The South Carolina Association of Counties has a systematic, consensus building legislative policy development process. The central goal in the process is to solicit and develop the expertise of county officials from all 46 counties on legislative issues affecting county government. Through participation in four legislative policy steering committees, county officials meet to discuss and identify issues to be considered by the Legislative Committee.
SCAC has four legislative policy committees:
- County Government and Intergovernmental Relations Steering Committee;
- Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation Steering Committee;
- Revenue, Finance and Economic Development Steering Committee; and
- Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial Steering Committee.
It is the responsibility of each committee to study the issues and analyze information that is pertinent to its designated policy area. Each committee will develop recommendations in the form of policy statements. Each committee chair will present their committee's draft policy statements to the Legislative Committee during the Legislative Conference in December.
The Legislative Committee is composed of the 29 members of the SCAC Board of Directors and the chair of the governing body of the county or his/her designee from each of the 46 counties. The total membership of the Legislative Committee is 75 members.
It is the responsibility of the Legislative Committee to review each legislative policy steering committee's recommendations, resolve any conflicts and adopt the legislative policy positions for the association. The Legislative Committee is chaired by SCAC's first vice president and meets at the SCAC Legislative Conference in December. Once the formal policy statement has been approved by the Legislative Committee, it is the responsibility of the membership of the association and the association staff to advocate for its implementation.
During the course of a legislative session, the SCAC Board of Directors is responsible for any revision, modification, deletion or addition to the legislative policy positions adopted by the Legislative Committee.
- Late August – The membership is notified of the date of the meeting of the four policy steering committees. County officials receive a list of the steering committees and a description of their areas of responsibility. County officials are encouraged to provide their thoughts and ideas on legislative issues for inclusion on a steering committee's agenda. Staff collects this input and prepares it for the steering committee meeting.
- Mid-September – Each steering committee meets to discuss and analyze legislative policy issues and draft an initial report of proposed legislative policy recommendations.
- Mid-September to Mid-November – The County Council Coalition meets in October to review and discuss the initial draft of proposed legislative policy recommendations. Each steering committee chair presents the steering committee report to the coalition. During the fall, various groups of county official organizations meet and determine their group's legislative agenda for the coming session of the General Assembly. This information is collected and assigned to the steering committee responsible for that legislative area.
- Mid-November – Each steering committee meets for the second time to incorporate additional issues into their proposed recommendations. Each steering committee adopts a final proposed legislative policy recommendation.
- Early December – The SCAC Legislative Committee meets at the Legislative Conference to receive the reports of the four legislative policy steering committees. Each steering committee chair will present his/her committee report at a general session meeting of the Legislative Committee. The members of the Legislative Committee will discuss each proposed legislative policy position and then either amend, adopt or reject the recommendation. If adopted by the Legislative Committee, those policy positions will then be incorporated with the other steering committees' reports into an SCAC Consensus Legislative Report. Once the SCAC Consensus Legislative Report has been adopted by the Legislative Committee, it is the responsibility of the membership and the SCAC staff to advocate for its implementation.
Rules and Operating Procedures
- Committee Membership – The Legislative Committee shall be composed of the members of the SCAC Board of Directors and the chair of the governing body or his/her designee from each of the 46 counties. The chair of the Legislative Committee shall be the first vice president of the association.
- Voting Procedures – At a Legislative Committee meeting, the chair shall call the meeting to order and carry out the committee meeting agenda. Each committee member has one vote. All matters coming before the committee shall be decided by a majority vote of those present and voting.
- Proposed Policies and Amendments – Each steering committee chair shall present at the annual Legislative Conference the committee report for the steering committee. No legislative issue shall be considered at the Legislative Conference in December that does not appear in a steering committee report, unless two-thirds of those Legislative Committee members present and voting vote to place the issue on the Legislative Committee agenda for consideration.
- Procedural Rules – The latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order shall be used to govern the conduct of Legislative Committee meetings.
- Committee Membership – The Legislative Policy Steering Committees membership composition is as follows: (a) the SCAC Board of Directors; (b) the Legislative Committee members who are either the chair of the governing body of the county or his/her designee; and (c) not more than 25 county officials who shall be appointed by the president based on the expertise of the county official in the subject matter of the particular steering committee. The president shall make steering committee assignments on an annual basis. The president shall designate a chair for each of the four steering committees. Steering committee meetings will be held on the call of the president.
- Voting Procedures – At each steering committee meeting, the committee chair shall call the meeting to order and carry out the committee meeting agenda. Each committee member has one vote. All matters coming before the committee shall be decided by majority vote of the committee members present and voting.
- Proposed Policies and Amendments – Any committee member may offer a proposed policy or an amendment to an existing association policy. Any county official may propose a policy issue by submitting it to the association and asking that it be included on the committee's meeting agenda. The chair of the committee will call upon members to discuss the proposal as it has been offered. At the conclusion of the discussion, the chair will call for a vote on the proposal.
- Procedural Rules – The latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order shall be used to govern the conduct of steering committee meetings.