Legislative Update: Week 12
This week was a big step forward in reducing income taxes in South Carolina. Months ago, House Speaker Jay Lucas created a special legislative committee to focus on tax reform and research what we can do to improve our tax system. The first bill to come out of the committee is focused on reducing income taxes. A major highlight of this bill (H.4334) is that it will reduce income taxes from 7% to a flat rate of 4.5% making SC even more competitive with neighboring states.
It has been a very busy three months at the State House. We have sent 99 bills to the Senate, yet a large majority have not been taken up. We look forward to seeing them work as hard as we have in the House on education and the budget.
Carolina Panthers Big Move
We are so excited to potentially have a new national sports team in South Carolina. If the Carolina Panthers move their practice facilities and corporate office to the Rock Hill area, we could start reaping the benefits of having South Carolina’s first professional football team! This week, we introduced legislation that will give the same tax credits we already give to big companies like Boeing, Google, BMW, and Volvo to sports teams.
Santee Cooper Update
Important ethics legislation was filed this week to increase transparency and accountability at Santee Cooper.
H. 4261 requires:
– The SC Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve large capital projects involving generation and transmission for the state-owned utility.
– Regular reports to a standing joint legislative review commission of board and management decisions, finances, rate, and operations.
– Codifying the requirement of the public broadcast of meetings and a record of materials.
– Requiring an evaluation by a joint legislative review commission.
– Codifying a retail rate proves that is known to its customers and would involve the Office of Regulatory Staff.
– Ending the terms of the current board members, ensuring shorter terms for board members, increasing the qualifications for service on the board, and requiring 7 of the board members be elected by the General Assembly.
Under legislation sent to the Senate on Tuesday, supporting terrorism could be turned into a state crime. This bill defines significant plans or steps toward terrorism, a felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. The sentence will have to be served in addition to any other crime the would-be terrorist is convicted of in the case. Anyone who raises money or collects weapons to support a terrorist operation could be convicted of supporting or concealing an act of terrorism and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Wild Turkey Hunting Season
It’s officially turkey season! Under the state law passed in 2015, the wild turkey hunting season statewide for 2016 through 2019 for hunting male turkeys on private land is from March 20 – May 5 with a statewide season bag limit per hunter for male turkeys at 3. For four seasons, those changes were to be in place while an extensive study of wild turkeys occurred across the state. That study was recently completed, and SCDNR now recommends changes to the turkey hunting season and to bag limits. We filed legislation this week to make changes to the season and bag limits.
The House defeated the Senate in the annual BlueCross BlueShield baseball game 25-3! We enjoyed beating our friendly rivalry at the Spirits Communications Park, home of the Columbia Fireflies.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.