Friday Report - Issue 16-19 - May 3, 2019
With only one week left in this legislative session, the House spent most of its time in committees this week trying to advance legislation to the floor. The Senate spent most of the week on the floor debating the potential sale of Santee Cooper. Per the Sine Die resolution (S. 785) passed by the Senate, the General Assembly will return on May 20th through May 22nd to deal with specific items such as vetoes, the budget and capital reserve fund bills (H. 4000 and H. 4001), any bills that are in conference committees, and legislation related to Santee Cooper.
Local Government Fund — H. 3137
H. 3137 encompasses SCAC’s policy position regarding the LGF. The bill was amended by the Senate Finance Committee to provide that if the State General Fund increases or decreases, then the LGF will increase or decrease by the same percentage up to 5 percent. The amendment also changed which revenue forecast the increase will be based on, changed the effective date, and made technical changes. H. 3137 has been pending second reading on the Senate calendar for a couple of weeks. If this bill is to pass, it is imperative that it be taken up by next Wednesday.
Please contact your Senator and ask that they support passing H. 3137 as amended by the Senate Finance Committee as soon as possible.
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.”
Other Legislative Action this Week
Penalty for Failing to Register Motor Vehicles — H. 3916. This bill increases the penalty for failing to register a motor vehicle from $100 to $500. This is an SCAC policy position. The current registration fee creates a disincentive to register because of a new $250 registration fee to register a vehicle when you move into the state. Increasing the penalty will remove that disincentive and help defray costs incurred by the county in enforcing this requirement. H. 3916 was recalled from the Senate Finance Committee and is pending second reading on the Senate calendar. Please contact your Senate member and ask that they support this bill.
Retiree’s Earning Limitation — H. 3620. This bill provides that a retiree from the State Retirement System or Police Officers Retirement System can return to work for a covered employer and be exempt from the $10,000 earnings limitation. The retiree must not have worked for a covered employer in any capacity, including as an independent contractor, for at least 12 months. H. 3620 also permits PEBA to audit participating employers to determine if an employer has retained a retiree as an independent contractor or any other classification of worker to perform services normally provided by a covered employee. If they make this determination, then the participating employer must pay the employer contribution for the worker to the retirement systems. A Senate Finance subcommittee amended the bill by extending the minimum wait period prior to returning to work to two years and gave the bill a favorable report.
Utility Relocation — S. 401. This bill provides circumstances under which a public entity undertaking a transportation improvement project must bear the costs related to relocating water and sewer lines. S. 401 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 also includes a seven-year sunset and yearly review of the program by the Legislative Oversight Committee. It also requires the utility to submit all documents necessary for inclusion into the transportation improvement project at least 180 days prior to the bidding of the project. The House gave S. 401 third reading and the bill has been sent to the Governor.
Plastic Recyclers — H. 4152. This bill exempts facilities that use pyrolysis and gasification to turn plastics into fuel from DHEC regulations under the Solid Waste Act. During testimony it was stated that these recyclers, once operating in South Carolina, will purchase plastic material from landfills or from haulers prior to its arrival in landfills. As a result of the process, 80 percent of the plastic will be turned into fuel and 10 percent will be a char material that would then be deposited back into landfills. The facilities are required to dispose of 75 percent of the char to maintain their exemption from the Solid Waste Act. H. 4152 received third reading in the House and was sent to the Senate.
Animal Shelters — S. 105. This bill, among other things, would require animal control officers to inspect animal shelters to ensure compliance with certain state standards established by the bill. These standards are mandatory for private shelters, but the bill provides that for publicly-operated shelters, the county or city may choose to adopt these state standards. This ensures that public shelters will not be regulated by a state agency, an SCAC policy position. After adopting an amendment dealing with the tethering of dogs, the House Judiciary Committee gave the bill a favorable report. The bill is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Professional Licenses — H. 3263 & S. 455. H. 3263 and S. 455 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. Both bills provide the Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (LLR) the discretion to determine whether the out-of-state license meets the requirements for this state. H. 3263 is broader and more generous than S. 455. Earlier this year, the House amended H. 3263 to exclude lawyers and educators; however, both lawyers and educators already have reciprocity systems in place through the SC Bar and the SC Department of Education. Last week, the Senate LCI Committee amended H. 3263 to reflect the Senate version of this policy (S. 455) and the bill is pending second reading on the Senate calendar. The House amended S. 455 to reflect its version of this policy (H. 3263) and gave the bill second reading.
