View from the Dome – May 10, 2019
By Copper Dome Strategies, LLC 

The General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on Thursday, May 9, at 5 p.m. after a flurry of lastweekofsession activities in both chambers, including passing legislation aimed at bringing to South Carolina the Carolina Panthers professional football team’s headquarters and training facilities.  

Joint Resolution to allow the General Assembly to continue past the mandatory May 9 Sine Die deadline was adopted because the state budget, the Santee Cooper legislation and other legislation in conference committee have yet to be finalized.  

The budget Conference Committee, the Santee Cooper Conference Committee and others are expected to begin meeting next week. The General Assembly will return to Columbia on May 20 to adopt the budget Conference Report and again later, if necessary, to deal with gubernatorial vetoes on the budget.  

As this was the first year of the twoyear legislative session, all bills not becoming law this year will maintain their place in committee or on the calendar. 

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. Thursday, as in most recent years, our General Assembly adopted a Sine Die Resolution S.785 (Peeler, Leatherman, Setzler and Massey) that 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 allows the General Assembly to return again if necessary for specific unfinished business, including the sale of Santee Cooper. 

TAX 

The Senate gave final approval to H.3785 (Reps. Sandifer, Howard, Thayer, West and Weeks) relating to the Board of Accountancy on Thursday. The bill 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. The bill now goes to the governor. 

You can find more of SCACPA’s coverage of the BOA bill on the SCACPA Blog. 

BUDGET 

The House amended the state budget H.4000 back to its version setting up a Conference Committee of three House members and three senators to resolve the differences. The House also returned to the Senate H.4001, a Joint Resolution to appropriate funds from the Capital Reserve Fund. House conferees will be Representatives Murrell Smith, Gary Simrill and Todd Rutherford. Senate conferees are Senators Hugh Leatherman, Darrell Jackson and Sean Bennett. The budget conference committee is expected to begin meeting next week.  

The Senate adopted H.4413 (Reps. G.M. Smith, Lucas, Simrill, Rutherford and Stavrinakis) a Joint Resolution that gives authority to pay the expenses of state government in the event the 2019-20 fiscal year begins without a state budget having been adopted. The Joint Resolution would only go into effect if a budget compromise is not reached 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.  

PROCUREMENT 

The House gave final approval to S.530 (Senator Leatherman) on Thursday, which makes changes to the Consolidated Procurement Code. This is the first major update to the state procurement code since 2006. The bill’s aim is to update the procurement code by deleting obsolete language and improving and shortening processes in government procurement. Many of the changes are the result of a review mandated by the restructuring act in 2014. The bill now goes to the governor. 

EDUCATION REFORM 

Despite thousands of teachers rallying at the State House on May 1 demanding reform, the Senate did not take action on S.419 (Hembree, Malloy, Turner, Setzler, Sheheen and Alexander) known as “The South Carolina Career Opportunity and Access for All Act.” Senate Education Committee Chairman Greg Hembree (R-Horry) has said they will continue work on the bill during the offsession and plan to take it up again in January. The House passed its version of education reform H.3759 (Lucas, Allison, Felder, Pope, Simrill, Rutherford and others) in early March. 

A summary of the companion bills can be found here.  

Senate proposed changes can be found here.  

ENERGY 

The proposed plan to sell state-owned utility Santee Cooper has dominated discussion in the General Assembly this year. Like most complex issues, the House and Senate have differed on the best path forward. The House proposal, H.4287 (Lucas, G. M. Smith, Simrill, Rutherford and others) was similar to the Senate version in its final version but both chambers agreed to meet in conference committee to work through the differences. Conferees are Representatives Jay Lucas, Murrell Smith, Russell Ott and Senate conferees are Senators Shane Massey, Luke Rankin and Nikki Setzler. 

HEALTHCARE 

By a vote of 37-0, H.3760 (Sandifer) a bill that merges the Patients’ Compensation Fund with the South Carolina Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association was adopted by the Senate on Thursday. The House later concurred in the Senate amendments. The amendment to the bill was the work of recent input from affected stakeholders. Insurance Commissioner Ray Farmer had previously testified it was time to address the mounting deficits and he would support any effort by the General Assembly to do so. The bill now goes to the governor. 

Two health care bills were returned to the House on Thursday as amended by the Senate. On both bills, the House refused to concur in the Senate amendments, thereby sending the bills to a conference committee to work out the differences. The bills are: 

H.3821 (Rep. Clary) which 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 donotresuscitate orders, among other things. 

H.4004 (Reps. Clary, G.M. Smith, Lucas and Ridgeway), which 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. 

ANIMAL WELFARE 

The animal welfare bill S.105 (Campbell and Sheheen) received final reading in the House and concurrence in the Senate on Thursday. The legislation was developed from recommendations of the Animal Welfare Task Force last year. The bill now goes to the governor. 

APPOINTMENT 

GovHenry McMaster has withdrawn the name of his nominee to lead state-owned utility Santee Cooper just as the S.C. Senate was set to reject former Attorney General Charlie Condon’s nomination. Senators had objected to Condon’s lack of qualifications for the job. The decision comes as lawmakers consider selling the utility. 

The governor has written a letter authorizing his nominee Stephen F. Morris to continue serving as Interim Director to the Department on Aging until he names another individual and pending confirmation of that individual by the Senate. Morris failed to receive confirmation by the Senate last week. 

UP NEXT 

The General Assembly will return to Columbia later this month to complete unfinished business, including the state budget.