View from the Dome – May 17, 2019
By Copper Dome Strategies, LLC

Although the General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on May 9, a Joint Resolution to allow work to continue past the mandatory Sine Die deadline was adopted since the state budget has not yet been finalized. Plans were to adopt the state budget conference committee report this week after the Santee Cooper conference committee agreed to a plan to move forward with a potential sale of the state-owned utility. However, the Santee Cooper conference committee was unable to reach an agreement on Thursday. The budget conference committee then met briefly to adopt several agreed-to provisos and intends to meet again Friday. The General Assembly still plans to return Monday, May 20, to approve the budget agreement if a compromise can be reached on both the Santee Cooper Resolution and the budget. If not, the General Assembly would meet at a future date.

BUDGET

The Conference Committee on the state budget H. 4000 met this past Tuesday and Thursday and will meet again on Friday afternoon. House conferees were Representatives Murrell Smith, Gary Simrill and Todd Rutherford. Senate conferees were Senators Hugh Leatherman, Darrell Jackson and Sean Bennett. The committee must also adopt a finalized Conference Report on H. 4001, a Joint Resolution to appropriate funds from the Capital Reserve Fund. Once finalized, both conference reports must be adopted by the full House and Senate. The General Assembly will return to Columbia on Monday, May 20 to finalize the budget.

A Joint Resolution H. 4413, which gives authority to pay the expenses of state government in the event the 2019-2020 fiscal year begins without a state budget, has been adopted and signed by the governor. The Joint Resolution would only go into effect if the budget Conference Report is not adopted by July 1.

Information on both versions of the budget can be found here.

The governor’s Executive Budget can be found here.

Individual state agency budget requests can be found here.

ENERGY

On Thursday, a House/Senate Conference Committee met to resolve the differences in H.4287 which deals with the future of state-owned utility Santee Cooper but were unable to reach a consensus. They intend to meet again Monday morning. Assuming a conference report on H.4287 is agreed to Monday, the Budget conference report should then be approved also. Conferees were Representatives Jay Lucas, Murrell Smith, Russell Ott and Senate conferees were Senators Shane Massey, Luke Rankin and Nikki Setzler. The plan calls for the Department of Administration to seek not only bids from qualified offerers to purchase Santee Cooper, but also to seek offers for potential management contracts of the state-owned utility as well as a reform plan from the utility regarding its future. The proposed plan to sell state-owned utility Santee Cooper has dominated discussion in the General Assembly this year.

LEGISLATION SIGNED INTO LAW

The following bills were signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster this week:

TAX

H.3785 (Reps. Sandifer, Howard, Thayer, West and Weeks) relating to the Board of Accountancy. This act amends some key operating procedures for the South Carolina Board of Accountancy. Of particular note is revised criteria for reciprocity. It expands application eligibility to those who hold a valid out-of-state CPA license issued before Jan. 1, 2012, and have engaged in four years of out-of-state professional practice as a CPA within the 10 years immediately preceding the South Carolina application. This act takes effect immediately.

CABLE

S.408 (Senators Reese and Turner) provides tax parity for the cable industry with regards to the corporate income tax. This act takes effect immediately and applies to all open tax periods excluding assessments under judicial review as of the date of the Governor’s approval.

HEALTHCARE

H.3760 (Sandifer) merges the Patients’ Compensation Fund with the South Carolina Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association. This act takes effect immediately.

ANIMAL WELFARE

S.105 (Campbell and Sheheen) the animal welfare bill was developed from recommendations of the Animal Welfare Task Force last year. This act takes effect immediately.

PENDING LEGISLATION

The following bills are currently in conference committees to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bills:

H.3821 (Rep. Clary) enacts the “Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Act.” The bill expands the role of APRN’s relating to death certificates by allowing them to authorize crematories, sign death certificates, certify the manner of death and execute do not resuscitate orders among other things.

H.4004 (Reps. Clary, G.M. Smith, Lucas and Ridgeway) enacts the “Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) Act.” The bill enables certain persons to execute a POST form signed by a physician that sets forth the patient’s wishes for life-sustaining care and requires health care providers and facilities to accept the form as a valid medical order.

SINE DIE ADJOURNMENT 

Adjournment sine die means “without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing.” This Latin term is used to signify the end of our legislative session. As in most recent years, our General Assembly adopted a Sine Die Resolution S. 785 (Peeler, Leatherman, Setzler and Massey) which will allow them to continue past the mandatory May 9 Sine Die deadline to complete unfinished business. The resolution specifies the General Assembly return to Columbia on May 20 and adjourn no later than May 22. The resolution also allows the General Assembly to return again if necessary for specific unfinished business, including to deal with possible vetoes and the sale of Santee Cooper.

UP NEXT

The General Assembly will return to Columbia on Monday, May 20, to complete unfinished business, including the state budget if an agreement is reached Friday by the two conference committees.