From the Dome to Your Home: March 6, 2015
The House of Representatives and Senate were in session this week and met in subcommittee and committee meetings. The House will debate the House Ways and Means Committee's version of the state budget next week.
Dilapidated Buildings bill recommitted to the subcommittee
The House Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 to recommit H3039 back to the House Judiciary Special Laws subcommittee for further debate. Several members of the full committee had questions that can be addressed through amendments. This bill gives cities and towns another tool to deal with dilapidated buildings through the appointment of a receiver to either repair or demolish the property. Contact Scott Slatton (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1203 for questions about the bill or to share stories that illustrate the challenges of dilapidated buildings.
Local Government Fund Bill amended and passed by the House
H3374, the bill that changes the calculation for the Local Government Fund, was amended and passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday. Next, the bill goes to the Senate Finance committee for debate. The original bill calculated the increase in the base funding of the LGF at a maximum of a 2 percent increase after the growth in the state general fund revenues reach 4 percent. The bill, as amended, changes the Local Government Fund calculation to an annual percentage increase in LGF base funding equal to the percentage increase in the general fund estimate with a 5 percent cap on the LGF increase. Special thanks to Rep. Russell Ott (D - Calhoun, Lexington, Orangeburg), Rep. Jimmy Merrill (R - Berkeley, Charleston) and Rep. Brian White (R - Anderson) for spearheading the effort to increase the amount of funding for the Local Government Fund.
The House of Representatives will convene at 1 p.m. on Monday to begin debating the House Ways and Means Committee's version of the budget. Contact Melissa Carter (email@example.com) at 803.933.1251 for more information on this bill and the entire budget process.
Business License bill stakeholders met Tuesday
On Tuesday, Municipal Association staff met with representatives from the SC Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Homebuilders Association of SC to discuss H3490, the business license tax bill. Rep. Rick Quinn, the sponsor of the bill, also participated in the meeting. It was a productive two-hour meeting where business representatives discussed their concerns about business licensing, and Municipal Association staff gave the business representatives some background on the business licensing process. The group agreed to meet again in two weeks to continue the discussions. For more information on this meeting and future meetings, contact Reba Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1245. For more information on H3490 and business licensing, contact Melissa Carter (email@example.com) at 803.933.1251.
Weekly bill introductions
Committee action this week
House Judiciary Committee
H3014 - Requires the General Assembly to convene in February and adjourn in May each year - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires the General Assembly to convene on the second Tuesday in February and adjourn sine die no later than the first Thursday in May each year.
H3093 - Extends to local governments the prohibition on obtaining personal information for commercial solicitation - recommitted back to the subcommittee
Summary of the bill as introduced: Extends to local governments the prohibition on knowingly obtaining or using personal information obtained from a state agency for commercial solicitation by a private person or entity.
H3583 - Prohibits cities and towns from accepting proposals from businesses that boycott based on race or religion - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits the state or a political subdivision of the state from accepting a proposal from or procuring goods or services from a business which engages in the boycott of a person or entity based on race, color, religion or national origin.
Senate Finance Retirement and Employee Benefits subcommittee
S381 - Allows terminated employees close to retirement to buy out remaining retirement time - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment confirms the terminated employee who is a member of either SCRS or PORS has five days to purchase up to one year of service credit to make them eligible to retire.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows any public employee who is terminated within one year of full retirement to purchase the remaining time within five days of termination.
Senate Finance Sales and Income Taxation subcommittee
S453 - Makes the surcharges on certain traffic tickets to fund training permanent - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Makes the surcharges on certain traffic tickets to fund training at the SC Criminal Justice Academy permanent.
Senate Judiciary Committee
S255 - Requires removal of arrest records on websites if the charges have been dismissed or discharged - carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires removal of arrest records on websites within 30 days if the charges have been dismissed, discharged or the person is found not guilty.
Senate Finance Special Transportation Funding subcommittee
S2 - Establishes the Interstate Lane Expansion Fund - no action although the bill was on the agenda
Summary of the bill as introduced: Increases the number of lanes on existing mainline interstates with funding from the taxes from the sale, use or titling of a motor vehicle.
S23 - Adds a motor vehicle user fee of 16 cents per diesel gallon to liquefied natural gas - no action although the bill was on the agenda
Summary of the bill as introduced: Adds a motor vehicle user fee of 16 cents per diesel gallon to liquefied natural gas.
S142 - Requires all excess general fund revenues to be credited to the State Highway Fund - no action although the bill was on the agenda
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires all excess general fund revenues accumulated in a fiscal year in excess of general appropriations and supplemental appropriations to be credited to the State Highway Fund for improvements to existing mainline interstates and state and local roads.
S244 - Local Option Motor Fuel User Fee Act - no action although the bill was on the agenda
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows a county to impose by ordinance and approved by referendum a user fee of no more than five cents a gallon on retail sales of fuel for the sole purpose of road improvement projects and road maintenance within the county.
S406 - Increases the gas tax and provides an income tax credit - no action although the bill was on the agenda
Summary of the bill as introduced: Directs the State Fiscal Accountability Authority to establish a motor fuel surcharge and provide for a refundable income tax credit for taxpayers who pay the motor fuel surcharge.
Senate Judiciary subcommittee
S47 - Requires all state and local law enforcement officers to wear body cameras - carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires all state and local law enforcement officers to wear body cameras.
Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee
H3035 - Take Palmetto Pride Where You Live Act - no action although the bill was on the agenda
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.
House Education and Public Works Transportation subcommittee
H3440 - Makes several changes to the current law on mopeds - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires a moped to be registered, carry insurance and may not be operated on a public road whose speed limit is greater than 35 miles per hour.
House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee
H3545 - Restructures the elements of the degrees of arson - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Restructures the elements of the degrees of arson.
H3433 - Domestic Violence Reform Act - the subcommittee took no action on this bill although it was on the agenda
Summary of the bill as introduced: Restructures the domestic violence offenses by graduating the penalties into degrees.
House Judiciary General and Family Laws subcommittee
H3115 - Prohibits municipalities from regulating knives and guns - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment clarifies that local governments may enforce state or federal laws that regulate knives and firearms. The amendment also clarifies that local governments may regulate the careless or negligent discharge or public brandishment of knives and firearms.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits municipalities from enacting, enforcing or promulgating any regulation or ordinance that regulates or attempts to regulate the transfer, ownership, possession, carrying or transportation of knives, guns or ammunition.
H3521 - Prevents a court or other enforcement authority from enforcing foreign law - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prevents a court or other enforcement authority from enforcing foreign law.
H3306 - Keeps employers from creating policies that prohibits firearms in vehicles - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits a business entity, property owner, or public or private employer from creating or maintaining a policy that prohibits a person from storing legally possessed ammunition or a firearm in an enclosed compartment or area with the person's privately owned locked motor vehicle.
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