House Report: American Rescue Plan Funds, State Financial Reserve, And More

South Carolina House of Representatives
P. O. Box 11867
COLUMBIA, S.C. 29211 • TELEPHONE 734-2010

Rep. Jackie E. “Coach” Hayes , 333C Blatt Building
SC House District #55 – Darlington, Dillon, Horry & Marlboro

February 18, 2022

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 4408, a joint resolution authorizing expenditure of American Rescue Plan Act funds. The legislation provides for the initial allocation of federal funds available to South Carolina under the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.”
Approximately $453.5 million is allocated to the South Carolina Department of Transportation to be placed in a separate Transportation Infrastructure Acceleration Account and used to accelerate completion of projects included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. The total allocated to SCDOT represents reimbursement for general fund and Education Improvement Act revenue not collected and motor fuel user fee revenue not collected due to the COVID-19 pandemic as calculated by the Executive Budget Office.
The Rural Infrastructure Authority is allocated $800 million to be placed in a separate ARPA Water and Sewer Infrastructure Account which must be used to administer and operate three grant programs designed to provide for improvements in water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure throughout the state. In each of the three grant programs, units of local government, special purpose districts, commissions of public works, and joint municipal organizations may apply for grants. A unit of local government may apply for a grant on behalf of nonprofit water and sewer systems. The amounts of required local matching funds are based upon the size of the population served by the system.
The Office of Regulatory Staff is allocated $400 million to be placed in a separate ARPA Broadband Account which must be used to expand broadband infrastructure to households, businesses, and communities in the state that are unserved or underserved by the broadband services which allow for high-speed Internet connections.
The Office of Resilience is allocated $100 million to be placed in a separate account that must be used to complete stormwater infrastructure projects and acquisitions of property in the floodplain throughout the state to lessen the impacts of future flood events.
The Department of Administration is allocated $8 million for contracting for professional grant management services of ARPA funds and other federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The House approved and sent the Senate H. 3346, a bill increasing state financial reserve funds. The legislation provides for the state’s General Reserve Fund, currently set at five percent of General Fund revenue of the latest completed fiscal year, to be increased each year by one half of one percent until it equals seven percent of General Fund revenue of the latest completed fiscal year. The legislation increases the state’s Capital Reserve Fund from two percent of General Fund revenue of the latest completed fiscal year to three percent of such revenues. These statutory provisions are to take effect upon ratification of pertinent amendments to the South Carolina Constitution.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 3247, the “Workforce Enhancement and Military Recognition Act”. The bill eliminates current limits to allow all military retirement income to be deducted from an individual’s South Carolina income taxes.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 3348, a bill establishing tax incentives for apprenticeship programs employing veterans and individuals who have been incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. The legislation makes provisions for a tax credit for any taxpayer who employs in an apprenticeship program a newly-hired veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces who was honorably discharged or released from such service due to a serviceconnected disability. The legislation makes provisions for a tax credit for any taxpayer who employs in an apprenticeship program a newly-hired individual who was formerly incarcerated for nonviolent offenses. These apprenticeship tax credits may be claimed for no more than three years. The amount of the credit is set at three thousand dollars for each eligible employee for the first year it is earned and is reduced to two thousand five hundred dollars for the second year, and one thousand dollars for a third year.

The House appointed members to a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H. 3255, a bill revising qualifications and other provisions governing the licensure and regulation of real estate appraisers to bring these state provisions into alignment with federal standards.
The House amended and returned S. 16 to the Senate. The amendment strikes the bill in its entirety and inserts a new graduation requirement for both traditional and charter school students. Beginning with students entering ninth grade in the 2026-27 school year, a one-half credit course in basic personal finance must be completed to earn a diploma. This does not replace the economics course requirement as required in the original bill. Instead, students will take 6.5 units of elective credit instead of the seven now required. The standards must include the following: basic principles of personal finance; internet safety; use and responsibilities of loans and credit products; health, life, automobile, and other insurance products.

The State Department of Education is directed to collaborate with the Commission on Higher Education, the Council for Economics, and the Financial Literacy Board to develop academic standards for the course. The State Department of Education must monitor and report on the implementation of the course and offer recommendations for improvements. The State Board is required to promulgate regulations to update the state’s graduation requirements. The 2026-27 start date recognizes that students currently enrolled in high school have already created individual graduation plans, so the bill, if amended, will not require them to fit a new course into their schedule. The starting date gives the State Department time to develop curricula, identify instructional materials, and train additional teachers. It also provides the State Board time to promulgate changes to its graduation regulations.

H. 4944 regarding Coastal Carolina University’s board of trustee’s meetings was taken up, read the third time, and ordered sent to the Senate. This bill relates to meetings of the Coastal Carolina University board of trustees. The bill provides that mandatory notice of board meetings must be sent either electronically or through the United States mail to each trustee not less than five days before each meeting.

The Senate informed the House that it non-concurred in the amendments proposed by the House to S. 203 on the subject of the removal of school district trustees and filling of vacancies. The House insisted on its amendments. The Chair appointed Reps. Felder, Brittain and Alexander to the committee of conference on the part of the House.

The House considered Senate amendments to H. 3211, legislation to extend the authority of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children through December 31, 2030. Ex officio members will now include the directors of the departments of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, Health and Environmental Control, Health and Human Services, as well as the director of the Office of South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness. After the House adopted the Senate amendments, this bill was enrolled for ratification.

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the issues discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-734-3099); Bus. (843-841-3679). Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

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