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South Carolina Legislative Report - December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012

At the General Assembly

Haley Releases Executive Budget

Governor Nikki Haley released her executive budget on Thursday, outlining her priorities and direction for how the General Assembly should allocate funds for the 2012-2013 Fiscal Year. The governor has proposed a $6.3 billion budget for 2012-2013 with a spending growth cap of 5.23% that would allocate any additional dollars toward debt relief, tax cuts or reserve funds. The budget represents 4.28% growth over last year’s budget. Some notable highlights within the executive budget are:

  • A four year phase out of the corporate income tax.
  • Consolidation of personal income tax brackets from six to three
  • Establishment of property tax rates by statute by amending the constitution.
  • Requiring the Board of Economic Advisors and the Department of Revenue to publish reports on tax credits and exemptions that outline the economic impact.
  • The elimination of funding for the Certificate of Need Program.
  • Restructuring through consolidation of Budget & Control Board into the Office of the Governor, making Secretary of Education a cabinet position and merging the Department of Corrections with the Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services.
  • Increases in Medicaid funding to prepare for expansion in enrollment. Promoting moves in Medicaid from fee for service to coordinated care.
  • An increase of 11.3 million dollars for the Department of Mental Health.

Prefiled Legislation

This week both the Senate and House of Representative released their second and final round of prefiled legislation for the coming session. Several bills have been filed regarding ethics reform (S. 133), drug testing and public assistance (S. 140), rejecting the Affordable Care Act (S. 147), and Medicaid eligibility (H. 3166) and healthcare insurance contracts (S. 145). 

You can view the list for each chamber’s prefiles by clicking the links below.

Senate Prefiled Legislation – December 18th

House Prefiled Legislation – December 18th

In The News

Tim Scott Appointed to Senate

This week Governor Haley appointed Tim Scott to replace Jim DeMint in the US Senate.  The appointment sets up a special election for the First Congressional District which runs from Charleston to Beaufort counties. Depending on when Scott resigns his congressional seat, the timeline for the special election is to open filing for candidates three weeks from vacancy. The filing will be open for 10 days. The primary would be held 13 weeks after vacancy and the general elections would be held 18 weeks from vacancy.  With Scott expected to officially resign in early January, the earliest the election could be held would be in May.

Speculation around potential candidates has swirled all week. Some of the names being floated are; former Frist Lady Jenny Sanford, former Governor Mark Sanford, State Senator Larry Grooms, State Senator Chip Campsen, Carroll Campbell, III, State Representative Chip Limehouse, State Representative Peter McCoy, State Representative Jim Merrill, State Representative Andy Patrick, Ted Turner, IV, former State Senator Larry Koon, Paul Thurmond, Joe Mckeown and North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey.

Richland County Election Fiasco

The Richland County Legislative Delegation held a closed-door meeting on Wednesday to discuss the fate of county election director Lillian McBride. Afterwards, news leaked out that McBride would step down from her position in January. Reports are that the delegation was set to hold a vote of no confidence when an agreement was made for McBride to relinquish her position in the wake of the election fiasco that plagued Richland County on Election Day last November. Many precincts reported a severe lack of voting machines and breakdowns leaving voters waiting in line for hours or not voting at all because of the wait.

Happy Holidays

State Government – Closing

All state government offices will be closed on December 24 through December 26 and on January 1, 2013.  The General Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, January 8th and we will resume our regular legislative updates at that time.

Thank you for allowing us to serve – Happy Holidays and our best wishes for a prosperous New Year! 

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For more information or to be added to our distribution list, please feel free to contact a member of our South Carolina Legislative team.