Friday Report - January 14, 2022

The General Assembly began the 2022 session this week. Because this is the second year of a two-year session, any bills that do not become law this year will have to be filed again in 2023. The House debated a reapportionment bill (S. 865), and the Ways and Means Committee began budget hearings with state and local government entities. The Senate immediately took up a Certificate of Need bill (S. 290) and members heard testimony on redistricting proposals. There was also some discussion in the General Assembly regarding the American Rescue Plan Act funds (ARPA) that will be discussed below. On an additional note, the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) issued its final rule on ARPA funds. Here is a link to the final rule as well as a summary from SCAC on the final rule and upcoming reporting deadlines for ARPA funds:

SCAC’s Mid-Year Conference, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 23, provides an excellent opportunity to meet with your legislators and discuss issues important to your county. See the detailed information regarding the conference and the Institute classes that follows the legislative items in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

SCAC Director of Governmental Affairs Kent Lesesne 
testified before a House Ways and Means subcommittee.
Local Government Fund – A Ways and Means subcommittee met on Tuesday to hear the budget requests for several state agencies as well as the Local Government Fund (LGF) for counties and municipalities. Under the new LGF formula that was agreed to in Act 84 of 2019, there would have been a 5 percent increase to the LGF base fund of $233.7 million for the 2020-2021 budget year for a total of about $245 million. However, due to the pandemic, the General Assembly did not pass a budget and instead operated under a continuing resolution based on the 2019-2020 budget. Moving forward to the 2021-2022 budget, the General Assembly kept their promise and not only fully funded the LGF, but they gave an increase of $17.92 million that provided all back funding for the 2020-2021 budget year. SCAC testified at the subcommittee and asked the General Assembly to once again fully fund the LGF in this year’s budget.
Senate Finance ARPA Subcommittee – The Senate Finance American Rescue Plan Act Subcommittee reconvened this week to discuss recommendations regarding the expenditure of a portion of the state’s ARPA funds. Phase one of the proposed Senate plan would provide over $453 million in funding to SCDOT as a reimbursement for lost revenue, $400 million to the State Broadband Office, and $900 million to the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). Under the proposed plan, the RIA would be directed to use approximately $800 million of the designated funds to establish three separate grant programs for water, wastewater, and stormwater projects to provide local governments with opportunities to build and update aging infrastructure across the state. The RIA would designate $100 million of its allotment for projects that are deemed significant to economic development. SCAC will provide additional details regarding the proposed Senate plan as the process moves forward over the coming weeks.
User Fees – S. 984. This legislation would authorize local governments to assess a service or user fee to the nonexclusive benefit of the payers as long as the revenue from the fee:
  • is used to the benefit of the payers, even if the general public also benefits;
  • is only used for the specific improvement contemplated;
  • does not exceed the cost of the improvement; and
  • is uniformly imposed on all payers.
S. 984 would take effect upon approval by the Governor and would apply retroactively to any service or user fee imposed after December 31, 1996. S. 984 was introduced and referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

County Government and Intergovernmental

State Health Facility Licensure Act (CON) – S. 290. As initially drafted, this bill overhauls the State Certification of Need and Health Facility Licensure Act by repealing the Certificate of Need (CON) provision. SCAC’s policy position is to support legislation that would reform the state’s CON to limit the appeals process, reduce the projects that require approval, and streamline the system. The bill was brought to the floor for debate this week by a special-order resolution. An amendment, sponsored by Sens. Goldfinch, Kimbrell, Climer, Malloy, and Alexander, providing that nursing homes must still obtain a CON from DHEC before undertaking certain health services was adopted. After much discussion, the debate was interrupted to allow further negotiations to take place before the Senate returns next week.
SC Handsfree Act – S. 248. This bill would enact the "South Carolina Hands-Free Act." More specifically, the bill would prohibit holding a device while driving to compose, read, or send any text-based communication, including text, email, instant message, internet data, or video. A Senate Transportation subcommittee adopted an amendment that increased the fine for the first offense from $100.00 to no more than $150.00. The fine for subsequent offenses remained no more than $300.00. The Department of Public Safety would still receive $25.00 of the $150.00 fine for the first offense and $75.00 of the $300.00 fine for a second or subsequent offense. These funds must be used to conduct public awareness campaigns and activities to educate the public on the hands-free requirements and the dangers of distracted driving. Further, the subcommittee removed the definition of "commercial motor vehicle" as unnecessary; cleaned up the definition of a mobile electric device; provided a "catch-all" definition for distracted driving; provided exceptions for certain activities like navigation; and provided that it is unlawful to hold or support an electronic device while driving. The subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report, as amended. It will be on the next full committee's agenda.
Reapportionment and Redistricting – S. 865. The House amended the Senate reapportionment bill S. 865 and after a lengthy floor debate, the bill was given third reading and sent back to the Senate with amendments. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Redistricting subcommittee took testimony on two redistricting congressional plans. No action was taken by the subcommittee.

Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation

Advanced Recycling – S. 525. This legislation pertains to Advanced Recycling and Advanced Recycling Facilities.
The version passed by the House includes:
  • A provision allowing DHEC to review/consider the environmental compliance history of an applicant or person who operates an Advanced Recycling Facility in making a determination to issue/reissue/deny/revoke/modify/suspend a permit or to prohibit the transfer of a permit.
  • A provision requiring an Advanced Recycling Facility to demonstrate adequate financial responsibility by establishing a cash trust fund under DHEC or a security bond must be issued for which DHEC is the sole beneficiary in an amount sufficient to meet all reasonable foreseeable costs of clean-up, environmental remediation, firefighting, contamination, etc.
  • A provision requiring DHEC to issue a report to the General Assembly two years after the Act’s effective date that includes an analysis of an Advanced Recycling Facility.
  • A provision that terminates the above sections of the Act on the fifth anniversary of the effective date of the Act or after DHEC completes five consecutive annual compliance reviews for such a facility with a finding that no violations or need for enforcement actions have occurred.
Last year, the Senate amended S. 525 to include a three-year sunset provision as well as language from a budget proviso requiring DHEC to submit regulations within 120 days of the effective day of the act regarding the management and disposal of solar panels. The House nonconcurred with the Senate amendments and the bill is headed to conference committee. The Senate conferees are Sens. Gambrell, Senn, and Garrett. The House conferees are Reps. Hiott, Burns, and Atkinson. No hearing dates have been set.

SCAC's Mid-Year Conference and Institute of Government Classes

SCAC's 2022 Mid-Year Conference will be held Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Columbia. You can access a copy of the registration brochure and conference agenda on the Association’s website. A legislative reception will be held from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the Palmetto Club. You are encouraged to invite your legislators to dinner while you are in Columbia.
The Institute of Government will be held in conjunction with the Mid-Year Conference on Thursday, February 24, and Friday, February 25. The specific schedule of course offerings is available on the association’s website. The Council Chairperson’s Workshop will be held on Thursday, February 24, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. and is open only to council chairs and vice chairs. It is offered free-of-charge, but registration is required. Should you or your council members need assistance determining which classes to take, please contact Ryan Tooley at (800) 922-6081 or at
The conference and Institute registration deadline is February 17. The deadline for making hotel reservations is February 3.


Newly-Introduced Legislation

View/Download Full Text for Newly-Introduced Legislation

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 and click on "Legislation," then "Introduced Legislation."

Senate Bills

S. 958 — Recognizes January 2022 as "Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month" in South Carolina.

S. 960 — Designates ambulance service as an essential service in South Carolina and requires that each county governing body ensures that at least one licensed ambulance service is operating within the county.

S. 962 — Provides guidelines for the records of county real property sales and removes county auditor fees.

S. 965 — Enacts the "Contraband Cell Phone Act".

S. 966 — Establishes election districts from which the members of the congressional districts are elected beginning with the 2022 General Election

S. 967 — Provides a penalty when a violator causes damage to property or causes great bodily injury or death relating to the operation of a motor vehicle that is approached by an authorized emergency vehicle.

S. 968 — Establishes the "Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund".

S. 981 — Establishes that rate, rule, and form filings submitted by a rating organization are subject to prior approval of the Department of Insurance.

S. 984 — Provides that a service or user fee must be used to the nonexclusive benefit of the payers.

S. 986 — Enacts the "Workforce Enhancement and Military Recognition Act".

S. 988 — Enacts the "Equal Protection for Unborn Babies Act".

S. 989 — Suspends Section 1-11-705(i)(2) for fiscal year 2021-2022 relating to a transfer of funds to the South Carolina Retiree Health Insurance Trust Fund.

House Bills

H. 4501 — Provides that 15 percent of a county's apportionment of "C" funds must be expended on certain rural roads.

H. 4504 — Provides that a watercraft trailer and a watercraft motor may not be taxed more than the maximum tax.

H. 4506 — Provides a property tax exemption for one-third of the value of any motorcycle.

H. 4507 — Provides that no state agency, department, institution, commission, board, or political subdivision, including a school district, may require that individuals wear a face mask.

H. 4508 — Provides that no state agency, department, institution, commission, board, or political subdivision, including a school district, may require that individuals receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

H. 4509 — Provides that DHEC may not expend funds on any mandatory enforcement, coercion, requirement, or guidance of face masks, COVID-19 testing, or COVID-19 vaccines.

H. 4510 — Provides that a municipality or a county that is the location of a carrier's principal place of business may not impose a license fee or license tax on certain certificate holders.

H. 4511 — Provides a property tax exemption for two private passenger vehicles owned or leased by any permanently and totally disabled former law enforcement officer or former firefighter.

H. 4516 — Provides an employer may not terminate an employee for declining to receive a COVID-19 vaccination if the employee received monoclonal therapy or previously has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and to provide remedies for violations.

H. 4517 — Enacts the "Racially Restrictive Covenant Removal Act".

H. 4524 — Authorizes a correctional officer to serve warrants issued by municipal jurisdictions within the same county on a person incarcerated in that county's jail or detention center without the necessity of a magistrate endorsing the warrant.

