As part of SCACPA’s dedication to Advocacy on behalf of the CPA Profession, here is your weekly update of actions being taken during the legislative session, prepared in cooperation with our lobbying partner, Copper Dome Strategies
Friday, March 19, 2021
TRENDING THIS WEEK
House members received a presentation on the Ways and Means Committee’s passed version of the state budget in preparation for next week’s floor debate.
Both chambers moved a number of bills this week from committee and in-floor debate, working toward getting the bills to the other chamber prior to the April 8 crossover deadline.
The Senate canceled all committee meetings and floor session Thursday due to impending inclement weather.
SCDOR Executive Director Hartley Powell told a senate finance subcommittee that his agency is well-positioned and funded to carry out its mission.
The House Ways and Means Economic Development Subcommittee on Tuesday briefly discussed H.3891 (Rep. Murray) that provides an income tax credit for certain broadband service providers that give a discount to families with children who require internet access for educational purposes or veterans. The subcommittee did not take action on the bill.
The House Ways and Means Sales, Use and Tax Income Legislative Subcommittee favorably approved H.4017 (Reps. Simrill and Pope) tax conformity on Tuesday – relating to the application of the Internal Revenue Code to state income tax laws. The bill remains in the Ways and Means Committee as amendments are discussed.
After receiving subcommittee approval earlier in the week, the full House Ways and Means Committee favorably approved the following Thursday:
- S.271 (Senators Talley, Turner, Rice and Adams) would extend the tax credit provisions of the Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act through Dec. 31, 2025
- H.4064(Reps. G. M. Smith and Sandifer), relating to property tax exemptions for manufacturers. The bill was amended in subcommittee to require any utility that gets a tax exemption via this bill must use the savings to effectuate lower rates for ratepayers
- H.3948(Reps. Stavrinakis and Murphy) provides that a county that has imposed by ordinance a sales and use tax in an amount not to exceed 1% within its jurisdiction may impose an additional sales and use tax in an amount not to exceed 1% within its jurisdiction.
These bills now go to the full House for consideration.
The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday favorably approved:
- S.627(Senators Bennett, Adams, Kimbrell, M. Johnson, Davis and others) relating to income tax rates for pass-through trade and business income and “S” corporations at the entity level. The bill creates an election for the business to pay the tax at the entity level, making it a direct tax and circumventing the current $10,000 limit on state and local taxes on the personal return
- S.463(Senators Alexander, Cromer, Grooms, Scott and Loftis) removes the expiration date for tax credits for the purchase of geothermal machinery and equipment.
- S.154(Senator Martin) would allow a taxpayer prevailing in an action levied against the Department of Revenue to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs associated with the action
- S.527(Senator Alexander) defines “legally separated” for the purposes of imposition of the property tax so that each spouse can claim the 4% assessment ratio
These bills now go to the full Senate Finance Committee for consideration.
TAX INTRODUCTIONS OF INTEREST
S.677 (Senator Davis) Provides for the allocation of a tax credit or unused credit amount carried forward that is earned by a partnership or limited liability company taxed as a partnership. Referred to the Committee on Finance.
House members received a presentation on the Ways and Means Committee passed version of the FY21-22 state budget H.4100 (Ways and Means Committee) and the Capital Reserve Fund H.4101 (Ways and Means Committee) in preparation for floor debate next week. House rules require the budget to be printed and placed on members’ desks for one week prior to debate. Full floor debate is expected to begin on Monday. The presentation can be found here.
The Senate Finance Subcommittees continued hearing agency budget requests this week. Agencies appearing included the Department of Administration, the State Fiscal Accountability Authority and the Department of Revenue. SCDOR Executive Director Hartley Powell told the subcommittee his agency is not seeking additional state funding, and the agency is well-positioned and funded to carry out its mission.
The governor’s executive budget can be found here.
Individual state agency budget requests can be found here.
Video archives of the subcommittee meetings can be found here.
COVID-19 – VACCINES
The state began Phase 1b of its COVID-19 vaccination plan on March 8. The state is now receiving approximately 140,000 doses per week, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and has 572 providers activated.
For more information from DHEC on the virus, click here.
DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment page can be found here. The targeted date to begin Phase 1c vaccinations (which includes those employed in “Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services”) will be around April 12.
The House Judiciary Special Laws Subcommittee favorably approved Wednesday, as amended, S.147 (Senators Massey, Rice, Hembree, Adams and Peeler), the COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act. The bill provides health care providers and businesses liability protection from Coronavirus claims. The amendment added that nothing in this joint resolution shall be construed to limit in any way any defense or right that exists under law [or create immunity for claims other than a coronavirus claim], and the liability protection provided by this joint resolution is in addition to and cumulative of other defenses and rights that exist under law. There are 22 states that have enacted COVID-19 liability protection, and 21 states are considering it. Gov. McMaster strongly supports the legislation. The bill now goes to the full Judiciary Committee for consideration.
The Senate voted on Wednesday to approve S.631 (Senator Talley) that enacts the “South Carolina Electronic Notary Public Act.” The bill establishes procedures for electronic notaries public and establishes fees and training requirements. The bill remains on the Senate calendar awaiting third and final reading.
The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday favorably approved H.3620 (Reps. Gilliard, W. Newton, Bernstein, Hyde, Simrill, Rutherford, Lucas and others) the “Penalty Enhancements For Certain Crimes,” also known as the Hate Crimes bill. The bill provides additional penalties for people who commit a crime when it is beyond a reasonable doubt the victim was selected due to race, color, creed, religion, sex, gender, age, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. The committee amended the bill by adding back protections for gay or transgender people and removing stalking and harassment from the crimes that could add an extra hate crime penalty, leaving the proposal to only deal with violent offenses. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration. Only three states (Arkansas, South Carolina and Wyoming) do not have such a law on the books.
The Business and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on Tuesday favorably approved H.3243 (Reps. Collins, Bernstein, Kimmons, Forrest and others) that allows for people to be eligible for an occupational or professional license if they are lawfully present in the state and are not precluded from establishing residency under federal immigration laws. The bill now goes to the full House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee for consideration.
The Senate Medical Affairs Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday was canceled due to impending inclement weather. As a result, S.503 (Senator Hutto) that would allow Physician’s Assistants and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to issue orders for certain home health services and S.455 (Senator Davis) relating to the creation of an additional category for temporary licensure for graduate nurses will be on the committee’s agenda in two weeks.
The Business and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on Tuesday favorably approved H.3524 (Reps. Hixon and Forrest) that would extend the sunset provision to June 30, 2022, a moratorium on certain rights, powers and privileges of for-profit pipeline companies. The bill now goes to the full House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee for consideration.
The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Public Utilities Subcommittee on Wednesday favorably approved H.4062 (Reps. Sandifer and West) that would allow the Public Service Commission (PSC) to hire qualified, independent third-party experts for review and approval proceedings for electrical utilities. The bill now goes to the full House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee for consideration.
Also Wednesday, a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee again debated H.3194 (Reps. Lucas, G. M. Smith, Simrill, Rutherford and others), relating to the sale and reform of state-owned utility Santee Cooper and S.464 (Senator Rankin), which is a reform plan only. No action was taken on either bill.
The House Ways and Means Economic Development Subcommittee on Tuesday favorably approved H.3144 (Reps. White, Robinson, Thigpen and V. S.Moss) that establishes the “South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs Scholarships” (SC WINS) for students attending a two-year technical college. The bill passed the House in 2019 105-0 but did not pass the Senate. State Technical College System President Dr. Tim Hardee testified the bill would not only benefit thousands of needy students but serve as a great economic development tool to expand a skilled workforce. The SC Chamber of Commerce testified in support of the bill noting it would help lower student debt and fill the gap not covered by other scholarship opportunities. The full House Ways and Means Committee adopted the legislation by a vote of 20-0 Thursday. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
The House Education and Public Works Committee on Tuesday favorably approved S.38 (Senators Grooms, Rice, Hembree, Verdin and Kimbrell) that enacts the “Reinforcing College Education on America’s Constitutional Heritage” (REACH) Act. The bill requires each high school and institution of higher education that provides a baccalaureate program to provide instruction on the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.
The Senate on Tuesday voted 42-0 to approve S.241 (Senator Young) relating to tuition rates for military personnel and their dependents. The bill removes the requirement that a veteran or dependent enroll in a public institution of higher learning within three years of the veteran’s discharge in order to receive educational assistance. The bill received third reading Wednesday and now goes to the House for consideration.
The Senate confirmed the appointment of Robert G. Woods IV as the next director of the SC Department of Public Safety on Tuesday. Gov. Henry McMaster nominated Woods to serve as director in December 2020 after serving as the agency’s acting director for ten months. Woods, a 29-year veteran of the SC Highway Patrol, led SCDPS through a difficult transition in 2020, including the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide civil unrest. He has brought stability and introduced forward-thinking policies and procedures geared toward boosting morale and enhancing law enforcement response to the state’s citizens, according to the governor.
The Senate also confirmed these appointments to the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners: Dr. Elizabeth Fuller, At Large; Dr. LaDon S.Wallis, 1st Congressional District; Dr. Tracie Quick, 2nd Congressional District and Mrs. Deloris Mungo, At Large.
The Senate voted 36-7 on Tuesday to give second reading approval to S.472 (Senators Rankin and Hutto), which enacts the “Responsible Alcohol Server Training Act,” to provide for the establishment, implementation and enforcement of a mandatory alcohol training and education program. The bill received third and final reading Wednesday and now goes to the House for consideration.
OTHER INTRODUCTIONS OF INTEREST
H.4083 (Reps. J. E. Johnson, Rose, Brittain and Ott) Revises the age of a person considered a youthful offender from age 25 to age 28 for non-violent crimes. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H.4093 (Reps. Weeks, G. M. Smith and Stavrinakis) Sets an annual limit for community development tax credits. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
H.4106 (Reps. Finlay and G. M. Smith) Joint Resolution to extend the income tax filing deadline from April 15, 2021, until May 17, 2021. On motion of Rep. G. M. Smith, with unanimous consent, the Joint Resolution was ordered placed on the Calendar without reference.
S.676 (Senators Grooms, Kimbrell, Climer, Loftis, Shealy and others) Enacts the “Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship Account Act.” Referred to the Committee on Education.
S.681 (Senators Setzler, Rice, Senn, Corbin, Scott and Loftis) Requires quasi-state agencies to provide certain fiscal accountability information to the General Assembly. Referred to the Committee on Finance.
The House of Representatives will begin debate on the FY21-22 state budget on Monday.
REAR VIEWS 2021
Look to SCACPA’s “View from the Dome” updates on the SCACPA website and our social media every week during the legislative session. Sine Die adjournment is scheduled for May 13. You can always stay up-to-date with SCACPA’s respective blog pages for Governmental Topics, Legislative Topics and Regulatory Topics.