Friday Report - March 10, 2023

This week in the General Assembly, the House spent time on the floor debating and passing the Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act (H. 3014). The House will begin debate on the budget bill (H. 4300) on Monday. The Senate debated another education bill (S. 285) that would give tax credits to scholarship funding organizations that provide grants for students to attend independent schools to include religious and private schools. Bills of interest are discussed below: 

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

License and Registration Fees for New SC Residents – S. 208. This legislation would allow a county to impose, upon conducting a successful referendum, an additional driver's license fee of $250 and an additional motor vehicle licensing and registration fee of $250 on residents who move to South Carolina. The referendum may be initiated either by an ordinance or by a petition calling for a referendum signed by at least 5 percent of the resident electors of the county. The county council must transmit the ordinance or petition calling for the referendum to the county election commission.

Upon receipt of the ordinance or the petition from county council, the county election commission shall conduct the referendum on the question of imposing an additional driver's license and motor vehicle licensing and registration fees that must be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in any year. Two weeks before the referendum, the election commission shall publish in a newspaper of general circulation the question that is to appear on the ballot. This notice would be in lieu of any other notice otherwise required by law. The referendum must be held at the time of the General Election. The Senate discussed a proposed amendment to limit the additional fees to only an additional driver’s license fee of $250, thereby removing the $250 licensing and registration fee. The bill was then objected to, moving it to the contested calendar.

Education and Workforce Development – H. 3726. This bill would enact the “Statewide Education and Workforce Development Act,” which is a work product of the House Economic Development & Utility Modernization Ad-Hoc Committee to streamline the state’s workforce development efforts through the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW).

The bill would:

  • Establish, within DEW, the Office of Statewide Workforce Development Coordination (OSWD) and the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development (previously under the Department of Commerce); 
  • Require the OSWD to establish 10-year goals to reduce unemployment and increase the number of South Carolinians with high-quality or post-secondary degrees;
  • Require all state and local government agencies, non-profit groups, and quasi-governmental groups that receive state funds or are authorized to expend federal funds, to provide information requested by the OSWD prior to the Comptroller General approving the release of such funds;
  • Ensure proper reporting of any activities that may be workforce development related and require these groups to prepare an annual report detailing anticipated workforce development related projects by August 1; and
  • Require the submission of a comprehensive report by the OSWD annually by October 1 to the General Assembly detailing the findings and listing all state and local governmental entities that failed to comply with the reporting requisites. 

The House gave H. 3726 second and third readings this week and sent the bill to the Senate.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Authorizations – S. 604. This bill would authorize the expenditure of over $586 million in federal funds disbursed to South Carolina in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and to specify the manner in which the funds may be expended. Under the bill, the money would be appropriated to the Rural Infrastructure Authority ARPA Water and Sewer Infrastructure Account, with $100 million made available for projects designated by the Secretary of Commerce as being significant to economic development. Up to $20 million would be available for each project with no local match requirement. The Senate Finance Committee gave S. 604 a favorable report and the bill is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Economic Development: “Project Connect” – H. 4088. This joint resolution appropriates $1.2 billion in incentives for certain infrastructure to foster economic development in South Carolina. Specifically, “Project Connect” details the incentive package to bring a Scout Motors, Inc. plant to the state. The plant will be located in Blythewood and is expected to create at least 4,000 jobs and the company has guaranteed a $2 billion investment in South Carolina. Once completed, the plant is projected to produce more than 200,000 Scout vehicles annually. The House gave H. 4088 second reading on Thursday and the resolution is scheduled to receive a third reading on Monday.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Authorizations – H. 3604. This joint resolution, as drafted, authorized the expenditure of funds from the contingency reserve fund for economic development projects and federal funds disbursed to South Carolina in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The Senate Finance Committee replaced the language with the same language found in H. 4088, the “Project Connect” resolution explained above. The Committee gave the bill a favorable report, as amended, and H. 3604 is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.

Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial

Charleston County Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal testifies before a House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs subcommittee.

Coroners as First Responders – H. 3691. This legislation allows a coroner or his designee to possess and administer an opioid antidote pursuant to the requirements of the South Carolina Overdose Prevention Act. The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) may promulgate regulations related to coroners possessing and administering opioid antidotes, and DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control must maintain data on the administering of opioid antidotes by coroners and their designees.

Further, the bill specifies that a coroner is considered a public safety officer (first responder) if killed in the line of duty, an SCAC policy position. Bobbi Jo O’Neal, the Charleston County Coroner, testified before a House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs subcommittee in support of the bill. The Committee adopted a technical amendment and gave H. 3691 a favorable report. The bill will be on the next full committee's agenda.

Coroner Qualifications – H. 3865. This bill would extend the qualifications for a coroner to include a licensed paramedic who has at least three years of experience. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave this bill a favorable report and the bill will be on the next full committee’s agenda.

Hate Crimes – H. 3014. This bill would enact the “Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act” and would provide additional penalties for people who commit certain delineated crimes when the victim was intentionally selected based on certain factors. The bill would also allow victims of the crimes to bring a civil action for damages sustained. The House adopted several amendments on the floor before giving the bill second and third readings and sending H. 3014 to the Senate.

Destruction of Arrest Records – H. 3019. This bill would provide that not later than 180 days after an investigation by a law enforcement or prosecution agency reveals that a person was arrested as a result of mistaken identity and no charges have been filed against the person nor will be filed due to the mistaken identity, the law enforcement or prosecution agency with appropriate jurisdiction shall destroy, at no cost to the person charged, the arrest records of that person made as a result of mistaken identity. The House gave H. 3019 second and third readings this week and sent the bill to the Senate.

