What's New

SENATE

Extended debate on the South Carolina Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act (H. 3579) ended this week in the Senate when lawmakers passed the highly contested bill by a vote of 30-15. The new Senate plan offered late last week by Senator Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley), will use $400 million from the State’s general fund for road repair each year without increasing the gas tax. Other reform measures in the plan include shifting the appointment power of the eight-member Department of Transportation Commission from legislators to the Governor. The DOT Commission would be required to appoint the DOT Secretary with the advice and consent of the Senate. Additionally, projects financed by the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank would require approval by the DOT Commission before implementation. The legislation will now return to the House of Representatives where members will determine whether or not to adopt the Senate amendments or send the legislation to a Conference Committee in an attempt to seek a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill. 

Bills passed by the Senate this week include: 

S. 238 – allows certain inmates to attend funeral services of certain individuals and to visit certain individuals while they are hospitalized;

S. 863 – reapportions the four single-member election districts from which the trustees of Richland County School District One are elected;

S. 1013 – specifies that certain duties and responsibilities belong to the Real Estate Commission rather than the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation; 

S. 1065 – establishes the “Petroleum Pipeline Study Committee” to study matters related to the presence of petroleum pipelines in South Carolina and to provide a report to the General Assembly by January 31, 2017; 

H. 3325 – preserves property rights in situations where land has been passed down through generations without written wills or properly probated wills so that the property is owned in common by multiple heirs; 

H. 3534 – expands eligibility for participation in the South Carolina Higher Education Excellence Enhancement Program (HEEEP) that is funded with South Carolina Education Lottery proceeds for the purpose of enhancing the educational opportunities of low-income and educationally disadvantaged students;

H. 3576 – provides for conditions under which a written agreement between a nonprofit youth sports organization and a coach constitutes conclusive evidence that an independent contractor relationship exists rather than an employment relationship;

H. 3579 – creates the “South Carolina Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act”; and

H. 4666 – establishes “Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committees” to review instances of domestic violence in each judicial circuit across South Carolina.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday at noon.

HOUSE

The House of Representatives worked this week to clear the calendar before budget deliberations and a two-week furlough at the end of the month. Representative Brian White (R-Anderson), Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, placed the budget bills (H. 5001 and H. 5002) on the desk of each member for review before debate begins on March 21st. 

The House also amended and passed the “Experimental Health Care Treatment Law” (H. 4542) this week by a vote of 71-25. H.4542 provides authorization for physicians to prescribe certain promising experimental treatments to eligible patients who have exhausted all available approved treatments for an advanced illness. Advanced illnesses as defined in the bill must be medically determined to be irreversible and are likely to result in death without life-sustaining measures. This legislation is also similar to S. 929, the Senate’s “Right to Try Act.” 

On Wednesday, Representative Greg Delleney (R-Chester) made a request for “Free Conference Powers” onH. 3114, the “South Carolina Pain Capable Unborn Child Act,” which failed by a vote of 82-26. A request for “Free Conference Powers” requires an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the membership of the House. The House may take up another request for “Free Conference” next week or decide to adopt the Senate version of the bill. 

The House Education and Public Works Committee reported favorably as amended on H. 4394 by Representative Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg). As amended in Committee, H.4394 requires motorists to yield the right-of-way by making a lane change for tow trucks summoned to an accident scene by law-enforcement as well as by a private citizen. The Committee amended the bill to include language requiring motorists to follow the same move-over procedure when approaching a vehicle that is collecting solid waste or recovered materials. The bill also provides penalties for a failure to comply. 

The Committee also reported favorably on H. 4521, the “Tucker Hipps Transparency Act,” by Representative Josh Putnam (R-Anderson). H.4521 requires that all institutions of higher learning keep a report of investigations of misconduct, both institution-based and public, for each member of a fraternity or sorority. The report must include information on all citations, complaints, investigations, hearings, and resolutions. Additionally, the reports must be made available to the public upon request or posted electronically. 

The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee also met on several bills of interest. The Committee reported favorably as amended on H. 3999, a bill by Representative Phyllis Henderson (R-Greenville) further specifies the individuals who can make healthcare decisions for patients who are unable to provide consent. 

