Thursday, January 30, 2020

Final Preparations for Hometown Legislative Action Day

Hometown Legislative Action Day, the day for municipal officials to gather in Columbia to amplify their voices on behalf of their cities and towns, arrives next Tuesday, February 4. 

The general session this year will bring messages from several state senators, including Sen. Harvey Peeler, president of the Senate, as well as Sen. Marlon Kimpson, who will speak during lunch. There’s also more to learn about other sessions and the 2019 – 2020 Municipal Association Advocacy Initiatives in an article that appeared in the January edition of Uptown. As in past years, visits to the State House will take place after lunch, giving attendees an opportunity to meet legislators face to face. 

The preregistration deadline for HLAD has passed, but onsite registration for the conference will still be available on February 4. There are several ways attendees can prepare for HLAD: 

  • Download the meeting app. The app connects meeting attendees with the agenda for both HLAD and the Municipal Elected Officials Institute. It allows users to set a personalized schedule and get information about the presenters and the attendees. Receive important notifications during the event and connect with other attendees using the internal social network. The app is available through the App Store or Google Play by searching for “MuniAssnSC,” or by using the link
  • Check out the full agenda. The agenda is available both on the Municipal Association’s website and on the app. 
  • Know where to park. The parking garage behind the Marriott, with entrances on Hampton and Sumter streets, will have limited availability. Meeting attendees and hotel guests may not park above level 4-A in this garage or the vehicle will be towed. Additional parking will be available at the parking garage located at 1200 Taylor St. (one block from the hotel). City parking fees will apply. 

Courses for the Municipal Elected Officials Institute and Advanced MEO Institute will take place the next day on February 5. MEO graduates receive recognition both during Hometown Legislative Action Day and in press releases from the Municipal Association afterward.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

The 2020 Legislative Season Has Arrived

Earlier this week, the SC General Assembly returned to Columbia to begin the second half of the 2019 – 2020 legislative session. There are several things city and town leaders should be thinking about heading into the legislative season. 

Attend Hometown Legislative Action Day on February 4 
Hometown Legislative Action Day gives municipal officials a time to gather in Columbia to get involved in legislative issues and meet with members of the General Assembly. This year, the gathering will delve into the topics of local decision-making and business licensing. An HLAD preview appeared in the December issue of Uptown

HLAD will take place at the Marriott in Columbia. Registration and hotel information are available now. The preregistration deadline is next week on Thursday, January 23. 

Keep up with what’s happening 

An easy way to stay up to date is to read From the Dome to Your Home. This is a weekly report during the legislative session on all legislative activity that impacts municipalities. The report also suggests action steps and takes a look at the upcoming week. Ongoing coverage of the session is also available through the City Quick Connect podcastNew episodes are released on Mondays during the session. 

Bills that were introduced in 2019 are still active for the 2020 session. Many of these bills preempt local governments from making decisions at the local level on issues important to local residents. Changes to business licensing, short-term rentals and plastic bag bans are just a few. For those interested in following along with specific bills, check the legislative tracking system. The system also includes the prefiled bills for 2020 to be considered this year.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Take a Look at Professional Development in the New Year

The Municipal Association of SC offers numerous affiliate associations to help city and town employees with professional development needs. These groups provide specific training opportunities and online resources as well as networking — both through meetings and listserves. 

In 2019, the SC Community Development Association was part of a group touring projects in North Augusta and Aiken, including the new City of Aiken Department of Public Safety

Affiliate memberships run on a calendar year schedule. Municipal staff will receive a mailed membership notice in early January but may also renew or join online. Here are the groups and their benefits: 
  • Building Officials Association of SC – BOASC focuses on the challenges of administering and enforcing building and related codes in order to protect the life, health and property of building occupants. Staff contact: Elizabeth Copeland 
  • Municipal Court Administration Association of SC – MCAA provides training for court administrators, clerks of court, municipal judges and other employees involved in court administration. Staff contact: Sara Snell 
  • Municipal Technology Association of SC – MTASC exposes members to a broad range of technology systems, platforms and solutions. It offers training for IT staff, those with GIS responsibilities and employees working in other departments but whose duties include technology services. Staff contact: Sara Snell 
  • SC Association of Municipal Power Systems – SCAMPS focuses on legislative initiatives, mutual aid and provides training for elected officials, management staff and operational personnel of the electric cities in the state. Staff contact: Elizabeth Copeland 
  • SC Association of Stormwater Managers – SCASM offers quarterly training on stormwater management policies and best practices. Training addresses topics like proposed changes to stormwater regulations and case studies of innovative practices. Staff contact: Sara Snell
  • SC Business Licensing Officials Association – BLOA promotes best practices for administering the local business and professional license tax through training, networking and the Accreditation in Business Licensing and Masters in Business Licensing. Staff contact: Elizabeth Copeland 
  • SC Community Development Association – CDA training focuses on economic and community development needs, best practices and successful case studies. Members come from local and state government as well as private industry, elected positions and volunteer positions. Staff contact: Sara Snell 
  • SC Municipal Attorneys Association – The MAA annual training, designed for city and town attorneys, complies with the Supreme Court of South Carolina Commission on CLE and specialization requirements for continuing education credits. Staff contact: Eric Shytle 
  • SC Municipal Finance Officers, Clerks and Treasurers Association – MFOCTA training covers the diverse job responsibilities of its members. MFOCTA sponsors the Municipal Clerks and Treasurers Institute with the Municipal Association and the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities. Staff contact: Elizabeth Copeland 
  • SC Municipal Human Resources Association – MHRA helps members stay current on state and federal labor law and court rulings. Its trainings are accepted by national human resources organizations for continuing education credits. Staff contact: Sara Snell 
  • SC Utility Billing Association – SCUBA trains members on utility billing, collections and customer service. Programs frequently focus on customer service skills, workplace safety, and best practices in utility billing and collections. Staff contact: Ken Ivey 

The Annual Meeting of the SC Association of Municipal Power Systems is a time for the state’s city and town power systems to share technical developments and management practices. 

More information 
A recent City Quick Connect podcast featured a discussion of the affiliate associations and their specific training opportunities. An Uptown article also covered the offerings of the various affiliates.