Friday Report - Issue 17-19 - May 13, 2019
The General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on Thursday pursuant to the Sine Die resolution (S. 785). The resolution states that they 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. SCAC had a very successful year with several legislative priorities passed or positioned for early passage next year, this being the first year of a two-year session. No bills that SCAC opposed passed this year.
Local Government Fund — H. 3137
H. 3137, which encompasses SCAC’s policy position regarding the LGF, was sent to conference committee. The main difference between the House and Senate versions is the revenue forecast on which the funding amount is based. The Senate version bases the funding amount on the February 15 forecast while the House version bases it on the April 10 forecast. There is also a provision unrelated to the LGF dealing with gubernatorial appointments that will have to be addressed by the conference committee. The conference committee members are Reps. Bannister, Cobb-Hunter, and Finlay and Senators Cromer, Corbin, and Scott.
Please contact your Senate and House members and thank them for getting this important legislation through both bodies and referred to a conference committee. Please ask that they support its final passage this year.
State Budget and Capital Reserve Fund — H. 4000 & H. 4001
The Senate version of the budget provides $9,511,285 in additional funding to the LGF. The House-passed version of the budget includes $11.1 million in additional funding to the LGF over last year’s funding amount. The $1.6 million difference between the two was allocated by the Senate to fund a coroner’s mandate to establish county-level child fatality review committees. Attached is a chart showing the county-by-county breakdown of what counties would receive under each proposal. Other differences between the House and Senate versions are funding for judicial pay raises, decoupling Masters-in-Equity salaries, $500,000 for PTSD treatment for first responders, and various provisos. SCAC will provide a final budget update when it is completed. The budget conference committee members are Senators Leatherman, Jackson, and Bennett and Reps. Murrell Smith, Rutherford, and Simrill.
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 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. The Senate concurred in the House amendment and H. 3916 is enrolled for ratification. Please contact your Senate and House member and thank them for passing this SCAC policy position.
Animal Shelters — S. 105. This bill as introduced would require animal control officers to inspect animal shelters to ensure compliance with certain state standards established by the bill, among other things. 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. The House amended the bill to remove the shelter standards and inspection provisions as well as the tethering provisions. The Senate concurred in the House amendment and S. 105 is enrolled for ratification. Please thank your House and Senate members for supporting SCAC’s policy position to protect counties’ Home Rule authority over their animal shelters.
Poll Worker Residency — H. 3035. This bill would allow a poll worker to serve anywhere in the state as long as they are a resident of the state and registered to vote in the state. This is a position SCAC has supported for years. The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill to require the clerk of the polling precinct to be a resident of the county or the adjacent county they are serving in. H. 3035 is enrolled for ratification.
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, which SCAC has supported for years. 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. Before second reading in the Senate last week, the bill was amended to clarify certain language and to lower the recording fees to amounts that are less than what is currently charged. However, Senator Hutto amended the bill on third reading to restore the fees to the bill’s original amounts. Please thank Senator Hutto for amending the bill so that it would not negatively impact the counties’ general funds. The House concurred in the Senate amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.
Telecommunications Devices in Jails — S. 156. This bill prohibits the introduction or possession of a telecommunication device, such as a cell phone, in a jail or prison facility unless authorized by the facility. This offense would be a misdemeanor with a mandatory sentence of no more than three years. SCAC has an official policy position supporting this bill. The bill was amended to allow an exception for vehicles on the premises of a jail or prison absent any intent to violate the provisions of this bill. S. 156 is on the House Calendar positioned well for early passage next year.
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 S.C. Bar and the S.C. Department of Education. H. 3263 failed to receive second and third readings by Sine Die and the House failed to appoint conferees to the conference committee on S. 455, meaning these bills are carried over to next year. S. 455, in particular, is very close to passing and should be finalized early next year.
Statewide 911 System — H. 3586. This bill charges the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office with creating, updating, and implementing a statewide 911 system. The system must be developed and updated with recommendations from a South Carolina 911 Advisory Committee. A county administrator recommended by SCAC will be a member of the 911 Advisory Committee. H. 3586 is enrolled for ratification.
Sheriff Qualifications — H. 3951. This bill, as amended by the House, would impose additional qualifications on sheriffs and sheriff candidates such as having previous experience as a Class 1 law enforcement officer and being eligible to obtain a Class 1 certification upon taking office. Sheriffs and sheriff candidates must also not have pled guilty to or been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude. These new qualifications would not apply to sheriffs currently in office. The Senate concurred in the House amendment and enrolled the bill for ratification.
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 is enrolled for ratification.
Marriage Licenses — S. 196. This bill repeals 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 has been ratified.
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. S. 21 is enrolled for ratification.
Annexation — H. 3661. H. 3661 expands the definition of “contiguous” to allow a municipality that is located entirely within the borders of a special purpose district to annex an unincorporated area within the special purpose district that would be adjacent to the municipality and share a continuous border but for an intervening break in the contiguity of the area of the special purpose district. This appears to only apply to the Town of James Island. H. 3661 passed the House and is in the Senate.
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.
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. 833 — Provides that land surveys, which meet existing state surveying standards, must be filed directly with the register of deeds, register or mesne conveyances, clerk of court, or other offices housing such documents.
S. 835 — Establishes certain stormwater and sediment reduction permit requirements for an all-terrain vehicle park.
H. 4563 — Devolves the responsibility for registering sex offenders from a sheriff to the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.
H. 4564 — Provides that certain private passenger vehicles owned or leased either solely or jointly by any disabled veteran are exempt from property taxes.
H. 4593 — Provides that a municipality that provides water service or water and sewer service to customers both within and without its corporate boundaries may not require or demand a nonmunicipal resident's permission or consent to annexation by the municipality.
H. 4595 — Prohibits a public official, public member, or public employee from receiving travel, reimbursement for travel, or anything of value from a bidder on a governmental contract under certain circumstances.
H. 4597 — Provides that if a county hospitality fee was imposed or adopted as of December 31, 1996, then the county may continue to impose that fee.
H. 4598 — Provides that land surveys, which meet existing state surveying standards, must be filed directly with the register of deeds, register or mesne conveyances, clerk of court, or other offices housing such documents.
(R46) S. 196. Repeals § 20-1-300 which allows a marriage license to be issued to an unmarried female and male under the age of 18 when the female is pregnant or has a child.
(R48) S. 310. Provides that cigarettes found at any point within the state without stamps are considered contraband in certain circumstances.
(R49) S. 401. Provides that an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project bears the costs related to relocating water and sewer lines.
(R52) S. 530. Updates the “South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code.”
(R59) H. 3699. Provides that DHEC shall defer to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in determining the permissible size of a private recreational dock being constructed on the Intracoastal Waterway.