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​From the Dome to Your Home

The S.C. General Assembly met in regular session this week, continuing work in subcommittee and committee meetings. Local elected officials were well represented at the State House on Tuesday during Hometown Legislative Action Day advocating on behalf of their cities and towns.

Engineer Practice Act conference committee approves conference report
The conference committee that has been debating the House and Senate versions of H3649, the Engineer Practice Act, came to an agreement after months of debate. Conferees Senators Davis, Scott and Corbin and Representatives Crawford, Anderson and Atwater agreed to the House version of the bill. Next, the conference report goes to the House and Senate for approval. This is a big win for municipalities and their construction industry partners because the bill clarifies when building officials must require an engineer's or architect's seal on construction documents. For questions on the conference report, contact Scott Slatton (sslatton@masc.sc) at 803.933.1203.

Plastic bag ban bill passes the House
The House of Representatives gave second reading on Wednesday and third reading on Thursday to H3529, the bill that bans local governments from passing ordinances that regulate plastic bags. The bill, which was amended before receiving second reading, is now in the Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. The roll call vote in the House on second reading was 73 to 41.

This bill, as amended, will ban municipalities from adopting ordinances regulating local use of plastic bags and other containers. Cities that adopted ordinances or are located within counties that adopted ordinances before January 31, 2018 can continue enforcing them. Future ordinances on the subject, even those amending pre-existing ordinances, would likely be prohibited. For questions on the bill, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

House concurs on Senate amendments to the nuisance suits bill
H3653, the bill as originally written, would prohibit local governments from declaring manufacturing and industrial facilities a nuisance if those facilities comply with state and federal environmental laws. The Senate gave cities and towns a win when it amended and passed the bill to allow local governments to continue enforcing local zoning and nuisance ordinances. The House agreed with the amendment from the Senate, sending the bill to the governor for his signature or veto. For questions on the bill, contact Tiger Wells (twells@masc.sc) at 803.933.1270.

Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act bill introduced
Last week, H4816 was introduced by Representatives James Smith and Beth Bernstein to extend the deadline for the South Carolina Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act until December 31, 2025. A positive for cities and towns, this bill creates an incentive for the rehabilitation, renovation and redevelopment of abandoned buildings in South Carolina. This bill will ensure the incentive remains in place to give developers certainty for future projects planned after the incentive's current sunset in 2019.

Please continue to contact members of your House delegation and ask them to sign on as a sponsor of the bill. Thanks to contacts by local officials meeting with their legislators at Hometown Legislative Action Day on Tuesday, Representatives Simrill, Sottile, Erickson, Henegan, Murrell Smith, Garry Smith, Jefferson, Williams and Gilliard have signed on as sponsors. For questions on the bill, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.

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.

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