Friday Report - April 1, 2021
In observance of Good Friday, the Friday Report is being sent out today. The House was on furlough this week, while the Senate met on Tuesday and Wednesday. Next week is crossover, which means bills that do not pass from one chamber to the other by April 10th will likely not pass this session. The Senate moved several bills of interest that will be discussed below.
Revenue, Finance, and Economic Development
Community Development Credits – S. 436. This bill would raise the cap on the community development tax credits, which are issued on a first-come first-served basis. A Senate Finance subcommittee amended S. 436 with a strike and insert amendment to change the cap to $9 million, allowing for $1 million in total tax credits for tax year 2021, and $2 million for 2022. The full committee also adopted the amendment and S. 436 is now on the Senate calendar.
Rental Assistance – H. 3770. This bill would provide procedures for disbursing the federal funds under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program by creating the South Carolina Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This program would be administered by the South Carolina State Housing Financing and Development Authority. Funds would be disbursed in accordance with the procedures in Section 2(A) of Act 135 of 2020. The bill was given third reading in the Senate and returned to the House.
Return to Work Within School System – S. 704. This bill would provide for a return to five-day in-person classroom instruction. It would also suspend the earnings limitation for SC Retirement System members who return to covered employment in the K-12 public education system to participate in the state’s public health response to the COVID-19 virus. This week the bill received a second and a third reading in the Senate and has moved to the House.
Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation
Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Sunset Extension – H. 4035. This legislation would extend the sunset on the South Carolina Manufacturer Responsibility and Consumer Convenience Information Technology Equipment Collection and Recovery Act and applicable regulations until December 31, 2023. This is an SCAC policy position. The bill would allow a stakeholder working group, including SCAC staff, to continue pursuing efforts to reform the current program and to alleviate the financial burden faced by many counties in storing e-waste. H. 4035 received a favorable report from a Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources subcommittee and will be sent to the full committee.
Billboard Relocations Involving Highway Projects – S. 667. This bill would provide options and parameters to adjust or relocate outdoor advertising signs due to highway projects in order to restore visibility and would provide for the costs of adjustment or relocation. An owner of a conforming outdoor advertising sign, whose property interests in the sign are acquired by a state or local highway project along an interstate or federal-aid primary routes would have the option to relocate the sign within 500 feet of original site under certain circumstances. Alteration or relocation costs would be capped at $ five million and would be paid by the SC Department of Transportation or the political subdivision that is responsible for the highway project. S. 667 received a third reading this week in the Senate and was sent to the House.
Golf Cart Ordinance – S. 296. This legislation would allow a municipality of a certain size and population to enact an ordinance allowing for the operation of golf carts during non-daylight hours. The golf carts must be equipped with working headlights and rear lights. The bill is targeted specifically for the municipality of Tega Cay. S. 296 received a second reading this week in the Senate.
County Government and Intergovernmental
COVID-19 Vaccinations – S. 177. This legislation would prohibit businesses from firing employees if they do not receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The bill was amended by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee to provide an exception that would remove this protection for individuals that work in a healthcare setting or with vulnerable populations that are age 65 or older. S. 177 received a favorable report, as amended, and will be pending on the Senate calendar next week.
Medical Marijuana – S. 150. S. 150 would enact the “SC Compassionate Care Act” that would create a regulated medical cannabis program to allow individuals with serious illnesses to use and access medical cannabis when recommended by a physician. This complex bill outlines qualifications for the program, outlines limitations on the uses of medical cannabis, and provides legal protections and safeguards. The legislation also provides that localities may regulate the locations, hours, and number of medical cannabis businesses but may not completely prohibit dispensaries from operating. S. 150 received a favorable report, as amended, from the Senate Medical Affairs Committee and will be pending on the Senate calendar next week.
State Election Commission Restructuring – S. 499. This legislation would allow the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to intervene on behalf of their respective bodies in a court action challenging the validity of an election law or policy, or the manner in which an election was conducted. It would also restructure the State Election Commission to be composed of five members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Commission would appoint an executive director upon the advice and consent of the Senate. The Senate made some technical changes to S. 499 and gave it a second reading.
Municipal Elections – S. 236. For purposes of municipal elections only, this bill would allow a municipality to pool one or more voting precincts and thereby increase the number of registered voters required for a voting precinct to have its own polling location from 500 to 3,000. The Senate amended the bill to reduce the cap on registered voters from 3,000 to 1,500 and gave the bill a favorable report. S. 236 is pending third reading on the Senate calendar.
Voter Information to Discharged Inmates – S. 351. This bill would provide that if a person who has been convicted of a felony or offenses against the election laws has completed his sentence, including probation, parole, and the payment of court-ordered restitution, then the Department of Corrections must provide a written notice that contains the contact information of the voter registration board in his or her county of residence and other information regarding voter registration. The Senate gave the bill a second reading this week.
Note: If you would like to offer comments to the SCAC staff, please call us toll-free at 1-800-922-6081, fax to (803) 252-0379, or send an email. You can also go to www.scstatehouse.gov and click on "Legislation," then "Introduced Legislation."
S. 710 — Allows a municipality without an operating millage on January 1, 2021, or a municipality that incorporates after January 1, 2021, to impose an operating millage.
S. 713 — Authorizes a county that has collected less than $150,000 in state accommodation taxes in the last two fiscal years prior to a referendum to impose an education capital improvements sales and use tax.
S. 722 — Provides for a joint resolution that reiterates the General Assembly’s expectation that the Greenville Health Authority Board of Trustees will supervise the lessee’s compliance with the duties laid out in the Master Affiliation Agreement and the Lease and Contribution Agreement in Act 274.