Friday Report - January 15, 2021
The General Assembly began session this week and focused on organization and rule changes. The Senate passed a rule that makes the budget more transparent so that special fund projects are not hidden within the budget. They also amended their rule on cloture, which makes it less likely that the Senate will be bogged down with filibusters. The House amended its rules to allow committees to meet virtually or through alternate means in the event of extraordinary circumstances such as a pandemic. Both chambers will meet mostly in perfunctory session next week and will instead conduct committee meetings.
Revenue, Finance, and Economic Development
State Health Plan
The PEBA Executive Director testified before the Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee this week and indicated there will be a .6 percent increase in premiums to the State Health Plan. While the specifics of this increase were not discussed, it is likely to be paid by counties and other employers under the State Health Plan.
Retiree Health Insurance Fund – H. 3481. This joint resolution suspends the statutory transfer of funds from the operating account for the state's employee health insurance program to the South Carolina Retiree Health Insurance Trust Fund for fiscal year 2020-2021. H. 3481 received third reading in the House and has been sent to the Senate.
Santee Cooper – H. 3194. This bill will authorize the sale or reorganization of Santee Cooper. The bill is pending second reading on the House floor.
County Government and Intergovernmental Relations
COVID-19 Vaccinations – H. 3602. This joint resolution is an effort to boost the low rate of COVID-19 vaccination administration by temporarily authorizing certain qualified health care workers to administer certain approved COVID-19 vaccinations. H. 3602 was recalled from the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee and is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Other Items of Interest
Impact Fee Litigation
On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the homebuilding industry's litigation trying to overturn York County's ability to impose development impact fees in fast growing areas of the county. The homebuilders argued that the state impact fee statute is unconstitutionally vague because it doesn't provide a cap on the fees, and that the county ordinance is an unconstitutional taking of property. The circuit court rejected both arguments in January 2020. The court's questions to both sides focused heavily on the county ordinance, and the economic studies used as a basis for determining the appropriate impact fee. SCAC staff expects the court to issue an opinion by early summer.
Mid-Year Conference and Institute of Government Classes
Due to the COVID-19 health pandemic, SCAC has cancelled the Mid-Year Conference and Institute of Government classes scheduled Feb. 10-12, 2021. An important part of this conference is the legislative briefing and Statehouse visits. In light of the pandemic, the vast majority of House and Senate subcommittee and committee meetings will be conducted virtually. The legislative session will be held in the respective chambers, however, there will be very limited interaction with the public in the lobby. In addition to the weekly Friday Reports, SCAC is planning to host a virtual legislative briefing later this session to update county officials on pertinent legislation that is progressing.
The Association will offer the following Institute of Government (Institute) classes online later in the spring: Managing and Conducting Meetings (Level I Elective) and The Policy Role of Council (Level II). More detailed information regarding how and when to access these courses will be shared in the coming months. SCAC is planning to offer ten Institute classes in conjunction with the annual conference in Hilton Head on Friday, July 30 – Sunday, August 1, 2021. The goal is to offer these classes in-person with social distancing measures in place. To access the list of Institute classes that will be offered, visit SCAC’s website.
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. 418 — Addresses the low rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in South Carolina by temporarily authorizing certain qualified health care workers to administer COVID-19 vaccinations approved by the Food and Drug Administration, regardless of whether the health care workers are otherwise prohibited from doing so under any professional scope of practice or unauthorized practice provision of law in this state.
S. 419 — Addresses the low rate of administration of COVID-19 vaccinations in South Carolina by directing DHEC to temporarily authorize certain qualified health care workers to administer certain approved COVID-19 vaccinations regardless of whether the health care workers are otherwise prohibited from doing so under any professional scope of practice or unauthorized practice provision of law in this state.
S. 420 — Requires the disclosure of adjacent property utilized for agricultural purposes as it relates to disclosure statements required for real property transactions.
S. 421 — Reduces the lookback period from three years to two years for determining whether there is an 'on' indicator for this state as it relates to the payment of extended unemployment security benefits when federally funded.
S. 423 — Authorizes the governing body of a county to adopt by ordinance a requirement that a residential or commercial property owner shall keep a lot or other property clean and free of rubbish.
S. 424 — Eliminates the fee relating to the issuance of a special license plate for a retired member of the United States Armed Forces.
S. 426 — Provides that temporary licenses issued during a state of emergency expire 30 days after the expiration of the state of emergency or, if the Governor issues a series of states of emergency, 30 days after the expiration of the last state of emergency and allows the Governor to extend the time period for the expiration of a temporary license for an additional 30 days if the circumstances warrant an extension.
S. 432 — Allows for contributions for defense costs for the same claim, suit, or action among more than one liability insurer.
S. 436 — Deletes an aggregate credit provision and sets an annual limit as it relates to community development tax credits.
