The Senate and House of Representatives met in regular session this week. Local elected leaders have one more week before the House debates the budget to contact representatives and urge full funding of the Local Government Fund. See the update below for specific action items. Visit this link to the Municipal Association website for a web version of From the Dome to your Home.
RAD bill gets action in the House H4628, the House version of the Rehabilitation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Buildings bill, was heard by the House Judiciary Local Laws subcommittee on Wednesday. Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela testified in favor of this bill. Warren Harley, Municipal Association staff, also testified in favor of the bill. The subcommittee members carried the bill over to make technical changes. Subcommittee members are Reps. Jenny Horne, chair (R-Charleston and Dorchester), Mike Sottile (R-Charleston) and Boyd Brown (D – Chester and Fairfield). It is important to call representatives on the House Judiciary committee and tell them to support H4628, the RAD bill, using local examples in your city to reinforce the importance of this legislation. For questions about the RAD bill, contact Warren Harley (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1270 or visit the Association’s website for more information.
Local Government Fund Update The House Ways and Means committee finalized its version of the state budget last week and adopted H4710, the bill that would allow the General Assembly to cut the Local Government Fund for one year beyond the level required by law. The committee recommended funding the Local Government Fund for FY 13 at the current level without restoring the $72 million for previous year cuts. This means the Local Government Fund is funded at 71 percent of the full funding level required by law for FY 13 as compared to 76 percent of full funding for FY 12. The committee also removed two provisos that would have been harmful to local governments. During the full committee meeting, Representative Jim Merrill (R- Berkley and Charleston) added a proviso that prevents all local government entities and associations from using taxpayer funds for lobbying activities. This would curtail local governments’ ability to analyze and track proposed legislation and provide information to the General Assembly about how these proposals could affect residents and businesses in their cities and towns. The proviso is 89.plg (amendment #16). The Ways and Means committee also added $30 million in C Funds and rejected the Governor’s proposal for $75 million for local governments to take over state roads.
ACTION for Local Government Fund The full House of Representatives is planning to debate the budget starting on Monday, March 12, at noon. This week, it is critical that ALL local officials talk to every House member in your legislative delegation. Encourage full funding of the Local Government Fund and the removal of proviso 89.plg (or amendment #16). After you talk to your representatives, contact Casey Fields (email@example.com) at 803.933.1256 and let her know what they are telling you. For talking points and background on the Local Government Fund and H4710, contact Melissa Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1251 or visit the Association’s website for more information.
Retirement bill introduced in the House H4898, the bill that restructures the state retirement system, was introduced this week in the House. The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means committee. Association staff is working on an analysis of the bill and will provide details in Monday’s Uptown Update. For more information on retirement system reform, contact Melissa Carter (email@example.com) at 803.933.1251.
Fireworks bill amended in subcommittee S1066, Senator McConnell’s bill that permits local governing bodies to regulate the discharge of fireworks, was debated by a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Wednesday. Senator Phil Shoopman (R – Greenville) amended the bill to strike the words “and place” from the language in the bill. This change would not allow local governments to regulate where fireworks are discharged, only when. Association staff is working to amend the bill back to Senator McConnell’s original language. For questions about this bill, contact Ed Schafer (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1203.
House action this week H3235, the bill that changes the amount governments can charge and the time period to produce records requested under FOIA, was stalled in the House this week due to an amendment added by the full House Judiciary committee that removes the exemption for legislators. The House adjourned debate on the DOT restructuring bill, H4625, and gave third reading to H3918 that increases the authority of the Division of Aeronautics to regulate land use in the vicinity of public airports and to remove imminent or foreseeable hazards to aviation safety. The House also gave third reading to H4721 (flow control bill) that prevents a county from passing an ordinance that restricts the disposal of waste to facilities other than those designated by the county.
Weekly Bill Introductions Access bills that were introduced this week and bills that received action from a subcommittee or committee through our legislative tracking system complete with short summaries. Visit the legislative tracking system to see and comment on all bills pending in the House and Senate.
Committee Action This Week The Association’s legislative team covered these bills in committee or subcommittee and provided testimony where needed. Click on the bill's link for a full chronology of amendments and committee progress.
Senate Judiciary committee
S10 – Creates the Commission on Streamlining Government and Reduction of Waste – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Creates the Commission on Streamlining Government and Reduction of Waste and provides for its procedures to submit recommendations.
S148 – Home Invasion Protection Act – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Establishes the offense of home invasion in violent offenses.
S1054 – Expands the list of mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect – favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Expands the list of individuals required to report child abuse and neglect to include animal control officers and firefighters.
S235 – Requires property owners to keep property free of rubbish - committee met but did not take action on this bill.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Authorizes the county government to adopt an ordinance that requires property owners to keep a lot or other property clean and free of rubbish.
H4033 – Canal dredging included in the Municipal Improvement Act - committee met but did not take action on this bill.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows the widening and dredging of certain waterways to be included within a municipal improvement district when the owner gives the governing body written permission to include the property at the time when the improvement district is created.
S1065 – Clarifies the ban on video gaming machines - committee met but did not take action on this bill.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Clarifies that existing regulations on bingo and raffles do not allow any devices prohibited under the state's current video gambling ban.
Senate Finance Property Tax subcommittee
S1002 – Tax increment financing for redevelopment projects – favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires surplus funds in a tax increment financing redevelopment project to be sent back to the taxing entity
S388 – Property tax exemptions for newly constructed condos, townhouses or cottages – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Exempts from property taxes the value of improvements of a newly constructed condominium, townhouse or cottage through the earlier of the property tax year in which the improvement is occupied or the property tax year ending the third December 31 after the improvement is complete
Senate Finance Sales and Income Tax subcommittee
S1101 – Instructs the Department of Revenue to develop charts to show state revenue – favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires the SC Department of Revenue to develop a chart to reflect the proportion of appropriations for certain appropriation categories to total state appropriations.
H3346 – State tax credit for installation of solar energy equipment – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows a state tax credit for the installation of solar energy equipment equal to 35 percent.
House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee
H3130 – Creates the offense of sexting - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment strikes all of the language in the current bill. The new language makes it illegal for a child under seventeen years old to use a telecommunications device to knowingly transmit or distribute a picture or text message depicting another person under eighteen years old in a state of sexual activity or nudity.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Creates the offense of sexting and provides for the use of the uniform traffic ticket for the offense and for jurisdiction over the offense in the municipal or magistrates court.
H4572 – Deletes language that provides a procedure for surety bonds – adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Deletes language that outlines a procedure through which a surety bond may be relieved of liability for a bail bond upon filing of an affidavit when the defendant is incarcerated by the surety or a law enforcement agency as a result of a bench warrant.
House Judiciary Local Laws subcommittee
H4726 – Changes regulations on the costs of sewer lateral collection lines – favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows an assessment to be levied if a residential subdivision received conceptual approval from SC DHEC for septic tank use and subsequently five or more lots in the subdivision were denied permits by the Department. The assessment may be levied on the abutting parcels in the subdivision for the actual costs of the sewer lateral collection lines, transmission lines and association infrastructure.
Senate Judiciary subcommittee
S436 – Includes pardons under the expungement statute – carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Includes a person who received a pardon under the purview of the expungement statute that allows expungement of criminal records when a charge is dismissed or a person is found not guilty of a charge.
Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee
H3793 – Ban on "bath salt" drugs - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment strikes all of the language in the bill and replaces it with the Senate version of the bill, S1056. The next day, the full Senate Medical Affairs committee gave this bill a favorable report as amended by the subcommittee.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Bans "bath salt" drugs