Home Rule

Home Rule

Home rule is the right to self-govern. In the 1970s, South Carolina amended the 1895 state Constitution to delineate the powers of local governments. Even with the enactment of the Home Rule Act of 1975, debates about the scope of home rule continue. This 2011 publication updates the 2004 version because a number of state actions have changed local governments' home rule authority.

Background on the Issue and the League's Position

Home rule means the exercise of independent authority by elected local governments. South Carolina local governments have very limited home rule--all of them in taxing powers, cities in taxing annexation, counties in powers of appointment and land use, school districts in almost everything. The home rule provisions of the Constitution enacted in 1974 gave count councils limited powers, but the legislative delegations continue to exercise considerable power in county affairs. The League supports more delegation of authority to county councils, less restrictive annexation laws for municipalities, more citizen input into structural issues (size of school board, district consolidation) for school districts, and fewer restrictions on taxing authority for all local governments. We oppose the use of local legislation on school district issues.