Governor Henry McMaster Sworn in This Week
This week, the Honorable Henry McMaster was sworn in again as the Governor of South Carolina. When he departs in four years, he will be the longest serving Governor in South Carolina’s history.  Other Constitutional Officers were sworn in, as well, including newcomer Ellen Weaver, who will serve as the State’s Superintendent of Education.  To read Governor McMaster comments at his inaugural address, click here.

SC Dept. of Commerce, Rural Infrastructure Authority Funding Advances
The House Ways and Means passed H. 3604 to the full House, which directs $500m to the Department of Commerce for infrastructure funding related to qualified projects previously authorized by the Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) during FY2022/23.  The bill also allows the Department of Commerce to identify and recommend potential projects for any remaining funds.  

Moreover, the bill authorizes $586m in ARPA funds to be allocated to RIA’s sewer and water account.  It requires $86m of the allocation be available for projects that are economically significant as determined by the Secretary of Commerce.

Officials that Influence Local Governments Required to Register in New Proviso
Introduced in the Governor’s proposed budget, the new proviso (110.3) “require[s] any individual paid to influence decisions or actions of officials or employees of any local political subdivision of the State, to include county, city, town, municipality, school district or special purpose districts to register as a lobbyist and their employer must likewise register as a lobbyist principal.”

House Announces Furloughs
The House this week scheduled tentative furlough the weeks of March 20 and April 10.  There are 18 weeks in the Legislative Session with Sine Die on May 11.

Introductions of Note
H. 3604 
Reps. Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville) and G. M. Smith (R-Sumter)
A Joint Resolution to authorize funds from the contingency reserve fund for economic development projects and related to APRA funds and how these funds will be expended.

H. 3613 
Rep. Beach (R-Anderson)
This bill provides that employers under 50 employees are not required to withhold income tax.

H. 3614 
Reps. Russell Ott (D-Calhoun), Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee) and Jay West (R-Anderson)
This bill prohibits a public utility from taking adverse action against an employee who reported wrongdoing.

H. 3694 
Rep. Mike Burns (R-Greenville)
This bill provides that a retail establishment must accept cash payments for transactions.

S. 331 
Senators Luke Rankin (R-Horry) and Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee)
This bill creates the offense of malicious injury of a gasoline, natural gas, propane, or electric utility by use of a firearm or destructive device and establish appropriate penalties.

SCEDA continues to monitor the development of the proposed budget and these bills and their impact on economic development and our members.