Friday Report - May 7, 2021
The General Assembly continued to race through legislation as the session is quickly coming to a close. The House spent a considerable amount of time debating execution methods for inmates on death row, while the Senate spent most of the week debating an open carry gun bill. There are several bills of interest that moved that will be discussed.
Revenue, Finance, and Economic Development
Property Tax Installment Payment Flexibility – H. 3482. This bill, an SCAC policy position, would provide the treasurer, tax collector, or other official charged with the collection of ad valorem property taxes in a county with the discretion in the scheduling and collection of installment payments from taxpayers. The Senate gave H. 3482 second reading this week. Please thank Sen. Fanning for his help in ensuring that this bill received second reading.
Legally Separated Assessment Ratio – S. 527. This bill would define “legally separated” for purposes of the certificate contained in the application for the special 4 percent assessment ratio for owner-occupied residential property, an SCAC policy position. The House Ways and Means Committee gave the bill a favorable report and it is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy – H. 3354. H. 3354 would provide a property tax exemption for solar panels placed on the rooftops of residential homes. In order to qualify for the exemption, the solar panels system must be installed and running and cannot exceed 20 kilowatts. Based on SCAC’s discussion with various county taxing authorities, there are no plans to tax these solar panel systems, and this bill simply codifies that. The Senate gave the bill a second reading this week.
County Green Space Sales Tax – S. 152. As drafted, this bill would allow coastal counties to impose by ordinance, subject to referendum approval in the county, a green space sales and use tax for land preservation. The Senate adopted a Finance Committee amendment to give the option to all counties and gave the bill a second reading.
Retirement Beneficiary – S. 658. This bill would specify that a member of the state retirement system who is not retired may nominate a contingent beneficiary for receipt of payment on death of the member within all state retirement systems. Currently, only active contributing members may nominate a contingent beneficiary. This bill would allow members who are not active contributing members, but are not yet retired, to make this nomination. This bill would also make technical clean-ups and provides conforming language for the Public Employee Benefits Authority (PEBA) and the retirement and insurance programs. S. 658 received a favorable report from the House Ways and Means Committee and is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Criminal Background Checks – S. 609. This bill would authorize state agencies and political subdivisions to obtain state and national criminal history background checks and investigations performed by the State Law Enforcement Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on all employees and contractors with access to federal tax information to comply with Internal Revenue Service Publication 1075. S. 609 received a favorable report from the House Ways and Means Committee and is pending second reading on the House calendar.
Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial
Open Carry with Training Act – H. 3094. This bill would enact the “Open Carry with Training Act.” This Act would allow a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon openly on his person and openly about his person in a vehicle. Earlier this session, the House amended the bill to provide that a public or private employer may prohibit a permit holder from openly carrying upon the premises. The House also amended the bill to provide that counties may temporarily restrict otherwise lawful open carrying of a firearm on public property when the county issues a permit to allow a public protest, rally, fair, parade, festival, or other organized event. A county exercising such authority would need to be specific in their restriction and provide notice when feasible.
This week, the Senate amended the bill further to provide that clerks of court and other judges shall report criminal indictments, permanent restraining orders, orders of state firearms prohibition, other restraining orders, orders of protection, or other orders that prohibit a person from legally purchasing or possessing a firearm to SLED within five days. For any orders that must be reported to SLED within five days by clerks of court, Court Administration must provide the form. Please thank Senators Goldfinch, Malloy, and Campsen for presenting and explaining an important amendment to clarify that Court Administration must provide forms. Also, please thank Senators Gustafson and Turner for their help in defeating potential amendments that would have been detrimental to county government.
Marriage Age – S. 591. This bill would increase the minimum age a person may enter into marriage to 18 years old. S. 591 received a favorable report from the Senate Judiciary Committee and is now on the contested calendar of the Senate. The bill is unlikely to move forward this session.
Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation
Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Sunset Extension – H. 4035. This legislation would extend the sunset on the South Carolina Manufacturer Responsibility and Consumer Convenience Information Technology Equipment Collection and Recovery Act and applicable regulations until December 31, 2023. This is an SCAC policy position. The bill would allow a stakeholder working group, including SCAC staff, to continue pursuing efforts to reform the current program and to alleviate the financial burden faced by many counties in storing e-waste. H. 4035 received a third reading this week in the Senate and has been enrolled for ratification.
