South Carolina’s journey toward reaching Tax Conformity is on hold until the legislature meets again to consider it under Legislation Awaiting Final Action.

The Sine Die Resolution allows the legislature to continue working on specified matters after the May 10 Sine Die adjournment, including allowing conference committees to work through differences on legislation passed by both bodies. Included in the list of bills still under consideration is Tax Conformity in both the Senate and House.

S. 1258 (Senator Leatherman) enacts the “South Carolina Taxpayer Protection and Relief Act” and H. 5341 (Reps. Lucas, White, Simrill and Rutherford) which are both related to tax Conformity with the Internal Revenue Code.

In addition, the House and Senate have halted their negotiations on the state budget and will meet again in Columbia after the June primaries. There were 71 bills awaiting the governor’s signature. Sine Die adjournment is Nov. 11. 

View from the Dome

By Copper Dome Strategies

ISSUE: MAY 18, 2018

Although the 122nd Session of the South Carolina General Assembly concluded May 10, a Joint Resolution to allow the General Assembly to continue past the mandatory Sine Die deadline was adopted prior to adjournment to allow members to continue working on specified unfinished business, including the state budget, tax Conformity and legislation dealing with the fallout of the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. The budget Conference Committee met briefly on Tuesday, May 15, and then abruptly halted negotiations the next day, postponing the legislature’s return to Columbia until after the June primaries. 

BUDGET

The Conference Committee working to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions in the FY 2018-19 General Appropriations Act H. 4950 (Ways and Means Committee) met briefly this past Tuesday to begin working through the differing versions. Members are Senators Leatherman, Matthews and Bennett and Representatives White, Cole and Clyburn. After meeting for less than hour, the committee recessed to the call of the chair.

Wednesday afternoon, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brian White (R-Anderson) issued a joint statement postponing further conference committee meetings for the time being. The statement read “With so many complex issues outstanding we will not have enough time to get a conference report ready for the May 23rd and 24th dates provided for in the Sine Die Resolution.” The statement went on to add that the differences that the conferees face are numerous and complex and their goal to meet a Thursday deadline would require shortcuts in research or consideration. They added their goal now is to have a budget conference report presented to both houses before the next dates authorized in the Sine Die Resolution, which is June 27th.

The General Assembly had been poised to return to Columbia next Wednesday to adopt the budget Conference Report and send it on to the governor for his vetoes. Both bodies did adopt a Joint Resolution S. 671 (Senator Leatherman) that would allow state government to continue operating at current funding levels for the next fiscal year beginning July 1 if the legislature fails to pass a state budget. Numerous differences in the budget include the amount of teacher pay increases, higher education funding, school safety funding and whether or not to fund a new SLED laboratory.

The Capital Reserve Fund appropriations bill H. 4951 (Ways and Means Committee) was signed into law by the governor on May 7.

Budget Conference Committee information can be found here.

The governor’s Executive Budget can be found here.

Individual state agency budget requests can be found here.

LEGISLATION AWAITING THE GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE

The Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate met this past Monday to ratify acts. After a bill receives the necessary three readings in both the House and Senate, the bill is enrolled for ratification. The presiding officers of each body then agree to meet for ratification at a mutually convenient time where they then formally declare such through the process of ratification of acts. The bills, now ratified acts, then go the governor where he has five days to sign it into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. Currently, 71 bills are awaiting the governor’s signature. To view all bills currently ratified, go here.

To find a glossary of legislative terms, go here.

LEGISLATION AWAITING FINAL ACTION

The Sine Die Resolution allows the legislature to continue working on specified matters after the May 10 adjournment, including allowing conference committees to work through differences on legislation passed by both bodies. Included in the list of bills still under consideration:

H. 4375 (Reps. McCoy, Ott, Lucas, and others) which will prohibit other electric utilities from using the Base Load Review Act, which enabled SCE&G to continue to charge its electric customers for the failed expansion at V.C. Summer nuclear facility;

S. 954 (Senators Leatherman, Setzler) which would temporarily lower utility rates for customers of SCE&G until the Public Service Commission (PSC) rules in December;

S. 1258 (Senator Leatherman) enacts the “South Carolina Taxpayer Protection and Relief Act” and H. 5341 (Reps. Lucas, White, Simrill and Rutherford) which are both related to tax Conformity with the Internal Revenue Code;

H. 4931 (Reps. Elliott, Alexander, Simrill and many others) that would authorize an applied baccalaureate in manufacturing if approved first by the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education and the Commission on Higher Education.

HIGHER EDUCATION

S. 648 (Senators Scott, Setzler, McLeod, Jackson and McElveen) relating to the disposal of surplus properties by the Midlands Technical College Enterprise Campus Authority was signed into law by the governor on Tuesday.

RESTRUCTURING

Gov. McMaster signed into law S. 27 (Senators Campsen, Young, Hembree, and others). The law will allow the voters to decide by referendum in November whether or not to amend the state constitution to allow the State Superintendent of Education to be appointed by the governor rather than elected. Should the voters agree to amend the constitution, the duly elected superintendent would serve one four year term and the governor would begin appointing the superintendent beginning in 2023. The proposal to allow the appointment by the governor has passed the House multiple times for a number of years but was never passed by the Senate. The Senate gave final approval to the proposal just minutes before the legislature adjourned on May 10.

SINE DIE RESOLUTION

Prior to adjournment, the General Assembly adopted H. 5383 (Rep. Lucas) a Joint Resolution to allow the General Assembly to continue past the mandatory May 10 Sine Die deadline. The resolution specifies what the legislature can debate and allows them to return to Columbia again on Wednesday, May 23 for no more than two days, if necessary, and again on June 27 for no more than two days. In addition to the state budget and other outstanding conference committee reports, the resolution allows for discussion on Conformity-related issues to state income tax laws and legislation regarding the V.C. Summer Nuclear issue and related matters. The resolution also allows them to return to Columbia at any time if necessary until final Sine Die adjournment on Nov. 11.

COMING UP

Copper Dome Strategies will provide our annual “Rearview: A Look Back at the 2018 Legislative Session” in the coming weeks.