House recalled S. 488 from subcommittee and it has been placed on the calendar pending second reading.

Straight Party Ticket Voting H. 3147. This bill provides that general and special election ballots may not allow straight party ticket voting after July 1, 2017, except as provided by federal law for uniformed and overseas citizens voting a straight party ticket on a write-in absentee ballot for national offices. The House Judiciary Committee failed to give the bill a favorable report, effectively killing this legislation.

Special Elections H. 3150. H. 3150 requires a municipality to conduct an election to fill a vacancy even if only one candidate has filed for the office to be filled. Currently, an election does not have to be held by a municipality if there is a single candidate for the office. Due to concerns that the Fifth Congressional District election would be in violation of federal law, the Senate amended H. 3150 to extend the special election calendar dates to comply with federal voting laws that require ballots to be mailed to members of the military and overseas citizens 45 days before the election date. The bill was further amended to require a special election to be held for every office vacancy even if there is a single candidate for the office. Having to conduct an election for a single candidate will increase county costs for elections. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and H. 3150 has been enrolled for ratification.

Law Enforcement Training Council S. 173. This bill requires Class 1-LE, Class 2-LCO, and Class 3-SLE law enforcement officers to receive training in mental health and addictive disorder crisis intervention over their three-year recertification period. The House amended the bill to provide training to help officers identify post traumatic disorder and stress related disorders in their fellow officers as well as counseling for these disorders. S. 173 was returned to the Senate as amended.

Crime Victim Services S. 289. This bill is an attempt to consolidate victim services by creating the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division within the Office of the Attorney General. The Division will ensure that victims throughout the state have access to the same services, regardless of where they reside. S. 289 passed the House and was returned to the Senate with some technical amendments.

Inmate Funeral Transport S. 271. This bill would allow an inmate whom the Department of Corrections determines is not a security risk to attend the funeral of a family member or visit a hospitalized family member whose death is imminent. The Department may engage the services of the local sheriff where the funeral or hospital is located to provide security and transportation for the inmate. For its services, the sheriff’s department may collect the cost of security and transportation for the inmate from a third party such as a family member or from the inmate’s trust account. S. 271 is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Coroner Qualifications H. 3019. This bill originally provided that a coroner elected without meeting the statutory requirements for being a coroner could remain coroner if he completes the requirements within a year of being elected. It was amended to require the coroner’s office to employ a medical examiner or a deputy coroner who meets the qualifications if the coroner doesn’t meet the statutory requirements for being a coroner when elected. H. 3019 received third reading and has been sent to the Senate.

Cost of Animal Care Act S. 3. This bill provides that an entity with custody of an animal because the animal‘s owner has been accused of a crime against the animal may petition magistrates’ court requesting the accused to deposit funds into an account to pay for the animal’s care. A House Judiciary subcommittee had previously adopted an amendment to provide that the custodian can only be reimbursed for “reasonable costs” determined by the court or a jury and that the accused can avoid paying any costs to the custodian if they surrender the animal to the custodian. The House Judiciary Committee recommitted the bill to the Criminal Laws subcommittee.

Exotic Animal Registration H. 3531. This bill requires a person in legal possession of a large wild cat, non-native bear, or great ape to register with the local animal control authority by January 1, 2018. The person must pay a one-time $500 registration fee and an annual $100 fee per animal to the local animal control authority. In the event of the release or escape of one or more of these animals, state and local law enforcement can assist animal control in recapturing, containing, or destroying the animal. After concurring in a Senate amendment that ensures this legislation does not interfere with movie production, the House enrolled the bill for ratification.

Animal Facilities H. 3929. H. 3929 establishes specific requirements for the review and appeal of DHEC decisions regarding the permitting of certain agricultural animal facilities. It also makes any local ordinance that regulates an agricultural operation or facility that is not identical to state law null and void. This does not apply to new swine operations and new slaughterhouse operations. H. 3929 is pending second reading on the House contested calendar.

Clerks of Court and CWPs S. 324. This bill allows active and retired clerks of courts who possess a valid concealed weapons permit to carry a concealable weapon anywhere within the state. This provision does not apply to the clerk’s staff. After adopting amendments that extend these privileges to other judicial officers, the Senate carried the bill over on second reading.

Right to Parent Act H. 3538. This bill enacts the “Persons with Disabilities Right to Parent Act” to require the DSS, law enforcement, family, and probate courts to protect the parenting rights of people with disabilities during child custody, child protection, and probate guardianship proceedings. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that anyone with a disability isn’t denied the right to parent, custody, or visitation with a child because they are disabled. H. 3538 passed the Senate and was enrolled for ratification.

Expungements H. 3209. This bill provides that if a person is convicted of an offense that is repealed, but the elements of the offense are similar to an existing offense that is eligible for expungement, then the repealed offense is eligible for expungement. The bill also expands the list of offenses eligible for expungement and provides more flexibility for those with multiple convictions to choose which conviction to expunge. In certain situations, multiple offenses arising from the same incident can be considered as one offense and treated as one conviction for expungement purposes. H. 3209 received a favorable report by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Youthful Offender Expungements H. 3789. Current law requires youthful offenders to wait five years from completion of their sentence to apply for expungement. This bill provides that youths with a conviction eligible for expungement could apply for expungement upon completion of the SC Youth Challenge Academy and Jobs Challenge Program. Only 16 to 18 year olds can attend the Academy. Senate Judiciary Committee adopted amendments to expand and clarify the type of criminal records eligible for this expungement program and allows law enforcement to retain certain documents that have been expunged. The committee gave H. 3789 a favorable report as amended.

SCAC's 50th Annual Conference Registration Now Open

SCAC’s 50th Annual Conference will be held July 30 – August 2, 2017, at the Hilton Head Marriott Hotel. The registration brochure and hotel reservation forms have been mailed to county officials. You may register for the conference online by  visiting: http://www.sccounties.org/annual-conference. In making hotel reservations, please keep in mind that the Institute of Government classes will be held Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30. Should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the SCAC staff toll free at 1-800-922-6081 or at (803) 252-7255.

Call for 2017-2018 NACo Policy Steering Committee Nominations

Are you interested in serving on a NACo Policy Steering Committee? As a steering committee member, you are responsible for developing national policies and priorities affecting counties, and serving as NACo’s frontline for grassroots efforts. Committees meet at the NACo legislative and annual conferences, and one other time during the year. You will be responsible for your own travel and conference expenses.

Please visit the Recent News post for the nomination form. Completed forms must be submitted to SCAC no later than June 1, 2017. The nominations will be processed by SCAC and forwarded to NACo for approval by the NACo President after the NACo Annual Conference in July. NACo will contact the committee members directly by September. If you have any questions regarding the NACo Policy Steering Committee nomination process, please contact Anna Berger toll free at 1-800-922-6081 or via aberger@scac.sc.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 691A joint resolution to extend the voting ballots cast in accordance with the Uniform and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act for two weeks for the fifth Congressional District primary election held on May 2, 2017.

S. 692Provides for a Sine Die resolution allowing the General Assembly to reconvene on May 23rd through May 25th to deal with certain items such as vetoes and conference committee reports.

House Bills

H. 4271Amends the Constitution to provide for an independent reapportionment commission.

H. 4277Provides for certain requirements pertaining to aerial spraying to include the prohibition of aerial spraying within a defined proximity of a school.

Ratifications

The following bills have been passed by both chambers and are now before the Governor for signature or veto:

(R. 34) S. 415. Amends the Probate Code with various changes to the probate court to include the court’s authority to impose penalties and waive filing fees for persons that are indigent.

(R. 38) H. 3034. For purposes of providing in-state tuition rates for children and spouses of veterans and active duty personnel, expands the definition to include a child or spouse enrolling within three years of a veteran’s discharge.

(R.39) H. 3150. Adjusts the dates on which primaries, runoff primaries, and special elections must be held; requires all elections to be held even if there is a single candidate; and requires the Election Commission to provide rank choice ballots for the federal special election held on May 2, 2017.

(R.44) H. 3792. Requires a minimum amount of toilets at middle school and high school stadiums based on gender and seating capacity regardless of otherwise applicable building and plumbing codes.

Issue 15-17 - April 28, 2017 

Friday, April 28, 2017 10:22:00 AM Categories: Budget Retirement Roads
State Budget Headed to Conference Committee Next Week

The House amended the budget back to its version this week and the Senate insisted on its amendments. This sets the budget up for conference committee next week. The members of the conference committee have not been announced.

For counties, the most significant difference between the House and Senate versions of the budget is the distribution of revenue to local governments. The House funded 1 percent of the mandated pension plan increase for all non-state PEBA entities. The Senate instead allocated money directly to local governments allowing the governing bodies to determine how to spend their allocation. This includes a $34 million increase to the Local Government Fund (LGF).

It is vitally important that all local government officials note:

  • The House DOES NOT fund the $10.6 million non-recurring LGF appropriation from last year. Your LGF distribution will be cut under the House plan.
  • The House appropriation also pays part of the pension increase for nonprofits and federal employers – not all of the $34 million will go to county and city governments.

Not only does the Senate’s distribution to the LGF allow counties to better meet the demands of mandated services, it also clearly supports the notion of home rule, allowing the county governing body to decide how to best allocate its resources.

This funding remains in flux!

Ask BOTH your House AND Senate member to support the Senate version! Increased funding to the LGF will save the taxpayers from massive property tax increases!

Other Budget Differences

The Senate version of the Capital Reserve Fund reduced the allocation for Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain Fire to $69,250,000 million and directed $7,272,282 to 2014 Winter Storm Local Matching Funds. The House version of the Capital Reserve Fund allocates $79,147,881 to Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain Fire.

Proviso 34.61. This proviso states that funds in each county's Hazardous Waste Fund County Account must be released by the State Treasurer upon the written request of a majority of the county's legislative delegation representing the economically depressed area of the county. The money must be used for infrastructure within the economically depressed area of that county. This is in the Senate budget.

Proviso 101.13. This proviso states that any county whose Board of Voter Registration and Elections has, as of July 1, 2017, not paid for fees related to the provision of legal services associated with the conduct of any election in prior fiscal years shall have $100,000 of its Aid to Subdivisions allocation withheld until such time as payment for such legal services has been rendered. This proviso represents another example of the state punishing county taxpayers for the actions of an agency they control. This is in the Senate budget.

Proviso 84.15 - This proviso allows a county to pass a resolution indicating its conditions, willingness, and desire to accept roads from the state system and assume the maintenance thereof. SCDOT and any county electing to participate must enter into a written agreement clarifying which roads the county will accept and how much money SCDOT will transfer to the county to maintain the roads. This is in the House budget.

Note: The House also attached its version of the Roads Bill to the State Budget, which could create debate on roads during the conference committee.

State Retirement System Bill Signed by Governor — H. 3726

The Governor signed the State Retirement System bill this week.

The legislation increases and caps South Carolina Retirement System (SCRS) employee contribution rates at 9 percent. Employer contribution rates are increased 2 percent to 13.56 percent for FY 17-18. The employer contribution rate will then increase 1 percent every year until FY 22-23, rising to 18.56 percent. Police Officers Retirement System (PORS) employee contribution rates are increased and capped at 9.75 percent. PORS employer rates are increased 2 percent to 16.24 percent for FY 17-18 and increase 1 percent every year thereafter, rising to 21.24 percent in FY 22-23. The unfunded amortization schedule is reduced from 30 years to 20 and the annual rate of return from investments is reduced from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent. A new annual rate of return must be set in 2021 and every four years thereafter.

