Friday Report - March 4, 2022

This was a very busy and productive week at the State House as the Senate began hearing budget requests in Senate Finance subcommittees and the House debated several bills in committees and on the floor. Several bills of note will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

User Fee Authorization – S. 984.

This bill would provide that a service or user fee, including a road use fee, is authorized as long as there is a benefit to the payers, even if the general public also benefits. S. 984 has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, but a hearing on the bill has not been scheduled.

Please contact your Senators and ask them to support and request a subcommittee hearing on S. 984! Time is of the essence for this bill to pass by the end of the session.

In addition to the provisos discussed in last week’s Friday Report, the House Ways and Means Committee also adopted the following proviso:

108.6. PEBA: State Health Plan. This proviso raises the employer increase in premiums under the State Health Plan by 18.1 percent for plan year 2023. Patient cost-sharing for participants of the State Health Plan this year may be adjusted within the parameters allowed to remain in an ACA-grandfathered status.

Qualified Surviving Spouse – S. 233.

This bill would provide that a qualified surviving spouse may qualify for a property tax exemption in an instance where they own the house. The statute previously required that the house be transferred to the surviving spouse by the deceased spouse. An amendment was adopted on the Senate floor to extend the exemption to surviving spouses of those killed in action and to any structures owned by an otherwise qualified surviving spouse even if these structures are located on heirs’ property. S. 233 received third reading in the Senate and has been sent to the House.

Tax Exemptions – S. 1087.

This bill, titled the “Comprehensive Tax Cut Act of 2022,” would reduce the top marginal income tax rate in South Carolina to 5.7 percent, exempt all military retirement income, and exempt 42.8571 percent of manufacturing property from property tax. The revenue loss resulting from the property tax exemption would be reimbursed to political subdivisions from the Trust Fund for Tax Relief. A Senate Finance subcommittee gave S. 1087 a favorable report as amended and the bill will be on the next full committee’s agenda.

Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs Owen McBride testified before a Senate Finance subcommittee.






Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial

Uniform Transfer to Minors Act – H. 3821. Currently, the state follows the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act. This bill repeals and replaces the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act with the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. This bill expands the types of properties that may be transferred for the benefit of a minor to include real estate, paintings, royalties, and patents, among other items. The property becomes available to the minor at the age of majority as established in the State. The Senate gave the bill a second reading and it is pending third reading on the calendar.

County Government and Intergovernmental

Permit Extension – S.17. This joint resolution, also known as the “Permit Extension Joint Resolution of 2022,” extends the approval of certain permits issued by DHEC. The permit must be current and valid at any time between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2023. DHEC indicated that there is no expenditure impact on the agency because the bill's implementation would be accomplished using its existing resources. The Senate adopted an amendment before giving S. 17 a second and third reading and sending the bill to the House.

Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund – H. 3598 and S. 968. These companion bills establish the "Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund" as a new fund created in the State Treasury. Revenues of the fund may include gifts, grants, federal funds, donations, and appropriations from the General Assembly. These funds are to be used to offset costs paid by organizations that provide honor guard burial details at the funerals of qualifying South Carolina veterans. In order to be a qualifying veteran, the individual must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least five years and served on active duty. The Secretary of the SC Department of Veterans' Affairs may disburse from the fund up to $100 per funeral following a request from the organization that provided the honor guard burial detail. According to the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, the SC Department of Veterans' Affairs anticipates it will be able to absorb any administrative expenses associated with appropriating these funds within current appropriations and using existing staff. However, the department's expenditures and revenues will increase beginning in FY 2022-23 by an undetermined amount, dependent on the sum of funds received and the number of organizations requesting funds. Due to the varied nature of these funds, this may increase the department's general fund, federal funds, and other funds expenditures and revenues.

The Senate debated S. 968 on the floor before adopting the committee amendment to remove the $100 cap and to allow the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs' to set a cap annually before giving the bill a second and third reading. S. 968 has been sent to the House.

Early Voting and Absentee Ballot Voting – H. 4919. As initially drafted, H. 4919 provides a two-week period of no-excuse early voting prior to an election, including two Saturdays. County boards of voter registration and elections will have the discretion to determine the location of early voting locations in each county but can have no more than seven locations based on the population of the county. The House debated H.4919 extensively, and the amended bill now imposes the following conditions:

  • Changes the time period of early voting. It begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m. on each day of the early voting period, excluding Sunday, until the conclusion of the early voting period at 6:00 p.m. on the Saturday immediately prior to the election;
  • Provides post-election hand-count audits after each statewide general election;
  • Changes the penalties for fraudulently voting to a felony, instead of a misdemeanor, and increases the fines between $1,000 - $5,000, instead of $100 - $500; and
  • Provides that a candidate may not file more than one statement of intention of candidacy for a single office for the same election, and a candidate may not be nominated by more than one political party for a single office for the same election.

H. 4919 was passed unanimously and has been forwarded to the Senate.

County Ambulance Service – H. 4601. This bill would designate ambulance service as an essential service in South Carolina, thereby requiring each county to ensure that at least one licensed ambulance service is operating within the county. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave H. 4601 a favorable report and the bill will be on the next full committee’s agenda.

