From the Dome to Your Home: June 19, 2015

The House of Representatives and Senate were in special session this week and held a few conference committee meetings. The House of Representatives adjourned Wednesday while the Senate convened on Thursday morning to honor the late Senator Clementa Pinckney from Jasper County who was killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on Wednesday night.

Agenda bill

Governor Nikki Haley signed S11, the agenda requirement bill, into law on June 8. Get all of the information about the new law, best practices and other suggestions on complying from the latest City Connect blog post. For more information about the new law, contact Tiger Wells ( at 803.933.1270.

Budget update

Conference committee members continued to discuss H3701, the state budget bill; H3702, the capital reserve bill; and H4230, the supplemental appropriations bill on Thursday. Committee members plan to meet on Friday and over the weekend to finalize a conference report on all three budget bills. Budget conferees are Senators Leatherman, Peeler and Setzler and Representatives White, Pitts and Clyburn. The House and Senate must approve a budget conference report by Tuesday in order to give the governor time to issue budget vetoes.  Lawmakers will have to return to Columbia in session to vote on the vetoes before the end of the fiscal year on Tuesday, June 30.
Both House and Senate versions of the budget include $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. 
The Senate version of the budget has $3.4 million in the Department of Public Safety budget that includes $2.4 million base funding and $1 million one-time funding for 2,000 body cameras.
Both versions of the budget also include 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.
Both the House and Senate versions of the supplemental appropriations bill include one-time money for county transportation committees to be spent on state secondary roads. Senator Leatherman stated that in all three bills, there is $336 million total budgeted for roads for FY 2015-2016.
For more information on the state budget bill, contact Melissa Carter ( at 803.933.1251.

Uber bill headed to the governor’s desk

The free conference report on H3525, the bill that allows Uber to operate in South Carolina, was adopted by the House and Senate this week allowing transportation network companies to operate in the state. The bill now heads to Governor Haley’s desk for her signature or veto.
The bill puts primary responsibility for regulation of the transportation network companies and their drivers on the Office of Regulatory Staff, while allowing municipalities to continue regulating matters not addressed in the legislation. The Office of Regulatory Staff will also collect from these companies/drivers and remit to municipalities a local assessment fee equal to one percent of the company’s gross revenue.
A transportation network company must submit to inspection of its records by the Office of Regulatory Staff if requested by a municipality, and must also engage, at its own expense, a South Carolina CPA with governmental accounting qualifications to perform an audit when requested by the Municipal Association.  Both audits would determine if the transportation network company appropriately remitted the local assessment fee and correctly distributed the funds to cities and towns. The bill allows the Office of Regulatory Staff to retain one percent of the local assessment fee to administer the tax distribution.
For more information on the Uber bill, contact Tiger Wells ( at 803.933.1270.

Weekly bill introductions

No bills were introduced this week that have an effect on cities and towns.  Visit the legislative tracking system to see and comment on all bills pending in the House and Senate.

Passed bills

Bills passed in the 2015 legislative session that have an effect on cities and towns are available on the Association’s legislative tracking system.

Committee action this week

Several conference committees met this week. Those reports are included above. No other standing committees met.
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.