The Committee also gave a favorable report as amended to H. 3143and H. 3706. H.3143, by Representative Mike Ryhal (R-Horry), would expand the scope of practice for podiatrist to include surgery on the ankle in addition to the foot. H.3706, the “Emergency Anaphylaxis Treatment Act” by Representative Josh Putnam (R-Anderson), would expand the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors outside a school setting. The bill also requires the Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop a training and certification program for individuals who administer epinephrine auto-injectors.

Bills passed by the House this week include: 

S. 1049 – allows Marketing Cooperative Associations to seek reinstatement from the Secretary of State within two years of expiration; 

H. 3989 – protects the parenting rights of persons with disabilities by establishing the “Disabled Persons Right to Parent Act;”

H. 4124 – allows law enforcement officers to arrest suspects for trespassing or committing disorderly conduct at the State mental health facilities; 

H. 4262 – involves training for family childcare home operators and employees and gives the Department of Social Services the authority to deny a family childcare home application for registration or registration renewal if a child in the facility is at risk; 

H. 4510 – sets a maximum number of foster children who may be placed in a particular foster home;

H. 4535 – repeals obsolete laws relating to a challenge to fight, seduction, adventuring in lotteries, the unlawful operation of a public dance hall on Sundays, and the prohibited sale of certain items on Sundays;

H. 4542 – enacts the “Experimental Health Care Treatment Law” (as discussed above);

H. 4994 – changes existing law to require municipal general elections even if only one person has filed for a municipal office; and

H. 5020 – declares the third Saturday in May of each year as the “South Carolina Day of Service.”

The House will reconvene Tuesday at noon.

Top News Articles

SC Senate approves $400 million roads plan 

The state Senate gave key approval Wednesday to a $400 million roads-funding plan that does not include an increase in the state’s gas tax. Read more.
 
Haley calls on House to keep roads momentum going 

After spending nearly two months stuck in filibuster limbo, Senators passed a bill that assigns $400 million from the state budget for road repairs, without raising the gas tax. Read more.

S.C. Senate Democrats slam Republicans over roads 

Senate Democrats spent Tuesday slamming the Republican Caucus’ $400 million roads plan with phrases like “smiling faces and crumbling places,” “hocus-pocus” and “Monopoly money.” Read more.

‘Tucker Hipps’ bill headed to SC House 

A bill requiring state public colleges to post misconduct violations by fraternities and sororities is heading to the S.C. House floor. Read more.
 
SC abortion ban at 20 weeks close to becoming law 

The “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” would make abortion illegal at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later – except when the mother’s life is at risk or in the case of a severe fetal anomaly that would prevent the child from living after birth. Read more.

Who’s running for the SC Legislature? 
Filing for the S.C. House and Senate seats begins March 16 at noon. Read more.

Bingham retiring from SC House 
S.C. House Ethics Committee chairman Kenny Bingham, a Lexington Republican who is among the Legislature’s more influential lawmakers, said Tuesday he will not seek re-election. Read more.
 
Charleston Democrat not seeking re-election to S.C. House 
State Rep. Mary Tinkler, D-Charleston, does not plan to seek re-election to her S.C. House seat, instead running for Charleston County treasurer. Read more.

S.C. House panel clears Planned Parenthood 
An investigation by a Statehouse panel into the dealings state agencies have with Planned Parenthood revealed no criminal wrongdoing by the embattled organization. Read more.

SC lawmakers propose raising age of children allowed to ride in car’s front seat 

S.C. lawmakers are considering raising the age of children allowed to ride in the front-passenger seat of a vehicle. Read more. 

House lawmakers slam Senate road plan as ‘reckless budgeting’ 

A clear path for fixing South Carolina’s roads fell into doubt Thursday when House lawmakers slammed the Senate’s plan as “reckless budgeting.” Read more.
 
Senate panel presses DSS on overdue computer project 

Federal fines on a state child support enforcement system decades overdue could total almost $200 million if the system is running in 2019. Read more.

Senators go home beaming after passing roads bill 

When the Senate gave the roads bill final approval on Friday, Republican lawmakers who had rallied behind the effort walked out the chamber beaming with joy. Read more.

Meetings and Events

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 
5:30 – 7:30    Reception for Representative Leon Stavrinakis 
                     Kaminsky’s, 930 Gervais Street 


Wednesday, March 16, 2016 
5:30 – 7:30    Reception for S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas 
                        Palmetto Club 
5:30 -7:30     Reception for Representative Beth Bernstein 
                       Tin Roof, 1022 Senate Street 

5:00 – 6:00   Reception for Representatives Rutherford, Henegan and Douglas 
                        Kaminsky’s, 930 Gervais 

The House will begin debate on the budget the week of March 21st. 

