The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce is committed to keeping our region competitive and improving the business climate. Through the legislative process, the Chamber works on behalf of its members to advocate for policies that contribute to the economic prosperity of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.
This year we worked to advance legislation in the following priority areas: Economic Development - s upport full exemption of military retirement income from state tax, support funding for statewide military retention plan and ensure the future energy needs of residents and businesses are met
Talent - secure funding to renovate Trident Technical Collegeâ€™s Berkeley Campus and allow for a one-time expungement of minor, non-violent drug crimes
Criminal Justice Reform - advance responsible reforms to strengthen public safety, reduce recidivism and address workforce needs
Taxes & Regulation - support state incentives to attract high-impact jobs, reauthorize the Angel Investor Tax Credit program, remove the uncertainty of indefinite automatic stay and protect existing manufacturing facilities from frivolus litigation
To view the full Legislative Agenda and Guiding Principles, visit
CHAMPIONS OF BUSINESS Thanks in large part to the leadership shown by the Charleston region delegation in the House and Senate, we ended the 2018 Legislative Session with three major public policy victories with a fourth likely. On critical votes this year, 22 of our 29 delegation members voted at or above 75% with the Charleston Metro Chamber’s Legislative Agenda. Those 22 are our 2018 Champions of Business.
CHAMPIONS OF BUSINESS RECIPIENTS VOTED AT LEAST 75% FOR CHAMBER PRIORITY ISSUES THIS YEAR.
From the South Carolina Senate: • Senator Sean Bennett • Senator Paul Campbell • Senator Chip Campsen • Senator Stephen Goldfinch • Senator Larry Grooms • Senator Sandy Senn From the South Carolina House of Representatives: • Representative Katie Arrington • Representative Lin Bennett • Representative Bill Crosby • Representative Joe Danning • Representative Sylleste Davis • Representative Wendell Gilliard • Representative Lee Hewitt • Representative Joe Jefferson • Representative Patsy Knight • Representative Nancy Mace • Representative David Mack • Representative Peter McCoy • Representative Chris Murphy • Representative Samuel Rivers • Representative Mike Sottile • Representative Leon Stavrinakis
S.105 This legislation removes the indefinite automatic stay making it much more difficult for outside groups to shut down the permitting process for road and development projects in the Administrative Law Court. Previously, a $600 fee and postage to file could stop a project in its tracks for up to two years. The legislation provides a timeline for cases to be heard by the courts, and requires plantifs to show cause that the project will be harmful to people or the environment, as well as, potentially pay a bond to cover legal costs. This legislation is critically important for any major infrastructure projects in the Lowcountry.
318 12 - 20
H.3653 This legislation protects existing manufacturers and industrial facilities from frivolous litigation and legal expenses as residential growth moves closer. The law will restrict frivolous lawsuits, create more certainty for the homeowners and businesses and minimizes legal expenses for both. Homeowners still retain the ability to file a nuisance lawsuit if there is a change in production of the manufacturer beyond their local, state and federal permits.
218 12 - 20
H.3209 This legislation addresses our stateâ€™s workforce shortage by improving pathways to employment for those previously incarcerated for non-violent offenses. There are thousands of people who are unable to enter the workforce due to a minor mistake made years earlier. This bill allows for a one-time expungement of minor non-violent drug crimes, which will help to expand our workforce. It also adds employer liability protection. This legislation had to overcome a veto by the Governor, but was overridden by overwhelming margins in both the House and Senate.
718 12 - 20
S.404 / 1043 High Impact Incentives
Vo t e P e n d
Both the House and Senate voted on the final day to support the conference report of S.1043. However, the following week the Governor vetoed S.1043, citing concern of late additions to the bill. The General Assembly agreed to meet in September to take up the vetoes on the budget and Chamber staff feels reasonably confident that the General Assembly will also vote to override the Governorâ€™s veto on S.1043.
S.404 language was added to S.1043, a bill dealing with abandoned building tax credits, in the waning hours of session. The Senate used this method because the House Ways and Means Committee had not taken up S.404. S.404 is a jobs tax credit for qualifying legal, accounting, banking, investment services operations and other fields to help economic developers attract high-impact jobs that do not meet current incentive programs. Current incentive packages are geared toward manufacturing. This adds another tool to the stateâ€™s economic development tool box.
