Friday Report - March 24, 2023
The Senate spent this week debating a bill to limit the amount of property that a foreign adversary or corporations controlled by a foreign adversary can purchase in South Carolina (S. 576). The Senate also spent time in subcommittees, moving legislation forward in advance of the April 10 crossover deadline, and hearing budget requests in preparation of the Senate Finance Committee’s budget debate which begins on April 4. Meanwhile, the House was on furlough this week and will return Tuesday. Bills of interest are discussed below:
Revenue, Finance, and Economic Development
Local Sales Tax Workforce Housing – S. 284. This bill would allow local accommodations and hospitality tax proceeds, as well as a special fund for tourism, to be used for workforce housing. It would also allow local governments to issue bonds to finance workforce housing projects. The Senate Finance Committee gave the bill a favorable report and S. 284 is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.
Craft Beer Economic Development Act – S. 566. This bill would allow a craft brewery to sell beer wholesale and retail to licensed retailers in the state. It would also allow the brewery to apply for the special permit for events pursuant to Section 61-4-550 and to transfer beer created at its brewery to other facilities owned, leased, or rented by the brewery without being subject to state or local taxes. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report under the caveat that there will need to be a compromise between the breweries and the wholesalers in order for this bill to pass this session.
American Rescue Plan Act: Water and Sewer Infrastructure Funds – Act 244 of 2022.
Act 244 of 2022 provided for the expenditure of Fiscal Recovery Funds disbursed to the state pursuant to the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Of the funds disbursed to the state, $900 million went to the Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) for certain water and sewer infrastructure grants.
The Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) met this week to take up several issues, including a request from the RIA to modify and reallocate a portion of the $900 million relating to water and sewer projects. Under the proposal, the RIA noted that eligible requests for grants pertaining to “planning programs for small systems” were insufficient to use all of the $20 million in funds allocated, leaving approximately $13.5 million available.
As a result, the JBRC decided this pool of remaining funds will now be reallocated for other purposes such as “infrastructure grants for large utilities,” “infrastructure grants for small and disadvantaged utilities,” and “grants for regional solutions.” The resulting amounts for grants will be:
|Act 244 Amount||Revised Amount|
|Infrastructure Grants for Large Utilities|
|Infrastructure Grants for Small and Disadvantaged Utilities|
Planning Grants for Very Small Utilities
Regional Solutions Grants
Public Safety, Corrections, and Judicial
Law Enforcement Personal Privacy Protection Act – S. 252. This bill would create the Law Enforcement Personal Privacy Protection Act and provide that any personal identifying information of an active law enforcement officer held or maintained by any state or local governing entity would be confidential and must not be disclosed to the public if the officer has filed a formal request with the entity. Information relating to the personal identifying information of the officer or revealing whether the individual has family members would be deemed confidential. Any government entity that redacts or withholds information under this article would be required to provide the request or a description of the redacted or withheld information. The Senate adopted a committee amendment before carrying the bill over. S. 252 is pending second reading on the Senate calendar.
Law Enforcement Death Benefits – S. 108. This bill would provide for a $150,000 death benefit for a law enforcement officer killed while in the line of duty. The Senate Finance Committee gave S. 108 a favorable report and the bill is pending second reading on the Senate Calendar.
Alien Ownership of Real Property – S. 576. This bill would change the limit on the amount of property an alien or a corporation controlled by aliens can own in the state from 500,000 to 1,000 acres. Additionally, the bill would restrict corporations controlled by a foreign adversary from acquiring any interest in real property within the state. Also, a foreign adversary or corporation controlled by a foreign adversary, who has been granted lawful permanent residence status by the United States government could acquire no more than five acres for residential or recreational use. The Senate adopted an amendment on the floor to extend this exception to businesses and industries operating within the limits of the state on December 31, 2022, if the land is acquired for expansion purposes and the expansion is approved by the Secretary of Commerce and the Governor. An exception would also extend to businesses that on or before March 23, 2023, have received commitments or proposals from the Department of Commerce related to discretionary state incentives, and such businesses shall be eligible to acquire land or real property to establish operations or later expand in the state with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce and the Governor. Finally, no corporation controlled by a foreign adversary may acquire any interest in real property within 20 miles of the property line of a military base, military installation, military airport, or within 20 miles of the property line of other critical infrastructure, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the state that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on state security, state economic security, state public health or safety, or any combination of those matters. The Senate adopted several amendments to the bill before giving it second and third readings this week and sending S. 576 to the House.
Cost of Care for Seized Animals – S. 456. This bill would remove provisions regarding a lien on the seized animals and outline hearing procedures for ordering the cost of care of the seized animals. Additionally, the bill would provide that failure of the owner to pay for the cost of care ordered would result in forfeiture of the animal to the entity providing the care.
After the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee sent the bill back to subcommittee for additional work, the subcommittee gave S. 456 a favorable report with the intent of presenting amendments upon the bill’s return to the full committee. S. 456 will likely be on next week’s full committee agenda.
Wireless Provider/Law Enforcement Location Information – S. 235. This bill would provide that, upon request of a law enforcement agency, a wireless telecommunications carrier shall provide call location information concerning the telecommunications device of a user to the law enforcement agency in order to respond to a call for emergency services or in an emergency situation that involves the risk of death or serious physical harm. Further, the bill would provide that a civil or criminal action may not be brought against a wireless service provider under this section under certain circumstances and would require SLED to obtain contact information from wireless service providers to facilitate a request from a law enforcement agency. A Senate Judiciary subcommittee carried the bill over to receive more information.
County Government and Intergovernmental Relations
Veterans Returning from Deployment – S. 437. This is a concurrent resolution to recognize and honor veterans for their service to the United States and to call for the creation of a new military base to assist veterans in their transition to civilian life. The Senate adopted the resolution and sent it to the House.
The South Carolina Association of Counties is pleased to announce it will host the Annual Conference and Institute of Government at Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms from July 31-August 3, 2023.
For details see the 2023 Annual Conference Brochure or visit SCCounties.org.
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.
You can also go to www.scstatehouse.gov 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.
S. 651 (Sen. Davis) — Amends Section 12-36-2120, relating to sales tax exemptions, to add an exemption for certain solar energy equipment, facilities, or devices.
S. 653 (Sen. Davis) — Amends Section 12-37-220, relating to property tax exemptions, to provide for an exemption for certain renewable energy resource properties.
S. 672 (Sen. Rice) – Enacts the “Help Find The Missing Act,” which provides for circumstances when coroners or medical examiners must refer a decedent’s body to the State Law Enforcement Division’s forensic services laboratory, which must retain and furnish certain information about persons to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons system.
S. 674 (Sens. Hutto and Stephenson) – Enacts the “Interstate 95 Bridge Toll Act, ” authorizing the SC Department of Transportation to install toll-collecting booths at four bridges along Interstate 95.