S. 437 — Defines the term "mass transit system" as it relates to sales and use taxes or tolls as revenue for transportation systems.
S. 438 — Allows a political subdivision to install and maintain commercial advertisement benches.
S. 439 — Provides that the public service authority must divest itself of all electric generation assets by January 1, 2025, and transfers operational control of all transmission assets to a regional transmission organization.
S. 442 — Provides weight limitations for vehicles for which the biennial registration fee is $160 or more.
S. 443 — Allows for the issuance of bonds to defray the cost of infrastructure for certain economic development projects.
S. 444 — Authorizes the sale of the assets of the South Carolina Public Service Authority and the assumption or defeasment of its liabilities or the management of the operations of the Public Service Authority by a third party or entity.
S. 445 — Requires certain individuals in the state of South Carolina to wear face coverings in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
S. 456 — Provides that an agency authorized to request a state fingerprint background check may request a federal fingerprint background check and provides that SLED, upon request, may submit the fingerprints collected by agencies and information related to those prints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Next Generation Identification Program.
S. 459 — Enacts the "Military Temporary Remote School Enrollment Act".
S. 460 — Revises the duties of resident fire marshals, and who may exercise these duties.
S. 461 — Enacts the "South Carolina Pay for Success Performance Accountability Act".
S. 462 — Provides for advanced state constables, their duties, and related provisions.
S. 463 — Deletes Section 2.b. of Act 134 of 2016, relating to the expiration of tax credits for the purchase of geothermal machinery and equipment.
S. 464 — Provides that a member of the board of directors of the public service authority shall not be appointed for more than two unexpired consecutive terms.
S. 466 — Adopts revised code volumes 1a and 14a of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, to the extent of their contents, as the only general permanent statutory law of the state as of January 1, 2021.
S. 468 — Provides that, for purposes of a determination of whether the state is in an extended benefit period beginning on November 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021, provisions relating to the stipulation that no extended benefit period may begin before the 14th week following the end of a prior extended benefit period shall not apply.
H. 3585 — Provides the procedure for an insurer to cancel, non-renew, or terminate all or substantially all of an entire line or class of business.
H. 3586 — Establishes the fraud division within the Department of Insurance.
H. 3587 — Prohibits an insurer from treating a correction of a typographical or scrivener's error as a reduction in coverage.
H. 3594 — Provides an income tax credit for a qualified taxpayer in a qualified county equal to 100 percent of the property taxes paid by the taxpayer on his legal residence.
H. 3595 — Provides that a member may return to employment without regard to earnings, without affecting the monthly retirement allowance the member is receiving from the system if the member has not been engaged to perform services for a participating employer in any system provided for by law for compensation in any capacity for a period of at least 12 consecutive months subsequent to retirement.
H. 3596 — Prohibits the surveillance of farmland, timberland, fields, or other certain land by a state or local law enforcement agency through the use of surveillance equipment without first obtaining a warrant or the property owner's permission.
H. 3597 — Enacts the "South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act".
H. 3598 — Establishes the "Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund" to help offset the costs incurred by South Carolina chapters of congressionally-chartered veterans service organizations in providing honor guard burial details at the funerals of qualifying South Carolina military veterans.
H. 3600 — Defines the term "utility terrain vehicle" and provides for the registration and operation of them on the highways and streets of the state.
H. 3601 — Provides that the owner of a dam which fails or failed on or after October 1, 2015, which has a public road or highway in the state highway system running across the top of it, must provide written notification to the State Department of Transportation and DHEC indicating whether or not the owner intends to repair the dam and the date by which the repairs are anticipated to be completed.
H. 3602 — Addresses the low rate of administration of COVID-19 vaccinations in South Carolina by directing DHEC to temporarily authorize certain qualified health care workers to administer certain approved COVID-19 vaccinations regardless of whether the health care workers are otherwise prohibited from doing so under any professional scope of practice or unauthorized practice provision of law in this state.
H. 3603 — Addresses the low rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in South Carolina by temporarily authorizing certain qualified health care workers to administer COVID-19 vaccinations approved by the Food and Drug administration, regardless of whether the health care workers are otherwise prohibited from doing so under any professional scope of practice or unauthorized practice provision of law in this state.
H. 3604 — Provides employees may use up to three days of earned paid sick leave for certain chronic illnesses or health conditions without obtaining health care provider certification.
H. 3606 — Exempts certain improvements made to residential property from building permit requirements.
H. 3607 — Allows for the issuance of bonds to defray the cost of infrastructure for certain economic development projects.
H. 3611 — Establishes the Workforce and Education Data Oversight committee.
H. 3615 — Allows the governing body of a county to suspend the limitation on millage increases for the purpose of supporting a fire protection district.
