Friday Report - February 28, 2020

There was not a lot of legislative activity as the General Assembly continues to be bogged down with the education reform bill (S. 419) and Santee Cooper. One hundred of the more than 200 amendments to S. 419 were withdrawn. Hopefully since cloture has been invoked on the bill and no more amendments can be added, this will allow the Senate to finish up the bill soon. The House Ways and Means Ad Hoc Committee and the Senate Finance Committee both heard testimony on Santee Cooper. The House Ways and Means Ad Hoc Committee will be taking public testimony on Santee Cooper on Monday and the Senate Finance Committee will be taking testimony from Santee Cooper on Tuesday.

Revenue, Finance, and Economic Development

Business License Tax – H. 4431The House took up H. 4431 and passed it. Class schedules would now be “recommended” by the Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) and then “adopted” by the Director of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office in the new language. The bill also allows the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office to contract with software providers and payment processors to implement a payment portal. Overall, the bill provides for standardization, including license forms, renewal dates, and the appeals procedure. The bill also bases a business license tax on a business’s gross income and further defines “gross income.” The original bill language would have based a business license tax on a business’s net income. This change should ensure that the bill will be revenue neutral. H. 4431 is pending in the Senate Finance Committee.  

Professional Licenses – S. 455. Both S. 455 and H. 3263 were considered in 2019, and both would allow military members and their spouses who hold a professional license in another state to have reciprocity to practice their profession while stationed in this state. This is an SCAC policy position. The Conference Committee on S. 455 agreed on language that essentially adopts the House version. The Conference report was adopted in the Senate. The House will probably take up the conference report next week.

Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial

Noncertified Law Enforcement Officers – H. 5109. This bill would provide that during the first year of his or her employment, a noncertified law enforcement officer may not perform official duties unless accompanied by a certified law enforcement officer. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report. The bill should be on the next full committee agenda.

Time Served Calculations – H. 5112. This bill provides that a prisoner may be given full credit against a sentence for time served under GPS monitoring. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report. The bill should be on the next full committee agenda.

Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation

Local Planning Definitions – H. 4598. This bill would allow land surveys which meet existing state surveying standards to be filed directly with the register of deeds, register or mesne conveyances, clerk of court, or other offices housing such documents without any prior review, comment, or approval by a county. A House Judiciary subcommittee heard mixed testimony on this bill for over an hour and voted to carry the bill over while the interested parties attempt to resolve issues. SCAC does not currently have a position on this bill as SCAC has received mixed feedback. Please contact your House member if you have concerns about this bill.

County Government and Intergovernmental

Absentee Ballots — S. 867. S. 867 would allow poll workers to open and scan absentee ballots beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the day preceding an election, an SCAC policy position. Currently, they can only begin this process at 9:00 a.m. on Election Day. The absentee ballots would not be tabulated until the polls close on Election Day. The Senate adopted an amendment to address the problem of not having a procedure to process a challenge to an in-person absentee ballot as a result of the new paper-based voting system and gave the bill second reading. The bill passed the Senate and was sent to the House Judiciary Committee. After several concerns were raised during testimony, the House Judiciary Election subcommittee adjourned debate on the bill to do more research.

Newly-Introduced Legislation

View/Download Full Text for Newly-Introduced Legislation

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Senate Bills

S. 1136 – Enacts the “Second Amendment Protection Act.”

House Bills

H. 5288 – Provides that a person is not allowed to vote in a partisan primary election or a partisan advisory referendum unless the person has registered as being a member of that party or is registered as an independent.

H. 5306 – Provides that when real property being valued, assessed, and taxed as agricultural use is changed to another use, any new residence or structure built on that property is subject to the same setback as adjacent real property at the time a construction permit is issued.

H. 5317 – Enacts the “Second Amendment Protection Act.”

Legislative Session: