SENATE 

The Senate had a busy week working through the Senate calendar and addressing bills returned from the House. The Senate concurred with the House amendments on S. 1035, the “South Carolina Telemedicine Act,” by Senator Ray Cleary (R-Georgetown). This legislation establishes requirements for physicians who treat patients solely through telemedicine. Additionally, the bill allows telemedicine doctors to prescribe birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies. The Senate also concurred with the House amendments on S. 788 by Senator Chip Campsen (R-Charleston). This bill exempts property that is deemed eligible under a general permit issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineer from the permitting requirements for routine, normal, or emergency maintenance or repair activities. Both S. 1035 and S. 788 are now enrolled for ratification. 

The Senate gave third reading this week to a pair of bills relating to foster care. H. 4492, by Representative Joshua Putnam (R-Anderson), seeks to make revisions to reporting requirements for the Department of Social Services regarding child placement hearings. H. 4546, also by Representative Putnam, provides that the Department of Social Services would be required to use its best efforts to normalize the lives of children in foster care by allowing a caregiver to make decisions similar to those that a parent would be entitled to make regarding a child’s participation in age or developmentally appropriate activities. Both bills were returned to the House with Senate amendments. The Senate also moved S. 1306 to the contested portion of the Senate calendar, effectively killing the legislation for the year. This bill, by Senator Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley), would have required Berkeley County students to use bathrooms based on the gender on their birth certificate. Senators Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley) and Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester) joined two other members of the Berkeley Delegation on Tuesday by placing their objection on the bill, halting its progress. 

In addition to work on the Senate floor, a Conference Committee on H. 5001 (General Appropriations Bill) andH. 5002 (Capital Reserve Fund) continued to work throughout the week to reach a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the two bills. Conferees serving on the Committee include: Senator Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw), Representative Brian White (R-Anderson), Representative Bill Herbkersman (R-Beaufort) and Representative Lonnie Hosey (D-Barnwell).

The Senate Judiciary Committee met this week and took up several bills of interest. The Committee gave a favorable report to H. 3989, by Representative Greg Delleney (R-Chester), that provides protection to the parenting rights of persons with disabilities. The Committee also gave a favorable report as amended to H. 4387, by Representative Justin Bamberg (D-Bamberg), relating to quotas on citations issued by law enforcement. The legislation provides that law enforcement agencies, departments, or divisions, including municipal police departments, sheriff departments, Highway Patrol, SLED, and other agencies that enforce State and local laws, may not require their law enforcement officers meet a quota for the number of citations issued during a designated period of time. An employee of a law enforcement agency, department, or division who files a report with an appropriate authority alleging a violation of these provisions would be protected by the State’s "Whistle Blower Act." 

The Senate Education Committee also held its final meeting of the year and addressed the following bills: 

H. 5021 (Collins) Adult Students with Disabilities Education Rights Consent Act: Favorable Report; 

H. 4145 (White) Coordinating Council for Workforce Development: Favorable Report as Amended; and 

H. 4521 (Putnam) Tucker Hipps Transparency Act: Favorable Report.

Bills passed by the Senate this week include: 

S. 1204 – amends provisions related to the instruction of physical education in public schools so as to include marching band instruction as an equivalent of physical education instruction;

S. 1262 – relates to the powers and duties of charter schools;

H. 3313 – establishes a protocol allowing someone who has been placed in the juvenile sex offender registry to petition the Family Court to remove the person’s requirement to register as a sex offender once the individual has reached twenty-one years of age and has been released from the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice, South Carolina Department of Corrections, or South Carolina Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services;

H. 4492 – revises notice requirements for the Department of Social Services Child Placement Hearings that inform foster parents, pre-adoptive parents, or relatives providing care to abused or neglected children so that notification must be given;