Alarm System Ordinances – H. 4889. This bill would require that if a local government enacts an ordinance requiring a fine for a false alarm, the alarm business must not be fined or assessed a civil penalty for such false alarms which are not attributed to improper installation, defective equipment, or operational error by the alarm business contractor. Such a fine may be imposed on the homeowner if user error is determined to be the reason for the false alarm. H. 4889 received a favorable report from a House Labor, Commerce, and Industry subcommittee and will be on the agenda at the next full committee meeting.

Land Use and Transportation

Abandoned Buildings Cleanup – H.5036. This legislation would help counties across South Carolina that continue to assume the cost of repairing or cleaning up certain properties when a landowner fails to upkeep structures on the property. Under this legislation, counties would be provided with a cost recovery mechanism for the costs of repairs, improvements, or demolition and clean-up of structures that are deemed “unfit for human occupation or habitation” by placing a lien against the real property that shall be collected in the same manner as county taxes, an SCAC policy position. The lien would be due in five equal installments over five tax years after which, if the debt is unpaid, the county could list the property at a tax sale. Frank Hart, Supervisor of Union County, along with SCAC staff testified at a House Labor, Commerce, and Industry (LCI) subcommittee about the importance of the bill and provided examples of challenges that counties have faced regarding this issue. Charleston County also submitted a letter of support for H. 5036 that was provided to the members of the subcommittee. SCAC will work with the House LCI Committee staff next week on an amendment to alleviate some concerns that several subcommittee members expressed during the hearing. H. 5036 received a favorable report and will move ahead to the full committee.

Heirs’ Property Study Committee – S.560. This joint resolution establishes the Heirs’ Property Study Committee to examine current and prospective methods to address heirs’ property issues in South Carolina; to provide for the membership of the committee, including the requirement that the committee seek assistance from groups, including SCAC; and to require the committee to prepare a report for the General Assembly. The Senate gave S. 560 second and third readings and the resolution has been sent to the House.


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. 1104 — Allows the General Assembly to restrict the sale, purchase, or possession of tobacco products, cigarettes, and alternative nicotine products by persons until age 21.

S. 1105 — Prohibits the sale, furnishing, or provision of cigarettes or alternative nicotine products to a person under 21 years of age, and prohibits a person who is under 21 from purchasing, possessing, attempting to possess, or presenting a false or fraudulent proof of age for purposes of purchasing or possessing tobacco products or alternative nicotine products.

S. 1106 — Increases from 5 to 7 percent in increments of one-half of 1 percent over four fiscal years the amount of State General Fund Revenue in the latest completed fiscal year required to be held in the General Reserve Fund and the manner the 7 percent requirement must be maintained.

S. 1111 — Provides that the Retirement Investment Commission may not invest Public Employee Retirement Funds in certain companies owned, in whole or in part, by Russia.

S. 1112 — Expresses the strong belief of the South Carolina General Assembly that the Russian invasion of Ukraine must end and expresses support for the people and government of Ukraine in fighting the Russian invasion and maintaining its independence.

S. 1119 — Exempts all real property owned by a nonprofit educational foundation of a public school district that is devoted to providing housing for classroom teachers.

S. 1120 — Requires the State Fiscal Accountability Authority to develop a state ceiling allocation plan annually. 

House Bills

H. 5032 — Allows the Department of Employment and Workforce to provide a one-time waiver, dismissal, reduction in penalty, or reduction in tax rate class.

H. 5036 — Extends the provisions of the chapter to buildings unfit for occupation to add a cause for which police powers may be used regarding rubbish and deletes an approval requirement.

H. 5037 — Provides that certain funds may not be used to solicit, entice, or incentivize certain companies for certain environmental reasons.

H. 5038 — Exempts deputy sheriffs from the requirement that they possess the qualifications of an elector and removes archaic references.

H. 5039 — Allows the local governing body of a county, by a two-thirds vote, to exceed the limitation to contract for fire protection to prevent significantly harming the level of fire protection services.

H. 5040 — Defines the term "great bodily injury” and revises the penalties for violations relating to the unlawful use of wireless electronic communication devices while operating motor vehicles.

H. 5054 — Provides that the Retirement Investment Commission may not invest public employee retirement funds in certain companies owned, in whole or in part, by Russia.

H. 5060 — Revises the penalty for a third or subsequent offense, and makes technical changes relating to penalties imposed for driving a motor vehicle when a person's driver's license is canceled, suspended, or revoked.

H. 5061 — Increases the civil jurisdiction from $7500 to $25,000.

H. 5064 — Provides the procedure for certain persons to have their names removed from the sex offender registry by SLED.

H. 5075 — Requires the State Fiscal Accountability Authority to develop a state ceiling allocation plan annually relating to the issuance of private activity bonds, specifies requirements of the plan, and provides a process for periodic allocations of the state ceiling.

H. 5076 — Provides guidelines for the records of county real property sales by an auditor who chooses to keep such records and removes the ability of the county auditor to collect a 25-cent fee.

H. 5077 — Allows for the operation and maintenance of a motor vehicle on a public highway in this State with motor fuel containing dye or high sulfur content.

Legislative Session: