The South Carolina General Assembly returns for its second week of the 2012 session Tuesday. It should be a busier week for the body, even though its actions will be overshadowed in the state’s headlines by the Republican presidential candidates.
After several vague hints from Senate leaders, it seems the Department of Administration bill will finally be taken up on Tuesday. The bill would create a new Cabinet agency to handle most of the state’s human resources, IT systems, and bureaucracy— currently vested in the independent Budget & Control Board. As the bill is currently written, the board itself would be phased out over the next two years.
— Meanwhile, the House is expected to easily pass a bill that would create a “three-strike” law for sewage utilities that have repeated problems with pollution. The law would require the state’s environmental agency to audit a utility that reported three spills over a 12-month period. If it passes as written, it would then go to the governor for her signature.
Also on Tuesday:
— The special Blue Ribbon Committee on Shoreline Management will meet. The panel was created in October 2010 as a way to improve construction along the state’s coast. The committee is tasked with creating regulations that determine how far buildings should be from the water, and other beachfront issues. Tuesday is the group’s final meeting before it begins making recommendations in February.
— A Finance subcommittee will discuss several bills, including one by Sen. Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) that would allow the owner-occupant of residential property to qualify for the four-percent assessment ratio as long as the home is not rented out for more than 90 days in a calendar year.
— The Judiciary committee will discuss several bills, include spending caps and other items from McConnell’s “Fiscal Fitness Agenda.”
— Another Finance subcommittee will take up a House bill by Rep. Dwight Loftis (R-Greenville) which would allow biotechnology and life science companies to claim job tax credits.
— House budget writers get back to work listening to requests from various state agencies. Tuesday’s highlights include the Department of Employment and Workforce, the State Treasurer, local governments, the Agriculture Department, and the Department of Health and Environmental Control.
— A Judiciary subcommittee will examine a bill from Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) that requires third-party voter registration groups to follow through when they sign up prospective voters.
— A Labor, Commerce, and Industry subcommittee will hear testimony on a bill by Rep. Tommy Pope (R-York) that would require burglar alarm companies to verify that an alarm’s warning is authentic before they could call law enforcement. That would include trying to contact the alarm’s owner.