The Senate will furlough the week of March 29th. 

The House will furlough the week of March 29th and April 5th.

Newly Introduced Legislation

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/TAX: 

H. 5076 (Herbkersman) RELATING TO THE JOB TAX CREDIT, SO AS TO ADD THE DEFINITION OF A "QUALIFYING SERVICE-RELATED FACILITY". - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means 

H. 5077 (White) RELATING TO THE PAYMENT OF BONDS BY A JOINT AUTHORITY WATER AND SEWER SYSTEM - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means 

H. 5078 (White) RELATING TO VARIOUS LOCAL SALES AND USE TAXES, SO AS TO DEFINE 'GENERAL ELECTION' - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means

EDUCATION

H. 5066 (Herbkersman) RELATING TO THE BEAUFORT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION – Referred to Beaufort Delegation. 

S. 1166 (Leatherman) TO PROVIDE FOR ANNUAL INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS BY SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY ON OUTSTANDING LOANS MADE TO THE UNIVERSITY BY THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND LIABILITIES INCURRED - Referred to the Committee on Finance.

ENVIRONMENTAL/NATURAL RESOURCES
H. 5080 (Whipper) A FEASIBILITY STUDY CONCERNING THE MOST EFFICIENT AND COST-EFFECTIVE MANNER IN WHICH TO PROVIDE CLEAN DRINKING WATER TO THE RESIDENTS OF ANY COMMUNITY IN THIS STATE - Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. 

HEALTHCARE
S. 1162 (Peeler) TO REQUIRE THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL TO CREATE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY CALL LISTS FOR AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE PROVIDERS Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

INSURANCE
H. 5055 (Loftis) RELATING TO HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER - Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

JUDICIAL

H. 5053 (McKnight) RELATING TO THE OFFENSE OF FILING OF FALSE POLICE REPORTS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. 

H. 5054 (Nanney) RELATING TO A SCHEDULE OF CERTAIN FILING AND RECORDING FEES - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. 

H. 5065 (Limehouse) TO PROHIBIT A PERSON OR ENTITY WHO PROVIDES CABLE SERVICE FROM ALLOWING COMMERCIALS TO AIR AT A HIGHER VOLUME THAN THE TELEVISION PROGRAM THAT WAS AIRING AT THE TIME OF THE

COMMERCIAL. - Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. 

H. 5079 (Long TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGISTRATION AND COMMUNITY NOTIFICATION OF ANIMAL ABUSERS. - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. 

S. 1158 (Hayes) TO REQUIRE COUNTY BOARDS OF VOTER REGISTRATION AND ELECTIONS TO PERFORM CERTAIN ACTIONS DURING THE PETITION VERIFICATION PROCESS - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. 

H. 5090 (Hiott) RELATING TO HEARINGS AND PROCEEDINGS IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT - Referred to Committee on Judiciary 

H. 5092 (Atwater) TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR A PERSON CONVICTED OF A CRIME CONTAINED IN THIS CHAPTER WITH THE INTENT TO ASSAULT, INTIMIDATE, OR THREATEN A PERSON BECAUSE OF HIS STATUS AS A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. 

S. 1163 (Fair) TO ENACT THE "TUCKER HIPPS STUDENT ORGANIZATION ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

REAL ESTATE

H. 5093 (Forrester) TO MAKE FINDINGS CONCERNING NUISANCE SUITS RELATED TO EXISTING USES OF REAL PROPERTY - Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. 

TRANSPORTATION

S. 1157 (Cleary) RELATING TO THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Referred to the Committee on Transportation. 

H. 5088 (Daning) RELATING TO THE REGISTERING AND LICENSING OF A MOTOR VEHICLE - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. 

H. 5089 (Daning) RELATING TO TERMS AND THEIR DEFINITIONS REGARDING THE PROTECTION OF TITLES TO AND INTEREST IN MOTOR VEHICLES - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. 

H. 5094 (Hayes) TO ESTABLISH PROCEDURES THAT REGULATE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECREATIONAL VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS, AND DEALERS OF RECREATIONAL VEHICLES - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.