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​From the Dome to Your Home

 The Senate and House of Representatives met in regular session this week debating bills on the calendar and adjourned Sine Die on Thursday, May 10. However, legislators will return to Columbia on May 23 and 24 and June 27 and 28 to handle only the budget, budget vetoes, conference reports and legislation dealing with V.C. Summer.

Since this is the second year of a two-year session, all bills that haven't passed will die and have to be reintroduced at the beginning of the 2019 session. This includes H3529, the plastic bag ban bill.

As the session ended, cities and towns could count a number of wins that impact health and safety, spending flexibility and economic development.  Details of all bills passed during the session will be available in the year-end report at the Annual Meeting in July.

Abandoned buildings tax credit bill in conference committee
S1043 extends the abandoned buildings tax credit until 2021. Passed in 2013, the Act created an incentive for the rehabilitation, renovation and redevelopment of abandoned buildings in South Carolina. S1043 will ensure the incentive remains in place to give developers certainty for future projects planned after the incentive's current sunset in 2019.

After the bill passed the House, the Senate added multiple amendments that did not pertain to the subject of the bill. The House did not agree with those amendments and moved the bill to a conference committee. Representatives Simrill, Cole and Rutherford and Senators Reese, Talley and Cromer are the conferees.

Because this bill is in a conference committee, it can be debated when legislators return to Columbia in May and June. For information on this bill, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251.

Local accommodations flexibility bill goes to conference committee
S917, the bill that allows state and local accommodations and local hospitality tax revenue to be used to control and repair flooding and drainage on tourism-related lands, was placed in conference committee. The Senate bill was amended by the House, and the Senate did not agree with the amendment. The amendment limited the flexibility to cities in only two counties, Horry and Charleston.  

Senators Davis, Goldfinch and Scott and Representatives Pitts, Finlay and Crawford will meet to discuss the differences in the two versions of the bill.  

Because this bill is in a conference committee, it can be debated when legislators return to Columbia in May and June. For information on this bill, contact Melissa Carter (mcarter@masc.sc) at 803.933.1251. 

Budget Conference Committee continues work on the budget
Budget conference committee conferees Senators Leatherman, Matthews and Bennett and Representatives White, Cole and Clyburn met on Monday to begin discussing the budget. They plan to continue debating the two different versions of the budget when they return later this month. 

Included in the House version of the budget:

  • Beach renourishment funded at $11 million.
  • The 1 percent pension employer contribution credit funded in the FY 2018 budget is again funded in the FY 2019 budget.
  • Proviso (52A) allows the S.C. Department of Transportation to use federal-aid funds to relocate water and sewer lines in compliance with federal guidelines.
     
  • Proviso (40A) allows anyone that retired before December 31, 2017, to return to work for a covered employer without the earnings limitation.

Included in the Senate version of the budget: 

  • 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 PTSD 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.
  • Proviso (48A) requires political subdivisions using Rural Infrastructure Authority funds for water infrastructure projects to follow the state procurement code's definition of "specifications" for products and services when bidding those projects.  
  • Proviso (70) requires the SC State Law Enforcement Division to determine if municipalities are inhibiting their employees' attempts to comply with state or federal laws requiring that they 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.
  • Proviso (58) requires cities and towns to perform national background checks and fingerprint employees with access to federal tax information.  

For questions on the budget, 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. 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