House Proposes Workforce Reform Bill
Led by Speaker Murrell Smith and Economic and Utility Modernization Ad Hoc Committee Chairman Jay West, a bill was introduced in the House that would make significant changes to the way in which the State administers workforce issues. Here are the highlights of H.3726.

  • The Office of Statewide Workforce Development Coordination will be created at the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) to coordinate and oversee workforce development efforts in the State of South Carolina.
  • The bill also moves the SC Coordinating Council for Workforce Development over to SCDEW, which consists of 22 members from the areas of workforce, education, and business, as well as from the Legislature and State agencies.

The bill and initiative seek to:

  • Address skill shortages
  • Increase information dissemination
  • Overcome workforce barriers

SC Department of Agriculture Proposes $75M Plan to Increase Agribusiness
In the Economic and Utility Modernization Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by Rep. Jay West (R- Anderson), Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers discussed a $75M plan that will add value and production to agribusiness in the State, which has already seen a 40 percent increase in growth over the last decade. Weathers said there is nearly $1B in growth potential in the State and this one-time request, similar to what North Carolina did in its plan, will maximize South Carolina’s potential for agribusiness growth.

More specifically, Commissioner Weathers said many agribusiness projects fall below what is needed to qualify for existing incentives provided by the State. These dollars are intended to fill in those gaps.

Senate Debates School Choice Bill
The Senate began its debate on S. 39, by Senator Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) this week. The bill would set aside money for parents who meet certain qualifications to send their children to a school in another district or a private school. This legislation passed the Senate last year after a lengthy debate. Debate will continue Tuesday when the Senate returns.

Senate Finance Discusses 2023 Revenue
This week the Senate Finance Committee discussed the outlook for 2023. The Committee said the State’s economic position is in a very good spot, with $456M left over from last year. It was noted that Frank Rainwater, the State’s executive director for the SC Revenue and Fiscal Affairs office, will present to the committee next month to discuss the State’s economic outlook and revenue forecast.

DOT Discusses 2023 Budgetary Outlook
In a House Ways and Means subcommittee this week, the SC Department of Transportation discussed its budget. Here are some of those highlights:

  • DOT is ahead of schedule in its 10-year plan, with 7,000 miles of roads going to contract.
  • Among other areas of focus, are South Carolina’s Interstate highways, including I-26 from Charleston to Columbia and I-95 coming out of Georgia

Its budget requests include:

  1. $1B over five years to repair or replace 1,125 bridges on Interstate highways and primary roads
  2. Put litter pick-up on the recurring line, with an increased focus
  3. $300M in non-recurring funds to construct I-73 from I-95 to Hwy 501 in Dillon County

In other DOT news, the Senate Transportation Committee passed out S.361, which removes the requirement that the Commission approve certain projects (Commission will still need to ratify) under $150,000.

Introductions of Note
S. 399
Senators Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee) and Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee)
This bill would split DHEC into two agencies, one for health issue and one for environmental issues.

S. 423
Senators Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) and Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg)
This bill would legalize medical marijuana.

S. 425
Senators Scott Talley (R-Spartanburg), Ross Turner (R-Greenville), et al
A bill to allow for the curbside pickup and delivery of alcohol.

H. 3724
Rep. Cal Forrest
A bill to exempt electricity used exclusively for the commercial processing of peaches for sale.

H. 3726
Reps. G. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) and Jay West (R-Anderson), et al.
To enact the “Statewide Education and Workforce Development Act,” by, among other provisions, creating the Office of Statewide Workforce Development Coordination at the SC Department of Employment and Workforce and moving the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development from the SC Department of Commerce to the SC Department of Employment and Workforce.

H. 3737
Reps. Randy Ligon (R-Chester)
To provide for an income tax credit equal to 50 percent of an eligible taxpayer’s qualified railroad reconstruction or replacement expenditures.