According to the SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, local government employer contributions (counties, cities, and school districts) would increase by $67,400,000 in FY 17-18, and by an additional $33,700,000 each year in FY 18-19 through FY 22-23, for a total of $235,800,000 over the next six fiscal years.

Roads Bill — H. 3516

After five days of debate on the floor, the Senate passed H. 3516, the roads bill, this week. As passed by the Senate the bill raises the gas tax 2 cents per year for six years; increases the registration fees sent to SCDOT as a result of Act 275 of 2016; gradually increases the sales tax cap on automobiles, referred to as an infrastructure maintenance fee, to $600 for cars first registered in South Carolina and for cars initially registered in another state but subsequently registered in South Carolina; creates a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles; creates a fee-in-lieu of property taxes (FILOT) for both in-state and out-of-state motor carriers with the first 75 percent sent to counties and the remaining 25 percent to the newly created Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund (IMTF); and gradually increases the 2.66 cents per gallon of the gas tax sent to County Transportation Committees (CTCs) to 3.99 cents over the next five years.

More than 70 amendments were proposed on the Senate floor during the debate with only five being adopted. One of the amendments adopted reduces the tax rate of manufacturing and business personal property. Beginning in tax year 2019, the property tax assessment ratio for manufacturing property will be reduced from 10.5 percent to 8.5 percent over two years. Beginning in tax year 2018, the property tax assessment ratio for business personal property will be reduced from 10.5 percent to 9.5 percent. The revenue loss resulting from this exemption will be reimbursed up to $85 million. If the projected revenue loss exceeds $85 million, the exemption amounts shall be proportionally reduced so as not to exceed the reimbursement cap.

The amended bill also creates a rebate system for gas purchased in the state by residents of South Carolina; creates an earned income tax credit for college students; sends additional C-Fund revenue back to donor counties; adds another at-large SCDOT commissioner; and provides penalties for self-serving acts by SCDOT commissioners who will now serve at the will of the Governor. H. 3516 will be sent back to the House next week where the members are likely to non-concur with the Senate amendments, thereby sending the bill to conference committee.

Alternative Energy Property Tax Exemption

As passed by the Senate, S. 44 creates two property tax exemptions for alternative energy generating projects, including solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and landfill gas energy. The first provision exempts 80 percent of the value of the alternative energy equipment for commercial projects, which equates to a 2.1 percent assessment ratio. The second provision exempts all alternative energy equipment rated to produce 20 kW or less and defines these to be “residential,” regardless of the class of property they are on or the ownership of the equipment.

S. 44 also provides that property in a FILOT prior to 2015 cannot take the exemption. Property placed in a FILOT in 2015 or 2016 can choose to take the exemption, if they notify the county of that choice within 30 days of the effective date of the act. Projects sited this year or that are currently under negotiation will automatically receive the statewide exemption.

A House Ways and Means subcommittee is scheduled to take up S. 44 next week. County government does not need the state giving across-the-board property tax breaks to solar companies when counties are empowered to do so and currently are. Please contact your House member, especially those on Ways and Means, and express your opposition to this bill.

Legislation of Interest

Billboards S. 200. This bill deals with billboards damaged by an act of God. A Senate amendment removes the 60-day requirement for replacing conforming billboards and allows nonconforming billboards to be restored to their prior condition within 60 days of an act of God. The amendment also allows for nonconforming billboards to be restored after an act of vandalism upon meeting certain conditions. The House adopted an amendment requested by SCAC to require a sign owner to begin restoration of a billboard damaged by vandalism within 180 days of notifying DOT and passed the bill. S. 200 goes back to the Senate for consideration of the House amendment.

Utility Relocation as Part of Transportation Projects H. 3739. This bill provides that an entity undertaking a transportation project, including a county, must bear the costs of relocating water and sewer utilities up to 7.5 percent of the project cost. Current law requires the utility to pay for relocation. There is an agreement between the utilities and DOT to require the party undertaking the transportation project to cover all costs of relocating utilities with less than 10,000 taps and all costs for utilities over 10,000 taps up to 4.5 percent of the project cost. For the utility to be covered, their relocation costs must be included in the initial bid for the transportation project and the relocation project must be placed under control of the general contractor. SCAC expects the House Education and Public Works subcommittee to consider this proposal next week.

Straight Party Ticket Voting H. 3147. This bill provides that general and special election ballots may not allow straight party ticket voting after July 1, 2017, except as provided by federal law for uniformed and overseas citizens voting a straight party ticket on a write-in absentee ballot for national offices. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave H. 3147 a favorable report.

Law Enforcement Training Council S. 173. This bill requires Class 1-LE, Class 2-LCO, and Class 3-SLE law enforcement officers to receive training in mental health and addictive disorder crisis intervention over their three-year recertification period. The House Judiciary Committee gave S. 173 a favorable report.

Crime Victim Services S. 289. This bill is an attempt to consolidate victim services by creating the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division within the Office of the Attorney General. The Division will ensure that victims throughout the state have access to the same services, regardless of where they reside. The House Judiciary Committee made some technical amendments to S. 289 and gave it a favorable report.

Cost of Animal Care Act S. 3. This bill provides that an entity with custody of an animal because the animal‘s owner has been accused of a crime against the animal may petition magistrates’ court requesting the accused to deposit funds into an account to pay for the animal’s care. A House Judiciary subcommittee adopted an amendment to provide that the custodian can only be reimbursed for “reasonable costs” determined by the court or a jury and that the accused can avoid paying any costs to the custodian if they surrender the animal to the custodian. The subcommittee gave S. 3 a favorable report as amended.

Expungements H. 3209. This bill provides that if a person is convicted of an offense that is repealed, but the elements of the offense are similar to an existing offense that is eligible for expungement, then the repealed offense is eligible for expungement. The bill also expands the list of offenses eligible for expungement and provides more flexibility for those with multiple convictions to choose which conviction to expunge. In certain situations, multiple offenses arising from the same incident can be considered as one offense and treated as one conviction for expungement purposes. H. 3209 received a favorable report by a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

Youthful Offender Expungements H. 3789. Current law requires youthful offenders to wait five years from completion of their sentence to apply for expungement. This bill provides that youths with a conviction eligible for expungement could apply for expungement upon completion of the SC Youth Challenge Academy and Jobs Challenge Program. Only 16 to 18 year olds can attend the Academy. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee adopted an amendment that expands the type of criminal records eligible for this expungement program and allows law enforcement to retain certain documents that have been expunged. The bill received a favorable report as amended.

Probate Court S. 415. This is a comprehensive bill that among other things, revises Title 62, Article 5 of the Probate Code, dealing with conservatorships and guardianships. The bill also gives probate judges the authority to waive filing fees for indigent persons. S. 415 received third reading in the House and was enrolled for ratification.

Agricultural Animal Facilities H. 3929. This bill establishes specific requirements for the review and appeal of decisions by DHEC regarding the permitting of certain agricultural animal facilities, other than swine facilities. The bill sets forth setbacks, buffers, and other requirements that must be met in order for DHEC to approve a permit. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee gave H. 3929 a favorable report and the bill is pending second reading on the House calendar.

SCAC's 50th Annual Conference Registration Now Open

SCAC’s 50th Annual Conference will be held July 30 – August 2, 2017, at the Hilton Head Marriott Hotel. The registration brochure and hotel reservation forms have been mailed to county officials. You may register for the conference online by  visiting: http://www.sccounties.org/annual-conference. In making hotel reservations, please keep in mind that the Institute of Government classes will be held Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30. Should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the SCAC staff toll free at 1-800-922-6081 or at (803) 252-7255.

Call for 2017-2018 NACo Policy Steering Committee Nominations

Are you interested in serving on a NACo Policy Steering Committee? As a steering committee member, you are responsible for developing national policies and priorities affecting counties, and serving as NACo’s frontline for grassroots efforts. Committees meet at the NACo legislative and annual conferences, and one other time during the year. You will be responsible for your own travel and conference expenses.

Please visit the Recent News post for the nomination form. Completed forms must be submitted to SCAC no later than June 1, 2017. The nominations will be processed by SCAC and forwarded to NACo for approval by the NACo President after the NACo Annual Conference in July. NACo will contact the committee members directly by September. If you have any questions regarding the NACo Policy Steering Committee nomination process, please contact Anna Berger toll free at 1-800-922-6081 or via aberger@scac.sc.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 650Prevents a court or other enforcement authority from enforcing foreign law in this state from a forum outside of the U.S. and its territories.

S. 664To clarify and affirm that the Greenville Health System’s Board of Trustees has the power and authority to create a health care system that meets its obligations to provide accessible, quality, and affordable health care to the communities it serves.

S. 671Authorizes the continued payment of state expenses in the event that the budget is not passed by the beginning of the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

S. 672Provides a Sine Die resolution for the General Assembly to return to session from May 23, 2017, to May 25, 2017, to deal with certain matters such as vetoes and conference committee reports.

House Bills

H. 4177For purposes of turnpike projects, includes nontax revenues that are available within the definition of “turnpike facilities revenues”; provides which roads may be designated as a turnpike facility; and allows DOT to contract with counties to establish, finance, and operate turnpike facilities.

Issue 13-17 - April 7, 2017 

Friday, April 7, 2017 11:55:00 AM Categories: Budget LGF Retirement Roads

Both the House and the Senate are taking an Easter break next week. This is an excellent opportunity to talk to the members of the General Assembly while they are home.

Senate adopts $33 million Local Government Fund increase!

The Senate adopted its version of the budget this week, which included a $33,692,568 recurring increase to the LGF.

Please note: This increase was created by taking the House allocation of $33 million to cover 1 percent of the retirement system local government employers’ increase, and appropriating that money to the LGF.

Please thank your Senator for this increase.

Please contact your House member and thank them for the effort they made to cover 1 percent of the retirement system local government employers’ increase. Ask your House member to support the Senate version because it ensures more money going back to county government, likely saving the taxpayers from property tax increases!

 

New Budget Items:

Amended FEMA Match

The Finance Committee appropriated $76.5 million from nonrecurring funds in the Capital Reserve Fund for the state and local FEMA match for Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain Fire. The Senate amended the Finance Committee version of the Capital Reserve Fund to reduce the allocation for Hurricane Matthew to $68 million and direct $7,272,282 to 2014 Winter Storm Local Matching Funds.

Almost 60 percent of FEMA match money will go to local governments.

 

New Provisos of Interest:

Proviso 34.___. This proviso states that funds in each county's Hazardous Waste Fund County Account must be released by the State Treasurer upon the written request of a majority of the county's legislative delegation representing the economically depressed area of the county. The money must be used for infrastructure within the economically depressed area of that county.

