SC Legislative Update

By Ben Homeyer

The full Senate will begin debate on the budget beginning Tuesday and it is expected to take all week. The Senate Finance passed version was quite different than that of the House. With large amounts from the House for DOT, Airports local road projects, and Commerce being reduced to make way for projects like a veterinary school at Clemson, SCTAC, and dollars needed for Scout motors. As these lines for bridges and runways was reduced to a negotiating stance for conference with the House it is widely expected that most lines will be restored when the BEA meets in May to certify more dollars. It is possible as much as billion dollars in new money will get certified in May.

The State has received an influx of new federal dollars for roads and bridges. Multiple load
bearing bridges in the upstate are set to receive these dollars. South Carolinas ability to pivot
quickly and having matching funds has set us in a great position to continue to receive these
extra dollars.

The split of DHEC made its way thru the house and now resides in the Senate. As it made the
crossover deadline the split is still possible to happen this year. We are keeping an eye on this
initiative as things like air and water quality as well as mining are all a part of DHEC.
The building codes update that was being pushed in the house hit a stall and was sent back to
the committee for some further work. The bill is still viable, but it is unlikely to happen this

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4115, a bill making revisions relating
to the licensure and regulation of building contractors. The legislation increases from five
thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars, the minimum project value that requires licensure for
general contracting and mechanical contracting. The legislation revises financial surety
requirements of licensees for the various project levels, including provisions that allow financial
security requirements to be met based on working capital rather than net worth. The legislation
defines ancillary work. Penalties for violations are revised to be more in line with penalties
established for other boards and commissions under the authority of the Department of Labor,
Licensing, and Regulation.

S533 the Tort reform bill is still in sub and received numerous testimony this week. Everyone
from trucking lawyers to restaurant owners testified on the need for change. The other side
had a number of trial lawyers testify. More meetings are scheduled for the coming weeks.
The General Assembly has twelve official days left in session. Sine die is May 13.