By Copper Dome Strategies

Friday, March 5, 2021

The House Ways and Means Committee adopted its version of the state budget. The Senate spent time on the floor and in committee.


The House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday favorably approved H.3726 (Reps. West, G. M. Smith, W. Cox, M. M. Smith, Pope, Simrill and others) that would exclude amounts received from a buydown relating to the definition of “gross proceeds of sale.” The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.


The House Ways and Means Committee adopted its version of the FY21-22 General Appropriations Act on Thursday. Committee Chairman Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) told the committee that South Carolina is one of only a few states that has not had to cut agency budgets or lay off employees, and that remains their primary goal. While the economy is improving and revenues are above the previous estimates, the continued uncertainty of the pandemic led the committee to decide not to be reckless and instead prepare for a worst-case scenario. Except for K-12 funding, state agencies did not receive a recurring base increase.

The budget includes:

  • $50 million – raises K-12 base student cost to $2,500
  • $10.2 million – full-day 4-year-old kindergarten
  • $30 million – broadband expansion
  • $16.7 million – DHHS – Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS)
  • $16.5 – DHHS – Maintenance of effort
  • $1.5 million – DJJ – Marine and wilderness programs

For Technical Colleges:

  • Capital Reserve Fund
  • $10.3 million – Maintenance, renovation and replacement
  • $2.5 million – ReadySC.
  • Lottery Funding
  • $5 million – Workforce Scholarships and Grants
  • $17 million – SC WINS
  • $750,000 – High-demand job skill training equipment.
  • Unclaimed Lottery Prizes
  • $11 million – Workforce scholarships and grants

Chairman Smith noted this is the first step in the process. Once the Senate has adopted its plan and the state’s economists receive additional data related to April tax filings, it is likely the budget will be amended in May. 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 March 22.

The Senate Finance Subcommittees continued hearing agency budget requests. Agencies appearing this week included the Judicial Department and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

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.


Gov. Henry McMaster announced on Friday, Feb. 26 that COVID safety measures related to alcohol sales and mass gatherings would end Monday, March 1. Restaurants licensed to serve liquor may resume regular alcohol sales instead of having “last call” at 11 p.m. Additionally, the gathering of groups of more than 250 people will no longer need state approval.

Last Monday, Gov. McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced that South Carolina will advance to Phase 1b of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan beginning Monday, March 8. South Carolina made tremendous progress on expanding access to vaccinations as the supply of vaccines increased. The state is now receiving approximately 140,000 doses per week, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and has 572 providers activated.

For details, click here.

For more information from DHEC on the virus, click here.


The State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) met Tuesday and discussed South Carolina’s electric grid and its ability to withstand winter storms like the one that left millions in Texas without power. The meeting comes in the wake of Gov. McMaster directing the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) to review the state’s public and private power grid. Duke Energy, Dominion Energy and Santee Cooper all made presentations noting that South Carolina is different from Texas in numerous ways and is better prepared. ORS testified they hope to have a draft of its review to the PURC by September and a final report by the end of the year.


A Senate Judiciary Subcommittee favorably approved S.94 related to workers’ compensation and whether to include first responders who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on Thursday. The bill was amended to narrow the exception and now goes to the full committee. Another bill on the agenda S.366 (Senators Talley and Hutto), a reintroduction of a previously introduced bill that deals with the admissibility of medical records in workers’ compensation cases, was debated but no action was taken. This bill will be on the agenda at the next meeting.

The Senate yesterday gave third and final reading approval to S.105 (Senator Campsen) that increases the amount of certain liens to $7,500 that may be enforced by a petition to a magistrate. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.


The Senate voted 45-0 to approve S.38 (Senators Grooms, Rice, Hembree, Verdin and Kimbrell) that enacts the “Reinforcing College Education on America’s Constitutional Heritage” (REACH) Act on Tuesday. The bill requires each high school and institution of higher education to provide instruction on the United States Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation. The bill received third reading Wednesday and now goes to the House for consideration.


A Senate Judiciary Subcommittee favorably approved S.28 (Senators Hutto, K. Johnson, Climer and McLeod) relating to ignition interlock devices Tuesday. The subcommittee also approved S.472 (Senators Rankin and Hutto), which enacts the “Responsible Alcohol Server Training Act,” which provides for the establishment, implementation and enforcement of a mandatory alcohol training and education program. Both bills now go to the full Judiciary Committee for consideration.

The subcommittee addressed but did not take action on S.619 (Senators Rankin, Leatherman, Hutto, Fanning and Climer) that provides for the sale of wine on winery premises, beer and wine on brewery property and retail sales and tastings of alcoholic liquors at micro-distilleries. This bill will be addressed again in subcommittee next week. The committee also took testimony but did not take action on S.536 (Senators Harpootlian, Talley, Scott, Hutto and others) relating to the definition of primarily and substantially to require a business derive not less than 51% of its gross revenue sales in the preparation and serving of meals in order to serve alcohol. This bill is likely to be heard again in several weeks.


S.503 (Senator Hutto), which would allow Physician’s Assistants and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to issue orders for certain home health services, was on Thursday’s agenda of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee. However, due to extended debate on other matters on the agenda, the committee ran out of time before getting to the bill. It will be back up before the full committee in two weeks.


The Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on Wednesday debated but did not take action on S.551 (Senators Kimbrell, Martin, Corbin, Loftis, Massey and others) relating to social media websites and the criteria used to determine whether to suspend or disable a user’s account. The bill requires the owners or operators to provide notice explaining why the account was suspended or disabled. The bill is likely to be debated again next week.


The Senate approved S.510 (Senators Grooms, Verdin, Davis, Adams and others) relating to motor vehicle manufacturers, distributors and dealers and contractual agreements. The bill, which affects numerous clauses in the current contracts between automobile dealers and manufacturers, now goes to the House for consideration.



H.4007 (Rep. Howard) Requires release of all qualified candidates of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.4008 (Rep. W. Newton) Enacts the “South Carolina Uniform Partnership Act of 2021.” Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.4017 (Reps. Simrill and Pope) Tax conformity – Internal Revenue Code to state income tax laws. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.4027 (Rep. Burns) Relating to the service area and governing board of the Renewable Water Resources (REWA) Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

H.4029 (Rep. Burns) Relating to electric vehicle manufacturers, dealers or franchisors. Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

H.4030 (Reps. McKnight, Wooten, Caskey, Kimmons and Trantham) Prohibits medical service or care entities from reporting health care expense debt to a credit bureau. Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs.

H.4032 (Rep. Howard) Makes student body presidents of public institutions of higher learning ex officio members of the board. Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.


S.627 (Senators Bennett, Adams, Kimbrell, M. Johnson, Davis and others) Relating to income tax rates for pass-through trade and business income. Referred to the Committee on Finance.

S.631 (Senator Talley) Enacts the “South Carolina Electronic Notary Public Act.” Referred to the Committee on Family and Veterans’ Services.

S.635 (Senator Setzler) Relating to increasing the Industry Partnership Fund Tax Credit. Referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.


The House Legislative Oversight Committee will meet on Monday to continue the discussion of the study of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).


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.

Feb. 26: Senate Approves “COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act,” Bill Now Heads to House

Feb. 19: Senate Sets Priority on COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act as its Debate Continues

Feb. 12: Senate to Consider Personal Finance Courses Requirement to Replace Economics Classes for High Schoolers

Feb. 5: Senate Nears Approval of $200M from Reserve Fund for Vaccine Distribution

Jan. 29: DOR Tells Economic Development Subcommittee That SC’s Tax Revenues are Strong

Jan. 22: Board of Economic Advisors Places State’s Tax Revenue Collections at $336M Above Forecast

Jan. 15: McMaster Delivers State of the State, Recommends $123M More for Small Business Grants

Jan. 8: 2021 Legislative Session “Pre-View from the Dome”

Dec. 18: A First Look at Pre-Filed Tax Legislation of Interest for the 2021 Legislative Session