The Past Week in the Senate: April 9 - 13, 2018
As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help, and thank you for allowing me to serve you in Columbia.
Sent to the house for consideration...
Community Development Corporations and Financial Institutions
A bill to allow a taxpayer that makes a cash donation to a certified community development corporation or community development financial institution to claim a credit equal to fifty percent of the donation. The Department of Commerce shall authorize the tax credits each year on a first-come, first-served basis. Twenty-five percent of annual tax credits must be held in a reserve account during the first three quarters of each tax year and made available exclusively to small, rural-based, community development corporations. And to extend the provisions of the South Carolina Community Economic Development Act until June 30, 2023.
A bill to prohibit a private investigation business from knowingly representing multiple parties with opposing interests in civil or criminal matters and to provide penalties.
Lt. Governor Restructuring
A bill to provide that the duties of the Lt. Governor shall be assigned by the Governor, that the office is a division of the office of the Governor. It will also substitute “president of the Senate” for the “Lt. Governor” in all applicable current Senate duties, rights and obligations. It establishes the Department of Aging and removes it from a division of the Lt. Governor’s Office.
Base Load Review
A joint resolution to authorize the Executive Director of the Office of Regulatory Staff to file an action in circuit court to require the production of documents or witnesses in certain circumstances if an entity has provided goods for the design, construction or operation of a facility that has been the subject of a proceeding concerning the Base Load Review Act and giving such action administrative priority by the chief administrative judge in the county that it is filed.
A joint resolution to provide for the observance of the sestercentennial of the American Revolution in South Carolina and to establish the American Revolution Sestercentennial Commission of South Carolina.
Returned to the house with amendment...
Enrolled for ratification...
A bill to extend First Steps to School Readiness so that it is no longer subject to sunset provisions but to require the program to be periodically reauthorized by the General Assembly. The bill enhances accountability and reporting requirements for evaluating program cost and effectiveness, including additional requirements for documenting progress toward improving kindergarten readiness and a requirement for the program to report each local partnership’s comprehensive plan and annual report on a website. The bill would also place the salary of the Executive Director to become subject to the authority of the Agency Head Salary Commission
A bill to require an applicant relating to licensing for individual and agency insurance producers, to provide a complete set of fingerprints with the application, and to further provide that failure to provide this constitutes grounds for denial of an application, there are also exceptions to this requirement.
The South Carolina Senate passed, by a 37-4 vote, a balanced, focused, responsible, $8.2 billion state appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 that addresses the most critical needs for the people of South Carolina including substantial new investments in education opportunities, adds accountability measures for state agencies and allows the Public Service Commission to provide relief to electric customers resulting from the federal tax program.
Analysis of Teachers Duties – An amendment authored by Senator Greg Hembree, R-Horry, seeks to relieve teachers of burdensome tasks that interfere with their ability to teach. The budget proviso requires the Department of Education to conduct a top-down analysis of the tasks of teachers in South Carolina to determine what duties placed on teachers are unnecessary or may be consolidated to other functions, or be performed by another staff position.
Tuition Transparency – The tuition transparency amendment requires public universities to post where and for what purpose tuition goes to that exceeds the amount required to classroom costs for a program so students know exactly what their tuition goes to fund.
Saying Thanks To Teachers – A teacher can make one of the greatest impacts on a child’s life. The Senate budget recognizes the dedication that teachers give in the classroom by providing adding an additional $2,000 to the starting salary of a K-12 teacher in the public system, a 1% raise and complete funding of step increases, the House provided no funding for these step increases.
Retiring Rolling Firebombs – Outdated, dangerous school buses have jeopardized the safety of our children for far too long. The Senate budget rids our school districts of these “rolling fire bombs” and the danger they present our students.
Need Based Grants – The Senate budget includes over a $10 million increase for Need Based grants for Higher Education, the largest increase since the FY1999-2000 budget. The House version of the budget provided a $0 increase.
Responding To Our First Responders — Our state has been impacted by several natural disasters in the last few years. We thank our law enforcement, DNR and other first responders who gave assistance during these tragedies. The FY18-19 budget includes additional salary to those responders who assist in preventing the spread of forest fires. The Senate additionally made a impactful investment to provide for additional SLED agents to reduce case loads, trooper pay, Department of Corrections officer pay increase, community specialists for the Department of Juvenile Justice and providing the needed resources to see that our officers are trained and protected in the growing concern of mental health situations and PTSD therapy.
Opioid Prevention Assistance – The opioid epidemic is ripping apart families and communities nationwide, and our state is not immune from it’s impacts. We are committed to stopping abuse of dangerous controlled substances. This year’s budget includes an additional $11M for opioid abuse prevention and treatment programs.
Ratepayers First — The Senate also passed an amendment to have the Public Service Commission order regulated utilities to pass along the full tax benefits received form the Trump Administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act wholly to electric customers.
Respecting The Rule of Law — The protection of rule of law and legitimacy of our immigration system must be protected. The Senate sent a strong message of protecting the rule of law by providing that SLED shall ensure the accuracy and compliance of the Immigration Compliance Report, a list of county and municipal governments, to meet federal and state laws relating to unlawful persons in the United States.
State Employees making Less than $50,000 Bonus – Provides a one time lump sum payment of $500 to state employees that have been employed at least six months prior to January 2018 and make less than $50,000