H. 4527 — Relates to the military retirement income deduction to remove certain limits.

H. 4530 — Prohibits flags and banners that intend to promote a social or political cause from being flown from public buildings.

H. 4541 — Provides for the treatment of pregnant and postpartum inmates.

H. 4542 — Provides that a law enforcement agency may not acquire or purchase certain military items.

H. 4545 — Establishes civil liability in certain circumstances for an entity that requires persons seeking admission on their premises to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

H. 4546 — Provides that Certificate of Need requirements are inapplicable to home health agencies.

H. 4547 — Provides that a governing body of a municipality, county, or other political subdivision of the state may not enact or enforce an ordinance, resolution, or regulation that prohibits the rental of a residential dwelling to a short-term guest.

H. 4549 — Exempts acute hospital care at home programs and services relating to Certificate of Need program exemptions.

H. 4550 — Creates a joint committee known as the "Restore Election Integrity Now" (REIN) committee to examine such issues related to election integrity.

H. 4551 — Creates a 2020 General Election Study Committee to examine and review the conduct and results of the 2020 General Election in South Carolina.

H. 4555 — Enacts the "Parental Bill of Rights Act".

H. 4558 — Adds that assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature occur when a person injures a health care worker or emergency response employee in discharge or because of their official duties.

H. 4559 — Revises the penalties for littering offenses relating to dumping of litter on private or public property.

H. 4560 — Enacts the "South Carolina Vaccination Rights Act of 2022".

H. 4561 — Prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from requiring a COVID-19 vaccination for first responders.

H. 4564 — Adds opioid treatment programs relating to institutions to which the Certificate of Need program does not apply.

H. 4565 — Enacts the "South Carolina Medical Privacy Act".

H. 4567 — Authorizes the use of investigational drugs or treatments for certain patients who contract an infection, illness, or other health condition caused by a declared epidemic or pandemic disease.

H. 4568 — Requires the disclosure of medical information to persons who may receive a chemically induced abortion, with exceptions.

H. 4581 — Prohibits an individual's credit score from being the basis of any personnel action.

H. 4591 — Allows spouses covered by a state plan to remain covered under the same state plan when they become eligible for coverage under the state plan due to their employment.

H. 4593 — Provides that the Criminal Justice Academy must require training on the proper use of tasers and continuing education courses on the proper use of tasers to certify law enforcement officers.

H. 4594 — Provides that a law enforcement officer may initiate a motor vehicle stop for a violation of certain offenses only where there is a simultaneously observed violation for another motor vehicle offense.

H. 4595 — Provides that all law enforcement agencies must employ or maintain a contract with a licensed mental health professional.

H. 4601 — Designates ambulance services as an essential service in South Carolina and requires that each county governing body ensures that at least one licensed ambulance service is operating within the county.

H. 4602 — Provides that records of all handguns confiscated by law enforcement agencies must be made available to the public and must trace the origins of the handguns.

H. 4607 — Enacts the "Keep Students in School Act".

H. 4610 — Provides that the scent of marijuana alone does not provide law enforcement with reasonable suspicion or probable cause to support a stop, search, seizure, or arrest.

H. 4620 — Clarifies circumstances under which a person is deemed to have changed his domicile for voting purposes and revises the factors used to determine a person's intention regarding his domicile.

H. 4621 — Requires county boards of voter registration and elections to date stamp all voter registration applications delivered by hand or by mail.

H. 4622 — Requires that county boards of voter registration and elections must furnish printed instructions relating to absentee ballot applicants providing proof of identity together with their signed oaths and return-addressed envelopes marked "return to sender" in the event the envelope is undeliverable.

H. 4763 — Stops certain social media censorship, provides penalties, and provides exceptions.

H. 4764 — Establishes civil liability in certain circumstances for an entity that requires persons seeking admission on their premises to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

H. 4767 — Provides that the governing body of any school district may not incur general obligation debt in an amount exceeding two percent of the assessed value of all taxable property of such school district in any one year unless authorized by a referendum.

H. 4769 — Repeals Sections 6-1-400, 6-1-410, and 6-1-420 relating to the business license tax.

H. 4770 — Requires DHEC to establish the COVID-19 at-home testing distribution program.

H. 4773 — Expands the purview of the offense of discharging firearms at or into dwellings, structures, enclosures, vehicles, or equipment to include schools, churches or places of worship, indoor or outdoor shopping areas or malls, movie theaters, parking lots, and any other public gathering.

H. 4774 — Provides that counties, municipalities, school districts, special purpose districts, public service districts, or other political subdivisions authorized by law to conduct referenda, ballot measures, or other election events at which a person is not elected to an office shall conduct the referenda, ballot measure, or other election events on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in each even-numbered year.

H. 4775 — Requires manufacturers of covered devices to offer an electronic waste recovery program.

H. 4777 — Provides inmates confined in state or local detention facilities must be allowed at least one in-person meeting each month and to define the term "in-person meeting".

Legislative Session: