Legislators had a busy Wednesday morning, passing several bills in the House without much debate.
One bill that passed unanimously dealt with vehicle liens. Right now, when a car is towed or seized and a lien is placed on it, the lien includes anything inside the vehicle. Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) explained the current law was a problem for a constituent of his.
The cars got towed and (his) tools were in there. He needed the tools and they said, “No, sir. You can’t get the tools, we’ve got a lien on this…I certainly think that’s inequitable. They’ve got the car. They’ve got everything they need. They don’t need to keep the tools.
Smith said liens would still include the car and “fixtures” such as tires, stereos, and parts. However, it would allow people to retrive personal items that were in the car, such as a book or an iPod.
The new law would also cover trailer, mobile homes, and boats.
The House also passed a bill that would require the state’s tax collecting agency to err on the side of taxpayers if any uncertainty exists about the tax code. Both bills now head to the Senate. Sponsor Jim Merrill (R-Charleston) said he sponsored the bill after the Department of Revenue began broadly interpreting sales tax law in a way legislators did not intend. He said the agency may have improperly collected as much a $350 million.
Legislators also approved a bill that would ease some of the regulations and hurdles public colleges face when they do business in South Carolina. Legislators approved a bill that would give individual schools more power to approve routine maintenance, repair and renovation projects that cost under $1 million. Right now, any time a school does any construction at all, it requires a vote from the state Budget and Control Board, which only meets less than once per month.
All three bills will now head to the Senate.