Proviso 101.___. This proviso states that any county whose Board of Voter Registration and Elections has, as of July 1, 2017, not paid for fees related to the provision of legal services associated with the conduct of any election in prior fiscal years shall have $100,000 of its Aid to Subdivisions allocation withheld until such time as payment for such legal services has been rendered. This proviso represents another example of the state punishing county taxpayers for the actions of an agency they control. Please contact your House member and ask that they strip this proviso from the budget.

 

State Retirement System “Fix” Adopted by Both Chambers — H. 3726

The conference report on the Retirement System was adopted by both chambers this week.

The most significant difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill was a Senate provision that stated that when the system no longer has an unfunded liability, all new employees must participate in a defined contribution retirement plan. This provision was stricken from the final version of the legislation.

The legislation increases and caps SCRS employee contribution rates at 9 percent. Employer contribution rates are increased two percent to 13.56 percent for FY 17-18. The employer contribution rate will then increase 1 percent every year until FY 22-23, rising to 18.56 percent. PORS (Police Officers Retirement System) employee contribution rates are increased and capped at 9.75 percent. PORS employer rates are increased two percent to 16.24 percent for FY 17-18 and increase 1 percent every year, rising to 21.24 percent in FY 22-23. The unfunded amortization schedule is reduced from 30 years to 20 and the annual rate of return from investments is reduced from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent. A new annual rate of return must be set in 2021 and every four years thereafter.

According to the SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, local government employer contributions (counties, cities, and school districts) would increase by $67,400,000 in FY 17-18, and by an additional $33,700,000 each year in FY 18-19 through FY 22-23, for a total of $235,800,000 over the next six fiscal years.

Please note that the House version of the budget appropriates money to offset 1 percent of the local government employer increase required under this legislation. The Senate version of the budget would require the full 2 percent to be paid by local government; however, the Senate appropriated $33 million to the LGF to offset the mandated increase. The Senate appropriation represents more money returning to the county taxpayers.

 

Roads Bill — H. 3516

H. 3516, which among other things raises the gas tax 2 cents per year for six years, was placed into interrupted debate this week. “Interrupted debate” is a special position on the Senate calendar and makes it likely the Senate will begin debating this bill when they return the week of Tuesday, April 18. Once debate begins on the bill, Senator Davis may introduce an amendment that would give counties the option to accept the transfer of roads from the state system. Also, Senator Timmons is expected to introduce amendments allowing counties to impose a local gas tax, and allowing counties and municipalities to impose a new local option tax for existing infrastructure.

 

Legislation of Interest

Assessment Ratio in Probate H. 3093. This legislation states that when an owner receiving the 4 percent assessment ratio dies, the property shall continue to be assessed at 4 percent until the deceased's estate is closed, or upon recording of a deed or deed of distribution out of the estate. The property may not be rented to take advantage of the ratio. H. 3093 passed the House and is pending in the Senate Finance Committee.

Magistrates’ Salaries H. 3744. This bill requires that all magistrates be paid at least 55 percent of a circuit judge’s salary. Current law has magistrates’ salaries tiered based on county population with the lowest tier being paid 35 percent of a circuit judge’s salary. The bill also increases the stipend for full and part-time chief magistrates and provides a new $5,000 supplement for full-time associate magistrates. It also provides a $2,500 supplement for part-time associate magistrates. The bill funds these increases by increasing civil filing fees in magistrate’s court by $15. All remaining revenue is distributed to every county on an equal basis. After adopting an amendment to require the Chief Magistrates to report actual magistrate salaries annually to Court Administration, the House rejected H. 3744 by refusing to give the bill second reading.

Expungements H. 3209. This bill provides that if a person is convicted of an offense that is repealed, but the elements of the offense are similar to an existing offense that is eligible for expungement, then the repealed offense is eligible for expungement. The House amended the bill to expand the list of offenses eligible for expungement and to provide more flexibility for those with multiple convictions to choose which conviction to expunge.  The House removed a previously adopted amendment that would allow those who have been pardoned for a non-violent offense to expunge records related to the offense. H. 3209 received third reading by the House and was sent to the Senate.

Cost of Animal Care Act S. 3. This bill provides that an entity with custody of an animal because the animal‘s owner has been accused of a crime against the animal may petition magistrate’s court requesting the accused to deposit funds into an account to pay for the animal’s care. The Senate adopted a committee amendment which provides that the accused can avoid paying costs associated with the animal if they surrender the animal. The accused can only avoid the costs after surrender and will still be liable for all costs up to the point of surrender. The bill was given third reading in the Senate and was sent to the House.

Dealer Tags H. 3933. H. 3933 allows a dealer with a service department to purchase two additional dealer tags to use for dealer-owned vehicles driven by persons getting their vehicle serviced by the dealer. H. 3933 received third reading and has been sent to the Senate.

Crime Victim Services S. 289. This bill is an attempt to consolidate victim services by creating the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division within the Office of the Attorney General. The Division will ensure that victims throughout the state have access to the same services, regardless of where they reside. S. 289 passed the Senate and is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.

Coroner’s Supplement S. 170. This bill requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children under the age of 18 who have died in the county. The bill also provides a supplement of at least $35,000 annually to each coroner. This supplement is contingent upon state appropriation or “financial support from other sources.” After paying each coroner’s supplement, any excess amount from the funding source is to be disbursed to coroners pursuant to a formula based on county population. The Senate adopted several amendments to provide that information obtained by the Child Fatality Review Team is not subject to FOIA, subject to exceptions, but the information is subject to subpoena and discovery. The bill received third reading and was sent to the House.

Work Zone Safety H. 4033 & S. 565. These bills drastically enhance penalties for driving infractions in a work zone. Work zones are broadly defined to protect road maintenance workers and first responders. The penalties are further enhanced if injury or death occurs. The funds collected from penalties are sent to the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Transportation to pay state and local police officers to patrol work zones. The House adopted an amendment to H. 4033 that will remit 10 percent of the fine proceeds to local government to cover costs associated with disposing of the charges in court. H. 4033 received third reading in the House and was sent to the Senate where it was recalled from committee and placed on the Senate calendar for second reading. S. 565, which does not remit fine proceeds to local government, was recommitted by the Senate.

Coroner Qualifications H. 3019. This bill originally provided that a coroner elected without meeting the statutory requirements for being a coroner could remain coroner if he completes the requirements within a year of being elected. It was amended to require the coroner’s office to employ a medical examiner or a deputy coroner who meets the qualifications if the coroner doesn’t meet the statutory requirements for being a coroner when elected. H. 3019 is pending second reading on the House contested calendar.

Probate Court S. 415. This is a comprehensive bill that among other things, revises Title 62, Article 5 of the Probate Code, dealing with conservatorships and guardianships. The bill also gives probate judges the authority to waive filing fees for indigent persons. S. 415 received third reading in the Senate and was sent to the House.

 

Call for Entries — J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Memorial Awards

SCAC is currently accepting applications for the 2017 J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Memorial Awards Competition. The awards program accepts applications that address all areas of county government — from simple, unique ideas that maximize limited resources, to major collaborative efforts that tackle complex issues.

Counties are invited to submit applications that describe the purpose and significance of their innovative projects. All applications must be submitted online or received at the SCAC Office by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 23. Applicants who meet the deadline and all requirements will be scheduled to present their projects during the awards competition on Sunday, July 30, at SCAC's 50th Annual Conference.

To access the rules and requirements, frequently asked questions, and examples of previous projects, please visit the Association’s website at www.sccounties.org/awards. Counties are able to submit applications online by using the online Awards Toolkit. If you have additional questions, please contact Anna Berger at 1-800-922-6081 or aberger@scac.sc.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 610Establishes a working group for the purpose of developing a long-range comprehensive beach management plan in order to quantify nourishment volume needs and the benefits of investing in beach preservation.

S. 612Prohibits the deletion or destruction of data from a body-worn camera with the intent to alter or influence a criminal action or investigation, or a civil action.

S. 618Authorizes municipalities without an operating millage on January 1, 2017, or municipalities that incorporate after January 1, 2017, to impose an operating millage.

House Bills

H. 4093Enacts the “Employment First Initiative Act” to establish policies supportive of competitive and integrated employment of individuals with disabilities.

H. 4115Provides that a person is not allowed to vote in a partisan primary election or partisan advisory referendum unless the person has registered as being a member of that party.

Ratifications

The following bills have been passed by both chambers and are now before the Governor for signature or veto:

(R. 9) S. 218. Prohibits a county from establishing, mandating, or otherwise requiring employee benefits from employers operating within the county.

(R. 13) H. 3358. Provides that the state shall meet all of the requirements of the “Federal Real ID Act”, and a real ID card may be a driver’s license or an ID card issued by DMV.

Issue 11-17 - March 24, 2017 

Friday, March 24, 2017 9:22:00 AM Categories: Budget Retirement Roads
State Budget — H. 3720: Local Government Fund (LGF) Increase Proposed!

The Senate Finance Committee began working on the budget this week. Most of their work involved discussions of provisos. They will take up monetary allocations next week.

Senator Vincent Sheheen discussed a proposal that would significantly increase the funding of the LGF. The Senator suggested taking the House retirement system proposal, which provides an allocation that covers 1 percent of the retirement system local government employers’ increase, and instead appropriating the money to the LGF. The House proposal represented a $32 million appropriation. Senator Sheheen’s proposal routes more money to county and city governments because the 1 percent appropriation to the retirement system includes other employers. Many members of the Finance Committee seemed interested in Senator Sheheen’s idea. Please thank Senator Sheheen and ask your Senator to support increasing the recurring money in the LGF!

FEMA Match

The House appropriated $83.5 million from nonrecurring funds in the Capital Reserve Fund for the state and local FEMA match for Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain Fire. Almost 60 percent of this money will go back to local governments. Senate Finance will discuss this funding next week.

Provisos of Interest

Flexibility Proviso — Senate Finance adopted the House amended version of the County Flexibility Proviso. The amendment excludes the assessment for indigent medical care from being reduced. It is not too late to call your senator and ask that this be amended back! This proviso change is the height of hypocrisy. The General Assembly consistently ignores the Aid to Subdivisions Act, but expects counties to pay their state agency the full statutory amount.

Roads Transfer Proviso — This proviso allows a county to pass a resolution indicating its conditions, willingness, and desire to accept roads from the state system and assume the maintenance thereof. SCDOT and any county electing to participate must enter into a written agreement clarifying which roads the county will accept and how much money SCDOT will transfer to the county to maintain the roads. Senate Finance deleted this proviso so it could be further discussed in conference committee.

Indigent Defense Screening — This proviso (117.142) requires the Commission for Indigent Defense and the Judicial Department Court Administration Program to consult with the Summary Court Judges Association and the Clerks of Courts Association on issues regarding screening applicants for public defenders. Indigent Defense and Court Administration are to make recommendations to the General Assembly by December 1, 2017, regarding the requirements of verifying indigence, who should conduct the screening, and what resources are needed to properly screen applicants. The proviso was included in the budget that passed the House and was adopted by Senate Finance.

Dealer Tag Proviso — This proviso allows a person or entity that sells 10 cars in a calendar year to apply for two dealer tags. Current law requires a dealer to sell 20 cars in a year before they can receive dealer tags. Senate Finance adopted this proviso.

