From the Dome to Your Home: January 30, 2015
The House of Representatives and Senate were in session this week and meeting in subcommittees and committees to deal with the state budget, ethics bills and transportation proposals.
Business license tax under assault
Several bills relating to changes in business licensing have been introduced 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) prefiled H3233 in December that would change the business license calculation from gross to number of employees. Rep. Rick Quinn (R - Lexington) said he plans to introduce a bill that would change how business license taxes are calculated and cap the tax for each business at $100. If introduced as reported, this bill would have a tremendous impact on cities" ability to fund services like police and fire protection. 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 was scheduled to meet on Thursday morning to debate H3374, a bill that changes the Local Government Fund calculation. However, the meeting was canceled. The Association's staff has been working with legislators during the off-season to supply them with data and background information regarding the importance of the LGF to cities and towns. Legislators have expressed a willingness to work with Association staff to address our concerns with the bill. For questions about this bill, contact Melissa Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1251.
Senate Judiciary Committee passes agenda bill
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed S11 as amended by the subcommittee last week by a unanimous vote. The bill requires a public body to provide an agenda for all regularly scheduled meetings. Also actionable items cannot be added to that agenda within 24 hours of the meeting except by a 2/3 vote of the body. Association staff has been working with Senator Larry Martin (R - Pickens) on this issue since the summer Supreme Court ruling of Lambries vs. Saluda County Council. On Thursday, the full Senate gave this bill second reading by a vote of 32 - 0. The bill will be up for third and final reading on Tuesday. For questions about this bill, contact Tiger Wells (email@example.com) at 803.933.1270.
Hometown Legislative Action Day on Wednesday
The Municipal Association's Hometown Legislative Action Day is on Wednesday, February 4, in Columbia at the Marriott Hotel downtown. More than 500 municipal officials have registered for the day that includes a packed agenda with General Assembly leaders, informational sessions and plenty of time to advocate at the State House on behalf of your city or town. The opening general session begins at 9 a.m. sharp with Speaker of the House Jay Lucas. Senator Hugh Leatherman, president pro tempore of the Senate, is the luncheon speaker.
Weekly bill introductions
Committee action this week
House Judiciary Committee
H3186 - Redefines certain terms regarding ethics and government accountability - recommitted to the subcommittee
Summary of the bill as introduced: Revises the definition of "business with which he is associated" and revises the statements of economic interests form.
H3202 - SC Whistleblower and Public Employee Protection Act - adjourned debate
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.
Senate Finance Sales and Income Taxation subcommittee
S76 - Expands the availability of Rural Infrastructure Fund grants - favorable report. Later in the day, the full Senate Finance Committee gave this bill a favorable report.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows grants to also be awarded to counties with a population of less than 40,000 residents and municipalities located in counties with a population of less than 40,000 residents.
House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Environmental Affairs I subcommittee
H3035 - Take Palmetto Pride Where You Live Act - favorable report as amended. The amendment indicates public service work includes, but is not limited to, litter pick-up. Later in the week, the full House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee gave this bill a favorable report as amended by the subcommittee.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Creates the Take Palmetto Pride Where You Live Act Commission to develop a strategic state plan for litter removal, reduction and prevention.
Senate Banking and Insurance Committee
S342 - Amends the Insurance Holding Company Regulatory Act - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Makes changes to the current Insurance Holding Company Regulatory Act.
House Judiciary Constitutional Laws subcommittee
H3198 - Requires public officials to recuse themselves from a matter that is a conflict of interest - favorable report
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.
House Education and Public Works Transportation subcommittee
H3003 - Prohibits the operation of a moped on state public highways and streets - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits a person from operating a moped along the state's public highways and streets.
H3142 - Creates certain requirements for mopeds - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Regulates mopeds on public roads and requires flashing lights and reflective vests to be worn by moped operators and passengers.
H3165 - Defines mopeds as motor vehicles - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Defines mopeds as motor vehicles and not as motorcycles.
House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee
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 Agriculture and Natural Resources Environmental subcommittee
S139 - Prohibits local governments from moving the baseline seaward after a beach renourishment project - favorable report as amended. The amendment makes technical changes to clarify golf course repair options.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits seaward movement of the baseline after July 1, 2015, and eliminates the right of local governments and landowners to petition the Administrative Law Court to move the baseline seaward upon completion of a beach renourishment project.
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