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 124th Legislative Session, prepared in cooperation with our lobbying partner, Copper Dome Strategies.
Friday, May 14, 2021
The Conformity bill H.4017 received its third reading in the Senate on Thursday, May 13, and the House granted its recurrence. It is expected that Gov. Henry McMaster will sign it into law on Monday, May 17.
The General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on Thursday, ending the first year of the two-year legislative session. Legislators adopted a Sine Die Resolution to allow them to return to session in the coming weeks for unfinished business, including:
- finalizing the state budget
- appropriating funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act
A bill was ratified that requires the Department of Revenue to study the effects of electric vehicles on the collection of the state’s motor fuel tax.
COVID Vaccination Reminder: All South Carolinians aged 12 and older are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Online appointments can now be made at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator. For more information from DHEC on the virus, click here. Stay safe!
The Senate this week favorably approved H.4017 (Reps. Simrill and Pope) Tax Conformity relating to the application of the Internal Revenue Code to state income tax laws as amended.
The bill was amended to decouple with 10 federal provisions and to exempt the first $10,200 of federal unemployment payments from income tax.
The Senate further amended the bill to authorize $61,300,000 from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to the state general fund to account for the income tax exemption.
The House concurred in the Senate amendment Thursday and the bill is now enrolled for ratification and likely to be ratified Monday. UPDATE: Conformity bill H.4017 was signed into law on Tuesday, May 18.
The following bills were ratified Thursday and now go to the governor:
S.527 (Senator Alexander) that defines “legally separated” for the purposes of imposition of the property tax so that each spouse can claim the 4% assessment ratio.
S.609 (Senator Alexander) would authorize state agencies and political subdivisions to conduct criminal background checks on their employees and contractors that have access to federal tax information.
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.
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 (SALT Limitations). 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. The bill was amended by the subcommittee to clean up some language, including changing electing entity to “qualified” entity.
S.689 (Senators Leatherman, Massey, Malloy and others), a Joint Resolution to extend the income tax filing due date for individuals to the same date as federal returns are due and s. 463 (Senators Alexander, Cromer, Grooms, Scott and Loftis) that removes the expiration date for tax credits for the purchase of geothermal machinery and equipment. Both bills are now enrolled for ratification.
H.3899 (Reps. Elliott, G. R. Smith, Erickson and others) Exceptional needs child tax credit.
H.3482 (Reps. Stavrinakis and Kirby) Authorizes a county to establish an alternative payment schedule for property tax.
The following bill is enrolled for ratification:
S.436 (Senator Cromer) deletes an aggregate credit provision and sets an annual limit for community development tax credits. The bill sunsets in 2023.
TAX INTRODUCTIONS OF INTEREST
H.4387 (Reps. Jordan, Lowe, Crawford, Sandifer, G. M. Smith and others) Relating to the business license tax prohibiting a taxing jurisdiction from subjecting certain property to double taxation. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
H.4393 (Reps. Herbkersman and W. Newton) Relating to alternate dates that a county may adopt for payment of delinquent taxes. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
H.4408 (Rep. G. M. Smith) Joint Resolution to authorize the expenditure of federal funds disbursed to the states in the American Rescue Act Plan of 2021. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
S.812 (Senator Alexander) Relating to the practice of Certified Public Accountants. Referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.
S.821 (Senators Leatherman, Young, Hutto and Setzler) Joint Resolution to appropriate settlement funds to the state by the federal government for storing plutonium at the Savannah River Site. Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S.822 (Senator Leatherman) Joint Resolution to authorize the expenditure of federal funds disbursed to the states in the American Rescue Act Plan of 2021. Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S.823 (Senator Fanning) Reduces the state sales tax and add sales tax to services. Referred to the Committee on Finance.
As part of SCACPA’s commitment to Advocacy for the profession, we are continuously monitoring activity for you at the State House. We thank you for your support and welcome your questions as we keep you aware of developments in our fast-changing environments.
LEGISLATION AWAITING THE GOVERNOR’S SIGNATURE
The Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate met Thursday 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 to the governor where he has five days to sign it into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. To view all bills currently ratified, click here.
To find a glossary of legislative terms, click here.
The House Ways and Means Transportation and Regulatory Subcommittee met on Tuesday to hear testimony from several state agencies regarding their budget requests. The Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) Executive Director Nanette Edwards told the subcommittee with the addition of a broadband office the agency could see substantial federal funding, $300 million to $500 million, becoming available to address rural broadband. The agency is also working on numerous reports, including Electric Grid Resiliency, Regional Transmission Organizations and the Electric Vehicle Stakeholder Study.
