Gearing Up for the 2024 General Assembly Session

The beginning of 2024 means the start of a new legislative session for the SC General Assembly, and the SC Association of Counties recently released it policy positions for year.

Policy Positions Booklet

The 2024 Policy Positions booklet includes all official SCAC positions  as adopted by the Legislative Committee. It covers four policy areas. 

This report reflects the official positions of the Association on the issues identified by members and adopted by the Legislative Committee and is organized by four areas:

  • County Government and Intergovernmental Relations;
  • Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation;
  • Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial; and
  • Revenue, Finance and Economic Development.

Growth Issues

Managing growth emerged as a key theme during SCAC’s Legislative Conference held at the end of 2023, when members set priorities for the new session. Within that category, below are a few issues we’ll focus on this year:

  • Lot cleanup—While counties can clean up or demolish structures in emergency situations, they do not have the power to clean up lots or to collect the cost as property taxes. As a result, county taxpayers often end up paying for the cleanup of private property. SCAC supports legislation giving counties the authority to clean up both structures and lots and recover the costs associated with the cleanup from the property owner on the tax bill.
  • Affordable housing—SCAC supports legislation providing statewide tax benefits for affordable housing or local incentives to developers and landowners; and opposes legislation that would impose limits on impact fees and tap fees. SCAC supports legislation that allows counties to broaden the scope of impact fees and make them more flexible to impose and administer.
  • Farm structures tax exemption relief—Act 236 of 2022 added a property tax exemption for farm buildings and structures. We support legislation to alleviate the financial burden this exemption placed on counties.
  • Short-term rentals—W support legislation requiring remittance of local accommodations taxes on short term rentals to counties and tightening definitions to close loopholes.
  • Waste tire disposal—We support legislation that would address the increasing cost of waste tire disposal that county governments currently face, including, but not limited to: (1) Increasing the current $2 advanced recycling fee and (2) Eliminating the current $150/ton cap to allow counties across the state to address their local cost of disposal.

Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial

SCAC supports legislation to eliminate the use of cell phones in jails including county detention centers. We also support updating the probate code to allow for a death-related claim due to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, regardless of when the death occurred.

Revenue, Finances and Economic Development

Overall, SCAC supports allowing local governments a range of revenue-producing mechanisms and flexibility, so each community is best able to fund public services in a manner fair for that locality.

See all policy positions here.

Session Ahead

This year is the second of a two-year legislative session, meaning bills that did not pass in 2023 are still active. See our legislative wrap-up from June 2023 to catch up on status of key issues and bills important to county governments.

Get Involved: Counties Connect in February

Join your colleagues from across the state for SCAC’s Counties Connect: A Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the Pastides Alumni Center at USC in Columbia.

This event provides an excellent opportunity for county leaders to connect with local delegation members and advocate for issues important to their counties. All county officials are encouraged to participate in the daylong event that includes a legislative briefing, trip to the State House during session, lunch, and an evening reception with legislators at the Palmetto Club (held the night before on Feb. 20).

Registration will open soon.

Stay in the Legislative Loop

SCAC staff track bills, attend relevant subcommittee and committee meetings throughout the legislative week, and provide updates in the Friday Report sent out each week by email and available online during session.

When action occurs too quickly to make the weekly recap, SCAC sends Legislative Alerts to notify county officials of imminent action on crucial issues.

Subscribe to both here.