Flat Recording Fees — H. 3243. Most documents recorded with the Register of Deeds (ROD) are subject to a fee schedule based on page count. This legislation changes the fee schedule to a flat fee based on the type of document. Eliminating page counting will result in increased efficiency in ROD offices. Most fees would fall into either a $25 or $10 fee. Deed recording fees would be $15, except for those related to time shares, which would be $10. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee gave H. 3243 a favorable report.
Municipal Millage — S. 227. This bill provides that a municipality without an operating millage on January 1, 2019, or a municipality that incorporates after January 1, 2019, may impose an operating millage. S. 227 was amended to “restrict” a first-time municipal millage imposition to 33 percent of the municipality’s previous year’s operating budget. If the municipality previously imposed a millage but repealed it, then it can re-impose the previous millage with retroactive increases subject to each year’s millage cap backdated to 2007 or since the previous millage was repealed, whichever is most recent. The House Ways and Means Committee gave S. 227 a favorable report and it is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Business License Tax — H. 4431. This bill, among other things, provides that “business taxable income” is defined as gross income for purposes of business license taxes. The bill also lays out numerous exemptions from the definition and charges the Secretary of State’s Office with creating a standardized business license class schedule. A House Labor, Commerce, and Industry subcommittee adjourned debate on H. 4431 so that all interested parties could get together this summer and work out a compromise.
Proceeds from Land Rentals and Wildlife Management — H. 3383. For purposes of the provisions relating to sharing the state forest land revenues with the counties, this bill excludes the proceeds from land rentals and wildlife management area payments from the proceeds to be shared with the counties. The revenue shared with counties must be spent for general school purposes. H. 3383 was given a favorable report as amended by the Senate Fish, Game, and Forestry Committee and is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.
Marriage Licenses — S. 196. Both bills repeal the “pregnancy exception” statute that allows probate judges to issue marriage licenses to pregnant minors or minors who have given birth. By repealing this code section, only minors of the age of 16 can marry so long as parental consent is given. S. 196 received a favorable report from the House Judiciary Committee. The bill is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Birth Certificates — S. 21. This bill amends the procedures for changing a birth certificate once a court determination is made to establish who the legal father of a child is. The clerk of court is to report the court order determining the legal father to the registrar of the Division of Vital Statistics so that the registrar can modify the birth certificate. The House Judiciary Committee gave S. 21 a favorable report as amended. The bill is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Call for 2019-2020 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 on the SCAC website at SCCounties.org. Completed forms must be submitted to SCAC no later than Friday, May 24. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCAC’s Annual Conference and Institute of Government Classes
Registration for SCAC's 52nd Annual Conference (Aug. 4-7, 2019) and Institute of Government classes (Aug. 3-4, 2019) is now open. Visit the Association’s website at SCCounties.org for more information and to register.
Call for Entries — J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Memorial Awards
SCAC is currently accepting applications for the 2019 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 21. Applicants who meet the deadline and all requirements will be scheduled to present their projects during the awards competition on Sunday, August 4, at SCAC's 52nd Annual Conference.
To access the rules and requirements, frequently asked questions, and examples of previous projects, please visit the Association's website at 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 email@example.com.
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. 800 — Adjusts South Carolina’s individual campaign contribution limits by linking them to the current federal campaign contribution limit.
H. 4516 — Prohibits a county from enacting or enforcing an ordinance, resolution, or regulation that prohibits the rental of a residential dwelling to a short-term guest.
H. 4532 — Includes the sales of services as being taxable under this state’s sales tax; reduces the sales and use tax rate from 5 percent to 3 percent; and repeals Article 11, Chapter 36, Title 12 relating to the additional 1 percent sales and use tax.