From the Dome to Your Home: February 6, 2015
The House of Representatives and Senate were in session this week and meeting in subcommittees and committees to deal with the state budget in the House and the ethics bill on the Senate floor. More than 500 municipal officials attended Hometown Legislative Action Day on Wednesday to advocate on behalf of their cities and towns.
Business license tax bill introduced on Tuesday
Rep. Rick Quinn (R - Lexington) introduced H3490 on Tuesday that would change how business license taxes are calculated and cap the tax for each business at $100. If passed, this bill would have a monumental negative impact on cities and towns and the services that they provide to residents, businesses and visitors. Click on the bill number for a list of sponsors of the bill. Please call your House member this weekend and tell them what specific impact H3490 would have on your city or town services. For more information about H3490, business license taxes in general, how they are calculated and the Municipal Association's model ordinance, click here
. For talking points to use in contacting your legislators, click here.
Two other business license bills have been introduced so far this session. Rep. Samuel Rivers (R - Berkeley, Charleston) introduced H3337 that would prohibit cities and towns from charging a business license tax. Rep. Jimmy Merrill (R - Charleston) introduced H3233 that would change the business license calculation from gross receipts to number of employees. For questions about these bills, contact Melissa Carter (email@example.com) at 803.933.1251.
Local Government Fund legislation update
The House Ways and Means Revenue Policy subcommittee met on Wednesday afternoon to hear testimony and debate H3374, a bill that changes the Local Government Fund calculation. Representative Brian White (R - Anderson) is chairman of the subcommittee that includes Reps. Herbkersman, Bingham, Merrill and Pitts. Melissa Carter on the Association staff testified at the meeting on the Association's concerns with the bill. The subcommittee gave this bill a favorable report and sent the bill to the full House Ways and Means Committee for debate. For questions about this bill, contact Melissa Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1251.
House Judiciary subcommittee approves agenda bill
The House Judiciary Constitutional Laws subcommittee gave a favorable report to H3192, a bill that requires public bodies to have an agenda for any regularly scheduled meeting. The subcommittee amended the bill to remove the "irreparable harm" language that was a concern to the Association. The bill, as amended, will allow an agenda to be amended by a 2/3 vote at the beginning of the meeting. Association staff worked closely with the subcommittee members on this amendment. The bill now goes to the full House Judiciary Committee for debate. The Senate passed its version of this bill, S11, and it is now in the House Judiciary Committee for debate. For more information on this bill, contact Tiger Wells (email@example.com) at 803.933.1270.
Weekly bill introductions
Committee action this week
House Judiciary Constitutional Laws subcommittee
H3186 - Redefines certain terms regarding ethics and government accountability - favorable report. Later in the day the full House Judiciary Committee gave this bill a favorable report with an amendment. The amendment was mostly technical, but it added language requiring filers of economic interest statements to report money received by the filer's immediate family, including money from a lobbyist principal and money received from a source funded by the entity with which the filer serves.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Revises the definition of "business with which he is associated" and revises the statements of economic interests form.
House Judiciary Committee
H3198 - Requires public officials to recuse themselves from a matter that is a conflict of interest - recommitted
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires public officials to recuse themselves at any time regarding a matter that is a conflict of interest before the public body.
H3202 - SC Whistleblower and Public Employee Protection Act - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Eliminates the $2,000 cap on rewards for reports resulting in savings and eliminates the one year limitation on the period during which the employee is protected from adverse employment actions.
H3168 - SC Emergency Management Law Enforcement Act - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Outlines procedures for the use of out-of-state officers who are deployed to the state in accordance with the provisions of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
H3247 - Extends the Study Committee on Expungement of Criminal Offenses until December 31, 2015 - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Extends the Study Committee on Expungement of Criminal Offenses until December 31, 2015.
Senate Finance Property Tax subcommittee
S143 - Prohibits a governmental entity from entering into a contract to pay a political subdivision for assets - carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits a governmental entity from entering into a contract in which installment payments of the purchase price are to be paid by a governmental entity to a nonprofit corporation, political subdivision or any other entity in order to finance the acquisition, construction, renovation or repair of any asset.
House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Local Government and Corrections Affairs subcommittee
H3343 - Prohibits certain methods of euthanasia in animal shelters - favorable report with amendments. The amendments narrow down the types of drugs used for euthanasia to one type. It allows the Veterinary Board to allow other groups to provide training on euthanasia and it clarifies that no inhaled gas may be used for euthanasia.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits the use of barbituric acid derivatives and carbon monoxide gas in euthanasia in animal shelters.
House Education and Public Works Public Safety subcommittee
H3213 - Requires law enforcement officers to notify DMV of medical conditions of drivers - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires law enforcement officers who suspect that a motor vehicle accident was the result of a driver's loss of consciousness due to a medical condition to notify DMV of the determination.
House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee
H3008 - Prohibits a local governing body from enacting an ordinance that conflicts with a state highway traffic law - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits a local governing body from passing an ordinance that conflicts with a state statute regulating highway traffic.
House Judiciary Constitutional Laws subcommittee
H3190 - Removes the legislative exemption in the Freedom of Information Act - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Removes the existing FOIA exemption for members of the General Assembly and their immediate staff.
H3191- Creates the Office of Freedom of Information Act Review with in Administrative Law Court - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Creates the Office of Freedom of Information Act Review within Administrative Law Court and reduces the time in which a public body has to respond to requests from 15 days to ten days.
Don't forget to follow the Municipal Association on Twitter to get up-to-the-minute updates on what's happening every day at the State House. Follow us @MuniAssnSC.
The Municipal Association encourages reprints and reproductions of this report; however, contact the Municipal Association for permission and give credit for any reprints or re-use of this report.