State Legislative Update
• Corporate License Fee Exemption (H.4805) – The House passed a bill that would allow for pre-revenue and early growth companies to exempt the first
$50 million received from outside investment from its corporate license fee calculation. This exemption allows pre-revenue and early growth companies
to keep capital in the company and continue to grow. The bill now heads to the Senate Finance Committee.
• Site-Specific Remediation Standards (H.4999) – The House passed a bill allowing DHEC to utilize risk-based corrective action standards as cleanup goals
for contaminated sites, similar to the approach used by the EPA. The bill now heads to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
• SC Housing Tax Credit Reform (H.5075/S.1120) – Both the House and Senate advanced proposals to reform the state’s affordable housing tax-credit
program enacted in 2020 by imposing a cap on the number of annual tax credits that can be allocated in a given year. The Senate version sets a cap of $15
million, while the House version has a higher cap of $25 million. Both proposals would require developers seeking tax credits through the program to
submit their submission to the state’s Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC), which will develop a scoring system to ensure that the program only
distributes credits to projects that promote the highest value and greatest public benefit.
• Local Government User Fees (S.984) – The Senate passed a bill that further reemphasizes legislative intent that local governing bodies may enact service
or user fees in return for a government good or service as long as the revenue generated from the fee is used to benefit payers of the fee, regardless of
whether the general public occasionally benefits as well. The bill now heads to the House.
• Medical Marijuana (S.150) – The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs (3-M) Committee advanced a Senate bill that allows for the
cultivation, distribution, and use of medical marijuana for those who suffer from a “debilitating medical condition. The bill now heads to the House floor.
DEW Announces Labor Force Participation Task Force
In recent weeks, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) announced the creation of a task force that seeks to understand and address the state’s low labor force participation rate. While the state’s unemployment rate is 3.5%, the labor force participation rate is 57.2% which is below the national average of 62.3% and one of the lowest rates in the country. Additionally, the state has over 112,000 open jobs available, indicating strong employer demand for workers.
In announcing the task force, DEW Director Dan Ellzey noted that “A higher participation rate increases the wealth of a state. We need to know the root causes of our low participation rate before truly making any improvements. This is why the Task Force is so critical at this time.”
SC Senate Advances Anti-Vaccine Mandate for Public Employers
On April 6, the South Carolina Senate advanced legislation that would prevent the State or its political subdivisions from enacting a Covid-19 vaccine mandate; prevent unvaccinated individuals from being denied goods, services, or accommodations in any public places such as hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and other public establishments; and make individuals eligible for unemployment benefits if they are either terminated, suspended, or penalized financially by a private employer for their refusal to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.
A previous version of H.3126 that advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year would have imposed a tax of roughly $30,000 per employee on a private employer’s payroll if that employer implemented a vaccination requirement and terminated or suspended employees that failed to receive the vaccine. That penalty was removed from the final version of H.3126 along with a provision that would have made individuals eligible for unemployment benefits retroactive nine months if they were terminated, suspended, or had their compensation reduced because they failed to comply with a private employer’s vaccination requirement.
The bill now heads back to the House of Representatives, which initially passed its version of the bill in December.