Friday Reports

The Friday Report, is prepared and distributed every Friday of the legislative session. The most recent Friday Report will always appear on the home page. 

Sign up to receive the Friday Report as an email

Thursday, June 16, 2022 - 4:22pm

The General Assembly returned this week pursuant to the sine die resolution (S. 1325) to vote on bills that went to conference committees. Several conference committees reached agreements and presented their conference reports to their respective chambers for approval or rejection. Among those conference reports was the user fee bill language that was attached to a property tax exemption bill, S. 233. S. 233, along with some other bills of note, will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

User Fees – S. 233. Both the House and the Senate took up and adopted the conference report on S. 233 on Wednesday. With a vote count of 47-40 in the House and 24-12 in the Senate, the bill narrowly escaped defeat and has been enrolled for ratification. The passage of this important bill was due in large part to your calls, texts, and emails to your members of the General Assembly!

S. 233, as adopted, contains the language from S. 984, the user fee bill, as passed by the Senate, as well as several other property tax bills discussed below. Section 2 of the bill reinstates the Brown test to all service or user fees imposed after December 31, 1996. The Brown test states that a fee is valid if:

  1. the revenue generated is used to the benefit of the payers, even if the general public also benefits;
  2. the revenue generated is used only for the specific improvement contemplated;
  3. the revenue generated by the fee
  4. Read Full Report
Friday, May 13, 2022 - 11:57am

The General Assembly wrapped up its final week with a flurry of legislation. A Sine Die resolution allows them to come back in June to complete specific pieces of legislation. Through much debate and maneuvering, the provisions of the user fee bill S. 984 will continue to be debated during the sine die period. The House of Representatives also saw additional changes in leadership roles this week. Rep. Murrell Smith assumed his position as Speaker of the House. Rep. Davey Hiott was elected as the new House Majority Leader, replacing Rep. Gary Simrill who is not seeking re-election. Rep. Bill Hixon was elected as the new Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to fill the remaining term of the former chair, Rep. Hiott.

Several bills of note, including S. 984, will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

 

Use Fee Authorization – S. 984. S. 984 is in response to the June 30, 2021, SC Supreme Court decision in Burns v. Greenville County, which imperils various user fees, especially road use fees, imposed by counties and cities in South Carolina.

The House sent S. 984 back to the Senate with the amendments. The Senate amended the bill back to the Senate version, along with a technical amendment and sent it back to the House. The House did not take the bill back up. However, the provisions of S. 984 were added to S. 233 (discussed below). 

Many thanks to Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Craig Gagnon, Russell Ott, Davey Hiott, Heather

Read Full Report
Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 4:43pm

Next week is the final week of the session. In the scramble to get legislation passed, many bills close to passage have been amended with provisions of other bills. A sine die resolution outlining bills and matters that can be taken up after 5:00 pm next Thursday has not been introduced. If a sine die resolution is not introduced and passed, all bills not enrolled for ratification by 5:00 pm next Thursday are dead and will have to be refiled for the 2023 legislative session. The user fee bill S. 984 is now on the House contested calendar. With only three legislative days left, time is running out to pass this bill.

 

Several bills of note, including S. 984, will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

 

Use Fee Authorization – S. 984. S. 984 is in response to the June 30, 2021, SC Supreme Court decision in Burns v. Greenville County, which imperils various user fees, especially road use fees, imposed by counties and cities in South Carolina. Prior to this decision, user fees were analyzed under the Brown test that found a fee to be valid if:

  1. the revenue generated is used to the benefit of the payers, even if the general public also benefits;
  2. the revenue generated is used only for the specific improvement contemplated;
  3. the revenue generated by the fee does not exceed the cost of the improvement; and
  4. the fee is uniformly imposed on all the payers.

Under the newly imposed Burns test, fees must benefit fee payers differently than the general public regardless of theRead Full Report

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 5:06pm
With three weeks left in the session, the General Assembly is working furiously to get several pieces of legislation passed. The House debated several bills including H. 4568, a bill dealing with chemically induced abortions, while the Senate spent the week working on the budget. S. 984 (The User Fee Bill) was voted out of Ways and Means and will be debated on the House floor next week. Please call your House members and urge them to support the passage of this important bill.
 
The House also elected Murrell Smith as the new Speaker of the House after Speaker Jay Lucas announced his resignation. Gary Simrill was also elected as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
 
Several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

 

 
Dorchester Council members
Read Full Report
Friday, April 22, 2022 - 8:35am

The House spent most of its time this week debating an education bill, while the Senate debated an elections bill. The Senate is scheduled to take up the budget on Tuesday.

The House did not take up S. 984 (User Fee Authorization) is scheduled to be heard before a House Ways and Means subcommittee on Tuesday. The subcommittee members are Reps. Rutherford, Gagnon, Dillard, and Huggins. Attached is a list of the full committee members. Please talk to your House members and ask them to support passing S. 984. Time is running out for us to get this essential legislation passed this session.

Several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance, and Economic Development

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – H. 4408. The Senate continued to make progress this week on H. 4408, the House plan for allocating state ARPA funds. The Senate amended H. 4408 with a strike and insert amendment that would apply the Senate’s plan as of allocating the first phase of funds as passed earlier this year in S. 952.

Under phase one of the Senate’s plan, over $453 million in funding would be allocated to SCDOT, $400 million to the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) for the State Broadband Office to expand access to high-speed broadband internet, and $900 million to the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). The RIA would be directed to use approximately $800 million of the designatedRead Full Report

Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 9:57am

The House was on furlough this week and the Senate was in session on Tuesday only and operated in a perfunctory session for the remainder of the week. The Senate moved bills, including the budget, along in committee and placed an elections bill (H. 4919) in special order status to be taken up next week.