Assessment of Property after Catastrophic Weather Event — The House adopted this proviso (117.138) which states that any improvement made to real property or personal property used as a residence, such as a mobile home or manufactured housing unit, damaged during the October 2015 flood, is not considered an improvement and does not require an appraisal. This provision only applies if the improvements made to the property were funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery program or if, at the discretion of the county and using qualifications determined by the county, the improvements were made with the assistance of a volunteer organization active in disaster recovery. The Finance Committee amended the proviso to include property damaged in Hurricane Matthew.

The property tax value of property affected by this proviso shall remain the same unless an assessable transfer of interest occurs. No refund is allowed on account of values adjusted because of the proviso.

Roads Bill — H. 3516

H. 3516, which among other things raises the gas tax 2 cents per year for six years, remains on the Senate’s contested calendar where it is pending second reading. Once debate begins on the bill, Senator Davis may introduce an amendment that would give counties the option to accept the transfer of roads from the state system.

State Retirement System — H. 3726

The State Retirement System bill is likely headed to conference committee.

The most significant difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill is a Senate amendment which states that when the system no longer has an unfunded liability, all new employees must participate in a defined contribution retirement plan.

Both the House and Senate versions increase and cap SCRS employee contribution rates at 9 percent.

In both bills, employer contribution rates are increased to 13.56 percent for FY 17-18. The employer contribution rate will then increase 1 percent every year until FY 22-23, rising to 18.56 percent. PORS (Police Officers Retirement System) employee contribution rates are increased and capped at 9.75 percent. PORS employer rates are increased to 16.24 percent for FY 17-18 and increase 1 percent every year, rising to 21.24 percent in FY 22-23. The unfunded amortization schedule is reduced from 30 years to 20, and the annual rate of return from investments is reduced from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent. A new annual rate of return must be set in 2021 and every four years thereafter.

The bill also allows the General Assembly to allocate money to relieve the employers’ increased share, which the House did (1 percent for local governments) in its version of the budget.

According to RFA, local government employer contributions (counties, cities, and school districts) would increase by $67,400,000 in FY 17-18, and by an additional $33,700,000 each year in FY 18-19 through FY 22-23, for a total of $235,800,000 over the next six fiscal years.

Property Tax Bills in Ways and Means

The following bills are likely to be heard by Ways and Means Committee this week:

Rolling Back Rollback Taxes — H. 3786. This bill amends the code to only allow for one year of rollback tax when agriculture use is converted to another use. Currently, rollback taxes are five years. The bill has a fiscal impact of $8.5 million.

Assessment Ratio in Probate — H. 3093. This legislation states that when an owner receiving the 4 percent assessment ratio dies, the property shall continue to be assessed at 4 percent until the deceased's estate is closed, or upon recording of a deed or deed of distribution out of the estate. The property may not be rented.

Affordable Housing Loophole Creation — H. 3867. Currently, there is a property tax exemption for all property of nonprofit housing corporations or solely-owned instrumentalities of these corporations which is devoted to providing housing to low or very low income residents. This bill would eliminate the requirement that the instrumentalities be “solely-owned” by a nonprofit and appears to exempt all low income housing property owned by any partnership that includes a nonprofit housing corporation, even if the nonprofit only held 1 percent of the partnership.

Legislation of Interest

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Rewrite — H. 3352. The House adopted the committee amendment to clarify that state and federal laws provide exemptions to FOIA in addition to the exemptions found in the act. H. 3352 received third reading and has been sent to the Senate.

Dealer Tags — S. 488. S. 488 allows a person whose vehicle is being serviced by a car dealer to drive a dealer-owned loaner vehicle displaying a dealer tag. The vehicle displaying the tag must be part of a manufacturer program. Currently, only dealership employees and prospective drivers can drive a vehicle displaying a dealer tag. S. 488 also increases the amount of dealer tags from two for the first 20 and one for every additional 15 vehicles sold in a year by allowing a dealer to purchase two tags for each additional 15 vehicles sold. The estimated fiscal impact of this increase allowed for all car dealers is over $8 million if all dealers received the maximum amount of tags. SCAC staff is working with stakeholders on an amendment to S. 488 to significantly reduce the fiscal impact. S. 488 is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Dealer Tags Part Two — H. 3933. H. 3933 allows a dealer with a service department to purchase two additional dealer tags to use for dealer-owned vehicles driven by persons getting their vehicle serviced by the dealer. H. 3933 received a favorable report from a House Education and Public Works subcommittee and it will be considered at the full committee’s next meeting.

Cost of Animal Care Act — S. 3. This bill provides that an entity with custody of an animal because the animal‘s owner has been accused of a crime against the animal may petition the magistrates court requesting the accused to deposit funds into an account to pay for the animal’s care. Senate Agriculture Committee amended the bill to provide that the accused can avoid paying costs associated with the animal if they surrender the animal. The accused can only avoid the costs after surrender and will still be liable for all costs up to the point of surrender. The committee adopted some other technical amendments and gave S. 3 a favorable report as amended. 

Probate Court — S. 415. This is a comprehensive bill that among other things, revises Title 62, Article 5 of the Probate Code, dealing with conservatorships and guardianships. The bill also gives probate judges the authority to waive filing fees for indigent persons. S. 415 is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Inmate Funeral Transport — S. 271. This bill would allow an inmate whom the Department of Corrections determines is not a security risk to attend the funeral of a family member or visit a hospitalized family member whose death is imminent. The Department may engage the services of the local sheriff where the funeral or hospital is located to provide security and transportation for the inmate. For its services, the sheriff’s department may collect the cost of security and transportation for the inmate from a third party such as a family member or from the inmate’s trust account. The Senate gave S. 271 third reading and sent it to the House.

Piping Procurement — H. 3652. H. 3652 requires an engineer to consider all piping material in determining the requirements for water supply, wastewater, stormwater, or storm drainage projects when state funds are used. This is a national effort by the PVC pipe industry to get a competitive edge in the bidding process for public projects where state funds are used, as PVC pipe generally costs less than the other types of piping materials. H. 3652 also allows a county to use the piping material that they currently have in their inventory. H. 3652 received third reading in the House and was sent to the Senate.

Coroner Qualifications — H. 3019. This bill originally provided that a coroner elected without meeting the statutory requirements for being a coroner could remain coroner if he completes the requirements within a year of being elected. The House Judiciary Committee amended H. 3019 to require the coroner’s office to employ a medical examiner or a deputy coroner who meets the qualifications if the coroner doesn’t meet the statutory requirements for being a coroner when elected. H. 3019 is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Coroner’s Supplement — S. 170. This bill requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children under the age of 18 who have died in the county. The bill also provides a supplement of at least $35,000 annually to each coroner. This supplement is contingent upon state appropriation or “financial support from other sources.” After paying each coroner’s supplement, any excess amounts from the funding source is to be disbursed to coroners in an amount pursuant to a formula based on county population. S.170 is pending second reading on the Senate contested calendar.

No Application for Ag Use — H. 3463. This bill states that if property was assessed as agricultural property or assessed as farm machinery and equipment in 2016, the property must continue to be assessed with the same assessment ratio unless a change of use occurs. Therefore, no application will be required for ag use when a transfer occurs. The House adopted an amendment to provide that “buildings” assessed as farm buildings pursuant to 12-43-220(b) in 2016, must also be assessed with the same ratio unless a change of use occurs. The bill received third reading in the House and was sent to the Senate.

C-PACE — S. 261. This bill creates a mechanism for a commercial property owner or non-profit to receive a private loan for energy efficiency or water conservation measures. The loan is repaid through billings on the property tax bill. S. 261 is pending third reading in the Senate.

Manufacturing or Industrial Nuisances — H. 3653. H. 3653 prohibits a political subdivision from adopting an ordinance or resolution that declares a manufacturing or industrial facility, or an expansion of such a facility, that is operating in accordance with state law to be a nuisance. H. 3653 received third reading in the House and was sent to the Senate.

Employee Benefits — S. 218. This bill provides that a political subdivision may not establish, mandate or otherwise require an employee benefit in employment relationships to which they are not a party. The House gave S. 218 third reading and it has been sent to the Governor for ratification.

Special Elections — H. 3685 & H. 3150. H. 3685 extends the special election calendar dates to comply with federal voting laws that require ballots to be mailed to members of the military and overseas citizens 45 days before the election date. H. 3150 requires a municipality to hold an election to fill a vacancy even if only one candidate has filed for the office to be filled. Currently, an election does not have to be held by a municipality if there is a single candidate for the office. Both bills are pending second reading on the House calendar.

Crime Victim Services — S. 289. This bill is an attempt to consolidate victim services by creating the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division within the Office of the Attorney General. The Division will ensure that victims throughout the state have access to the same services, regardless of where they reside. S. 289 is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Right to Parent Act — H. 3538. H. 3538 would enact the “Persons with Disabilities Right to Parent Act” to require the DSS, law enforcement, family, and probate courts to protect the parenting rights of people with disabilities during child custody, child protection, and probate guardianship proceedings. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that anyone with a disability isn’t denied the right to parent, custody, or visitation with a child because they are disabled. H. 3538 passed the House and is in the Senate.

Veterans’ Affairs Complaints — H. 3428. This bill gives the Director of the Division of Veterans’ Affairs the authority to receive and respond to complaints of county veterans’ affairs officers. The Director will forward a complaint and any disciplinary recommendations, including removal of the county officer, to the legislative delegation to make a final determination. H. 3428 received a favorable report by the House 3M Committee and is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Veterans’ Affairs Officers Qualifications — H. 3469. This bill provides that a county veterans’ affairs officer must be a veteran who served on active duty for more than 24 months and was released with an honorable discharge. If the officer is a veteran who served less than 24 months active duty, the discharge must be from service-connected disability. Those who are not veterans would no longer be eligible for this position. A House 3M subcommittee amended the bill to have these qualifications also apply to the state Director of Veterans’ Affairs. The amendment also includes a grandfather provision to allow non-veterans currently serving as a county veterans’ affairs officer to hold their position until 2021. The full 3M committee failed to adopt these amendments and adjourned debate due to concerns over the prohibition of allowing non-veterans to serve as a county veterans’ affairs officer.

In-state Tuition for Veterans — H. 3034. This bill eliminates the time limits of eligibility for certain recipients of transferred veterans’ benefits who are eligible for in-state tuition. The House recalled the bill from committee and adopted an amendment to expand the eligibility for this benefit. H. 3034 was given third reading and sent to the Senate.

Fitness to Stand Trial — H. 3829. Current law states if a person is unfit to stand trial, but likely to become fit, then the court shall order the person to be hospitalized for up to 60 days. This bill will allow an order for hospitalization for up to six months. The Department of Mental Health is to house these individuals. A House Criminal Laws subcommittee adjourned debate on H. 3829 to obtain more information and will likely take the bill up at its next meeting.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 565Creates the offense of “Endangerment of a Highway Worker” along with penalties for this offense.

S. 579Provides that all state and county regulatory agencies should enforce the same building codes.

S. 580Provides that a child cannot be detained in an adult jail for more than six hours, even if they have been waived to general sessions to be tried as an adult. Also decreases the length of time a child may be held for violation of a court order regarding a status offense.

