January 12, 2024

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Tuesday marked the beginning of the second year of the 125th session of the South Carolina General Assembly. Any bills that were introduced last year but did not become law do not need to be filed again to be taken up in 2024. However, bills that do not become law this year will have to be filed again in 2025. The House began meeting in budget subcommittees to hear from various state agencies and groups, including SCAC, on budget requests for FY 2024-25.

Revenue, Finance and Economic Development

Local Government Fund – A Ways and Means subcommittee met on Tuesday to hear the budget requests for several state agencies as well as the Local Government Fund (LGF) for counties and municipalities. SCAC testified at the subcommittee and asked the General Assembly to continue to fully fund the LGF in this year’s budget.

Continuing Resolution – H. 4720A joint resolution to provide for the continuing authority to pay the expenses of state government if the 2024-2025 fiscal year begins without a general appropriations act for that year in effect. The House passed H. 4720 this week and sent the resolution to the Senate.

Photo: SCAC Director of Government Affairs Kent Lesesne testifies at the Ways and Means subcommittee asking the General Assembly to continue to fully fund the LGF in this year's budget.

Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial

Xylazine as Schedule III Controlled Substance – H. 4617. This bill would add xylazine to the list of Schedule III controlled substances, with exceptions, and prohibit the production, manufacture, distribution, or possession of xylazine, with exceptions. The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee gave H. 4617 a favorable report and the bill is pending third reading on the House calendar.

County Government and Intergovernmental Relations

Micro-Distillery Sunday Sales – H. 4231. As introduced, this bill would allow a micro-distillery selling liquor at its licensed premises to sell the alcoholic liquors distilled on the licensed premises at retail on Sundays as long as the county or municipal governing body has authorized the sale of liquor through an ordinance followed by a successful referendum. The bill also allows a referendum to be held by petition of at least 10% but not more than 7,500 qualified electors of the county or municipality, as the case may be. The referendum must be conducted at the next general election of the county or municipality. The provisions of this bill would only apply to counties that were allocated at least $1 million in accommodations tax in fiscal year 2016. A House Judiciary subcommittee adopted a strike and insert amendment removing the $1 million accommodations tax threshold and making the bill applicable to all establishments that sell alcohol. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave H. 4231 a favorable report as amended.


Sunday Alcohol Sales – H. 3144. This bill would allow counties and municipalities to conduct a referendum to allow for the sale of alcoholic liquors on Sundays, except Christmas Day, either by petition of at least 10% but not more than 7,500 qualified electors of the county or municipality or by county or municipal ordinance. The referendum must be conducted at the next general election of the county or municipality. A House Judiciary subcommittee adjourned debate on H. 3144.


Expediting Voting Tallies – S. 406This bill specifies that ballots cast during the early voting period may begin to be tabulated at the same time as absentee ballots. Additionally, this bill creates a new felony for those who intentionally publicly report the results of the early voting period before the polls are closed. Finally, S. 406 requires that these tabulated ballots be reported prior to the precinct results in a manner to be prescribed by the State Election Commission Executive Director. The House recommitted S. 406 to the Judiciary Committee.

SCAC's Counties Connect: A Legislative Action Day

All county officials are invited to join us for Counties Connect: A Legislative Action Day on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024, at the Pastides Alumni Center at USC in downtown Columbia. This event provides an excellent opportunity to connect with your local delegation members to advocate for counties.

You will also have a chance to engage with legislators during the Counties Connect Legislative Reception the prior evening, Tuesday, Feb. 20, at The Palmetto Club. The Institute of Government and Council Chairpersons' Workshop also will be Feb. 20 at the Alumni Center. Learn more and register.

Newly-Introduced Legislation

View/Download Full Text for Newly-Introduced Legislation

You can also go to www.scstatehouse.gov and click on "Legislation," then "Introduced Legislation."

Note: If you would like to offer comments to the SCAC staff, please call us toll-free at 1-800-922-6081, fax to (803) 252-0379, or send an email.

Senate Bills

House Bills

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