From the Dome to Your Home: April 24, 2015
The House of Representatives and Senate were in session this week and held subcommittee and committee meetings. The Senate Finance Committee adopted its version of the budget, while the House debated bills on the calendar.
Senate Finance Committee adopts its version of the budget
On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee adopted its version of the budget which includes the same funding for the Local Government Fund as the House version. The budget includes $212.6 million in the Local Government Fund for Fiscal Year 2015-2016. This total includes $200.1 million as the base funding level and $12.5 million in one-time money. This total is the same amount as the current year and $81.9 million less than full funding.
Senate Finance Committee members included a proviso that would allow municipalities to use surplus victims" assistance funding to purchase body cameras for sworn officers. The budget also added $3.4 million in the Department of Public Safety budget that includes $2.4 million base funding and $1 million onetime funding for 2,000 body cameras. The Senate Finance Committee also included the proviso that requires cities and towns to negotiate an agreement with the circuit public defender to provide indigents with a public defender in municipal court. The proviso prohibits the circuit public defender from providing indigent defense in municipal court without an agreement with the city or town. The budget is now in the full Senate for debate during the week of May 4. For more information on the state budget bill, contact Melissa Carter (email@example.com) at 803.933.1251.
Body camera bills moving through the General Assembly
S47, the Senate bill that requires law enforcement officers to wear body cameras, was passed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The bill is now on the Senate calendar for debate by the full Senate next week. H3997, the House bill that directs SLED to develop criteria for the use of body cameras through a pilot project, was amended and passed by the full House Judiciary Committee. The committee amended the bill to instruct the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council to conduct a body camera pilot project with six municipalities and three counties. For more information on the body camera bills, contact Tiger Wells (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1270.
Dilapidated Buildings Act passed by Senate subcommittee
A Senate Judiciary subcommittee gave a favorable report to S194, the Dilapidated Buildings Act. The subcommittee amended the bill to include counties. 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 (email@example.com) at 803.933.1203 for questions about the bill or to share stories that illustrate the challenges of dilapidated buildings.
Senate agenda bill moves out of House Judiciary Committee
S11, the Senate bill that requires an agenda for all regularly scheduled meetings of a public body, was amended and given approval by the House Judiciary Committee. The committee amended the bill to strike all of the language in S11 and replace it with the language in the House version of the bill, H3192. For more information on the agenda bill, contact Tiger Wells (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1270.
Weekly Bill Introductions
Committee Action This Week
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 and carry insurance and may not be operated on a public road whose speed limit is greater than 35 miles per hour.
House Judiciary Committee
H3521- Prevents a court or other enforcement authority from enforcing foreign law - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prevents a court or other enforcement authority from enforcing foreign law.
H3685 - Adds a $5 surcharge on all fines imposed by municipal courts - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires a $5 surcharge fines imposed by a general sessions, magistrates or municipal court for misdemeanor traffic or non-traffic offenses where an electronic ticket or citation was issued.
H3325 - Uniform Partition of Heirs" Property Act - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Creates procedures for a court to follow in determining the value of the property and factors for a court to consider for different types of partitions.
House Labor, Commerce and Industry Public Utilities subcommittee
H3026 - Defines offshore wind research and development activities - adjourned debate. Later in the week, the full House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee adjourned debate on this bill also.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Defines offshore wind research and development activities as initiatives undertaken by an electrical utility for the long term advancement of the economic development and clean energy benefits.
House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Agriculture subcommittee
H3343 - Prohibits certain methods of euthanasia in animal shelters - favorable report. Later in the week, the full House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee also gave this bill a favorable report.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits the use of barbituric acid derivatives and carbon monoxide gas in euthanasia in animal shelters.
Senate Judiciary Committee
S282 - Makes several changes to the Tort Claims Act - carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Makes several changes to the Tort Claims Act including changes to the medical malpractice language and defective product language.
H3168 - SC Emergency Management Law Enforcement Act - carried over
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.
S55 - Requires reapportionment to a population variance of less than 10 percent for single member districts - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment provides for a special election where the reapportionment results in two electors for the same district.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires reapportionment to a population variance of less than 10 percent for single member districts within three years of the date on which the latest official census is adopted by the General Assembly.
S215 - Requires certification of a municipal election within two days of the election - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment provides for a special election when the reapportionment results in two electors for the same district.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires managers of elections to certify the municipal election within two days of the election.
House Labor, Commerce and Industry Real Estate subcommittee
H3710 - Extends the multilot discount for an additional five years - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment changes the extension dates from 2021 to 2018. Later in the week, the full House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee gave this bill a favorable report as amended by the subcommittee.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Provides an additional five years of eligibility for the multiple lot discount.
House Ways and Means Committee
H3010 - SC Marketplace and Infrastructure Improvement Act - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires the SC Department of Revenue to take certain actions in the event Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act and directs all new state and local sales tax revenue from this action to the State Highway Fund.
H3725 - Makes changes to the SC Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment conforms the bill to the Senate version, S532.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Adds the definition of state-owned abandoned buildings and certain tax credits for rehabilitating state-owned buildings.
H3146 - Requires reimbursement of the cost of mailing property tax notices if a taxing entity causes the notice to be incomplete - no action taken on the bill although it was on the agenda
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires a taxing jurisdiction to reimburse the cost of mailing property tax notices again if that taxing entity causes the notice sent by the county to be incomplete when the initial notice is mailed on October 15.
H3313 - Changes the rollback calculation on agricultural property - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires when calculating roll-back taxes due on a parcel of real property that changed from agricultural to commercial or residential, the value used for platted green space or open space use of the parcel if the use is ten percent or more of the parcel, it must be valued based on the green space or open space use.
H3562 - Local Option School Operating Millage Property Tax Credit Act - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Allows a county council with referendum approval to impose a one percent sales tax to use to provide a credit against property tax levied in the county for school operations.
H3113 - Includes the cost of environmental remediation in property assembly costs - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Includes the cost of environmental remediation as a reimbursable expense in redevelopment projects.
H3259 - Reduces the minimum square footage requirement contained in the definition of eligible site - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Reduces the minimum square footage requirement from 40,000 to 25,000 contained in the definition of eligible site under the South Carolina Retail Facilities Revitalization Act.
Senate Judiciary subcommittee
S429 - Modifies the requirements of workers" compensation to include mental illness - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment limits the workers" compensation expansion to first responders directly involved in the incident in the course of their employment where that incident results in medically diagnosed PTSD.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Modifies the definitions of injury and personal injury in workers" compensation to add mental illness to related conditions that may be compensable if resulting from a significant traumatic experience.
House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee
H3431 - Prevents a political subdivision from mandating an employee benefit - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prevents a political subdivision of the state from mandating or requiring an employee benefit.
H3785 - Provides further definitions for Business Development Corporations - adjourned debate
Summary of the bill as introduced: Outlines the way business development corporations are organized, regulated and permitted to operate.
Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
S139 - Prohibits local governments from moving the baseline seaward after a beach renourishment project - recommitted to the subcommittee
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.
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.