House Bills

H. 4020For purposes of condemnation proceedings, requires the condemnor to provide notice to the landowner of application for an ex parte order to gain entry.

H. 4027For purposes of the ethics provisions, revises the definition of “business with which he is associated.”

H. 4029Requires the Department of Revenue to follow certain North American Classification System Manual provisions when assessing the property of merchants and other related businesses, and repeals §12-39-70 relating to appraising and assessing personal property of businesses under the jurisdiction of the county auditor.

H. 4033Creates the offense of “Endangerment of a Highway Worker” along with penalties for this offense.

H. 4034Removes the Freedom of Information Act exemption for members of the General Assembly and their immediate staff.

H. 4035Allows individuals not subject to income tax withholding to claim income tax credit under the High Growth Small Business Job Creation Act, if they make a qualifying investment in a qualified business.

H. 4040Requires a specified level of competence for sign interpreters used by county hospitals and detention centers.

H. 4041Prohibits the portion of the motor fuel user fee credited to DOT from being used for employee compensation, new road construction projects, or being transferred to the SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

Issue 9-17 - March 10, 2017 

Friday, March 10, 2017 12:17:00 PM Categories: Budget Retirement Roads
State Budget — H. 3720

The House floor debate will begin on March 13 at 1:00 p.m.

The Ways and Means version of the budget provides an allocation that covers 1 percent of the retirement system local government employers’ increase for this fiscal year. This was a $32 million appropriation on behalf of local government. Please ask your House member to support this appropriation.

Additionally, $83.5 million was appropriated from nonrecurring funds for the state and local FEMA match for Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain Fire. Approximately 60 percent of this allocation goes to those local governments affected by Hurricane Matthew.

There are two items in the Ways and Means version of the budget that need the attention of every county official. Please contact your House member over the weekend and discuss this with them.

Fund the Local Government Fund.

SCAC requested the General Assembly fund the LGF at last year’s level plus any percentage growth in the General Fund. Ways and Means failed to fund the non-recurring dollars appropriated to the LGF in their version of the budget, which equates to a $10.6 million cut. Please ask your House member to fund the LGF at last year’s level plus the growth in the General Fund!

Flexibility Proviso in Peril

Ways and Means Committee adopted an amended version of the County Flexibility Proviso. If counties are to retain the usefulness of this proviso, you need to make contact with your House members! The flexibility proviso was amended to exclude the assessment for indigent medical care from being reduced. Please ask your House member and ask that this “exclusion” for the medical indigent program be deleted. There is no flexibility when you exclude any mandate that costs an agency money!

State Retirement System — H. 3726

The Senate polled out, amended, and gave the House retirement bill (H.3726) third reading this week. This will allow the bill to go to conference committee, most likely next week. The most significant difference between the House and Senate versions of the bill is a Senate amendment which states that when the system no longer has an unfunded liability, all new employees must participate in a defined contribution retirement plan.

Both the House and Senate versions increase and cap SCRS employee contribution rates at 9 percent. Employer contribution rates are increased to 13.56 percent for FY 17-18. The employer contribution rate will then increase 1 percent every year until FY 22-23, rising to 18.56 percent. PORS (Police Officers Retirement System) employee contribution rates are increased and capped at 9.75 percent. PORS employer rates are increased to 16.24 percent for FY 17-18 and increase 1 percent every year, rising to 21.24 percent in FY 22-23. The unfunded amortization schedule is reduced from 30 years to 20, and the annual rate of return from investments is reduced from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent. A new annual rate of return must be set in 2021 and every four years thereafter.

The bill also allows the General Assembly to allocate money to relieve the employers’ increased share.

According to Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, local government employer contributions (counties, cities, and school districts) would increase by $67,400,000 in FY 17-18, and by an additional $33,700,000 each year in FY 18-19 through FY 22-23, for a total of $235,800,000 over the next six fiscal years.

The Ways and Means version of the budget provides an allocation that covers 1 percent of the local government employers’ increase. Please contact your senator and ask that they also allocate money to the local government share of the employer increase. Otherwise, this burden will fall on property taxpayers!

Roads Bill — H. 3516

A Senate Finance subcommittee met on Tuesday to take up H. 3516, the House version of the roads bill. The subcommittee amended the House version and gave the bill a favorable report. As amended by the Senate Finance subcommittee, H. 3516: increases the motor fuel user fee two cents per year for six years; increases the registration fees sent to SCDOT as a result of Act 275 of 2016; gradually increases the sales tax cap on automobiles, referred to as an infrastructure maintenance fee, to $700 for cars first registered in South Carolina and $250 for cars initially registered in another state but subsequently registered in South Carolina; creates a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles; creates a fee in lieu of property taxes for both in-state and out-of-state motor carriers with the first 75 percent sent to counties and the remaining 25 percent to the newly created Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund (IMTF); and gradually increases the 2.66 cents per gallon of the gas tax sent to County Transportation Committees (CTCs) to 3.99 cents over the next five years. The Senate Finance subcommittee amendment also struck the SCDOT Commission restructuring language from the House version. Most of the money created by H. 3516 will be placed in the IMTF to be used exclusively on repair, maintenance, and improvements to existing roads. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs estimated that the fee-in-lieu of property taxes on motor carriers will send approximately $12 million in new revenue to counties this fiscal year.

Senator Davis stated that he plans on proposing an amendment to transfer roads from SCDOT to counties next Tuesday at the full Senate Finance Committee meeting.

Legislation of Interest

Assessment Ratio in Probate — H. 3093. This legislation states that when an owner receiving the 4 percent assessment ratio dies, the property shall continue to be assessed at 4 percent until the deceased's estate is closed, or upon recording of a deed or deed of distribution out of the estate. The property may not be rented. The bill was reported out of a Ways and Means subcommittee with a favorable report.

No Application for Ag Use — H. 3463. This bill states if in 2016, property was assessed as agricultural property or assessed as farm machinery and equipment, the property must continue to be assessed with the same assessment ratio unless a change of use occurs. Therefore, no application will be required for ag use when a transfer occurs. The bill was reported out of a Ways and Means subcommittee with a favorable report.

Rolling Back Rollback Taxes — H. 3786. This bill amends the code to only allow for one year of rollback tax when agriculture use is converted to another use. Currently rollback taxes are five years. The bill has a fiscal impact of $8.5 million. The bill was reported out of a Ways and Means subcommittee with a favorable report.

Affordable Housing Loophole Creation — H. 3867. Currently, there is a property tax exemption for all property of nonprofit housing corporations or solely-owned instrumentalities of these corporations which is devoted to providing housing to low or very low income residents. This bill would eliminate the requirement that the instrumentalities be “solely-owned” by a nonprofit and appears to exempt all low housing property owned by any partnership that includes a nonprofit housing corporation, even if the nonprofit only held 1 percent of the partnership. The bill was reported out of a Ways and Means subcommittee with a favorable report.

Magistrates’ Salaries — H. 3744. This bill requires that all magistrates be paid at least 55 percent of a circuit judge’s salary. Current law has magistrates salaries tiered based on county population with the lowest tier being paid 35 percent of a circuit judge’s salary. The bill also increases the stipend for full and part-time chief magistrates from $1,500 to $5,000, and provides a new $5,000 supplement for full-time associate magistrates. It also provides a $2,500 supplement for part-time associate magistrates. The bill funds these increases by increasing civil filing fees in magistrate’s court by $15. All remaining revenue is distributed to every county on an equal basis. H. 3744 received a favorable report from a House Ways and Means subcommittee.

School First Responder Firearms — H. 3566. H. 3566 requires the Law Enforcement Training Council to develop guidelines for a one-week training program for the Criminal Justice Academy to offer to school first responders that certifies them to possess a firearm on school premises. A Ways and Means subcommittee amended the bill to require the first responder or the school to pay for the training and gave it a favorable report as amended.

Manufacturing or Industrial Nuisances — S. 323 & H. 3653. S. 323 and H. 3653 prohibit a political subdivision from adopting an ordinance or resolution that declares a manufacturing or industrial facility, or an expansion of such a facility, that is operating in accordance with state law to be a nuisance. A Senate L.C.I. subcommittee amended S. 323 to define ‘manufacturing and industrial facility’ to limit the scope of the bill and gave it a favorable report. H. 3653 is pending second reading on the contested House calendar.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Rewrite — H. 3352. H. 3352 was amended by the House Judiciary Committee to clarify that state and federal laws provide exemptions to FOIA in addition to the exemptions found in the act. The House adjourned debate on the bill until March 22nd.

Special Elections — H. 3685 & H. 3150. H. 3685 extends the special election calendar dates in order to comply with federal voting laws that require ballots to be mailed to members of the military and overseas citizens 45 days before the election date. The House Election Laws subcommittee gave H. 3685 a favorable report. H. 3150 requires a municipality to hold an election to fill a vacancy even if only one candidate has filed for the office to be filled. Currently, an election does not have to held by a municipality if there is a single candidate for the office. The House Election Laws subcommittee gave H. 3150 a favorable report.

Piping Procurement — H. 3652. H. 3652 requires an engineer to consider all piping material in determining the requirements for water supply, wastewater, stormwater, or storm drainage projects when state funds are used. This is a national effort by the PVC pipe industry to get a competitive edge in the bidding process for public projects where state funds are used, as PVC pipe generally costs less than the other types of piping materials. H. 3652 was amended on the House floor to clarify that this only applies when state funds are used, and allows a county to use the piping material that they currently have in their inventory. H. 3652 received second reading.

Billboards — S. 200. This bill deals with billboards damaged by an act of God. A Senate amendment removes the 60-day requirement for replacing conforming billboards and allows nonconforming billboards to be restored to their prior condition within 60 days of an act of God. The amendment also allows for nonconforming billboards to be restored after an act of vandalism upon meeting certain conditions. S. 200 was given 3rd reading and sent to the House.

Administrative Court Automatic Stay — S. 105. As passed by Senate Judiciary, this bill provided that 45 days after a contested case is initiated in Administrative Court, a party may move to lift an automatic stay or for a determination of the stay’s applicability. Hearings are to be held within 30 days after a motion is filed. The court shall then lift the stay unless it is proven there is a likelihood of irreparable harm if the stay is lifted or continuing the stay serves the public interest, among other factors. The Senate amended S. 105 on the floor to change the 45 day waiting period to 90 days and to provide a process by which a contested stay can be lifted. S. 105 was given 3rd reading and sent to the House.

Clerks of Court and CWPs — S. 324. This bill would allow active and retired clerks of court who possess a valid concealed weapons permit to carry a concealable weapon anywhere within the state. Senate Judiciary amended the bill to clarify that the provision applies only to the elected clerks of court, and not their staff. S. 324 was carried over after the Committee adopted the amendment.

Inmate Funeral Transport — S. 271. This bill would allow an inmate whom the Department of Corrections determines is not a security risk to attend the funeral of a family member or visit a hospitalized family member whose death is imminent. The Department may engage the services of the local sheriff where the funeral or hospital is located to provide security and transportation for the inmate. For their services, the sheriff’s department may collect the cost of security and transportation for the inmate from a third party such as a family member or from the inmate’s trust account. A Senate Corrections and Penology subcommittee gave S. 271 a favorable report.