H. 3617 — Establishes early voting procedures.
H. 3619 — Adds Chapter 32 to Title 17 so as to entitle the chapter "Criminal Asset Forfeiture".
H. 3620 — Adds Article 22 to Chapter 3, Title 16 so as to entitle the article "Penalty Enhancements for Certain Crimes".
H. 3621 — Creates the offense of coercive control over another person.
H. 3622 — Removes the existing FOIA exemption for members of the General Assembly and their immediate staff.
H. 3623 — Reduces the percentage of time an inmate who has committed a "no parole offense" must serve before he may become eligible for early release, discharge, or community supervision from 85 percent to 65 percent for certain drug offenses.
H. 3624 — Enacts the "Drug Court Program Act".
H. 3625 — Deletes the owner occupant's spouse from the definition of "a member of my household", and provides that the owner occupant must provide a South Carolina driver's license and a social security card or passport to qualify for the special 4 percent assessment ratio.
H. 3665 — Prohibits the deletion or destruction of data from a body-worn camera with the intent to alter or influence a criminal action, criminal investigation, internal police investigation, civil action, or potential civil action if notice is provided by the adverse party, or if litigation is reasonably anticipated.
H. 3666 — Provides the circumstances upon which a law enforcement officer is guilty of perjury and provides a penalty.
H. 3667 — Provides that a law enforcement agency that serves a community with a relatively high concentration of minority residents shall make efforts to recruit, retain, and promote minority law enforcement officers so that the racial and ethnic diversity of the agency is representative of the community.
H. 3668 — Provides a local governmental body shall establish a law enforcement civilian review board and provide for its responsibilities.
H. 3669 — Provides that certain disabled veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States are exempt from property taxes in the year in which the disability occurs.
H. 3670 — Adopts "The Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote".
H. 3671 — Proposes an amendment to Section 6, Article X of the Constitution of South Carolina, 1895, relating to property tax and the method of valuation of real property and the limits on increases in the value of real property for purposes of the property tax, so as to require the General Assembly to provide by law a definition of "fair market value" for real property for purposes of the property tax, to eliminate the 15 percent limit on increases in the value of real property over five years and to eliminate an assessable transfer of interest as an event that may change the value of the real property.
H. 3672 — Decriminalizes possession of 28 grams or one ounce or less of marijuana or 10 grams or less of hashish and authorizes law enforcement to issue a civil citation for possession of that same quantity of marijuana or hashish.
H. 3673 — Provides that an electrical utility operating in this state shall bury all of its new electrical power transmission lines installed within the boundaries of a municipality in this state beginning January 2, 2022, and shall bury all of its existing electrical power transmission lines located within the boundaries of a municipality in this state according to a graduated schedule before January 1, 2027.
H. 3674 — Restores the former method of overriding the annual cap on millage increases by a positive majority of the appropriate governing body and deleting the super majority requirement for overriding the cap for specific circumstances.
H. 3675 — Provides a base state minimum wage of $17 per hour effective January 1, 2022.
H. 3677 — Provides that it is unlawful for a person to operate a motor vehicle while using a cellular telephone, pager, personal digital assistant device, or another wireless communications device that is not equipped with a hands-free mechanism.
H. 3681 — Provides that political subdivisions of this state may not enact any laws, ordinances, or rules pertaining to ingredients, flavors, or licensing of cigarettes, electronic smoking devices, e-liquid, vapor products, tobacco products, or alternative nicotine products.
H. 3683 — Enacts the "South Carolina Ratepayer Protection Act of 2021".
H. 3686 — Enacts the "Student Loan Bill of Rights Act".
H. 3687 — Provides it is unlawful for a law enforcement officer or paramedic to inject ketamine into a criminal suspect as a means to incapacitate him.
H. 3689 — Provides that if a commercial motor vehicle is registered through the international registration plan and is operated under a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number assigned to a person other than the vehicle's owner, then the person to whom the USDOT number is assigned may register the commercial motor vehicle by submitting the appropriate application and fees to the department of motor vehicles.
H. 3690 — Proposes an amendment to Section 7, Article XVII of the Constitution of South Carolina, 1895, relating to lotteries, so as to provide that proceeds in the education lottery account may be used only for higher education tuition assistance and scholarships.
H. 3691 — Adopts revised code volumes 1A and 14A of the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, to the extent of their contents, as the only general permanent statutory law of the state as of January 1, 2021.
H. 3695 — Provides that the Governor, in an emergency proclamation or declaration, may not prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages before 12:00 a.m. by holders of certain types of licenses.
H. 3697 — Extends the provisions relating to the authorized provision of medications by unlicensed persons in community residential facilities to correctional facilities.
H. 3698 — Provides liability protections for a limited time period for health care providers and businesses that follow public health guidance in response to the Coronavirus public health emergency.