Listen Live
Listen Live

On Air Next

South Carolina lawmakers pass series of small business bills

SHARE NOW

(The Center Square) — South Carolina lawmakers passed several small business-focused bills before skipping town last week but didn’t pass a high-profile measure business groups hoped they would.

Palmetto State legislators passed H. 4832, the “Paid Family Leave Insurance Act,” to create private insurance covering paid family leave and H. 3992 to allow employers to establish a payment plan for paying delinquent unemployment insurance taxes and allow them to potentially pay at a reduced rate.

The House and Senate passed versions of H. 4187, which would make organized retail theft a felony. The measure is pending in a conference committee; lawmakers could revisit it when they return to Columbia next month.

“South Carolina’s small businesses scored some significant wins in this year’s session of the General Assembly including some key components of what we called the Small Business Bill of Rights,” NFIB State Director Ben Homeyer said in a statement.

“These are tough economic times for South Carolina’s small businesses as inflation continues to drive up the coast of everything from raw materials to the paper sales receipts are printing on, but each of these measures will relieve some of the pressure on Main Street firms,” Homeyer added.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed H. 3992 last week.

However, they didn’t advance S. 533, the South Carolina Justice Act. The measure would have amended the South Carolina Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act and moved the state toward a model in which a defendant is financially liable based on their percentage of fault.

“One important piece of legislation that didn’t pass was Senate Bill 533, a measure that would have helped small businesses by helping stop lawsuit abuse in the state,” Homeyer said. “Legislators must remember that small businesses can’t afford big legal departments to swat away every frivolous claim brought against them.

“The cost of defending itself against a single meritless lawsuit could be enough to force a small business to close its doors for good,” Homeyer added. “We’ll continue to press for commonsense tort reforms when the legislature returns to Columbia in 2025.”