Coroner’s Supplement — S. 170. This bill requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children under the age of 18 who have died in the county. The bill also provides a supplement of at least $35,000 annually to each coroner for staff and office equipment. This supplement is contingent upon state appropriation or “financial support from other sources.” After paying each coroner’s supplement, any excess amount from the funding source is to be disbursed to coroners in an amount pursuant to a formula based on county population. After adopting a minor amendment, Senate Judiciary gave the bill a favorable report as amended.

Law Enforcement Training Council — S. 173. As amended by Senate Judiciary, this bill requires Class 1-LE, Class 2-LCO, and Class 3-SLE law enforcement officers to receive training in mental health and addictive disorder crisis intervention over their 3-year recertification period. The bill received a favorable report as amended and will be on the Senate calendar for second reading.

State Guard Military Leave — S. 78. This bill provides that any officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision who is a member of the South Carolina State Guard must be granted military leave for training or when the guard is activated. There can be no loss of pay, seniority, or efficiency rating while the employee is on leave. S. 78 received third reading in the Senate this week and was sent to the House.

Coroner Qualifications — H. 3019. This bill originally provided that a coroner elected without meeting the statutory requirements for being a coroner could remain coroner if he completes the requirements within a year of being elected. A House Judiciary subcommittee amended H. 3019 to require the coroner’s office to employ a medical examiner if the coroner doesn’t meet the statutory requirements for being a coroner when elected. H. 3019 received a favorable report as amended last week and will be debated by the House Judiciary Committee at its next meeting.

Employee Benefits — S. 218. This bill provides that a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employee benefit in employment relationships to which they are not a party. S. 218 is on the House contested calendar.

Non-Profit Transparency — H. 3931. H. 3931 requires a non-profit that received more than $100 in public funds from a state agency or political subdivision in the previous or current calendar year to submit quarterly reports to the entity that provided the funds. The report must include the amount of the funds, the purposes for which they were expended, and any other information required by the awarding jurisdiction. The reports received by a state agency or political subdivision will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. A House Ways and Means subcommittee gave H. 3931 a favorable report.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 516Requires clerks of court and magistrates to report the disposition of general session and criminal cases as well as certain restraining orders and orders of protection to SLED within a certain period of time.

S. 518Provides that no person who has a pending allegation of misconduct may be employed as a law enforcement officer or telecommunications operator until the Law Enforcement Training Council has issued a final agency decision, or an appellate court directs the Council to issue the law enforcement or telecommunications certification.

S. 531Expands the definition of “covered individual” for purposes of veterans and active military personnel and their children or spouses receiving in-state tuition rates.

S. 533Requires a public official whose office becomes vacant due to a criminal conviction during the official’s term of office to reimburse the county board of voter registration and elections for the actual costs of holding a special election to fill the vacated office.

S. 536Prohibits a person from voting in a partisan primary election or advisory referendum unless they are registered as a member of that party.

HOUSE BILLS

H. 3720Provides for the annual state budget for fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017.

H. 3721Provides for the Capital Reserve Fund for fiscal year 2016-2017.

H. 3896Authorizes counties to adopt an ordinance to require that residential and commercial property owners shall keep lots and other property clean and free of rubbish.

H. 3918Enacts the “Asset Forfeiture and Private Property Protection Act.”

H. 3919Enacts the “South Carolina Service Members Civil Relief Act.”

H. 3922Creates the “Rural County Transformation Fund.”

H. 3924Revises the penalties regarding littering.

H. 3925Provides that common-law marriage shall not be valid in this state on or after January 1, 2018, but grandfathers common-law marriages existing prior to that date.

H. 3930Revises the provisions as to where a person may lawfully carry a handgun to include the lawful possession of a firearm on school property.

H. 3931Requires certain nonprofit corporations that receive more than $100 in public funds must make quarterly expenditure reports to the awarding jurisdiction, and the awarding jurisdiction must make these reports available to the public.

H. 3946Provides that a child cannot be detained in an adult jail for more than six hours, even if they have been waived to general sessions to be tried as an adult. Also decreases the length of time a child may be held for violation of a court order regarding a status offense.

H. 3948Gives family court judges the discretion of whether or not to require a child of 14 years or older to be placed on the sex offender registry.

H. 3956Requires DOT to maintain any outfall or drainage ditch that was constructed as part of state highway construction project.

Issue 8-17 - March 3, 2017 

Friday, March 3, 2017 11:51:00 AM Categories: Budget Retirement Roads
State Retirement System — H. 3726 & S. 394

The House passed H. 3726, and the Senate passed S. 394 this week. These are each chambers’ version of State pension system reform. The most significant difference between the bills is that the Senate adopted an amendment which states that when the system no longer has an unfunded liability, all new employees must participate in a defined contribution retirement plan.

Both bills increase and cap SCRS employee contribution rates at 9 percent. Employer contribution rates are increased to 13.56 percent for FY 17-18. The employer contribution rate will then increase 1 percent every year until FY 22-23, rising to 18.56 percent. PORS (Police Officers Retirement System) employee contribution rates are increased and capped at 9.75 percent. PORS employer rates are increased to 16.24 percent for FY 17-18 and increase 1 percent every year, rising to 21.24 percent in FY 22-23. Both bills reduce the unfunded amortization schedule from 30 years to 20, and reduce the annual rate of return from investments from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent. A new annual rate of return must be set in 2021 and every four years thereafter.

The bills also allow the General Assembly to allocate money to relieve the employers’ increased share.

According to Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, local government employer contributions (counties, cities, and school districts) would increase by $67,400,000 in FY 17-18, and by an additional $33,700,000 each year in FY 18-19 through FY 22-23, for a total of $235,800,000 over the next six fiscal years.

The Ways and Means version of the budget provides an allocation that covers 1 percent of the local government employers’ increase for this fiscal year. There was no discussion regarding this funding on the Senate floor during the retirement bill debate. Please contact your senator and ask that they also allocate money to the local government share of the employer increase. Otherwise, this burden will fall on property taxpayers!

Roads Bills — H. 3516 & S. 384

The House passed H. 3516, its version of the roads bill, on Thursday. H. 3516: increases the motor fuel user fee two cents per year for five years; increases the registration fees sent to SCDOT as a result of Act 275 of 2016; increases the sales tax cap on automobiles, now referred to as an infrastructure maintenance fee, to $500 for cars first registered in South Carolina and $250 for cars initially registered in another state but subsequently registered in South Carolina; creates a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles; creates a fee in lieu of property taxes for both in-state and out-of-state motor carriers with the first $26.5 million sent to counties and any excess revenue to the State Highway Fund; and restructures the SCDOT Commission. Most of the money created by H. 3516 will be placed in an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund to be used exclusively on repair, maintenance, and improvements to existing roads.

An amendment adopted on the floor will gradually increase the 2.66 cents per gallon of the gas tax sent to County Transportation Committees (CTCs) to 3.99 cents over the next five years.

S. 384 increases the motor fuel user fee two cents per year for four years, but contains many of the other provisions found in H. 3516, including the fee in lieu of property taxes on motor carriers. Neither bill contains a provision devolving roads onto the counties. The Senate Finance Committee has not yet scheduled a subcommittee meeting for S. 384.

State Budget — H. 3720

The Ways and Means Budget Schedule reflects that the House Floor debate will begin on March 13.

As noted above, the Ways and Means version of the budget provides an allocation that covers 1 percent of the local government employers’ increase for this fiscal year. This was a $32 million appropriation on behalf of local government. Please thank the members of Ways and Means for this important allocation to local governments and ask your House member to support this appropriation.

Additionally, $83.5 million was appropriated from nonrecurring funds for the state and local FEMA match for Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain Fire. Approximately 60 percent of this allocation goes to those local governments affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Unfortunately, Ways and Means failed to match last year’s appropriation to the Local Government Fund (LGF). Please continue to support SCAC’s position.

Please contact the members of the House and ask that they move last year’s nonrecurring appropriation to the base AND increase the LGF by the same percentage as this year’s general fund growth!

Legislation of Interest

Billboards — S. 200. This bill deals with billboards damaged by an act of God. The Senate Transportation Committee adopted an amendment to remove the 60 day requirement for replacing conforming billboards and to allow nonconforming billboards to be restored to their prior condition within 60 days of an act of God. The amendment also allows for nonconforming billboards to be restored after an act of vandalism upon meeting certain conditions. The committee gave S. 200 a favorable report as amended and it is pending second reading on the Senate Calendar.

Coroner’s Child Fatality Review Team — S. 170. S. 170 requires each county coroner to convene a Child Fatality Review Team to review cases of children who have died in the county under the age of 18. The team is composed of the coroner or his designee, a local law enforcement officer, an agent from SLED’s Department of Child Fatalities, a board-certified child abuse pediatrician or a forensic pathologist, a representative from the local Department of Social Services (DSS), and any other person the coroner deems necessary. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report.

Law Enforcement Training Council — S. 173. This bill requires all law enforcement officers to receive annual training in mental health and addictive disorder crisis intervention. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee amended the bill and gave it a favorable report.

Crime Victim Services — S. 289. This bill is an attempt to consolidate victim services by creating the South Carolina Crime Victim Services Division within the Office of the Attorney General. The Division will ensure that victims throughout the state have access to the same services, regardless of where they reside. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee made some technical amendments to S. 289 and gave it a favorable report.

State Guard Military Leave — S. 78. This bill provides that any officer or employee of the state or a political subdivision who is a member of the South Carolina State Guard must be granted military leave for training or when the guard is activated. There can be no loss of pay, seniority, or efficiency rating while the employee is on leave. S. 78 received second reading on the Senate calendar.

Veterans’ Affairs Complaints — H. 3428. This bill gives the Director of the Division of Veterans’ Affairs the authority to receive and respond to veterans complaints of county veterans’ affairs officers. The director will forward a complaint and any disciplinary recommendations, including removal of the county officer, to the legislative delegation to make a final determination. H. 3428 received a favorable report by a House 3M subcommittee and will be on the full committee’s next agenda.

Veterans’ Affairs Officers Qualifications — H. 3469. This bill provides that a county veterans’ affairs officer must be a veteran who served on active duty for more than 24 months and was released with an honorable discharge. If the officer is a veteran who served less than 24 months active duty, the discharge must be from service-connected disability. Those who are not veterans would no longer be eligible for this position. A House 3M subcommittee amended the bill to have these qualifications also apply to the state Director of Veterans’ Affairs. The amendment also includes a grandfather provision to allow non-veterans currently serving as a county veterans’ affairs officer to hold their position until 2021. H. 3469 received a favorable report as amended and will be on the 3M Committee’s next agenda.

Coroner Qualifications — H. 3019. This bill originally provided that a coroner elected without meeting the statutory requirements for being a coroner could remain coroner if he completes the requirements within a year of being elected. A House Judiciary subcommittee amended H. 3019 to require the coroner’s office to employ a medical examiner if the coroner doesn’t meet the statutory requirements for being a coroner when elected. H. 3019 received a favorable report as amended and will be debated by the House Judiciary Committee at its meeting on Tuesday.