Nu 653 Fin isanc al R e L ead aws ing uits
Hig 043 h Im pac t In cen tive s
Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
Y Y N Y Y N N N N Y
Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Y N Y NV / A Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
NV / A Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y NV / A Y Y Y Y Y Y NV Y Y
Y Y N N Y Y Y N Y Y NV Y N N Y N Y NV / A N
Y Y N NV / A Y NV Y Y Y Y Y
NV / A Y Y NV Y Y Y NV Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N
Au 05 Fin tomat al R ic ead Stay ing
Y Y Y Y Y Y NV Y Y N
Wo 209 Vet rkfor o O ce ver Exp ride un gem ent
Wo 209 Fin rkfor al R ce ead Exp ing ung em ent
Key: Y – voted with us N – voted against us NV – did not vote NV / A – did not vote excused absence
SENATE Sean Bennett Paul Campbell Chip Campsen Stephen Goldfinch Larry Grooms Marlon Kimpson John Matthews Margie Bright Matthews Ronnie Sabb Sandy Senn
HOUSE Katie Arrington Lin Bennett Robert Brown William Cogswell Bill Crosby Joe Daning Sylleste Davis Wendall Gilliard Lee Hewitt Joe Jefferson Patsy Knight Nancy Mace David Mack Peter McCoy Chris Murphy Marvin Pendarvis Samuel Rivers Mike Sottile Leon Stavrinakis
Not in the House yet
Y Y NV / A Not in the House yet
Y Y Y
UNFINISHED LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR 2019 The following public policy priorities did not cross the finish line in 2018. We will continue working to advance these important outcomes for the business community statewide.
Business Liceness Fee Reform The Chamber will continue to push for legislation that streamlines and standardizes the license fee process with common payment dates. It is critical for businesses that operate in multiple municipalities to have uniformity in the business license process statewide. Legislation was considered in the House early in 2017 but didnâ€™t make it to the floor for a vote.
Capital Improvement Bond Bill Money generated by a bond bill will be used by state agencies, colleges, universities and technical schools for capital and technology improvements. Next year, the Chamber will continue to push for the passage of the first bond bill in over 18 years.
Angel Investor Tax Credit Reauthorization The Angel Investor Tax Credit provides assistance to investors who put their capital in small growing businesses. South Carolinaâ€™s current program has been beneficial for expanding small businesses. The Charleston Metro Chamber was integral in the passage of the initial bill, which will sunset in 2019. This will be a top priority for the Chamber next year.
Full Exemption of Military Retirement Benefits The Chamber will work with the South Carolina Military Base Task Force to push full exemption of military retirees from the state income tax. Two years ago, the General Assembly increased the tax deductions for military retirement benefits significantly, however this remains a critical need to recruit and retain military retirees to our region.
Criminal Justice Reform A special committee will continue to meet over the fall to create new legislation aimed at responsible reforms to the criminal justice system that strengthen public safety, reduce the likelihood of repeat offenders and address workforce needs. The Chamber will continue to work with Pew Trusts on a legislative solution.
CHAMBER GOVERNMENT RELATIONS TEAM The Chamber’s Government Relations team is your voice in the halls of government, representing you at the local, state and federal levels. They are working every day to ensure our operating climate is supportive of your business.
Senior Vice President of Government Relations firstname.lastname@example.org 843.805.3089 The senior member of the Chambers Government Relations team, Ian is focused on driving our regional policy agenda and building relations with local partners and elected officials.
Business Lobbyist email@example.com 843.805.3116 Our advocacy efforts at the State House are led by Chamber Lobbyist George Ramsey. George is in Columbia each day the legislature is in session, advocating on behalf of the region’s business community.
Regional Government Relations Director firstname.lastname@example.org 843.805.3002
Associate Director of Government Relations email@example.com 843.805.3059
Activates volunteers to advance the Chamber’s public policy priorities and works to advance our regional policy agenda
Primary staff liaison for Government Relations committees and assists with organizational efforts and to build sustainable advocacy funding.