Legislative Update – November 2021

As most know, the Legislature has not been in session this Fall, and won’t be reconvening to deal with matters that interest CFA until January. Currently, of individual interest to many of you, they are redrawing the political maps of the state in the once per decade Redistricting process. While members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees meet to do that, the rest of the Legislature is mostly making a living back in their respective districts.

When the Legislature returns in January, they do so with a record amount of revenue to spend—and of course, we will be making a push on behalf of CFA to grow wage and supplier rebate funds once again. It is hard to believe that working with CFA, we have found a way to more than double the amount of funding the Film industry receives in South Carolina. We will try to keep that upward trend going yet again this year.

Additionally, House and Senate staff are both reviewing ways to bolster the Film industry permanently in South Carolina. We were saddened this past week to learn of Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman’s passing. Senator Leatherman was an institution in South Carolina legislative politics, and his decision to join Chairman Murrell Smith of House Ways & Means to commit to more film funding was a sea change this past year. Senator Leatherman was a friend to Film, remarking, “South Carolina either needs to be all in on film, or all out. And I think we need to be all in.”

We will be working diligently with a reorganized Senate, and the anticipated Senate Finance Chairman Harvey Peeler, to ensure that the Film industry remains a priority in the Palmetto State. As many of you will remember, Oscar-winning The Abyss was filmed in Senator Peeler’s hometown of Gaffney in 1989 and fictitious Frank Underwood of House of Cards fame was a native of the town. We know Senator Peeler to be fair and easy to work with, and we assume he will be just as hospitable in his new role.

Finally, we are working with the Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) to attain funding to help train workers in film. By doing so, we will build the crew base in South Carolina and make it possible for Department Heads to choose the most promising candidates to add to their crews. This will also make the state more attractive to those looking to film here. These efforts are underway, and we are back and forth with DEW to maximize these efforts. 

For now, that’s where we are—waiting for the Legislature to reconvene so action can be taken on these matters. As you all know to do, please contact us with anything you may need.

Linda Lee
Carolina Film Alliance