Right to Parent Act — H. 3538. H. 3538 would enact the “Persons with Disabilities Right to Parent Act” to require the DSS, law enforcement, family, and probate courts to protect the parenting rights of people with disabilities during child custody, child protection, and probate guardianship proceedings. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that anyone with a disability isn’t denied the right to parent, custody, or visitation with a child because they are disabled. A House Judiciary subcommittee adjourned before taking any action on this proposal.

Employee Benefits — S. 218. This bill provides that a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employee benefit in employment relationships to which they are not a party. S. 218 received a favorable report from House L.C.I. Committee and will be up for debate in the full House next week.

Manufacturing or Industrial Nuisances - H. 3653. H. 3653 prohibits a political subdivision from adopting an ordinance or resolution that declares a manufacturing or industrial facility, or an expansion of such a facility, that is operating in accordance with state law to be a nuisance. House L.C.I. Committee gave H. 3653 a favorable report.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 481Provides that certain data from law enforcement dash-cam video and recordings are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, and authorizes law enforcement to obtain a court order to prevent the release of this information in certain circumstances.

S. 482For purposes of the capital projects sales tax, provides that if the tax proceeds are only for one project, counties that meet a certain requirement do not have to create a commission, and they can perform the duties of the commission.

S. 501Directs the state treasurer to disburse funds to counties that have unreimbursed expenses associated with the recovery from the 2014 winter storm.

S. 503Provides for the expedited return of certain property and monies seized when forfeiture proceedings have not been instituted and charges have not been filed within 30 days of seizure.

S. 505Requires the Department of Transportation Commission to establish project priority lists for each program category proposed to be included in the statewide transportation infrastructure plan and the state non-federal aid program.

House Bills

H. 3862Clarifies which entities are required to report information to DSS’ Division of Child Support Services for the purpose of locating persons to establish paternity and child support obligations.

H. 3863Requires every employer in this state to report every new hire or rehired person to the DSS’ Child Support Services Division Employer New Hire Reporting program.

H. 3871Makes technical corrections to the "Uniform Interstate Family Support Act."

H. 3879Increases the maximum amount of burial expenses payable under workers’ compensation for accidental death from $2500 to $7500.

H. 3891Enacts the “Workplace Freedom Act.”

Ratifications

The following bill has been passed by both chambers and is now before the Governor for signature or veto:

(R. 2) S. 310. Authorizes the Town of Camden to annex property located in an enclave by ordinance upon a finding that the property is blighted.

Issue 7-17 - February 24, 2017 

Friday, February 24, 2017 9:07:00 AM Categories: Budget Retirement
State Budget — H. 3720

Ways and Means Committee completed work on its version of the budget this week. Almost all of the money available went to a few big ticket items:

  • $150 million was allocated to the retirement system. This appropriation pays for the full 2 percent state government employer increase and 1 percent of the local government employers increase. This was a $32 million appropriation on behalf of local government. Please thank the members of Ways and Means for this important allocation to local governments.
  • $45 million to annualize cost increases in Health and Human Services
  • $38 million to the Public Schools EFA
  • $25 million to cover cost increases in the state health plan
  • $20 million for mandated DSS computers
  • $10 million to the Department of Mental Health to annualize and maintain the effort of DMH in Forensics. This program diverts mental health patients from local jails to mental health facilities.

These six items accounted for almost $288 million of the available recurring money. Also of interest is $1 million in recurring dollars appropriated to the county libraries.

Additionally, $83.5 million was appropriated from nonrecurring funds for the state and local FEMA match for Hurricane Matthew and the Pinnacle Mountain Fire. Approximately 60 percent of this allocation goes to those local governments affected by Hurricane Matthew.

Unfortunately, Ways and Means failed to match last year’s appropriation to the Local Government Fund (LGF). Please continue to support SCAC’s position:

“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.”

Please contact the members of the House and ask that they move last year’s nonrecurring appropriation to the base AND increase the LGF by the same percentage as this year’s general fund growth!

Flexibility Proviso in Peril

Ways and Means Committee adopted the amended version of the County Flexibility Proviso. If counties are to retain the usefulness of this proviso, you need to make contact with your House members!

The Flexibility Proviso was amended to exclude the assessment for indigent medical care from being reduced.

Proviso 113.7 currently states that a political subdivision receiving aid from the LGF may reduce its support to any state mandated program or requirement by up to a percentage equal to the percentage reduction in the actual amount appropriated to the LGF, as compared to the amount required to be appropriated pursuant to §6-27-30. Already excluded are Administrative Law Judges and their offices, Court of Appeals and their offices, Circuit and Family Courts and their offices, Magistrates and their offices, Masters in Equity and their offices, Probate Courts and their offices, Public Defenders and their offices, Solicitors and their offices, and the Supreme Court and its offices.

Please call your House member and ask that this “exclusion” for the medical indigent program be deleted. There is no flexibility when you exclude any mandate that costs an agency money!

State Retirement System — H. 3726 & S. 394

H. 3726, the House version of the State Retirement System bill is on the House calendar and may be debated next week. S. 394, the Senate companion bill, was passed out of Senate Finance Committee with a technical amendment and is pending second reading in special order status on the Senate calendar.

The bills increase and cap SCRS employee contribution rates at 9 percent. Employer contribution rates are increased to 13.56 percent for FY 17-18. The employer contribution rate will then increase 1 percent every year until FY 22-23, rising to 18.56 percent. PORS (Police Officers Retirement System) employee contribution rates are increased and capped at 9.75 percent. PORS employer rates are increased to 16.24 percent for FY 17-18 and increase 1 percent every year, rising to 21.24 percent in FY 22-23.

According to Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, local government employer contributions would increase by $67,400,000 in FY 17-18 and by an additional $33,700,000 each year in FY 18-19 through FY 22-23, for a total of $235,800,000 over the next six fiscal years. As noted above, the House Ways and Means Committee appropriated funds in the state budget to cover 1 percent of the first-year employer contribution increase for local government employers.

The bills reduce the unfunded amortization schedule from 30 years to 20 and reduce the annual rate of return from investments from 7.5 percent to 7.25 percent. A new annual rate of return must be set in 2021 and every four years thereafter.

The bills also allow the General Assembly to allocate money to relieve the employers’ increased share.

Legislation of Interest

Administrative Court Automatic Stay — S. 105. As amended by the Senate Judiciary, this bill provides that 45 days after a contested case is initiated in Administrative Court, a party may move to lift an automatic stay or for a determination of the stay’s applicability. Hearings are to be held within 30 days after a motion is filed. The court shall then lift the stay unless it is proven there is a likelihood of irreparable harm if the stay is lifted or continuing the stay serves the public interest, among other factors. S. 105 received a favorable report as amended and is on the Senate calendar for second reading.

Campaign Contributions — S. 107. This bill, among other things, originally increased campaign contribution limits and provided that these limits would be adjusted in odd-numbered years based on CPI. The Senate Judiciary amended the bill to remove these limit increases and removed the CPI adjustment provision. The bill received third reading in the Senate and was sent to the House.

Magistrates’ Jurisdiction — S. 118. This bill increases the magistrates’ civil jurisdiction from $7,500 to $10,000. The bill was given third reading in the Senate and sent to the House.

Attorney Access for Inmates — H. 3278. This bill provides that a state or local detention facility cannot prohibit an in-person meeting between an inmate and his attorney, provided the meeting does not disrupt the facility’s security or normal operations. The House amended the bill to add that the facility may provide visual observation of the area in which the meeting occurs, but cannot provide audio or video supervision of the area. H.3278 received third reading in the House and was sent to the Senate.

Indecent Exposure in Jails — S. 369. This bill provides that it is unlawful to willfully and indecently expose one’s self in a correctional or detention facility. A Senate Corrections subcommittee amended the bill to include graduated penalties for second and subsequent offenses. S. 369 received a favorable report as amended and will be on the full Committee’s agenda.

Employee Benefits — S. 218. This bill provides that a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employee benefit in employment relationships to which they are not a party. S. 218 received a favorable report from a House L.C.I. subcommittee and will be on the full committee’s next agenda.

C-PACE — S. 261. This bill creates a mechanism for a commercial property owner or non-profit to receive a private loan for energy efficiency or water conservation measures. The loan is repaid through billings on the property tax bill. The Senate L.C.I. Committee carried over S. 261 to do some additional work on the bill.  

Dam Regulations — S. 5. This bill would require DHEC to inspect dams that are traversed by a state road, regardless of whether or not the dam is regulated. DHEC has identified at least 400 dams that could impact state roads and not all these dams are regulated. Due to a number of concerns, the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee carried the bill over to gather additional information.

Children’s Advocacy Center Records — S. 80. This bill requires any Child Advocacy Center forensic records released to the Department of Social Services and law enforcement and other governmental entities charged with the investigation and prosecution of child abuse to be accompanied by an order of protection issued by a circuit court or family court judge. A person who fails to obey the order of protection shall be found in contempt of court. A Senate General subcommittee adopted an amendment to broaden which entities are covered by the order of protection and gave S. 80 a favorable report as amended.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 446Increases the Industry Partnership Fund tax credit.

S. 449Enacts the “South Carolina Constitutional Carry Act of 2017.”

S. 451Enacts the “South Carolina Youth Challenge Academy and South Carolina Jobs Challenge Program Expungement Act.”

S. 470Provides that when a person is confined at a detention center for a nonviolent Class B or C misdemeanor, an offense which carries a maximum penalty of no more than 2 years, or a traffic violation, he may secure immediate release upon payment of a cash or surety bond with the detention facility or jail official trained by a magistrate to accept bail on his behalf.

S. 472Requires certain nonprofit corporations that receive more than $100 in public funds to submit a quarterly expenditure report to the awarding jurisdiction.

House Bills

H. 3827Enacts the “South Carolina Crime Victims Service Act” to restructure and consolidate victim services.

H. 3835Authorizes reserve police officers to receive workers’ compensation at a rate 37.5 percent of the average weekly wage in the state for the preceding fiscal year.

H. 3842For purposes of the community development tax credit, deletes an aggregate credit provision and sets an annual limit of tax credits at 5 million.

H. 3846Removes the provision that requires a homeowner who makes improvements to his own home himself to have a homebuilder’s license if he sells or rents the home within 2 years after the improvements are made.

H. 3848Requires the Department of Juvenile Justice to report child deaths to a county coroner and law enforcement.

H. 3849Establishes a residency requirement for candidates for local office that are elected from specific districts.

Issue 5-17 - February 10, 2017 

Friday, February 10, 2017 8:57:00 AM Categories: Budget Business License LGF Retirement Roads
State Retirement System — S. 394 and H. 3726

Companion bills S. 394 and H. 3726 were introduced in the House and the Senate this week which significantly increase the employer contribution rate in the State Retirement System. The bills increase and cap SCRS employees’ contribution rates at 9 percent. Employer contribution rates are increased to 13.56 percent for FY 2017-18. The employer contribution rate will then increase 1 percent every year until FY 2022-2023, rising to 18.56 percent. PORS (Police Officers Retirement System) employee contribution rates are increased and capped at 9.75 percent. PORS employer rates are increased to 16.24 percent for FY 17-18 and increase 1 percent every year, rising to 21.24 percent in FY 22-23.

