June 12, 2017
As the first year of the 121st Legislative Session winds down, I would like to recap some of the progress that was made in the South Carolina House of Representatives. As a reminder, this is the first year of a legislative two-year session, therefore, any bill not passed by the Senate or through a conference committee can be continued when we return next January.
The SC House of Representatives is leading the way to reform and responsibly fund our vast transportation and infrastructure needs, bring solvency to the state pension system and fulfil our promises to the faithful public employees of our state, promote transparency on all levels of government, and protect the sanctity of life among many other legislative initiatives. Here are a few of the major accomplishments from this session:
H.3516 Infrastructure Reform and Funding Act:
Governance and Reform
- Provides real accountability and transparency at the Department of Transportation
- Gives Governor complete control of the Commission with a clear line of authority and at-will removal
- Highway Commission organized to reflect regional representation with 7 Congressional districts and 2 statewide at-large members appointed by the Governor (adds 1 member to current structure)
- Strengthens DOT’s control over project authorization and financial decisions by the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank
- Creates a long-term and sustainable funding stream by increasing the motor fuel user fee by 2 cents/gallon over the next 6 years, not exceeding 12 cents/gallon
- Protects SC taxpayers from continuing to solely foot the bill for infrastructure repair by not using General Fund dollars and captures 30% of the motor fuel user fee revenue from out-of-state motorists
- Creates an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund to ensure all new revenue collected from the motor fuel user fee is used only for existing infrastructure needs
- Increases funding for County Transportation Committees targeted to repair rural and secondary roads
- Captures revenue from alternative energy motorists by creating a biennial registration fee for all hybrid and electric vehicles
- Established a road use fee to capture revenue from out of state truckers
- Raises the cap on motor vehicle sales tax to $500 and creates a $250 out of state maintenance fee
- Provides $640 million in new annual revenue for infrastructure maintenance needs when fully implemented
- Offers a refundable income tax credit equal to the motor fuel user fee increase that must be reauthorized prior to 2023
- Enhances already existing College Tuition Tax Credit for every South Carolina tuition-payer to enhance workforce development
- Contains a non-refundable Low Income Tax Credit for working families
- Increases the maximum income tax credit from $210 to $350 for dual income household joint filers
- Reduces SC manufacturers’ property tax burden by $35 million using a phased-in approach over 6 years
Retirement System Reform Act:
- Increase to the employer contribution rate of 2% in year one
- State budget pays 1% of increased costs for the first year
- Place a cap on the employee contribution rate of 9% (9.75% for LEO’s)
- Require a four-year rotation schedule for fiduciary audits of PEBA and the RSIC (Retirement System Investment Commission)
- H.3824 Prescription Drug Monitoring Act
Legislation requiring physicians to review a patient’s medical history prior to prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance. The bill is just one more step in the right direction toward curbing prescription drug abuse.
- H.3220 S.C. Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council Act
A bill to create a council comprised of educators, school administrators, and business community members for the purpose of advising the department of Education and the Department of Commerce on best practices to strengthen progress toward career pathways and provide for a better prepared workforce and student success in post-secondary education.
- H.3221 Department of Education Fiscal Accountability Act
A bill to require the South Carolina Department of Education establish a program for identifying fiscal practices and budgetary conditions that could compromise the fiscal integrity of a school district.
- H.3969 Uniform School Report Card Act
A bill to simplify the annual performance ratings of individual schools by creating one report card with one overall rating system.
- H.3034 G.I. Bill
A bill to meet the updated minimum federal requirements by entitling qualifying veterans and their dependents who use the G.I. Bill and certain other benefits to pay in-state tuition at SC public institutions of higher learning.
- H.3247 Moped Safety Act
A bill closing loopholes thereby subjecting moped operators to the same violations, including DUI, as other motorists. This law increases roadway safety for both vehicle motorists and moped drivers alike.
H.3358 South Carolina REAL I.D. Act
A law to bring South Carolina into compliance with federal REAL I.D. requirements, while also allowing citizens to opt out of REAL I.D. By ensuring compliance with REAL I.D. no activity requiring a REAL I.D. for participation will be interrupted in South Carolina.
- H.4033 Work Zone Safety Act
This law strengthens penalties for those who endanger the life of a highway worker. Those working on our roadways must be protected while performing their daily duties.
H.3352 Updating the Freedom of Information Act
This law provides enhancements to our existing Freedom of Information Act.
- S.107 Joint Election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor
A bill implementing changes providing for the joint election of the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor.
- H.3041 Real Estate Agent Background Checks
A law mandating that fingerprint background checks are required for all new real estate agents and all agents renewing their licenses. This law ensures dangerous criminals do not have access to the homes of unsuspecting citizens of our state.
- H.3488 Paperless Insurance Act
A new law allowing an insurer to deliver, store, or present evidence of insurance coverage electronically if the insured entity so desires. This law allows insurance companies to modernize their record keeping and pass savings on to consumers.
- H.3647 Time Share Industry Regulation Act
A law prohibiting an individual from creating a fraudulent company for the purpose of purchasing time shares.
As your state Representative, I am accountable to you to keep our State strong, solvent, and business-friendly. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you in the Legislature. Please feel free to contact me with any comments, issues, or concerns that you may have.
State Representative, District 26