After receiving the Senate amended version of the FY21-22 General Appropriations Act, H.4100 (Ways and Means Committee), the House committed the bill back to the Ways and Means Committee. Ways and Means Chairman Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) noted that since the budget estimate was significantly increased after the House passed their original version of the bill, he wanted the budget subcommittees to meet again and craft a revised House version. Those subcommittees will meet over the next few weeks and the full Ways and Means Committee will meet the first week of June to adopt a revised budget. The full House is expected to return June 8 for budget debate on the floor. The $31 billion budget includes $9.9 billion in general fund revenues and one-time surplus revenue of $1.3 billion.
The Senate did not amend the House-passed version of the Capital Reserve Fund H.4101 (Ways and Means Committee) and it is enrolled for ratification.
In addition to the annual state budget, the General Assembly must still determine how to appropriate $2.1 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Also up for debate is the $525 million from the Savannah River Site settlement, much of which is likely to be directed to the three-county region primarily impacted by SRs. Those decisions are likely to occur sometime in the fall.
The governor’s executive budget can be found here.
Individual state agency budget requests can be found here.
The Senate Finance Committee budget spreadsheet can be found here.
Gov. Henry McMaster issued an Executive Order establishing a process to allow parents to decide on masks in schools, restricting local mask mandates, and prohibiting vaccine passports on Tuesday. The order:
- Establishes a process to allow parents to opt out of mask requirements in public schools in the state. The governor has directed DHEC to prepare a form for parents to sign to exempt their child from any face-covering requirements
- Prohibits local governments from relying on prior gubernatorial executive orders or using a state of emergency as the basis for a local mask mandate
- Bars all state agencies, local governments, and political subdivisions from requiring what has commonly been referred to as “vaccine passports” for any reason
To read the Executive Order, click here.
All federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs will be terminated statewide effective June 30. The termination is due to an unprecedented workforce shortage, including those in the hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors. For more information, click here.
The House this week concurred in Senate amendments to S.304 (Senators Climer and Fanning) relating to electric vehicle charging stations when a person or corporation using an electric vehicle charging station is not an electric utility. The bill provides that any increase in customer demand or energy consumption associated with transportation electrification shall not constitute revenues for an electrical utility. The bill requires the Department of Revenue to study the effects of electric vehicles on the collection of the state’s motor fuel tax. The bill was ratified Thursday and now goes to the governor.
The House on Wednesday concurred in the Senate amendments to H.3094 (Reps. B. Cox, White, Lucas, Burns and others) that enacts the “Open Carry With Training Act” as amended. The bill allows holders of concealed weapons permits to carry openly and eliminates the necessity to conceal the weapon. Business owners and private employers may post signs prohibiting or allowing weapons on their premises. It remains unlawful to carry a weapon into numerous places, including correctional facilities, courthouses and daycare facilities. The bill was ratified Thursday and now goes to Gov. McMaster, who has said he will sign the bill into law.
The Senate this week approved H.3696 (Reps. Lucas, G. M. Smith, Murphy, Simrill, Rutherford and others) that would increase the number of circuit and family court judges in certain judicial circuits. The bill adds four circuit court seats and three additional family court seats. The bill is enrolled for ratification.
The House, by unanimous consent, recalled from the Judiciary Committee S.631 (Senator Talley) that enacts the “South Carolina Electronic Notary Public Act” on Tuesday. The bill establishes procedures for electronic notaries public and establishes fees and training requirements. Electronic notaries would be optional and could not be used for wills and trusts. The bill received second reading on Wednesday, third reading Thursday and is now enrolled for ratification.
S.231 (Senators Shealy, McLeod and Matthews) that enacts the “Student Identification Card Suicide Prevention Act” was ratified Thursday and now goes to Gov. McMaster. The bill requires public schools and public and private institutions of higher learning to add the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to student identification cards.
The governor on May 6 signed into law H.3017 (Reps. Davis, Atkinson, B. Newton and others), which would allow eligibility for Palmetto Fellows Scholarships for students attending in-state two-year institutions of higher learning and technical colleges. The law takes effect immediately.
A Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday took testimony on S.290 (Senator Climer) that would eliminate the Certificate of Need (CON) requirements relating to the licensure of health care facilities and S.370 (Senator Talley) that amends aspects of the program. The committee took no action on the bill but heard testimony both for and against the bills. The bill sponsor, Senator Wes Climer (R-York), told the subcommittee the issue of repealing the CON program has been debated for years and it was time for the legislature to act on it and allow the free market to work. The South Carolina Hospital Association testified that since the government requires hospitals to treat all patients regardless of ability to pay, the program is necessary to balance the process. Hospitals support changes to the program, including shortening the appeals process and eliminating the need for CON for additional hospital beds and replacement of equipment. The subcommittee plans to meet again next year to continue the debate and hear from more stakeholders.
S.503 (Senator Hutto) that would allow Physician’s Assistants (PAs) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to issue orders for certain home health services and S.455 (Senator Davis) to create an additional category for temporary licensure for graduate nurses were ratified Thursday and now goes to the governor.
S.619 (Senators Rankin, Leatherman, Hutto, Fanning and Climer), known as the “Gallo bill” was ratified Thursday and now goes to the governor. California-based E&J Gallo Winery is planning a $400 million economic development deal expected to bring nearly 500 jobs to Chester County and is seeking this legislation to allow for wine tastings at stand-alone facilities in tourist areas. Gov. McMaster has said he will sign the bill into law.
The Senate this week favorably approved H.4006 (Reps. G. M. Smith and Weeks) that extends an increased limit for certain off-premise alcohol sales by breweries. The provision was enacted into law last year and this bill extends it until May 31, 2022. The bill was ratified yesterday and now goes to the governor.
The Senate did not concur in the House amendments to H.3539 (Reps. Davis and Martin). The original bill requires an official form of identification for the transportation on a public road and the release of live swine. The House had amended the bill to include language that would make it illegal to possess or sell non-native venomous snakes. The amendment was necessary to deal with dangerous situations the Department of Natural Resources was encountering regarding snakes and needed state law to authorize them to act accordingly. As the Senate added the snake language to another bill, the amendment was no longer necessary. The bill was ratified Thursday and now goes to the governor.
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed the appointment of Dr. George Scott Bryant to the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
INTRODUCTIONS OF INTEREST
H.4389 (Reps. Herbkersman, Clyburn and Hosey) Establishes the healthcare professional loan forgiveness program. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means
H.4391 (Reps. Fry, Herbkersman, Crawford, May and others) Prohibits proof of COVID-19 vaccinations by government, businesses and educational institutions. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H.4407 (Rep. G. M. Smith) Joint Resolution to appropriate settlement funds to the state by the federal government for storing plutonium at the Savannah River Site. Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
S.803 (Senators Massey, Harpootlian, Martin and others) Senate Resolution declaring that the Senate declines to consent to an extension or renewal of the current State of Emergency or the issuance of any new COVID-19 related orders. Ordered placed on the Calendar without reference.
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. However, as in most recent years, our General Assembly has adopted a Sine Die Resolution, allowing them to continue past the mandatory May 13 Sine Die deadline to complete unfinished business. The Senate Thursday adopted H.4285 (Reps. Lucas, Simrill and Rutherford) a Concurrent Resolution to allow the bodies to meet at the call of the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to consider certain specified matters, including the state budget. The schedule is as follows:
May 24-28 – Ways and Means Budget Subcommittees
June 1-3 – Full Ways and Means Committee deliberations
June 8-10 – House Floor Budget deliberations
June 14-18 – Conference Committee meets
June 21-23 – Conference Report adopted by both chambers
June 29 – Address gubernatorial vetoes
The General Assembly will also meet in the fall to address redistricting and to appropriate the $2.1 billion in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act and the $525 million from the Savannah River Site lawsuit settlement.
The General Assembly has adjourned Sine Die but will return in the coming weeks for unfinished business. We will keep you apprised of their activity, and we thank your for your support of SCACPA Advocacy.
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.
May 7: Tax Conformity Bill Reaches Calendar for Senate Readings
April 30: With Two Weeks Left in Legislative Session, Here are 10 Tax Bills About to be Considered by the Full SC House Ways and Means Committee
April 23: House is Signaling its Approval of Senate’s COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act
April 16: Crossover Deadline Passes, Senate Finance Committee Starts Draft of New $31B State Budget
April 9: Conformity Moves Through House, with Tax Break for $10,000 in Unemployment Benefits
April 2: Senate Approves Bill Concerning Attorney’s Fees Connected to DOR Actions
March 26: House Receives Senate’s Bill for Pass-Through Trade and Business
March 19: Conformity Begins its Journey with Approval from a House Ways and Means Subcommittee
March 12: Senate Finance Committee to Consider a Pass-Through Trade and Business Bill
March 5: House Ways and Means Committee is Cautious With its Version of State Budget
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