View from the Dome

May 26, 2017

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The House of Representatives cancelled their return to Columbia this past Tuesday, because the Conference Committee working on the state budget has not yet reached a consensus plan. The Senate was in session briefly on Tuesday.

APPOINTMENT

On Tuesday, Governor Henry McMaster announced Sara Goldsby as the next director of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS). Goldsby has served as Acting Director of the agency since August 2016. Goldsby holds Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of South Carolina, and serves as a Southeast Regional Leader for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School. Prior to being named Acting Director, Goldsby served as a Health Systems Policy Consultant at DAODAS and led the state response to the opioid crisis. She was instrumental in helping local law enforcement agencies employ the use of the emergency overdose antidote naloxone. Her appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate confirmed two new appointments to the Denmark Technical College Area Commission. Zeb Portanova of Aiken and Kevin Whitt from Beech Island will serve terms to expire in 2018 and 2019.

BUDGET

The state's top legislative priority, passage of the FY 2017-18 state budget (H. 3720) and the Capital Reserve Fund (H. 3721) remains in limbo for now as the Conference Committee working on the plan met only briefly this past Tuesday. Joint Resolution S. 692 (Senator Leatherman), allowing the General Assembly to continue past the mandatory May 11 Sine Die deadline, was recently adopted since the state budget had not yet been finalized. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee adopted S. 671 (Senator Leatherman), a Joint Resolution that would keep state government operating under the current fiscal year funding levels if legislators cannot reach an agreement by July 1. The full Senate adopted the proposal later that day. Shortly afterwards, the Conference Committee met publically and said they remain at odds due to philosophical reasons, hampering their ability to reach a compromise; however, both Senate and House leaders assured those present they are working in good faith and are hopeful to have a plan soon. Sticking points include how the General Assembly will reimburse local governments for the employer increase to the state retirement system, and funding levels for both K-12 and higher education. Meanwhile, House Speaker Jay Lucas notified members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday that he plans to bring the body back to Columbia on Tuesday, June 6. He pointed out in his memo to the membership that at this time the Budget Conference Committee has not reached an agreement, and it is not known what business will be available for the House to take up on that day. Senate budget conferees are Senators Hugh Leatherman, Nikki Setzler and Sean Bennett. House conferees are Representatives Brian White, Mike Pitts and Leon Stavrinakis. It is expected they will return to Columbia on Tuesday to continue their work.

Both versions of the state budget can be found here.

Individual state agency budget requests can be found here.

GENERAL BUSINESS

Governor Henry McMaster announced this week he will begin holding a series of roundtable-style meetings with local business leaders across main street South Carolina to solicit and compile examples of regulations and red tape, which make it unnecessarily difficult to do business in the State. The series of meetings builds on the governor's Executive Order 2017-09, which orders a transparent review of cabinet agency regulations that may harm business growth, by including the perspective of local main street business leaders from across the state. The first meeting will be in Anderson, June 5 at 11:30 AM at the Hilton Garden Inn. The schedule of the meetings is as follows (specific times and locations will be announced in the future):

Anderson June 5

Florence June 7

Sumter June 8

Rock Hill June 15

Beaufort June 21

Myrtle Beach June 22

Aiken June 23

Each meeting will be co-hosted by a local Chamber of Commerce organization and roundtable participation limited to their local chamber membership.

PENDING LEGISLATION

More than sixty bills received third and final reading during the last week of the legislative session. That represents nearly half of all bills passed during the five-month legislative session. Click here to view all bills ratified this session.

COMING UP NEXT WEEK

It is expected the Budget Conference Committee will meet next Tuesday.

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