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News & Press: Legislative News

2019 Legislative Recap

Wednesday, May 29, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Douglas OFlaherty
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State lawmakers adjourned the 2019 session this past month.  A few noteworthy accomplishments are the passage of a $9.3 billion budget, agreement to take bids to sell the state-owned Santee Cooper utility, and the Panthers tax credit bill. Here are a few highlights from this year’s session:

Business License Tax Proviso

A proviso passed as a part of this year's state budget that prohibits private third-party entities from assessing or collecting business license taxes. It also establishes a committee made up of legislators and business and local government representatives charged with studying business license tax reform, including H.4431, the South Carolina Business License Tax Reform bill.

Carolina Panthers Bill

The House and Senate adopted the conference committee report and passed the Professional Sports Team Job Tax Credit Bill, also known as the "Panthers Bill."

Governor Signs Legislation to Explore Santee Cooper Sale

The bill allowing the Department of Administration to field and evaluate offers to sall or take over the utility's management was signed by the governor.


Offshore Oil Drilling

The SCRLA is pleased that the SC Senate took a major step in the fight against oil drilling along the coast, agreeing overwhelmingly to block the petroleum industry from establishing refineries, pipes and other infrastructure needed to support drilling. The 40-4 vote ends months of inaction in the Legislature over the controversial plan by President Trump to allow seismic testing and drilling along the South Atlantic coast. The SCRLA has been against any seismic testing and even testified this session before the House Agriculture Committee.


State Budget Awaits McMaster's Approval 


The General Assembly gave the final approval to the state's $9.3 billion budget. The bill will go to the governor's desk where he may issue line-item vetoes to any part he does not approve of. Here are a few takeaways from the budget: 

  • $13.2 million for tourism advertising - with a potential additional $1.2 million for hurricane recovery
  • $5 million for Welcome Center renovations
  • $12.5 million for State Parks capital improvements
  • $17 million for film incentives
  • 159 million - raises starting teacher pay to $35,000 and includes a 4% raise to current teachers 
  • $61 million - raises state employee pay by 2% and includes a $600 bonus for state employees earning less than $70,000/yr 
  • $67.4 million - $50 check per S.C. tax return 
  • $150 million to maintain college tuition rates
  • $40 million for a new voting system
  • $25 million in relief to farmers recovering from Hurricane Florence

Unfinished Business for 2020

The Senate passed a bill that would require all servers of alcohol to receive training and be issued a state permit. The House took up a similar bill that received favorable comments and passed the House Judiciary Committee.  However, it did not make it to the floor for a vote so it will be on hold until the lawmakers return in January.  



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