The Greenville, SC Chamber's Blog

Welcome to the Greenville Chamber's blog. Here you will be able to find Chamber news and happenings as it happens. Comments and responses to our postings are encouraged. Please, get connected with us, so that we can get connected with you (other social media links can be found below to the right). For more information on the Chamber, please visit us at or give us a call at 864-242-1050.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Legislative Update

While the Legislature is in session, the Greenville Chamber sends out a Legislative Update each week to those members interested. Not receiving the updates, but interested? Contact Sunnie Harmon or John DeWorken at 864-242-1050 or by e-mail ( or

Below is this week's update from Columbia:

Point of Sale Passes out of Committee
A bill that changes the way in which homes are assessed passed out of a Senate Finance subcommittee this week. Currently and as a result of Act 388 (Property Tax Bill that passed in 2006), homes are assessed when they are sold or when they go through major renovations, which is called “point of sale.” The bill would provide that homes’ assessment at the point of sale could not increase more than 15 percent over its last assessment. The property will then be reassessed every five years and would only be able to increase their value on the books by 15 percent over that five-year period. The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

General Assembly to Adjourn Early
Because of budget restraints to the operations of both the House and Senate, the General Assembly will adjourn early this year by two weeks. The last day of session, called sine die, will be May 21. The House and Senate are expected to return the third week of June to take up Governor vetoes.

Anti-Employee Free Choice Passes Major Hurdle
The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), passed out a bill sponsored by Rep. Eric Bedingfield (R-Greenville) that would constitutionally guarantee the rights of South Carolina workers a secret ballot vote when voting for or against unionizing at the workplace. Current law provides for secret ballot votes, but a federal bill called the Employee Free Choice Act, that is moving through Congress, which would strip the rights of a secret ballot vote for workers. The bill now goes to the full Senate for its consideration. The bill must receive a two-thirds majority to pass since it amends the state’s constitution.

House to Take Up Port Restructuring Bill Next Week
When the House Returns next week, it will take up a bill that will restructure the SC Ports Authority Board. The bill provides that the Governor would no longer be able to remove Ports Board members without cause. It also extends Board members’ tenure to five years.

House Takes Break this Week
The Senate was the only chamber in session this week, as the House, trying to save operating dollars, took this week off. They will return next week, before both chambers adjourn May 21.

Cigarette Tax Amended in Senate Finance
The Senate, was unable to agree on how the revenue generated from a cigarette tax increase should be spent. Senate Democrats would like for part or all of the monies go towards Medicaid, so the Federal government’s three-to-one match would be guaranteed to South Carolina. Most Republican Senators like the House’s plan to use the money to offer premium assistance to small employers and their employees. Since the majority agrees in implementing the tax, Senator Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee) proposed an amendment Thursday that would increase South Carolina’s lowest in the nation cigarette tad by 50-cents. The revenue would be placed in a Health Care Trust fund for one year at which time, House and Senate members would be given the opportunity to repeal, increase or decrease the tax. After a year they would also have a chance to vote on how the tax money should be spent. The House has vowed to refuse any Senate amendments to the Speaker’s legislation. The Speaker of the House has already expressed his distaste with the Senate’s version. The Senate is set to debate H. 3584 on the floor next week.

Budget Expected to be Sent to Governor’s Desk Next Week
It is the will of House and Senate leaders to send the budget to Governor Sanford’s desk by the close of next week. Leaders in both bodies are trying to compromise on a few provisions before approving it. If they are unable to reach an agreement, a conference committee will be assembled.

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