Deed Derivation Clause – H. 3500. This bill would require that in order for any deed or mortgage to be recorded after June 30, 2023, it must identify either the preparer of the instrument and provide their contact information, or identify the attorney licensed to practice in this state that assisted with the closing of the instrument. Additionally, a clerk of court or register may not record any deed or mortgage after June 30, 2023 unless it contains this information. A House Judiciary subcommittee amended the bill to move the compliance date from June 30, 2023 to December 31, 2023, and gave the bill a favorable report, as amended. H. 3500 will be on the next full committee’s agenda.

Youthful Offenders Expungement – H. 3890. This bill would add the charge of driving under suspension to the list of offenses that can be expunged under the Youthful Offender Act. The House gave H. 3890 second and third readings this week and sent the bill to the Senate.

Destruction of Utility Systems – S. 330. This bill would modify the penalty structure for crimes involving malicious injury to telegraph, telephone, cable, or electrical utility systems and natural gas infrastructure. Under current, law, destruction of such systems or infrastructure is considered a felony offense that is punishable by a fine set at the discretion of the court or imprisonment for not more than 10 years. This legislation would create a tiered penalty structure based on the cost of damage to the utility systems, the danger to the public, and injury that involves death or bodily injury. S. 330 is pending second reading on the contested Senate calendar.

Lethal Injection Shield – S. 120. This bill would protect from disclosure the identity of the manufacturer or drug compounder of the drugs used to administer death by lethal injection for a person on death row. This protection would be extended to any persons or entities involved in the planning and execution of a death sentence. The House Judiciary Committee adopted a technical amendment and gave the bill a favorable report, as amended. S.120 is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Law Enforcement Personal Privacy Protection Act – S. 252. This bill creates the Law Enforcement Personal Privacy Protection Act. The Act provides that any personal identifying information of an active law enforcement officer held or maintained by any state or local governing entity is confidential and must not be disclosed to the public if the officer has filed a formal request with the entity. Information that relates to the personal identifying information of the officer or that reveals whether the individual has family members is deemed confidential. Any government entity that redacts or withholds information under this article must provide the requestor a description of the redacted or withheld information. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee adopted a technical amendment and gave the bill a favorable report, as amended. S.252 will be on the next full committee’s agenda.

Cost of Care for Seized Animals – H. 3682. This bill would remove provisions regarding a lien on the seized animals and would outline hearing procedures for ordering the cost of care of the seized animals. The care costs go to the entity providing care for the animal (law enforcement, county animal shelter, or non-profit agency). Additionally, the bill would provide that failure of the owner to make the payment for the cost of care ordered would result in forfeiture of the animal to the entity providing the care. The House moved H. 3682 to the contested calendar where it is pending second reading.

County Government and Intergovernmental Relations

Certificate of Need: Crisis Facilities – S. 343. This bill includes all short-term residential stabilization and intensive crisis services in the definition of crisis stabilization unit facilities and changes the age of the individuals served from 18 and older to five and older. The Senate gave S. 343 second reading, and the bill is pending third reading on the Senate calendar.

Heirs' Property Commission – S. 436This bill establishes the "Heirs' Property Commission" to address the legal and economic issues associated with heirs' property. The Commission, which is comprised of certain stakeholders, including a member representing county government, appointed by the Governor, will collect data by the Commission to include information regarding the number and total acreage of lots that are designated as heirs' property in each county; the number and total acreage of heirs' property land sold at tax sales and whether the purchaser is an heir; the economic impact of heirs' property, including loss of economic development due to issues with land designated as heirs' property; non-profit groups that provide services to owners of heirs' property throughout South Carolina; and resources available to assist families to clear title of the heirs' property and to prevent further occurrences of heirs' property. 

The Senate amended the bill to require that the Commission report annually to the Governor and General Assembly regarding data collected to help families with heirs’ property clear title, to improve economic development activities in the State, and to prevent new occurrences of heirs’ property. The Commission must review the report issued by the Heirs’ Property Study Committee to the General Assembly on December 30, 2026, regarding any recommendations for policy and legislative changes. The Senate passed S. 436 and the bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

County and State Political Conventions and Primaries – H. 4066This legislation would reform processes involving county and state political conventions and would provide a new formula for selecting delegates to state political party conventions by capping the number of delegates at 501. The bill would also require that a political party’s state executive committee hear primary protest hearings for all state, county, and other locally elected positions.

Additionally, the state executive committee may require the filing of any protest to be accompanied by a surety bond as payment for the reasonable cost of hearing the protest in the event the challenge is denied. The bond amount may not exceed $5,000 and would be reimbursable if the election challenge is granted. The House Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment to decrease the bond amount to $750 and gave H. 4066 a favorable report, as amended. H. 4066 is pending second reading on the House calendar.

Call for Awards Entries

SCAC is currently accepting applications for the 2023 J. Mitchell Graham/Barrett Lawrimore Memorial Awards Competition. This is your county’s opportunity to get recognized for outstanding efforts.

All applications must be submitted online or received at the SCAC Office by 5 p.m. Friday, April 21. 

The competition will be held May 24 at SC ETV in Columbia. Learn more about the awards entry criteria and application process via SCAC’s awards page. Here you can access a toolkit, see previous projects and submit your entry.

Newly-Introduced Legislation

View/Download Full Text for Newly-Introduced Legislation

You can also go to and click on "Legislation," then "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.

Senate Bills

House Bills


The following bills have been passed by both chambers and have been sent to the governor for approval or veto:

(R1) S. 381 (Sens. Peeler, Verdin, Alexander, Martin and Malloy) – Amends the State Constitution to increase the annual percentage of the State General Fund that goes to the Reserve Fund from 5 percent to 7 percent.

Legislative Session: