|The Senate Government Organization Committee on Thursday passed a committee substitute for Senate Bill 522, which would allocate a percentage of county excise taxes received from real estate transfers for funding improvements to election administration, infrastructure, and physical and cyber security.
Another percentage is allocated for funding other county purposes, including, but not limited to, compliance with the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act.
The Secretary of State is authorized to promulgate legislative rules establishing minimum adequate funding thresholds and standards based on county classification.
County Clerks are authorized to reallocate the excess portion of funding for improving election administration, infrastructure, and security to other approved county purposes if the Secretary of State determines the minimum funding standards have been met.
Currently, the law phases out by 2030 the portion of the county transfer tax that goes to the state. The committee substitute accelerates the phase-out, authorizing that 100% of the county transfer tax is retained by the county by July 1, 2025.
Bill ties county officials’ salary increases to CPI
The Senate Government Organization Committee on Thursday passed committee substitute for Senate Bill 467. It would take the Legislature out of the statutory responsibility of approving salaries of elected county officials.
The county commission would review the Consumer Price Index (CPI) every second year beginning March 1, 2024, and determine whether the proposed annual county budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2024, has increased enough to provide an increase in the salaries and related employment taxes of county commissioners and other elected county officials.
If the revenue is sufficient, the County Commission may approve a salary increase in an amount up to the increase in the CPI during the prior two years.
County officials still must fulfill the requirement of signing an agreement to accept the salary increase.
Bill sets responsibility for officers’ training costs
Also on Thursday, The Senate Government Organization Committee passed a committee substitute for Senate Bill 213, which would establish responsibility for reimbursement of training costs of law-enforcement employees who leave their original jurisdiction of employment for employment in any other law-enforcement agency in the state.
Both the State Troopers’ Association and the State Police expressed opposition to the bill, according to Committee Counsel, because of a potential negative impact on smaller jurisdictions.
Major S.R. Oglesbay, representing the State Police, said the agency had concerns about recruiting and hiring new police officers. She described the process of having State Police under contract for one year. If troopers leave before the end of that year, they have to reimburse the agency.
Senator Jason Barrett of Berkeley County proposed an amendment that there would be no reimbursement required after one year from the completion of training. The amendment passed, and the bill will go to the Senate Finance Committee.