Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ready, Set, Go! Be Prepared for the 2016 Legislative Session

It’s the first week of the new year meaning the impending start to a new legislative session! As usual, that has brought a flurry of pre-filed bills. All 77 affecting municipal government are now in the Association’s legislative tracking system.

A new session means a fresh look for the weekly report, From the Dome to Your Home, and the launch of our new podcast, City Quick Connect.

It’s also time to gear up for the 2016 Hometown Legislative Action Day on February 3. This is the time local officials gather in Columbia to learn about issues and how to advocate on behalf of residents and businesses in their cities and towns.
Instead of a keynote address this year, a keynote panel of leaders from three high-profile state associations will share their organizations’ legislative priorities and discuss how their issues align with issues important to cities and towns. 

Panelists include Bill Rogers, executive director of the SC Press Association; Bill Ross, executive director of SC Fix Our Roads; and Ted Pitts, president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. Cayce Mayor Elise Partin will facilitate the panel.

In the inaugural edition of the Municipal Association’s new podcast, City Quick Connect, Pitts gives a look at the Chamber’s legislative priorities and discusses the importance of the Chamber and the Municipal Association working together on the upcoming business license legislation.

In this January Uptown article, Rogers talks about the long-standing relationship between the Municipal Association and the Press Association when working on legislative issues. He cites trust and a common belief in open government as the backbone of this relationship.

In addition to the traditional legislative panel, update on advocacy initiatives, visit to the State House and delegates’ lunch with State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, HLAD will feature a mobile tour of downtown Columbia. Participants will board a bus and learn about what the City of Columbia is doing to attract students, young professionals and new businesses to its downtown corridor.

Afternoon break-out sessions give attendees diverse options including a panel of police chiefs discussing law enforcement in today’s challenging environment.

A second panel features owners of a South Carolina-based craft brewery and a food truck discussing with representatives from their hometowns the economic development value of these budding industries in the state. Later, craft breweries from around the state will be showcased at the evening legislative reception where guests can taste and compare beers from these breweries.

The “Taste of SC” theme of the reception will let guests sample new twists on lots of South Carolina favorites such as boiled peanut hummus, warm collard dip, and fried chicken with mini waffles with peach sauce. Guests will also be able to vote on their favorite type of BBQ sauce. It’s a different twist on the legislative reception and will certainly be a fun time!

The deadline to get a hotel room at the conference rate at the Columbia Marriott is January 10. The meeting registration deadline is January 18. Register and reserve a room here.

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