Jan. 10 marked the first day of the 122nd session of the South Carolina General Assembly.
Because this is the first year of a two-year session, we are off to a slow start in the South Carolina Senate. Much of our work thus far has been done in committees in an attempt to pass bills on to the full Senate for consideration. We did, however, appoint and elect a new lieutenant governor and a president pro tempore of the Senate.
Several important issues will garner our attention this year. Chief among these are a plan to fund our highway infrastructure; equitable and sufficient funding of our public education system; and addressing the shortfall in the state retirement system and healthcare.
This is in addition to other issues that should be considered.
This will be another challenging year, but it is my hope that we will work together and make some major accomplishments on behalf of the state of South Carolina. I look forward to keeping you updated on these issues as well as others that we address during this legislative year.
The following bills were read the second time -
S. 67 - This bill relates to the redevelopment of former military bases and federal facilities. Specifically, this bill states that current redevelopment fee allocations of individual income tax withholdings to the Savannah River Site Authority continue past 2021.
S. 250 - This bill, known as the “annual conformity bill,” updates South Carolina’s tax code to reflect changes made at the federal level in 2016 by conforming our state tax law to the federal code through Dec. 31, 2016.
S. 58 - This bill creates Port Enhancement Zones to serve as distribution hubs for cargo shipped to and from the Port of Charleston. It provides for sales tax, corporate income tax and other financial incentives to increase economic growth in these zones.
S. 197 - This bill relates to the terms and conditions of operating a moped, including allowing drunken moped drivers to be charged with driving under the influence. Current state law does not treat mopeds as vehicles so drivers aren’t violating DUI laws when they drive while intoxicated. This bill also requires moped drivers to register with the Department of Motor Vehicles and follow the same traffic rules as other vehicles.