May 25, 2020

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Inside the State House - Big Issues of the Week

Senate Passes Santee Cooper Bill

The Senate this week passed a joint resolution, H.4287, which directs the SC Department of Administration to create a bidding process for entities to purchase or manage the embattled Santee Cooper. The resolution also allows Santee Cooper to submit a proposal to demonstrate how it could survive if it remains intact. This issue will now go back to the House for a concurrence vote.

Carolina Panthers Bill Expected for Debate

With the potential of the Carolina Panthers moving their entire operations, other than stadium and game day activities, to Rock Hill, the Senate has one week to pass the bill, H.4243, that could make it all happen. H.4243 expands the state’s Job Development Credit incentive program to allow “professional sports teams” to qualify. If the bill passes, it is said that the Panthers would move their headquarters and operations to Rock Hill and build a state-of-the-art practice and training facility on location. Some have estimated that the project could bring about a $1 billion to $3 billion economic impact to the state.

Senate Gives Solar Bill Second Reading

The so-called Solar Bill, H.3659, received second reading in the Senate this week. This bill is a compromise between utilities and the solar industry, and would provide for a variety of benefits targeted toward rooftop and large-scale solar users.

SC Department of Employment and Workforce Provides UI Update

The SCDEW this week updated a Senate committee on the status of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The trust fund balance is $928 million and is expected to reach $960 million in 2020.

Legislative Session Ends Thursday

The South Carolina Legislature will adjourn “Sine Die” on Thursday, May 9 at 5:00 pm. Legislation not making its way to the Governor’s desk will be taken up January 2019.

Industry Specific Issues of the Week

Tax Issues

General Obligations Bond Act (H.4332) This bill provides additional flexibility for the Department of Commerce relating to infrastructure and bonding.
Status: Passed the House

Workforce and Senior Affordable Housing Act (H.3998) This bill allows a taxpayer eligible for a federal low-income housing tax credit to claim a low-income housing state tax credit.
Status: Passed House and Senate Finance Committee

SC Port Volume Tax Credit (H.3778S.439) This bill increases the available annual tax credit to $15 million from $8 million. It also provides for a new transportation tax credit for facilities located in the lower part of the state (closer to the Savannah port).
Status: H.3778 passed the House; S.439 passed Senate and passed House Ways and Means

Angel Incentives (S.185H.3210) This credit, provided to qualified investors of small high impact companies (preceding venture capital), is set to expire this year. These bills extend the credit by seven years. Pointing to an estimated 900 jobs created and $51 million invested as a result of this bill’s passage in 2013, proponents are working to move both bills this year.
Status: S.185 passed the Senate; H.3210 passed the House

Textile Mills (S.440) Sen. Scott Talley (R-Spartanburg)
Related to contiguous parcels and rehabilitation expenses of textile mills.
Status: Passed Senate; passed House Ways and Means Committee

JEDA Conforming Bill (S.621) A bill that conforms South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA) provisions to the U.S. Treasury regulations (issued Dec 2018) related to public notice of hearings and bonding provisions.
Status: Passed Senate; passed House Ways and Means Committee

Cable Television Tax Income (S.408) This bill allows cable television system operators to report income based on the “cost of performance” method.
Status: Passed Senate; passed House Ways and Means Committee

Health Issues

Coal Ash Storage (H.3483) Extends the sunset of the bill that requires coal ash to be stored in a Class 3 landfill.
Status: Signed into law

Youth Access to Tobacco (H.3420) This bill prohibits minors from entering a retail establishment that primarily sells either tobacco products or alternative nicotine products.
Status: Signed into law

Energy Issues

Solar Bill (H.3659) This bill is titled the Clean Energy Access Act and is related to the state solar and utilities industries in South Carolina. The bill would provide for a variety of benefits targeted toward rooftop and large-scale solar users.
Status: Passed House; received second reading in Senate

Sale of Santee Cooper (H.4287) This Joint Resolution gives the state the ability to accept bids from entities to purchase or manage Santee Cooper, as well as a bid from Santee Cooper as to how it will operate in the future.
Status: Passed the House and Senate; in House for concurrence vote

Securitization (S.110) This bill allows the state’s Public Service Commission to force utilities to securitize any extraordinary debt, namely the debt incurred by SCANA, for the abandonment of VC Summer.
Status: Passed a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee; done for 2019

Retail Issues

Energy Drinks (H.4352) Provides age restrictions on energy drinks.
Status: Passed a House 3M Subcommittee; done for 2019

On-Line Marketplace Tax Collection (S.214) This bill provides that third-party on-line retailers must collect sales tax.
Status: Signed into law

Alcohol Server Training (S.342) This bill provides that employees who sell alcohol for on-premises consumption must undergo alcohol server training.
Status: Passed the Senate, in Full House Judiciary this week

Workforce & Labor Issues

Workforce Database (H.3757) This bill provides that a coordinating council (workforce and education stakeholders) shall manage the development of a South Carolina workforce plan, using longitudinal data, metrics and analysis to identify South Carolina workforce priorities.
Status: Passed the House

Bill Introductions of Note

House of Representatives

THC Hemp (H. 4501)  This bill allows for the distribution of THC hemp after meeting certain requirements.
H.4501 (Rep. Hewitt) referred to House Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs

Waste Tire Facilities (H.4504) This bill relates to waste tire processing facilities and penalties.
H.4504 (Rep. Davis) referred to House Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs

Short Term Rental Preemption (H. 4516) This bill bans local governments from enacting ordinances to ban short term residential rentals.
H.4516 (Rep. Hewitt) referred to House Labor, Commerce, and Industry

PSC Elected by General Assembly (H. 4531) This bill would require that Public Service Commissioners be elected by the General Electorate rather than the Legislature.
H.4531 (Rep. Magnuson) referred to House Labor, Commerce, and Industry

Tax Reform Bill (H. 4532) This bill decreases the state’s sales tax to three percent and implements a sales tax on certain services, as well as eliminates many exemptions.
H.4532 (Rep. Pope) referred to House Ways & Means

Senate

Residential Building Codes (S. 796)

This bill requires that residential building codes be reviewed, modified, or adopted within three or six years (varies by code) after the national and international standards are released. 

S.796 (Sen. Alexander) referred to Senate Labor, Commerce, and Industry

Food Processing  (S. 806)This bill deals with entities involved in the warehousing, manufacturing, packaging, or processing of food.
S.806 (Sen. Campbell) referred to Senate Finance

John DeWorken and Sunnie Harmon contributed to this post.

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