TALLY SHEET: Bills to help the working poor, raise gas tax, fix pension system

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Staff reports  |  Lawmakers introduced 101 bills over the last week, including several measures by S.C. Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, aimed at helping low-income South Carolinians through a tax credit for the working poor and low-income housing credits.

Also in the Senate are two efforts to change how judges reach the bench by allowing a governor to appoint and the Senate to confirm candidates.  These proposals are a stark contrast to the legislative elections currently held.  There also was a Senate proposal to raise the state’s gas tax to benefit rural roads as well and House and Senate companion proposals to bolster the state’s flagging employee pension system.

In the House, most of the new bills were congratulatory resolutions, particularly for Grand Strand Eagle scouts. Major proposals included bills to get rid of the state Department of Transportation Commission and liberalize laws on concealed weapons.  Major bills introduced over the week included:

IN THE SENATE

Tax credits.  S. 358 (Kimpson) seeks to enact an Earned Income Tax Credit to help the working poor.  Kimpson proposes that it be 20 percent of a current federal EITC.  S. 360 (Kimpson) seeks an income tax credit for employers who hire prisoners, with several provisions.  S. 362 (Kimpson) would allow a taxpayer who is eligible for a federal low-income housing tax credit to get a similar state tax credit.

Sick leave.  S. 361 (Kimpson) seeks to enact the Earned Paid Sick Leave Act to allow employees to accrue earned paid and unpaid sick leave, with several provisions.

Affordable housing.  S. 364 (Kimpson) seeks to allow counties to boost building fees by up to 10 percent and for the revenue to be used to increase affordable housing programs.

Judicial selection.  S. 370 (Talley) seeks a constitutional amendment to change how judges are picked so that a governor can appoint judges, who are then confirmed by the state Senate, with several provisions.  Currently, judges are elected by the House and Senate.  S. 386 (Corbin) is similar.

Gas tax for rural roads.  S. 384 (Sheheen) seeks a Rural Roads Fund for maintenance and repair of rural roads and bridges to be paid for with an eight cent per gallon gas tax increase over four years, with several provisions.

Pensions.  S. 394 (Sheheen) offers a plan to change the state retirement system’s rates paid by employees and require unfunded liabilities to be put on an amortization schedule, with many provisions. H. 3726 (Herbkersman) is similar.

IN THE HOUSE

Animal care act.  H. 3668 (McCoy) seeks the state Provisions for Cost of Animal Care Act to allow animal rescuers to petition courts for costs of keeping rescued animals, with many provisions.

Medicaid.  H. 3678 (Jefferson) is a congratulatory resolution that included language to call for Gov. Henry McMaster to expand Medicaid. H. 3686 (Lucas) is related.

Guns.  H. 3700 (Hill) seeks to fundamentally liberalize concealed weapons laws, with many provisions.

Highway Commission.  H. 3703 (Elliott) seeks to do away with the state Department of Highway Commission and make the department a cabinet office, with many provisions.

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