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​From the Dome to Your Home

 The House of Representatives met in regular session this week debating bills on the calendar. The Senate spent the week debating the budget. The crossover deadline for bills to pass the originating chamber was Tuesday.

Plastic bag ban bill passes full committee, headed to the full Senate for debate
The full Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee amended and approved H3529, the bill that bans local governments from passing ordinances that regulate plastic bags. As passed by the House, this bill will ban municipalities from adopting ordinances regulating local use of plastic bags. Cities that adopted ordinances before January 31, 2018, or are located within a county that adopted an ordinance before January 31, 2018 will be allowed to continue enforcing them. Future ordinances on the subject, even those amending pre-existing ordinances, would possibly be banned.

The committee adopted an amendment from Senator Stephen Goldfinch (R – Charleston, Georgetown and Horry) that allows municipalities to ban the use of auxiliary containers on any property or waterway owned or maintained by a county or municipality, including but not limited to parks, tidelands, wetlands, rivers, and public beaches. The amendment also increased the fine municipalities can charge to $1000. Next, the bill will be debated by the full Senate.

For questions on this bill or the newly adopted amendment, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Senate adopts its version of the state budget
The Senate adopted its version of the budget on Thursday.

  • No additional money in the Local Government Fund leaving the fund at $222.6 million. Beach renourishment funded at $11 million.
  • The 1 percent pension employer contribution credit in the FY 2018 budget is funded at the same level in the FY 2019 budget.
  • $500,000 in nonrecurring post-traumatic stress disorder funding for first responders. This money was in the FY2018 budget, but it was not included in the House version of the budget passed in March.

The Senate adopted several amendments to the budget during debate on the floor that impact cities and towns.

One proviso (48A) requires political subdivisions using Rural Infrastructure Authority funds for water infrastructure projects to follow the state procurement code for products and services when bidding those projects.  

Another proviso (70) requires the SC State Law Enforcement Division to determine if municipalities are inhibiting their employees' attempts to comply with state or federal law requirements to check the immigration status of people applying for various public services. It also requires SLED to determine if municipal law enforcement officials are checking the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens. Municipalities that SLED does not certify as "compliant" will lose undisbursed portions of their Local Government Fund allocation.

Another proviso (58) requires cities and towns to perform national background checks and fingerprint employees with access to federal tax information.  

Next, the budget will go back to the House of Representatives for members to concur with the Senate changes or amend the budget back to the House version of the bill. Contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251 for information on specific budget items.

House utility relocation bill subcommittee meeting postponed
The House Education and Public Works Transportation subcommittee was scheduled to meet this week on S932 but the meeting was canceled and postponed until Wednesday morning, April 18. House debate was extended on Tuesday and forced cancellation of afternoon meetings.

S932 requires the owner of a road improvement project, such as the S.C. Department of Transportation, to bear the cost of relocating a public utility's water and sewer lines. Utility relocation is one of the 2018 Municipal Association Advocacy Initiatives. Scott Slatton has been a member of a long-standing study committee on utility relocation that worked on language for S932. For questions on this bill, contact Scott (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Stay in touch
The Municipal Association legislative team is on Twitter this session bringing you updates from the State House lobby and committee and subcommittee meetings. Follow Melissa Carter (@MelissaMuniSC), Scott Slatton (@ScottMuniSC) and Tiger Wells (@TigerMuniSC) on Twitter for updates. Also follow the Association at @MuniAssnSC. Read the week's featured tweet from the State House.

Weekly bill introductions
Use the Association's legislative tracking system to access bills that were introduced this week and bills that received action from a subcommittee or committee. The system also allows readers to comment on all bills related to local government pending in the House and Senate.

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Weekly legislative action