The Centinel: SC Collective Road Act

March 25, 2015…

Ah, the season of giving is upon us once again! No, not Christmas; it’s March 25th and tax time is just around the corner!


Uncle Sam and Aunt Columbia are coming around, and they’re asking for donations to various worthwhile causes. Uncle Sam is trying to raise funds for those poor, unfortunate souls that took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up staying in his backyard for a few decades. And right now, Aunt Columbia’s pet project seems to be helping those sad roads that just don’t seem to be able to fix themselves, no matter how hard they try! What’s a good aunt to do, but help out?

Judging by the effort that good old Aunt Columbia is putting forth to raise money to fix those roads, this cause is the sole reason for her existence. She has pulled out all the stops and will stop at nothing to solve this problem (that she wants you to know she had nothing to do with creating). In fact, she doesn’t know the meaning of the word “stop”! Or the words “slow down”. And the words “let’s take some time to discuss how this problem originated and solve the root causes of it before we engage in frenetic activity that will merely mask the problem and potentially aggravate it and, oh yeah, maybe we should see how much money we have and determine where it comes from and where it goes before we throw frighteningly vast sums of it into the gaping maw of Road Maintenance”? Yeah, those words have never crossed the threshold of poor Aunt Columbia’s consciousness to darken her thought processes.

No, not for Aunt Columbia is the calm and measured response that carefully analyzes and plans. Not for her are the steady, rational methodologies of approaching problems that minimize the chance of recurrence. She is a being of action! She must accomplish! Only after a whirlwind of aimless fluttering and pointless activity can she preen herself like a bantam cock and crow, “I have fixed it!!”

And, so, we have before us one of the fruits of Aunt Columbia’s efforts. This particular gem is Senate Bill 523, also known as the “SC Collective Murmur of Disbelief; You Call This a Road Act?!” It is a masterpiece of fluttering activity, not to mention masterful methods of obtaining that cold, hard cash that will undoubtedly solve every problem the roads have ever seen.

As we gaze on its beauty, the first facet of this gem that we observe is the veritable cornucopia of cash-extracting devices contained therein. Shylock has nothing on Aunt Columbia. From doubling of driver’s license fees to 66% increases in passenger vehicle registrations to an ever-so-opportunistic 63% increase in the motor fuel tax (automatically adjusted annually for inflation!); it’s all here! You want a pound of flesh? Choose your cut!

Continuing our perusal, we are struck by the sophisticated scope of this proposal. It’s as if Aunt Columbia was inspired by Scrooge himself as she frantically thought up new ways to reach that magic, made-up revenue number she was aiming for. I’m sure she could have come up with new $20 registration fees on private trailers and possibly new road user fees of $60-120 on alternative fuel vehicles; that’s a gimme. But new 5% initial road impact registration fees, new 5% proof of ownership road maintenance fees, new 6% highway safety and improvement fee, new 5% transfer fees on aircraft, boats, and light construction equipment? There were chains clanking in that room, I guarantee it! One does not simply come up with the idea of charging extra 6% fees on vehicle repairs or calling roadside assistance…

Finally, we stand in dumbfounded awe at the sheer brazenness of Aunt Columbia as she checks groups of people off of her “donation” list…

“Let’s see, the elderly and disabled? I’ve got an 80% increase in passenger vehicle registration fees for 65+ year olds and disabled, a 73% increase in those fees for 64 year olds, and the elimination of state sales tax exemption on hearing aids. Checkamundo. 

Next, young people? We have elimination of sales tax exemption for out-of-state military members, elimination of sales tax exemption on personal property sold to charitable children’s hospitals, and limited sales tax exemption for Back-to-School sales tax holiday. Checkarooni. 

Middle aged wage earners… Hmmm, where to start? Elimination of sales tax exemption on time shares, extended service and warranty contract for motor vehicles, any property sold to the public through a sheriff’s sale, bullion/coins/currency, firearms during Second Amendment Weekend, energy efficient products for home and personal use… Whew! Checkoffski!!

And then I’ve got my catch-all buckets. Let’s see, that 6% mechanic’s tax on vehicle repairs covers everything from construction to restoration to oil changes to major repairs on any vehicle. (Thank you, Scrooge!) And all of those new user fees now have a $1,400 max instead of the old, lame $300 max! I’m golden!!”

Yes, my friends, Aunt Columbia is golden. In this season of giving, she doesn’t need Santa Claus to give her anything because she has the goose that lays golden eggs, and she can buy whatever she wants. Like new roads…

– The Centinel

“Samuel’s Law” amendment

samuel.cutliff.2/ SECTION 1. This subsection shall be known as “Samuel’s Law”.

SECTION 2.  Section 40-33-110 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding an appropriately lettered subsection at the end to read:

“(   ) In a grossly negligent fashion, a person licensed under this chapter misreads the physician’s order and overmedicates or undermedicates a patient resulting in the death of the patient, the board shall revoke the person’s license to practice nursing in this State.  As used in this subsection, “grossly negligent” means an act or course of action, or inaction, which denotes a lack of reasonable care and a conscious disregard or indifference to the rights, safety, or welfare of others and which does or could result in death.”

SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor. /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

SC Business Owners Association: s.407 and other items of interest

Fellow Business Owners,

I have been busy growing our membership and tracking legislation over the last couple of weeks.  I wanted to take some time out on this very wet day and give you a legislative update on some of the bills that we are working to promote or trying very hard to block!

S407:  The South Carolina Business Owners Association has been working with Senator Kevin Bryant on this bill which will ensure that business owners that are LLCs, B Corps, and all other types of business entities with the exception of Sole Proprietors, will no longer have to pay  SC Unemployment Tax on themselves.  This bill will further the efforts of last year’s S1100 and will be retroactive to January 1, 2015.  The bill received a 41-1 vote on the its third reading on the Senate floor this morning.  It now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee.

H3490:  Very excited about this bill as well!  Representative Rick Quinn has proposed this bill.  The bill contains some of the following reforms:

  • All businesses will be treated equally in the calculation of business license fees.  Multiple “classifications” with different rate structures would no longer be allowed.
  • The license fees assessed will no longer be based on gross income.  License fees will be based on annual net earnings or profits of the businesses, a number that is readily available on business tax returns.
  • There will be a cap of no more than $100 annually for business license fees.
Currently this bill is sitting in House Ways and Means.  I have been in contact with Rep. Quinn and he plans to start movement on this bill soon.  The House was focused on the budget and the bond issue last week and all else came to a halt.

H 3101, S 0145, H 3431:  These bills are all similar in that each are designed to increase the minimum wage.  We are of course, opposed to each of these bills.  The sponsoring House Members are Cobb-Hunter, R.L. Brown, Alexander, Henegan, McKnight, and M.S. McLeod.  The sponsoring Senators are Scott, Pinckney, Johnson and Allen.  So far these are all still in committee and there has been no movement on them.  I will let you know if this changes.
S 1/H 3722:  This Ethics Reform bill really does more harm than good.  First, financial disclosures (we need to know from where their money is derived in order to make sure there are no conflict of interests in their votes/appointments, etc.) are weakened.  Second, instead of pushing for a truly independent ethics investigative body, they want to appoint the members of this investigative body (who would then be tasked with investigating and rendering decisions on those they have been appointed by!)  Third…and  possibly the scariest of all….they want to revoke out 1st Amendment right to FREE SPEECH by not allowing us to speak about them or their performance as elected officials less than 60 days before a campaign.  That being said….they are free to push out whatever they would like about themselves (truth or not) and by law…we cannot refute them!  We are definitely not supporting this.  If they work against the FREE MARKET and work to hurt our businesses  we should have the right to let folks know!
Update on Workers Comp Legislation:   We continue to work with Senator Shane Martin on this important piece of legislation.  This bill is massive with greatly needed reforms. I hope to have a bill to present to each of you for your input within the next two weeks.
Thanks to each of you that have contributed financially.  Your money is being spent on legislative monitoring and growing our organization.  I am thrilled with our membership to date and look forward to our further growth.  The bigger we are….the louder our voice!
If you would like to donate you can do so online at www.southcarolinabusinessownersassociation.com or by check to SC Business Owners Association, PO Box 231 Aiken, SC 29802.
Onward, Deedee Vaughters, President, SC Business Owners Association, 803-439-5701

Copyright © 2015 SC Business Owners Association, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or asked to receive them as a SC Business Owner. 

Ted is in!

s. 371 med-error “Samuel’s Law” committee 03.25.2015

On Wednesday, March 25 at 9am a SC Senate Medical Affairs committee will consider S. 371.samuel.cutliff

This bill was in response to the death of a mitochondrial child that died from complications initiated by a morphine overdose. Sen. Lee Bright (R-Roebuck) will introduce an amendment to specify its application to gross negligence and causing a death. The amendment will also name S. 371 “Samuel’s Law”, in memory of Samuel Cutliff. The Cutliff’s are planing on attending the hearing to testify.

The committee is chaired by Sen. Cleary (R-Georgetown) with Sens. Alexander (R-Oconee), Lourie (D-Richland), Bright (R-Spartanburg), and Nicholson (D-Greenwood)

Here’s a link to the sub-committee’s agenda

Anderson Republican Women

care.centerFrom Debbie Gerwe: Our monthly meeting will be held on Monday, March 23 @ Carson’s Steak House behind Tucker’s Restaurant. We will have dinner at 6:00pm, dutch treat, meeting starts at 6:30pm. Our guest speaker is Julie Dixon, Executive Director of Anderson Care Pregnancy Clinic. ACPC serves unwed mothers with an emphasis on alternatives to abortion. ACRW has supported this agency in the past by sponsoring a table at their annual fundraiser. Please bring a pack of diapers or wipes for use at the clinic. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.life

S. 371 medication errors

healthcareS. 371 was in response to the death of a mitochondrial child that died from complications initiated by a morphine overdose. S. 371 is in the introduction stage and must be amended to include language such as “causing the death of a patient” and even then, there must be evidence of gross negligence. If the bill gets a hearing, it will certainly be amended to apply to very extreme cases.

We need to remember that bills introduced will have an open public hearing in the appropriate legislative sub-committee, in this case the Senate Medical Affairs Committee. If it passes the sub-committee it goes before the full Committee, then the full SC Senate. If the Senate approves it, the bill would take the same route in the SC House starting at the sub-committee level. If the legislation passes the House and Senate and has differences, the bill goes to a conference committee (3 Senate members & 3 House members) to negotiate the differences between the 2 versions. A conference report must go back to each body for approval before going to the Governor’s desk for a veto or signature.

The Senate Medical Affairs Committee has not had a public hearing on S. 371, but I assure you, we’ll keep you up to date.

Coco-Cola expanding in Anderson!

Coca-Cola Post Strong EarningsCOCA-COLA CONSOLIDATED TO CONSTRUCT A NEW REGIONAL SALES AND DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN ANDERSON COUNTY
ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. – After much speculation and anticipation, ‘Project Upstate’ will soon become a reality. Coca-Cola Consolidated announced plans to invest $13.5 million to construct a new Regional Sales and Distribution Center in Anderson County. This announcement culminates two years of discussions and negotiations since company officials first connected with Economic Development staff.
“All of us at Coca-Cola Consolidated are excited about building our new Regional Sales and Distribution Center in Anderson County,” said Lauren C. Steele, Sr. VP Corporate Affairs.  “This state-of-the-art, 150,000 square foot facility on the 36 acre site will enable us to more efficiently and effectively serve our retail customers and loyal consumers throughout the Upstate of South Carolina and parts of North Georgia.  It has been a pleasure to work with Anderson County officials on this project and we look forward to breaking ground in the near future.”
“Anderson County is more than excited to announce the newest addition to our family,” said County Council Vice Chairman Ken Waters. “Coca-Cola Consolidated has selected District 6 for their new Regional Sales and Distribution Center. This decision, which brings 147 jobs with above average wages and a capital investment of $13.5 million, will benefit all of Anderson County. We couldn’t be happier! After all, one of Coca-Cola’s popular slogans is “Choose Coke” and now we have bragging rights – Coke Chose Anderson County!”
Charlotte, NC-based Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated is the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, with 7,000 employees serving franchise selling territories in 12 states.
To learn more about Coke Consolidated: www.cokeconsolidated.com  www.facebook.com/cokeconsolidated,  Twitter.com/cokeccbcc  Instagram/coca.cola.bottling
For more information, contact: Angela Stringer, Communications Director, Anderson County, P O Box 8002, Anderson, South Carolina 29621

s. 527 rsic reform: response from Treasurer

loftisTreasurer Loftis expresses his strong opposition to s. 527 with a blistering letter to our sub-committee. He communicated his belief that this legislation will lead to higher taxes, employee contributions, and debt. He claims s. 527 is the fox guarding the henhouse. We’ve asked his office to submit the details of how this is concluded. Also, we’ve asked for the documentation from the credit rating agencies explaining how s. 527 will threaten South Carolina’s AAA credit rating. Attached is the letter our sub-committee received. More specifics to come soon. Click here to read his letter

s. 527 Retirement System Investment Commission reforms

skinS. 527 is a package of reforms as suggested by last year’s Funston Advisory Services. Click here to read the Funston report.
Below is a summary of the bill:
Section 1 – (Page 2, Line 38)
-Defines who holds assets. Names PEBA and RSIC as co-trustees and eliminates the Budget and Control Board as a trustee. PEBA holds the fund in a group trust and RSIC invests those funds.

Section 2A – (Page 3, Line 16)
-Defines Custodian as PEBA and assigns choice of Custodial Bank to RSIC. RSIC has exclusive authority to select custodial bank and PEBA is a third party beneficiary with full rights to information.

Section 2B – (Page 3, Line 31)
-Deletes separate references to Treasurer as Custodial Banker for JSRS, PORS & GARS.
9-8-170 (1) is Judges and Solicitors Retirement System, §9-9-160(1) is General Assembly Retirement System, §9-10-80(A) is National Guard Retirement System, §9-11-250(1) is Police Officers Retirement System.

Section 3A – (Page 3, Line 34)
-PEBA Board membership changes and definition of Executive Director of PEBA.
-Decreases the number of appointments by the Governor from 3 to 2 to accommodate the addition of the –Executive Director of RSIC as a voting member (membership stays at nine voting members).
-Expands the term of appointment from two years to five years.
-Staggers the terms with Gubernatorial appointee terms expiring 6/30/16, non-representative members appointed by General Assembly expiring 6/30/17 and representative members appointed by the General Assembly expiring 6/30/18.
-States that members may be removed only for cause by the Governor.
-Members are limited to serving two terms.
-Exempts the Executive Director of RSIC from receiving $12K.
-Requires PEBA to meet quarterly versus monthly.
-PEBA Board employs an Executive Director who serves at the pleasure of the Board.
-PEBA Board and Executive Director are named as fiduciaries.
-PEBA must develop a model procurement code in the same way as local governments.

Section 4 – (Page 7, Line 41) PEBA budget.
-PEBA budget authorization uses FY15-16 as a base and allows up to a 10% increase in each successive year. Funds are transferred from the respective trust accounts to an expenditure account in the Treasurer’s Office. The transfers are pro rata from the various systems.

Section 5 – (Page 9, Line 7) Rotation of fiduciary audit of PEBA.
-Sets a rotation for the PEBA fiduciary audit for every four years with the next audit scheduled for FY19-20.

Section 6 – (Page 9, Line 23)
-Deletes reference to allowed administrative costs for PEBA and deletes reference to policy decisions of the PEBA Board being subject to approval by the Budget and Control Board.

Section 7 – (Page 9, Line 26) Adds the executive directors of PEBA and RSIC as fiduciaries.

Section 8 – (Page 10, Line 1) Defines signature process and authority for disbursements by RSIC and defines RSIC budget.
-RSIC budget authorization uses FY15-16 as a base and allows up to a 10% increase in each successive year. Funds are transferred from the respective trust accounts to an expenditure account in the Treasurer’s Office. The transfers are pro rata from the various systems.

Section 9 – (Page 11, Line 1) RSIC Board membership and executive director.
-Requires the Treasurer to appoint a member rather than serve himself.
-Reforms existing retiree representative by directing the Governor appoint a member who is retired or active from PORS, JSRS or NGRS.
-Add a new member who is an SCRS retiree appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore.
-Add a new member who is an SCRS active appointed by the House Speaker.
-Members are limited to two five year terms and members serving on 6/30/15 may serve one more full term.
-Requires Certified Financial Planners to also have twelve years professional experience.
-Adds as a qualifying characteristic a certified Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.
-Adds as a qualifying characteristic twelve years experience in financial management of pensions or insurance plans.
-Adds as a qualifying characteristic twelve years experience as a certified public accountant with financial management, pension or insurance audit experience.
-Defines the role of the RSIC Executive Director and sets his duties. Changes the model so that the Executive Director employs the Chief Investment Officer.
-Requires the Executive Director to submit a budget to the RSIC before May 1st of each year with same information provided to the Chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee.
-All employees serve at the pleasure of the Executive Director.
-The Commission may engage attorneys on a fee basis for investment and management of assets.

Section 10 – (Page 15, Line 13) Role of executive director at RSIC.
-Adds the term “Subject to the oversight of the Executive Director” in the CFO’s development of the annual investment plan.

Section 11 – (Page 15, Line 25) Role of executive director at RSIC.
-Further defines the role of the Executive Director in the development of the annual investment plan.

Section 12 – (Page 15, Line 41) Assumed rate of return.
-The assumed rate of return expires 7/1/16 and every four years thereafter. By 1/1/16 PEBA must submit a proposed annual rate of return which is developed in consultation with its actuary and Commission as well as submitted to the Chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. If the General Assembly fails to enact a joint resolution to enact a rate of return, the submitted rate stands.

Section 13 – (Page 16, Line 22) Role of executive director at RSIC.
-Further defines the role of the Executive Director.

Section 14 – (Page 17, Line 1) Rotation of fiduciary audit at RSIC.
-Sets a rotation for the RSIC fiduciary audit for every four years with the next audit scheduled for FY18-19.

Section 15 – (Page 17, Line 17) Exempts RSIC and PEBA from the Procurement Code.

Section 16 – (Page 17, Line 23) Provides that the act takes effect upon approval by the Governor (Section 3B, 3C, and 3D which address PEBA and RSIC membership composition to take effect on July 1, 2016).