South Carolina Legislative Report - March 1, 2013
March 1, 2013
On the Floor
Revenue for Roads
This week the House of Representatives passed H. 3412 which will increase revenue for the Department of Transportation to use for repair and maintenance of the state’s roads and bridges. The bill will shift approximately $80 million in revenue from the state’s automobile sales tax to SC DOT over a two-year period.
The House of Representatives debated and passed H. 3298, the “ballot fix” legislation. The bill proposes to fix inconsistencies in current law that resulted in over 200 candidates being removed from the ballot last election cycle. The legislation requires all candidates for office to file the same paperwork by the same deadlines. The House ultimately removed political parties from the filing process, which will be a contentious issue as the debate moves to the Senate.
In Vehicle Breathalyzers
This week the Senate approved a bill that would force first-time DUI offenders upon conviction, with a blood alcohol level of .12 or higher to install an interlocking device on their vehicle that tests the driver’s alcohol levels before staring the car. S. 137 would remove suspension periods and require the installation of the device to be paid for by the offender.
Department of Administration
Last week the Senate gave final approval to S. 22, the Department of Administration legislation. The long anticipated legislation would eliminate the Budget & Control Board in favor a new cabinet level Department of Administration. The bill will also create a State Fiscal Accountability Authority made up of the Governor, Comptroller General, Treasurer, Ways and Means Chairman, and Senate Finance Chairman. Deficit Recognition will now be handled by the General Assembly, when in session, and a new Legislative Services Agency will now be responsible for all fiscal and revenue impact statements. In addition, the bill will create a Rural Infrastructure Authority, which will assist rural counties and local governments to improve their infrastructure to help attract economic development. The bill was introduced in the House and referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Introduction of Notable Legislation
H. 3721 – First Steps to School Readiness Reform (S. 291)
H. 3639 – Fair Competition for Government Contracts
H. 3640 – Gas Tax Increase
H. 3646 – Government Restructuring Act
Ways & Means – Budget
The Ways & Means Committee met last week to give approval to the 2013-2014 Appropriations bill and Capital Reserve Fund. The 22.7 billion dollar budget included a plan for an alternative to the federal Medicaid expansion outlined in the Affordable Care Act. Under the alternative, the committee allocated new money as well as carry forward dollars from the Health and Human Services budget to be used to assist hospitals and other rural healthcare providers in reducing and achieving better outcomes for emergency room visits and other health disparities for uninsured and under-insured individuals.
Joint Committee on Children
The Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children announced its annual report this week. The bi-partisan committee identified a number of areas that it said needed immediate attention. Those areas are: school readiness, preventable childhood obesity, childhood fatalities/injuries, childhood trauma, and immunizations.
Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act
This week the Senate Finance Committee gave a favorable report to S. 234, the “Abandoned Building Revitalization Act.” The bill would provide tax credits to developers who renovate building that have been abandoned for at least 5 years.
In The News
SLED begins investigation of SC speaker
On Feb. 14, Attorney General Alan Wilson forwarded to SLED a complaint accusing Harrell of violating state ethics laws. S.C. Policy Council president Ashley Landess has alleged Harrell used his office to boost his finances by using undue influence to get a permit for his pharmaceutical business.
SC Investment Commission vote censures state treasurer
The Retirement System Investment Commission voted Thursday to censure state Treasurer Curtis Loftis for “engaging in false, misleading and deceitful rhetoric.”
The censure resolution, which carries no penalties, quoted dozens of newspaper articles, blog posts, and radio and TV interviews, dating back to 2009, where Loftis publicly criticized the commission – of which Loftis is a member – for how it manages the state’s $26 billion retirement fund for public-sector workers.
SC Congressional Delegation Go on the Record About Budget Cuts (Video)
The cuts, known as a sequestration, impose across-the-board reductions in spending to all government agencies, regardless of priorities. They are in effect as of 12 a.m. Friday.
Tuesday, March 5th
10:30 am -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Local Government Ad Hoc Study Committee
2:00 pm -- Blatt Room 427 -- 3-M Subcommittee I, Health and Environmental Affairs
1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 433 -- E.P.W. Motor Vehicles Subcommittee
2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 403 -- Full Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee
Upon adjournment of the full L.C.I. Committee -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Business and Commerce Subcommittee
3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Committee
Wednesday, March 6th
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Insurance Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Judiciary General Laws Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 516 -- Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 515-A -- Judiciary Family and Probate Laws Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Judiciary Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Finance Criminal Justice Subcommittee Budget Hearings
9:30 am -- Gressette Room 406 -- Banking and Insurance Subcommittee
9:30 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Finance K-12 Education Subcommittee Budget Hearing
10:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Finance Health and Human Services Subcommittee Budget Hearings
11:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- K-12 Education Subcommittee
11:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee
11:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Judiciary Subcommittee
Thursday, March 7th
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Judiciary Special Laws Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Public Utility Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Blatt Room 510 -- L.C.I. Regulations Subcommittee
9:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Medical Affairs Subcommittee on the Affordable Care Act
9:30 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee