South Carolina House of Representatives
James H. "Jay" Lucas, Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND CONSTITUENT SERVICES
Room 212, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230
NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES ARE PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION'S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THEY ARE STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT.
The Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee met on Tuesday, February 17, reporting out two bills. H.3575, legislation revising the definition of "solid waste" to exclude STEEL SLAG, was given a favorable recommendation by the committee. Steel slag is a product of the electric arc furnace steelmaking process. The legislation excludes it because it is no longer considered a byproduct. The committee gave a favorable recommendation to H.3646, a bill that deals with PASSIVE SOIL-BASED ON-SITE DISPOSAL SYSTEMS. Current law allows soil dispersal systems to be sized two-thirds of that required for a conventional gravel trench. The sizing difference results from greater unobstructed trench bottom surface and absence of fine stone dust translating to superior hydraulic capacity. Current law also requires manufacturers to maintain financial assurances and installer certification programs and limits installation to single-family dwellings.
As a result of these systems being used successfully for the past ten years, the legislation increases trench sizing from two-thirds to three-quarters of that required for a conventional gravel trench and repeals burdensome requirements such as financial assurances, installer certification, and single-family dwelling limitations.
The Ways and Means Committee reported out the proposed FISCAL YEAR 2015-2016 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET which includes $6.9 billion in recurring general fund revenue, $127.8 million in Capital Reserve Funds, $19.3 million in certified surplus revenue, $323 million in Education Lottery Funds, and authorization to issue state capital improvement bonds to provide a total of $497 million for capital projects.
$50 million in motor vehicle sales tax revenues is transferred from the general fund to the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank to be utilized to leverage approximately $500 million in bonds to finance bridge replacement, resurfacing and rehabilitation projects, and expansion and improvements to existing mainline interstates.
For K-12 public education, $94 million is used for a $100 per pupil increase for the base student cost to arrive at an estimated $2,220.
$5 million is provided for an expansion of reading coach initiatives. $1.5 million is included for summer reading camp expansion.
$1.4 million is included for First Steps to School Readiness early childhood education local partnerships.
$29.3 million in Education Lottery funds is devoted to K-12 technology initiatives. $4 million is included for professional development.
$20 million in Capital Reserve Funds is provided for instructional materials, along with $6 million in excess unclaimed lottery prize money.
$2.9 million is provided virtual education operations.
$11.9 million is provided for South Carolina’ Public Charter School District.
$1 million is appropriated for arts education grants and programs.
$30 million is provided from the Capital Reserve Fund for purchasing or leasing new school buses. School buses are also afforded $6 million in excess unclaimed lottery prize money and $4 million in excess lottery proceeds. $9 million is devoted bus shops.
Full funding is provided for the LIFE, HOPE, and Palmetto Fellows higher education scholarship programs.
The budget legislation includes a provision that transfers oversight and control of South Carolina State University to the State Fiscal Accountability Authority to address the school’s issues relating to finances and academic accreditation and ensure the continuing viability of the institution. The legislation removes the members of S.C. State’s Board of Trustees and designates the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, which is composed of the Governor, Treasurer, Comptroller General, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to serve as the interim board until a new S.C. State University Board of Trustees is elected by the General Assembly. The Interim Board is authorized to remove the university’s current president and employ an interim president on an at-will basis.
$1 million is devoted to worker training through the Ready SC Program at the state’s technical colleges. $2 million is provided for manufacturing, healthcare, and Science, technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) training and $2 million is provided from the Capital Reserve Fund for training. $1.5 million is appropriated from the Capital Reserve Fund for Quickjobs Midlands Technical College Center for Rapid Employment. $1.4 million is provided from the Capital Reserve Fund for advanced manufacturing and industrial equipment at Aiken Technical College. $5 million from the Capital Reserve Fund is provided for the Aeronautical Training Center at Trident Technical College.
$17.6 million from the Capital Reserve Fund is provided for the Deal Closing Fund that the Department of Commerce uses to recruit new business to the state. The Department of Commerce is afforded appropriations of $1 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for the Locate SC Site Inventory, $1.25 million for the Office of Innovation, $200,000 for the SC Council on Economic Competitiveness, $500,000 for Regional Education Centers, $250,000 for the Microenterprise Partnership Program, and $750,000 for the Military Base Task Force.
At the Department of Social Services, $2 million is devoted to child and adult protective services recruitment and $3.7 million is provided for child and adult protective services pay increases. The budget provides for 120 additional case works to reduce sizeable caseloads. The 10% case worker salary increase provided in the budget combined with last year’s 10% increase, allows for a 20% salary increase as a means of stemming the high turnover rate at the agency.
$34.9 million is included to cover the increased costs of operating the state's health insurance plan with no increases in the premiums paid by employees, no reductions in coverage.
$68 million in Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement funding is devoted to maintenance of effort in the Medicaid program. $11 million in recurring funds is included to address projected increases in enrollment.
The budget legislation does not include an expansion in eligibility for the state's Medicaid Program as allowed by the federal "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" of 2010. Funding is continued for such accountability and quality improvement programs as: the Healthy Outcomes Initiative for meeting the needs of chronically ill uninsured patients through home visits and care in other settings outside the emergency room; 100% cost reimbursement for rural hospitals; a Primary Care Safety Net utilizing such resources as Federally Qualified Health Centers and free clinics; and efforts to enhance provider capacity in rural and underserved areas.
The Department of Health and Human Services is directed to conduct a pilot program on all-inclusive health intervention for wrap-around care to vulnerable mental health patients who frequent the emergency room in hotspots and underserved areas within the state.
$2.7 million is included to revamp the state’s Medicaid eligibility system.
$2 million in recurring funds is provided for the state’s telemedicine network.
$3.8 million is devoted to an enhanced fee schedule for primary care physicians.
$4.9 million is appropriated for expanded coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder. $7.9 million is devoted to children’s mental health.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control receives $500,000 for Criminal Domestic Violence, $250,000 for the Best Chance/Colon Cancer Prevention Networks, $100,000 for the National Kidney Foundation, $100,000 for the J. R. Clark Sickle Cell Foundation, $100,000 for the Bleeding Disorders Premium Assistance Program, and $100,000 for Donate Life’s Organ Donor Registry. $3.98 million is allocated to DHEC for monitoring at the Pinewood Hazardous Waste Disposal Site, $4 million from the Capital Reserve Fund is directed to its water quality initiative, and $50,000 is provided for water quality testing.
$6.4 million recurring fund increase is directed to the Department of Mental Health to address budget cuts sustained by the agency during the revenue shortfall of recent years. DMH receives $3.2 million for forensic inpatient services, $500,000 for school based services, $500,000 for the telepsychiatry program, and $400,000 for community supportive housing. $2.7 million from the Capital Reserve Fund is included to continue the process of converting health records to an electronic format that is necessary for meeting federal hospital certification requirements.
The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs receives $6.4 million to reduce its waiting lists, $2 million towards provider maintenance of effort, $1 million for respite care services, and $500,000 for nursing care quality. $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds is included for autism services.
The budget provides $645,500 for two new family court judges and staff to accommodate domestic violence and child protective services issues.
The Prosecution Coordination Commission receives $1.6 million for circuit solicitor caseload equalization and $400,000 for the SC Center for Fathers and Families.
$1 million is provided for defense of indigents per capita.
The State Law Enforcement Division is provided $520,940 for insurance fraud investigators.
The Attorney General’s Office receives $269,915 for sex/violent crime prosecutors and $75,325 for a financial data analyst/forensic accountant.
The Department of Public Safety is provided $4 million for law enforcement vehicles, $100,000 for tasers, and $800,000 for body armor replacement.
The Department of Corrections receives $4.5 million for its mental health remediation plan, $927,806 for medical staff, $449,000 for youthful offender/addictions treatment, and $909,190 for the education improvement plan/vocational equipment.
$2.6 million is provided to the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services for 44 new parole agents.
$299,737 is appropriated to the Department of Natural Resources for 5 new law enforcement officers.
The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation is afforded $250,000 for School to Work Transition Services and $290,000 for job-driven vocational training.
The Department of Agriculture is afforded $500,000 for agribusiness development and $1 million from the Capital Reserve Fund to expand "Certified SC" marketing.
$3.8 million is provided for the Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund at the Rural Infrastructure Authority.
The Forestry Commission receives $500,000 for 8 additional full-time firefighters
$4.5 million is included to implement the final phase of statewide information technology security recommendations.
The Department of Revenue is afforded $8 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for implementing an updated tax processing system.
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism receives $1 million for the Undiscovered SC program to showcase the state's rural areas, $2 million for destination-specific advertising, $1.275 for the Sports Development Marketing Program, and $500,000 for the Parks and Recreation Development Fund.
$1 million is provided from the Capital Reserve Fund for Jasper Ocean Terminal Permitting.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Office receives $529,827 for the vulnerable adult guardian ad litem program and $750,000 for caregiver services.
The budget legislation includes authorization for issuing state CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT BONDS to provide a total of $497 million for capital projects, including:
$50 million set aside for anticipated K-12 infrastructure needs for addressing the South Carolina Supreme Court’s ruling regarding the level of support for local schools needed to meet the state’s constitutional obligation for providing free public education.
$60 million to the Department of Commerce for infrastructure improvements needed to encourage economic development.
$50 million to the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education for Pathways to Workplace Infrastructure Development.
Numerous projects at the state’s technical colleges, including $35 million for an Aeronautical Training Center at Trident Technical College.
Various construction and renovation projects on the campuses of the state’s institutions of higher learning.
$50 million towards a new children’s hospital at the Medical University of South Carolina.
$20 million to the Department of Health and Human Services for statewide telemedicine infrastructure.
$12 million for a new laboratory facility and $10 million for an advanced law enforcement training center for the State Law Enforcement Division.
$5 million for Department of Corrections’ deferred maintenance.
$10 million for renovations at the state’s welcome centers, $2 million for an African-American History Museum, and $15 million for improvements and deferred maintenance at state parks. The committee gave a report of favorable with amendment to H.3374, a bill that replaces the current Local Government Fund and its set funding level of 4.5% of the previous year’s state general fund revenues with a new LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE SHARING FUND that is structured to deliver a revenue stream to counties and municipalities that fluctuates according to whether the state is experiencing revenue growth or shortfall. The legislation discontinues the retrospective approach for funding political subdivisions that is tied to the previous year’s revenues and, beginning with Fiscal Year 2017-2018, implements prospective budgeting that draws upon state revenue forecasts. The legislation establishes a $212 million recurring base for the Local Government Revenue Sharing Fund and provides for the fund to receive a 2% increase in a year when state general fund revenue is projected to increase by at least 4%, receive no increase when growth estimates are less than 4%, and share in necessary budget cuts when the state experiences revenue shortfalls. The requirements of the Local Government Revenue Sharing Fund must be satisfied before funds are made available for appropriation to other government functions in the budgeting process.
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