Columbia Legislative Update

  • Education Scholarships (S.935) – Last week, the Senate passed a bill that would provide roughly $6,000 to parents to cover tuition, fees, course materials, transportation, or other qualified expenses to send their children to private or charter schools. Qualified students must have been previously enrolled in the public school system and must either come from a Medicaid eligible family or have an IEP. Students receiving these scholarships must take the same testing required of public-school students (such as SC Ready, SC Pass, and other national standardized tests) so that the Department of Education can track their academic progress and the success of the program. For year one, enrollment in the program will be capped at 5,000 students, 10,000 students in year two, and 15,000 students in year three. Any private school that participates in the program may not discriminate against a prospective qualified student based on race, color, religion, or national origin. The bill now heads to the House.
  • Corporate License Fee Exemption (H.4805) – The House Ways and Means Committee advanced a proposal allowing pre-revenue and early growth companies to exempt the first $50 million received from outside investment from its corporate license fee calculation. Currently, South Carolina’s corporate license fee requires all companies to pay an annual fee without considering a company’s actual profit or ability to pay, which creates serious challenges for highly capitalized businesses and pre-revenue companies. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce supports all efforts to cut taxes and reform our tax system. The bill now heads to the House floor.
  • Site-Specific Remediation Standards (H.4999) – The House Agriculture Committee advanced a proposal that would allow DHEC to utilize risk-based corrective action standards as cleanup goals for contaminated sites, similar to the approach used by the EPA. If enacted, DHEC would be able to set site-specific remediation standards for soils, groundwater, and surface waters at a contaminated site instead of solely using the existing contaminant standards in State regulations that may not be appropriate for a certain site and do not take into account community risk or exposure. The bill now heads to the House floor.
  • Medical Marijuana (S.150) – The House began debate on Sen. Tom Davis’ medical cannabis legislation that passed the Senate in early February with a House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs (3-M) Committee subcommittee advancing the bill to the full 3-M committee where public testimony will be received next week.