The House should be taking up S. 984 (User Fee Authorization) in subcommittee sometime next week. Please talk to your House members and ask them to support passing S. 984. Time is running out for us to get this essential legislation passed this session.

Although this was an abbreviated week, several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

H. 5150 – State Budget.

The Senate Finance Committee worked on the budget this week and passed H. 5150 out of committee on Wednesday. Floor debate on the budget is scheduled for the week of April 25th. The committee increased funding to the Local Government Fund (LGF) by $12,583,080 statewide. This represents full funding to the LGF under the statutory formula. The Committee also directed $10 million into the rural stabilization fund (discussed below), the same amount the General Assembly allocated last year.

Other funding of note in the House budget includes:

  • $72 million to cover a 3 percent base pay increase for all state employees;
  • $101.7 million for the state’s share of the state health plan, including expanded well visits;
  • $750
  • Read Full Report
Friday, April 8, 2022 - 9:39am

Both the House and Senate spent most of the week on the floor debating bills in advance of today’s crossover deadline. Any bill that did not pass out of its originating chamber is likely dead for the year.

The Senate gave S. 984, the user fee authorization bill, a third reading on Thursday and sent the bill to the House. Thank you to all county officials who reached out to their Senators to ask for support of this important piece of legislation! Also, a huge thank you to the sponsors of the bill, Sens. Hembree, Massey, Gustafson, and Rankin and also to Sens. Davis, Johnson, and Fanning for stressing the importance of the bill during debate on the Senate floor!

S. 984 and several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

User Fee Authorization – S. 984. S. 984, an SCAC priority, is in response to the June 30, 2021, SC Supreme Court decision in Burns v. Greenville County, which imperils various user fees, especially road use fees, imposed by counties and cities in South Carolina. Prior to this decision, user fees were analyzed under the Brown test that found a fee to be valid if: 

  1. the revenue generated is used to the benefit of the payers, even if the general public also benefits;
  2. the revenue generated is used only for the specific improvement contemplated;
  3. the revenue generated by the fee does not exceed the cost of the improvement; and
  4. Read Full Report
Friday, April 1, 2022 - 10:31am

The House worked in committees and on the floor to advance bills before next week’s crossover deadline (the last day a bill can move from one chamber to the other). The Senate spent most of its time on the floor debating and passing a school choice bill before moving through the calendar on Thursday.

On Thursday, the Senate debated and gave S. 984, the user fee bill, a second reading. Amendments will be offered on third reading before a roll call vote will be taken. Thanks to Sens. Davis and Hembree for guiding the bill through the Senate and explaining to other members how important the bill is for counties. Please help us make one final push to get the bill third reading before crossover by calling your Senators and asking for their support of the bill!

S. 984 and several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

SCAC Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs
Owen McBride testifies before the House
Ways and Means Property Tax subcommittee.

User Fee Authorization – S. 984. S. 984, an SCAC priority, is in response to the June 30, 2021, SC Supreme Court decision in Burns v. Greenville County, which imperils various user fees, especially road use fees, imposed by counties and cities in South Carolina. Prior toRead Full Report

Friday, March 25, 2022 - 11:37am
This session of the General Assembly is getting closer to winding down. With only a couple of weeks left before crossover (bills moving from one chamber to the other), time is running out to get legislation passed. The House was on furlough, while the Senate spent most of the week debating an education spending bill.
 
Several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

User Fee Authorization – S. 984. S. 984 is in response to the June 30, 2021, SC Supreme Court decision in Burns v. Greenville County, which imperils various user fees, especially road use fees, imposed by counties and cities in South Carolina. Prior to this decision, user fees were analyzed under the Brown test that found a fee to be valid if:

  1. the revenue generated is used to the benefit of the payers, even if the general public also benefits;
  2. the revenue generated is used only for the specific improvement contemplated;
  3. the revenue generated by the fee does not exceed the cost of the improvement; and
  4. the fee is uniformly imposed on all the payers.
Under the newly imposed Burns test, fees must benefit fee payers differently than the general public regardless of the purpose of the fee or how it benefits the fee payer. S. 984 would legislatively reinstate the Brown test and allow the general public to benefit from a user fee provided the fee payer benefits andRead Full Report
Thursday, March 17, 2022 - 11:10am

The House expeditiously debated the budget on the floor Monday. The bill received a second reading Monday evening and a third reading Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, the Senate continued hearing budget requests from state agencies in subcommittees and began debate on several bills on the floor.

The User Fee Authorization bill, S. 984, has still not been set for a hearing. Please talk with your House and Senate members and stress to them the importance of getting this bill passed for counties to avoid dire economic consequences from the user fee lawsuits already filed against some the counties, as well as those that are likely to be filed in the future. Time is of the essence for this bill to be scheduled for a subcommittee hearing in order for it to have a chance to pass by the end of session.

Several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

Budget – H. 5150.

The House debated the budget on Monday and sent the bill to the Senate on Tuesday. As passed by the House, H. 5150 increased funding to the Local Government Fund (LGF) by $12,583,080 statewide. This represents full funding to the LGF under the statutory formula. The House also added an additional $2 million into the rural stabilization fund (discussed below), increasing the total amount of the fund to $12 million. The House also allocated $250 million in additional funds to County Transportation CommitteesRead Full Report

Pages