South Carolina businesses and manufacturers became shielded from being declared a public or private nuisance if they are following pertinent laws, licensing regulations and local ordinances, thanks to a bill signed by SC Gov. Henry McMaster on Feb. 13.
“One thing we always want to convey to people looking to invest in our state is that they know what they’re getting when they come to South Carolina; they’re not going to be vexed with unnecessary complaints and lawsuits,” McMaster said in a statement after the signing.
As South Carolina expands in both its number of businesses and its population, there are more instances were urban developments and industrial sites are side by side. The protections from bill H.3653, which had Rep. Mike Forrester, R-Spartanburg, as lead sponsor, were applauded by the SC Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the business community.
“South Carolina manufacturers strive to be good neighbors, and this legislation strikes a balance between the needs of industry and the rights of citizens,” said Sara Hazzard, president and CEO of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance. “This law will encourage future South Carolina manufacturing capital investments and jobs.”
SC Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Ted Pitts noted that the manufacturing sector employs nearly 12% of the state’s workforce, and more than 47,000 manufacturing jobs have been announced in the past seven years.
Representatives from the South Carolina business community, including Sonoco and Volvo, were on hand for the signing.
“Like many other companies, Volvo Cars has chosen to call South Carolina home due to the strength of its workforce and its business-friendly climate,” said Katarina Fjording, Vice President, Purchasing & Manufacturing of Volvo Car Group and Chair of the SC Chamber’s Manufacturers’ Steering Committee. “The passage of this bill is a strong example of the state’s commitment to job creation and innovation.”
John Tynan, the executive director of Conservation Voters of South Carolina, warned that the bill means that companies will now be able to ignore any grievances from neighbors.
“You lose the ability to address an unforeseen circumstance that happens because of changes in technology or changes we can’t predict right now,” Tynan told The Greenville News.
“Obviously we’re not talking about every industry,” Tynan said. “We’re talking about the small percentage that might be bad actors.”