This Week at the State House
It was a busy week at the State House, even with the House of Representatives on furlough. The Senate met in lengthy sessions this week setting S.997, Refugees and Voluntary Resettlement Organizations, in a Special Order slot and adopting H.4443, a concurrent resolution, to declare June 17, 2016 as “Mother Emanuel Nine Day” in honor of the nine victims who lost their lives in the tragic shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston last year. The Senate carried over the majority of the bills on their calendar to begin debate onH.3579, the SC Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act. Senator Tom Davis resumed his filibuster from the end of last session on the bill, holding the Senate floor nearly all day on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Government Affairs Team spent most of this weeks’ session closely monitoring the Senate’s debate on a road funding package and prepping Senate LCI Subcommittee members for the hearing on S.1013, Real Estate License Law Reform, next week. Please find below detailed updates on SCR’s Priority Legislation as well as other legislation and issues of interest.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can provide any additional information or you have any further questions.
|Senate LCI Subcommittee Hearing on License Law Rescheduled
|The Senate Labor, Commerce, and Industry (LCI) Subcommittee set to take up S.1013, Real Estate License Law Reform, on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 was cancelled due to the Senate’s decision to meet earlier than previously scheduled to allow more time on the floor for discussion on H.3579, the SC Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act. The Government Affairs Team quickly responded to the cancellation, working with Subcommittee Chair Senator Tom Davis and LCI Staff to reschedule the meeting at the earliest possible date. The subcommittee hearing on S.1013 will be held next Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 11:00am in the Gressette Building on the State House grounds. The members serving on the subcommittee include Subcommittee Chair Tom Davis and Senators Karl Allen, Sean Bennett, Kevin Bryant, Ray Cleary, and Glenn Reese. The Government Affairs Team will continue to work with the subcommittee members and Senate LCI Staff in preparation for the hearing.
Senate Carries Over Eminent Domain Legislation
|The Senate took up both S.868, Eminent Domain for Pipeline Companies, and S.1065, Petroleum Pipeline Study Committee, this week and carried over the bills. Senator Tom Young, cosponsor of the legislation, briefly explained the bills on Tuesday and Senator Gerald Malloy made the motion to carry over both S.868 and S.1065. The bills came up before the body again on Wednesday but on the motion of Senator Paul Campbell, the bills were immediately carried over. On Thursday, a more in depth discussion on the bills took place. Senators Shane Massey and Tom Young offered an amendment on S.868, adding a five year sunset provision. The amendment was adopted. Senator Massey then made a motion to table the committee amendment and Senator Danny Verdin made a motion to carry over the bill, trumping Massey’s motion to table. S.868 was ultimately carried over. The body then took up S.1065 and amended the committee amendment, essentially adopting perfecting language which would sunset the study committee after a report is submitted to the General Assembly. Senator Massey then made the motion to carry over S.1065 and the resolution was carried over. The SCR Government Affairs Team will continue to work with Senators Massey and Young and other groups with interest in protecting private property rights for passage of the legislation.
Davis Resumes Filibuster on Road Funding Bill
|The Senate began their initial debate on H.3579, the SC Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act, this week with Senator Tom Davis resuming his filibuster on the bill from the end of last session. Davis held the Senate floor for the majority of Wednesday and Thursday, calling for restructuring at the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT). Davis stated he would like to see the SCDOT made into a cabinet agency, reporting directly to the Governor, and to have the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) fall under the SCDOT Commission rather than function as its own state agency. Senator Davis stated that he does not support increasing the gas tax when there is a sufficient, recurring revenue stream to pay for repairs. On Thursday, Senator Hugh Leatherman announced that both the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees will cancel their meetings scheduled for next Tuesday to allow more time on the floor for continued debate on road funding. The Senate adjourned on Thursday with Senator Davis retaining the floor, meaning his filibuster will continue into next week. Senator Davis made it clear of his intentions to continue his filibuster until the members of the Senate invoke cloture. Even if the filibuster is ended, there are still over 300 amendments to the bill on the desk, with expectation that the number will grow as the debate continues.
Act 388 Study Committee Organizational Meeting
|Pursuant to Proviso 91.25, an Act 388 Study Committee met on Thursday to hold their initial organization meeting. Members serving on the committee include Senators Matthews, Reese, Davis, Gregory, and Thurmond. The committee met very briefly and acknowledged that submitting recommendations to the General Assembly by June 30, 2016 was not feasible as discussion on road funding would likely take up much of the session. The committee tasked staff with submitting a letter to the Clerk’s Office to give notice that the report would not be ready by the date set forth in the proviso. The committee will likely request an extension to the deadline and meet through the legislative interim on this issue in order to compile a more thorough report.
Movement on Property Tax Legislation
|The Senate Finance Committee gave a favorable as amended report to S.626, Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy, this week. The legislation was introduced last session and it exempts 80% of the fair market value of a renewable energy generation property, meaning property that generates electric power by the use of a renewable energy source. The exemption only applies for the ten consecutive years after the facility becomes operational. It also exempts a distributed renewable energy generation property for residential use. The amendment adopted in committee clarifies the ten consecutive year provision in the legislation, stating that the exemption only applies if the property became operational after property tax year 2012 and before property tax year 2021. For property that became operational in property tax year 2013 or 2014, the exemption applies for the ten consecutive property tax years beginning in 2016.
The Senate Judiciary Committtee passed out H.3972, Transfer of Undeveloped Property, favorably as amended, this week. The bill was then placed on the Senate calendar and carried over on the motion of Senator Nikki Setzler. The legislation states the submission of a land development plan or land use plan is not a prerequisite and must not be required before the execution of a deed transferring undeveloped property. The amendment inserts language allowing a local governmental entity the authority to require the grantee to file a plat at the time the deed is recorded. The bill remains on the Senate calendar.
Register Now for the 2016 REALTOR® Rally
|Please join us on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and the South Carolina State House to show your support for the American Dream of Homeownership at the Annual REALTOR® Rally. Join REALTORS® from across the state, legislators and the media as we let our voices be heard on SCR Priority Legislative Issues. The day’s events will include an address by Governor Nikki Haley, grassroots lobbying inside the Statehouse, and a BBQ lunch with your legislators.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the biggest grassroots effort in South Carolina! Click here to register now!