HBA of SC Legislative Update

January 25, 2016 8:33 PM | Lauren Mozingo (Administrator)

January 22, 2016

Volume 2 Issue 21

Inside this issue

·       • Headlines

·       • Positive Bills

·       • Negative Bills

·       • HBASC Complete Legislative Tracking List

·       • NAHB Membership Advantage Discount Program






Governor Haley Delivers State of the State Address

Governor Haley spoke to a joint assembly of the House and Senate this week, and focused her speech on funding for education and infrastructure as well as domestic violence and legislative ethics reform.  Governor Haley gave her support for borrowing $200 million for repairs to K-12 schools across the state, and proposed to pay state college tuition for teachers who agree to spend eight years working in rural school districts.  The Governor also used her speech to reiterate she would veto any road bill that did not include a reduction of the state's income tax rates and restructuring at the Department of Transportation.

On the issue of infrastructure funding, the Senate indicated the body will begin debate next Tuesday on an infrastructure funding bill.  There is no indication that the working group of senators has reached an agreement which could lead to an extended debate.





Positive Bills



(Use links to see full text of each bill)

S.165 - Automatic Stays

(Similar to H.4011)
Senator Greg Hembree to remove the automatic stay provision from statute.  Under current law, construction projects that have received the proper approvals and permits can be automatically stopped in order for individuals or groups to appeal those same permits.  This typically happens with projects that involve wetland mitigation and can force developers to pay more in mitigation fees than required by the formula determined by the US Army Corps of Engineers and SC DHEC.  This legislation would remove the automatic stay provision and allow construction to continue while any appeals are heard.  This bill was amended and approved in the Judiciary Committee.  It now goes to the Senate floor for further consideration.

S.408 - State Procurement Code

Senator Paul Campbell introduced a bill aimed at increasing the open competition for bidding in water and sewer projects.  This legislation could result in potential savings for local governments by allowing them to consider more cost effective materials to be used in these projects. This bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

S.522 - Coastal Tidelands and Wetlands

(Similar to H.3797)
Senator Sean Bennett introduced legislation to remove the portion of Dorchester County above the critical line from Coastal Zone.  This would significantly reduce the mitigation costs for economic development projects, and could lead to increased growth in Dorchester County.  This bill was referred to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

H.3490 - Business License Fees

Representative Rick Quinn, along with Reps. Merrill, Rivers, and Atwater, introduced H.3490.  As we have mentioned before, this is one of the HBASC's top priorities this session.  The bill was introduced with 18 co-sponsors (Reps. Kennedy, Erickson, Tallon, Loftis, Taylor, Putnam, Goldfinch, Ballentine, Bedingfield, Finlay, Forrester, Hamilton, Herbkersman, Hicks, Huggins, Sandifer and Toole) representing all parts of the state.  We are very appreciative to Rep. Quinn and all of the co-sponsors for their passion on this issue which would lower the tax burden local government places on businesses. 

As introduced, this legislation would create a centralized collection system under the SC Department of Revenue, and bring South Carolina into the 21st century by allowing online payment of these fees.  Additionally, the bill would change the payment structure from its current form.  Businesses would be required to pay the business license fee only in the jurisdiction where the company's state income tax return is address, and the fee is capped at $100 per business.  This would be a huge relief to businesses operating in multiple jurisdictions while also improving the ease of compliance.  The bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.

H.3682 - Patent Trolling

Representative Kirkman Finaly filed this bill aimed at curbing patent trolling in South Carolina.  Many HBAs across the country are experiencing issues with "patent trolls" falsely claiming to hold a patent on common construction practices.  In many cases, a builder receives a letter claiming that a particular building method is infringing on a patent and unless the builder pays a license fee they will be sued by the "patent troll."  Most often, the builder will pay the license fee rather than go to court even though the patent claims are fabricated.  This bill is supported by a number of trade associations, including the SC Bankers, SC Realtors, and the HBASC.  The bill was approved by 87- 0 vote in the House Judiciary Committee, and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

H.3774 - Construction Careers Pathways Act

Representative Samuel Rivers introduced a bill to provide additional opportunities for students interested in pursuing a career in the construction industry.  The legislation would allow collaboration amongst high schools, technical schools, and 4-year institutions.  It would also create curriculum and strategies to enhance learning and skill building.  The bill was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee.





Negative Bills



(Use links to see full text of each bill)

S.18 - Home Owners Associations

(Similar to S.13H.3217H.3248)
Senator Jackson has filed this bill, as he has for a number of years, to address concerns with homeowners associations.  There are a number of similar bills which attempt to address these issues as well.  The HBASC is concerned these bills may attempt to force builder and developers to turn over control of the development before reaching 100% build-out.  This bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  During the subcommittee hearing, Sen. Rankin amended the bill to authorize a new commission under the Department of Administration to study the issue and make recommendations to the General Assembly.  The bill was amended and passed by the Judiciary Committee; however, a minority report was placed on the bill.  This report would need to be removed before the legislation could receive a vote on the Senate floor.

S.258 - Local Lobbying Registration

Senator Thurmond has filed this bill, similar to legislation last session, to require registration of lobbyists at the local level.  The HBASC continues to have concerns with the unintended consequences this would have on HBA members and local associations. This bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.





HBASC Complete Legislative Tracking List



The HBASC tracks a number of bills throughout the legislative session relating to a variety of topics.  For your convenience,  we have made a copy of the complete tracking list available.  The following highlights will be used to bring your attention to updates within the tracking list:

Blue highlight = newly introduced bill
Yellow highlight= changes to the status of a bill
Green highlight = bill signed into law by the governor





NAHB Membership Advantage Discount Program



HBASC members are eligable for discounts from GM, UPS, FTD, Office Depot, Wyndham Hotel, Hertz and more. Get all of the details online at www.nahb.org/MA






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