State House Report #16
May 1, 2017
Off Season Report Card
June 21, 2017

State House Report #18

Roads Bill Passes, Opioid Task Force, & Sine Die

Sine Die (Latin meaning “without a fixed day”) Adjournment occurred this past Thursday, May 11, 2017, at 5:00 pm and marked the end of this year’s general legislative session. For a bill to have become law this year, it would have needed to pass both legislative chambers by Sine Die. This always adds increased pressure in the final week of legislative session.

While my House colleagues and I passed many significant pieces of legislation this week, the most anticipated action was passage of the bill to fix our roads and bridges. The House and Senate hammered out an agreement that had enough support to pass both legislative bodies. In its final form, the roads bill:

Reforms the Department of Transportation

  • Provides real accountability and transparency at the department of Transportation (public records, mandated meetings, ethical requirements for commissioners)
  • Gives Governor complete control of the Commission with a clear line of authority and at-will removal

Provides Sustainable Long-Term Funding

  • Creates a long-term and sustainable funding stream by increasing the motor fuel user fee by 2 cents/gallon over the next 6 years, not exceeding 12 cents/gallon
  • Safeguards taxpayers from future automatic tax increases by not indexing for inflation
  • Protects SC taxpayers from continuing to solely foot the bill for infrastructure repair by not using General Fund dollars and captures 30% of the motor fuel user fee revenue from out-of-state motorists
  • Creates an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund to ensure all new revenue collected from the motor fuel user fee is used only for existing infrastructure needs
  • Does not increase or change fees for South Carolina driver’s license applications or renewals

Delivers Responsible Offsetting Tax Relief

  • Includes responsible tax relief to offset the user fee increase for South Carolina motorists
  • Offers a refundable income tax credit equal to the motor fuel user fee increase that must be reauthorized prior to 2023
  • Enhances already existing College Tuition Tax Credit for every South Carolina tuition-payer to enhance workforce development

On Tuesday, the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee held its first meeting since being created by House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington). This issue affects every community and does not discriminate against race, age, gender, socioeconomic class or profession. “Because opioid abuse is different from other drug addictions, it is most important to consider and study every available option to prevent further damage and loss of life,” said Lucas. The 16-member bipartisan committee was created by Lucas after reports indicated the opioid epidemic was rapidly growing in our state.

The House will come back in a few weeks for a specialized session to vote on the remaining conference reports, including a final budget once the House and Senate have reached a final agreement.

As always, thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia.  If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me.