The Friday Report, is prepared and distributed every Friday of the legislative session. The most recent Friday Report will always appear on the home page.
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.
Happy New Year! In light of COVID-19 concerns, our Friday Report is being distributed by email only. Please share this information with those who are accustomed to receiving a mailed version of the Friday Report and may not have email access.
The first regular session of the 124th South Carolina General Assembly will officially convene on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, however, there were several committee meetings this week. Of particular note, there was a subcommittee meeting regarding the Local Government Fund (LGF) that is discussed below. SCAC also conducted a two-day orientation for newly-elected council members.
Orientation for Newly Elected Council Members
SCAC conducted a virtual orientation for newly-elected officials on Tuesday and Thursday. The orientation covered several topics such as “Powers & Forms of County Government,” “Budget Basics & Funding Sources,” and “Overview of the State Ethics, Government Accountability and Campaign Reform Act.” The sessions were recorded and will be available for any council members who may not have been able to attend the orientation.
Local Government Fund (LGF)
A Ways and Means subcommittee met on Tuesday to hear the budget request for several state agencies as well as the LGF for counties and municipalities. Under the new LGF formula that was agreed to in Act 84 of 2019, there would have been a 5 percent increase to the LGF base fund of $233.7 million for the 2020-2021 budget year for a total of about $245 million. However, in light of the pandemic, the General Assembly did not pass a budget and instead operated under a continuing resolution based on the 2019-2020 budget. SCAC testified virtually that that increase should be included in the LGFRead Full Report