The bill reduces the unfunded amortization schedule from 30 years to 20 and reduces the annual rate of return from investments from 7.5 to 7.25. A new annual rate of return must be set in 2021 and every 4 years thereafter.

Local Government Fund (LGF) and State Budget

Ways and Means subcommittees finished most of their work on the budget this week. The proviso subcommittee will meet February 14, and the full committee will take up the budget February 21.

The Retirement System increase for this fiscal year will cost the state around $68 million. Last week PEBA testified that in order for the state health plan to remain grandfathered and retain current benefits it will require a 2.5 percent increase this year, a $25.456 million cost to the state general fund. This means more than $100 million has already been spent of new recurring dollars. (Both of these items also equate to an enormous increase in the amount of employee benefits required to be paid by county governments!)

Criminal Justice Academy (CJA): CJA asked for appropriations to implement a mobile training program. This would allow CJA to travel to law enforcement agencies to conduct various training and continuing education.

Local Government Fund: Please continue to support SCAC’s position regarding funding:

“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.”

Please contact the members of the House and ask that they move last year’s nonrecurring appropriation to the base AND increase the LGF by the same percentage as this year’s general fund growth!

Please point out to your representatives in the General Assembly that this funding is critical given the massive increase in employer contribution rates. Call your member today and meet with them when you come to the Mid-Year Conference.

Business License Bill — H. 3650

H. 3650, the South Carolina Business License Tax Standardization Act, was introduced last Thursday, heard by a subcommittee this Wednesday afternoon, and passed out of full LCI Committee on Thursday morning. The legislation makes substantial changes to county and city business licenses.

The bill requires a county or municipality that has a business license tax to accept a standard business license application provided by the Secretary of State. Additionally, a county or municipality with a business license must adopt, by ordinance, a Standardized Business License Class Schedule as provided by the Secretary of State. However, county council may adopt additional subclassifications. Counties or municipalities with a business license tax must provide access to businesses for the reporting, calculation, and payment of business license taxes through a Business License Tax Portal managed by the Secretary of State, if such a portal becomes available.

 The bill exempts several items from gross income, including:

  • sales tax paid by a contractor on building materials or supplies;
  • sales tax paid on the purchase of materials or supplies which become a component of a product manufactured, produced, or constructed for sale;
  • revenue received from reimbursements from clients or customers in which the business charges no fee or interest for providing funds upfront to a client or customer;
  • the amount paid to a subcontractor by a general contractor on a governmental contract;
  • the trade-in value of a vehicle, equipment, or merchandise;  and
  • 25 percent of revenue collected outside of the county or municipality where the business maintains its principal business license.

A county or municipality may not impose a higher business license tax rate on a business located outside the jurisdiction as compared to businesses located within the jurisdiction. Additionally, the bill states that a county or city may not refuse to issue a certificate of occupancy for a building due to nonpayment of the business license tax by subcontractors.

The Committee passed several amendments to the original bill, including an amendment to specifically state that counties and cities retain the right to set their own business license rates. Additionally, the bill was amended to reduce from 50 to 25 percent the amount exempted from revenue collected outside the jurisdiction where the business maintains its principal business license and to allow rate increases from 2016 until the legislative implementation date of 2019.

H. 3650 will be reported out and placed on the House calendar next week.

Roads Bills — H. 3516 & S. 384

The House Ways and Means Committee passed H. 3516 out favorably on Thursday. H. 3516, as passed by Ways and Means: increases the motor fuel user fee 2 cents per year for five years; increases the registration fees sent to SCDOT as a result of Act 275 of 2016; increases the sales tax cap on automobiles, now referred to as an infrastructure maintenance fee, to $500 for cars first registered in South Carolina and $250 for cars initially registered in another state but subsequently registered in South Carolina; creates a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles; and restructures the SCDOT Commission. All of the new revenue created by H. 3516, estimated to be $450 million, will be placed in an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund to be used exclusively on repair, maintenance, and improvements to existing roads.

H. 3516 also creates a fee in lieu of property taxes for both in-state and out-of-state motor carriers. The first $26.5 million will be sent to counties and any excess revenue to the State Highway Fund. H. 3516 is pending second reading in the House.

S. 384, introduced by the Senate this week, increases the motor fuel user fee 2 cents per year for four years but contains many of the other provisions found in H. 3516, including the fee in lieu of property taxes on motor carriers. Neither bill contains a provision devolving roads onto the counties. S. 384 was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Legislative Items of Interest

Piping Procurement — H. 3652. H. 3652 requires a county official or engineer to consider all piping material in determining the requirements for water supply, wastewater, stormwater, or storm drainage projects when state funds are used. This is a national effort by the PVC pipe industry to get a competitive edge in the bidding process for public projects where state funds are used, as PVC pipe generally costs less than the other types of piping materials. This type of legislation has been introduced and failed in several other states, including North Carolina. This bill is not only an invasion of Home Rule, it undermines the expertise of the engineer in determining what is the best piping material to use for a particular project. There is a coalition of groups that oppose this bill, including other companies in the piping industry, the water utility groups, and engineers.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Rewrite — H. 3352. H. 3352 was amended by the House Judiciary Committee to clarify that state and federal laws provide exemptions to FOI in addition to the exemptions found in the Act. The bill was given a favorable report as amended and is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Attorney Access for Inmates — H. 3278. This bill provides that a state or local detention facility cannot prohibit an in-person meeting between an inmate and his attorney. House Judiciary committee adopted an amendment to provide that the meeting cannot disrupt the facility’s security or normal operations. H. 3278 received a favorable report as amended and is pending second reading in the House.

Magistrates Jurisdiction — S. 118 This bill increases the magistrates’ civil jurisdiction from $7,500 to $10,000. Senate Judiciary adopted an amendment removing a provision that required mediation for certain cases before giving S. 118 a favorable report. The bill is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Magistrates Exams — S. 90. This bill extends the validity of the magistrates’ eligibility exam results. The results would be valid for one year before and two years after the time the appointment is to be made. Currently, the results are valid for six months before and six months after the appointment is to be made. Senate Judiciary gave S. 90 a favorable report and the bill is pending second reading in the Senate.

Drone Use over Jails — S. 176. This bill prohibits the flying of drones within 500 feet horizontally or 250 feet vertically of a prison or jail without written consent of the facility. If a jail or prison confiscates a drone that violates this prohibition, the drone may be held by the facility until the case is adjudicated and must be returned to the owner if found not guilty. S. 176 received third reading in the Senate and was sent to the House.

Police Dogs and Horses — S. 6. This bill would increase penalties for injuring or killing a dog or horse used by law enforcement. Restitution must be paid to the agency to cover the cost of replacing or restoring the dog or horse to its previous condition. S. 6 was given third reading in the Senate and sent to the House.

Campaign Contributions — S. 107. This bill, among other things, increases campaign contribution limits. Originally, the bill increased the contribution limits from $3,500 to $5,000 for statewide campaigns and $1,000 to $2,000 for local campaigns. These limits would be adjusted in odd-numbered years based on CPI. Senate Judiciary amended the bill to keep the limits for local office at $1,000 while still being adjusted for CPI. The Committee gave S. 107 a favorable report as amended and the bill is pending second reading on the Senate Calendar.

Commercial Dog Breeding — H. 3009. This bill would impose certain standards on commercial dog breeding and require breeders to obtain a business license from either the county or city where the dogs are maintained. The bill would also allow either animal control or law enforcement to inspect the breeder upon a complaint or suspicion of violations of the set standards, even without a warrant or probable cause.  Due to many concerns over the bill, a House Agriculture subcommittee adjourned debate.

In-state Tuition for Veterans — H. 3035. This provides that certain veterans and their dependents are eligible for in-state tuition and the one-year physical presence residency rule no longer applies so long as there is intent to establish domicile in the state. H. 3035 was given third reading in the House and sent to the Senate.

Nursing Home Legal Residence — S. 75. This bill provides that if a person is moved to a nursing home, intends to return home, and does not rent their residence, then they will not lose their owner-occupied 4 percent assessment ratio. S. 75 received third reading in the Senate and was sent to the House.

Local Government Employee Benefits — S. 218. This bill prohibits political subdivisions from establishing or mandating employee benefits. There is an exception allowing political subdivisions to establish employee benefits in employee relationships to which they are a party. S. 218 received third reading in the Senate and was sent to the House.

State Health and Dental Eligibility — S. 61. This bill amends SC Code 1-11-720(A) to provide that employees and retirees of political subdivisions and certain dependents are eligible for coverage under the state health and dental insurance plan. The bill was given third reading in the Senate and sent to the House.

2017 SCAC Mid-Year Conference & Institute of Government — February 15 and 16

The SCAC Mid-Year Conference will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia on Wednesday, February 15. 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. 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 16 and include: Building an Effective County Team, Public Speaking, Economic Development, and Measuring and Reporting County Performance. 

The Council Chairperson's Workshop will be offered free-of-charge on Thursday, February 16, 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 here.

Webinar: Ethics Act — New Income Disclosure Requirements

Please join us on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at 10 a.m. as SCAC hosts a webinar to help county officials understand new income disclosure requirements of the Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act. Michael Burchstead, General Counsel for the SC State Ethics Commission, will provide an overview of the ethics act, common violations, and new income disclosure requirements for the Statement of Economic Interest.

Register here.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

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."

Senate Bills

S. 361Establishes that an employee shall accrue earned paid and unearned unpaid sick leave and provides for the method and limits of accrual.

S. 363Increases the deed recording fee by $.20 with $.10 going to the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority, and $.10 going to local and regional housing trust funds for use towards affordable housing.

S. 364Allows county governments to increase building fees up to 10 percent and requires the proceeds from the increase to be used for affordable housing programs.

S. 369Provides that is unlawful for a person to expose himself in a correctional or detention facility.

S. 382Prohibits the records of certain minor traffic violations from appearing in public indexes, and  requires all county clerks of court to remove these records within six months after the effective date of this legislation.

S. 384Creates the “Rural Roads Fund” for roads and bridge maintenance and repair in rural counties.

S. 394Changes future employer and employee contribution rates to the state retirement system and requires the unfunded liabilities of the system to be on a certain amortization schedule.

S. 395Exempts the first $20,000 of value of a personal motor vehicle owned by a person who has been a resident of this state for at least one year and who has reached the age of 65.

House Bills

H. 3668Enacts the “Provisions for Cost of Animal Care Act" to provide that the custodian of an animal taken into custody due to civil or criminal violations by its owner may petition the court for expenses related to providing care to the animal.

H. 3669Clarifies the meaning of the term "contiguous" when a municipality that is located entirely within the borders of a special purpose district annexes unincorporated property that is also located within the same special purpose district.

H. 3684Authorizes the Department of Revenue to implement a system of filing and indexing liens that is accessible to the public over the internet or through other means.

H. 3685Adjusts the dates upon which primaries, runoff primaries, and special elections must be held in order to comply with the "South Carolina Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act."

H. 3700Enacts the “South Carolina Constitutional Carry Act of 2017.”

H. 3702For purposes of permits for erecting and maintaining outdoor signs, revises the categories of permits that are void, and requires the Department of Transportation to reissue permits for nonconforming signs damaged or destroyed by vandalism to any extent, provided such signs only may be re-erected in kind.

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