Waste Tire Regulations – H. 3222. This bill would increase the criminal penalties for violating waste tire regulations and also authorizes the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to promulgate additional regulations, an SCAC policy position. These additional regulations would allow DHEC to inspect waste tire processing facilities to ensure compliance and invoke sanctions for noncompliant recyclers. H. 3222 received a second reading this week in the Senate.
Watercraft Electronic Lien System – H. 3884. This legislation would authorize the Department of Natural Resources to use an electronic lien system to transmit and receive certificate of title for businesses and lenders engaged in the sale of watercraft. The certificate of title record must contain the same information noted on a paper certificate of title. The bill would also allow for the collection of an electronic transmission fee not to exceed $5 for each transaction. H. 3884 received third reading in the Senate and is now enrolled for ratification.
Anchored Watercraft – H. 3865. This legislation would authorize local governments to adopt an ordinance requiring a permit for a watercraft or floating structure to remain at anchorage on public waters within its local jurisdiction for more than 14 consecutive days. The cost of the permit issued by a local government may not exceed $15. The Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee amended the bill to add a five-mile radius to the permit requirement as well as language exempting vessels that are docked at a marina berth or mooring buoy that is permitted by DHEC and is located on public waters prior to June 30, 2021.
An additional amendment to the bill was proposed by Senator Josh Kimbrell during debate on the Senate floor that would alter the current titling process for boats and motors and would require that the boat and motor be dually titled by the Department of Natural Resources. This would likely exempt boat motors from individual taxation. Prior to a vote on the amendment, Senator Larry Grooms objected to the bill and ended debate on the legislation. H. 3865 remains pending a second reading on the Senate calendar.
County Government and Intergovernmental Relations
Firefighter Training Cost Reimbursement – H. 3466. This bill, as originally introduced, would provide that a fire department that assumes the cost of training a firefighter may be reimbursed for these costs by another fire department that subsequently hires the firefighter within a certain period of time. This is an SCAC policy position. A Senate LCI subcommittee amended the bill to reflect a collaboration amongst stakeholders. The amendment extends the bill to EMTs, clarifies what training is reimbursable, clarifies reimbursement covers training costs incurred within two years of employment, and defines employer to capture all appropriate departments. Spartanburg County Attorney, Ginny DuPont, attended the subcommittee meeting and provided meaningful testimony to advance this legislation and the amendment. The bill, as amended, will be on the next full Senate LCI Committee’s agenda.
County Veteran Affairs Officers – H. 3416. H. 3416 would clarify that a county veterans’ affairs officer is an at-will employee of the county legislative delegation and considered a county employee. The bill would provide that the Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs may offer recommendations to the county delegation after annual reviews of the local county veterans’ affairs office. H. 3416 passed the House and was referred to the Senate Committee on Family and Veterans’ Services.
Employment of Persons with Disabilities – H. 3244. This bill would encourage state agencies and political subdivisions to take measures to integrate persons with disabilities into the workforce. The Senate amended the bill to require employees with a disability to be compensated at or above the minimum wage, but not less than the customary wage for a particular job. They also amended the bill to create a trust fund to award grants to persons with a disability to start a business. H. 3244 is pending third reading on the Senate calendar.
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. 781 — Removes the application fee for a concealable weapon and provides an income tax credit for a gun owner that completes a basic or advanced handgun education course.
S. 786 — Provides for a property tax credit or refund to the transferor of a boat or boat motor.
S. 793 — Prohibits an employer from inquiring, considering, or requiring the disclosure of the criminal record or history of an applicant for employment until the applicant is selected for an interview or before a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.
S. 795 — Provides that probation officers, court personnel, county and municipal personnel, public officials, and private volunteers who participate in certain community service programs in which a probationer is completing community service, are not liable for civil damages.
H. 4322 — Creates the “Justice Forty Oversight Committee.”
H. 4339 — For purposes of Order of Protection, authorizes the court to award certain relief after holding a hearing for an order for protection.
H. 4341 — Prohibits the implementation of unconstitutional federal orders at the state or local level.
H. 4342 — Revises the qualifications for probate judges.
The following bill has been passed by both chambers and has been sent to the Governor for approval or veto:
(R. 47) S. 667. Provides options and parameters to adjust or relocate outdoor signs to restore visibility when there is a road project that obstructs the visibility of the sign, and provides for the costs of adjustment or relocation.
(R. 50) H. 3689. Provides clean up language from Act 40 of 2017 and clarifies that the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle may register and collect quarterly installment payments on large commercial motor vehicles registered in this state with a registration fee of at least $400.
(R. 52) H. 4064. Clarifies that the manufacturing property tax exemption does not apply to utilities.