South Carolina Legislative Update – 2017 Session Wins 

New Laws in SC

Road funding/gas tax – H 3516

Funding Components:

  • Increase the fuel tax by 12 cents over the next six years (2 cents per year)
  • Increase biennial registration fees on private passenger vehicles by $16
  • Impose an “Infrastructure Maintenance Fee” upon the purchase of a motor vehicle (capped at $500) This increases/replaces the current $300 sales tax/cap on motor vehicles.
  • Impose a one-time $250 fee for anyone who transfers a motor vehicle from another state.
  • Creates new registration fees for alternative vehicles: $120 for vehicles powered by anything other than motor fuel; and $60 for hybrid vehicles.
  • Rolls the truck property tax into the IRP for out-of-state IRP-registered fleets and includes the following provisions for motor carriers:

*Exempts semitrailers/trailers from any other state or local fees beyond the permanent tag.

*Exempts CMVs over 26,000 lbs. (registered under IRP) from any other fees.

*Requires local business license fees imposed by a municipality to be apportioned based on the fleet’s SC miles.

SCDOT Governance:

  • 9-member commission: 7 representing the congressional districts, 2 at-large; all appointed by the governor.
  • The 7 congressional appointments are confirmed by the congressional delegation members from both the House and Senate.
  • The 2 at-large appointments must be approved with the advice and consent of both the House and Senate
  • All 9 commissioners serve at the will of the governor.

Tax Rebate & Credits:

  • Creates tax rebates to offset S.C. residents paying a higher gas tax and driving fees,
  • Earned income tax credit
  • Two wage earner tax credit
  • Tuition tax credits
  • Manufacturing, business personal property tax reduction

Real ID H3358

  • The bill provides a framework for the issuance and renewal of state driver’s licenses and identification cards to comply with standards set forth in the federal Real ID Act of 2005.
  • The compliance deadline of January 31, 2017 was extended by DHS upon the request of former Governor Haley until June 6, 2017, contingent upon the state’s commitment to attain compliance.

Endangerment of Highway Workers H4033

  • The bill will increase the current fine of $75-$200 (which has been in law for years) to as high as $5,000 depending on the type injury received.
  • No physical injury must be fined not more than $1,000 and not less than $500, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.
  • Endangerment of a highway worker where worker suffers physical injury & the committing of the offense is the proximate cause of the physical injury, must be fined not more than $2,000 and not less than $1,000, or imprisoned for not more than sixty days, or both.
  • Endangerment of a highway worker where the highway worker suffers great bodily injury & the committing of the offense is the proximate cause of the great bodily injury must be fined not more than $5,000 and not less than $2,000 or imprisoned for not more than three years, or both.
  • Endangerment of a highway worker where the death of the highway worker ensues within three years as a proximate result of injury received by the highway worker related to the endangerment of the highway worker is guilty of reckless vehicular homicide pursuant to Section 56-5-2910, and, upon conviction, is subject to the penalties contained in that section, including license reinstatement and related conditions.
  • The fines above are all mandatory and cannot be waived. And, to ensure they are used to hire more officers to work construction zones, the money will be dispersed as follows:
  • 65% of fine to the state treasurer and into a special account (separate and apart from the General Fund) to be used by the Dept. of Public Safety for work zone enforcement.
  • 25% deposited into the State Highway Fund and designated for use by SCDOT to hire off-duty state, county, or municipal police officers to monitor construction or maintenance zones.

Prohibiting Local Governments from Requiring An Employee Benefit S218,

  • revises labor and employment provisions, by providing that counties, municipalities, and other political subdivisions of this state may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employer to offer an employee benefit, such as health benefits, disability benefits, death benefits, group accidental death and dismemberment benefits, paid days off for holidays, paid sick leave, paid vacation leave, paid personal necessity leave, retirement benefits, and profit-sharing benefits.

CDL shortage – on going issue.  Need to get more folks in the pipeline and earlier in the system – Truck caucus has been formed.  We are seeking several million dollars from the state to get the program rolling.

Be Pro Be Proud Proviso $950k in senate budget to start looking at ways to get more folks in the system


Still in the works

Automatic Stay H3565 (On Calendar) and S105 (in house)

  • As you are likely aware, current law does not stipulate a timeline for the Administrative Law Court to hold a hearing for the Plaintiff to show cause for injunctive relief to stop a project in contested cases. This leads to unnecessary delays in important infrastructure projects, which impedes economic growth and inhibits job creation. Occasionally this indefinite automatic stay provision, which as currently written does not require a project challenger to make any demonstration or offer any evidence that the project should not be issued a permit, is used or threatened to be used to generate funds for special interest groups.

Once passed, S. 105  and 3565 would:

  • Ensure a level playing field between developers and anti-development interests.
  • Protect the environment from projects that could cause irreversible damage.

Once passed, S.105 would NOT:

  • Eliminate automatic stay, but merely ensure a hearing to show cause within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Infringe on normal legal remedies common to other legal procedures, such as appeals to higher court.
  • Opponents who object to major development projects will maintain the right to contest such projects. Contrary to some accounts, H.3565 and S105 will NOT eliminate an individual or special interest from objecting to a project, but rather will provide the framework to end automatic and unnecessary lengthy and expensive delays in our current system.

Business License Fees – H 3560 and 3651 (In House Committee)

  • to provide the sole manner in which a county or municipal business license tax may be imposed, including duration, calculation, and payment.
  • Under the legislation, a business has the option of making direct payments to a local government in person or by mail, or paying online by utilizing a single statewide internet Business License Tax Portal managed by the Office of the Secretary of State,
  • The Secretary of State may retain no more than one quarter of one percent of the revenue collected (currently muni assoc keeps 4.5%
  • The Secretary of State’s Office is authorized to contract out the operation of the new online portal.
  • An oversight board is created within the Secretary of State’s Office that is composed of legislators and non-legislators and structured to include representation from the private sector ranging from manufacturing to small business.
  • The board is charged with producing and updating a scale on which business license rates are set. Instead of the current practice where a license tax is imposed on the gross revenue of a business, the legislation provides for the business license tax to be imposed upon an adjusted gross revenue which is calculated by deducting a whole list of exemptions from the total revenue of the business. A uniform appeals process is also established. (things such as tax are no longer part of the total as are up to 25% for work down out of the county where the group is headquartered.
  • Meetings are ongoing with the Municipal association of SC and the Business Community