H. 4546 – enhances requirements and reviews regarding children placed in foster care;

H. 4762 – involves exemptions to limitations on millage rate increases;

H. 4931 – makes revisions to the regulation of professional bondsmen, surety bondsmen, and runners;

H. 5023 – revises the “South Carolina Real Estate Appraiser License and Certification Act;”

H. 5089 – addresses liens on motor vehicles;

H. 5140 – amends the annual school calendar for school districts across South Carolina so as to provide that beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, the school start date for students must not be before August fifteenth;

H. 5270 – expands provisions for payroll deductions for State Employees’ Association Dues by allowing membership dues for the society of former agents of the State Law Enforcement Division to be deducted from the compensation of State retirees and paid over to the Association in the same manner other membership dues are deducted and paid; and 

H. 5299 – establishes authority for transporting necessary goods and services to disaster areas during a time of curfew. 

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday at noon. 

HOUSE 

With only a few legislative days remaining, members of the House of Representatives continued to work through the House calendar. The House voted 102-3 to give third reading to S. 1258, the new roads bond bill that will provide over $2.2 billion to improve interstates, roads, and bridges across the State without implementing new taxes or fees. This legislation now includes the Department of Transportation reform language from H. 3579 that changes the structure of the DOT Commission. The House approved giving the Governor the authority to appoint all eight Commission members. S. 1258 will now return to the Senate for concurrence on the House amendments. 

In addition to work on S. 1258, the House also took up several bills returned from the Senate with amendments. The House voted to concur with the Senate amendments on H. 3560 by Representative Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston). This legislation makes revisions to teacher dismissal provisions. The House also concurred with the Senate amendments on H. 4548, by Representative Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee), relating to dealer closing fees. This bill clarifies what dealers can count as closing costs and requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to administer and enforce requirements regarding motor vehicle dealer closing fees. Both bills will now be enrolled for ratification. 

The House Medical, Military, Public, and Municipal Affairs Committee met Wednesday to take up several bills including S. 371 by Senator Kevin Bryan (R-Anderson). This legislation deals with the process of disciplining nurses when a nurse misreads an order for the administration of medications and that error contributes to a patient’s death. The bill was amended to clarify that the order for the administration of the medication may be issued by other authorized prescribers in addition to physicians. The bill received a favorable report as amended and will now head to the House floor for debate. 

Bills passed by the House this week include: 

S. 280 – revises provisions relating to financial statements and net worth requirements for contractors;

S. 381 – provides that an active member of the South Carolina Retirement System or South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System, who is terminated within one year of retirement eligibility, shall have five business days after the date of termination to purchase any service credit that the member is eligible to purchase as provided in order to attain retirement eligibility;

S. 685 – revises provisions governing the licensure and regulation of engineers and surveyors;

S. 689 – relates to motorcycle and moped beginner’s permits, to provide that a permittee may not operate a motorcycle at any unpermitted time unless supervised by a licensed motorcycle operator 21 years old and with one year of experience; 

S. 933 – gives a two year extension for high school diploma petitions for a person who is no longer enrolled in a public school and who previously failed to receive a high school diploma or was denied graduation solely for failing to meet the exit exam requirements;

S. 973 – extends and makes revisions for devoting a portion of insurance premium tax revenues to the funding of firefighting needs and emergency medical services training;

S. 1111 – relates to license plates for certain manufacturers, so as to revise the method by which the license plate fee is calculated and credited;

S. 1166 – provides for a joint resolution that establishes debt restructuring provisions on outstanding loans made to South Carolina State University by the State of South Carolina, provides for a process through which the debt incurred may be relieved, and extends flexibility related to furloughs as provided in Act 120 of 2015;

S. 1177 – revises provisions for the professional licensure of architects;

S. 1206 – directs the State Department of Education to rename the Donaldson Bus Center in Greenville County to be known as the "Joe Madden Bus Center;"

S. 1212 – provides for the designation of voting precincts in Spartanburg County so as to add the River Ridge precinct; 

S. 1252 – establishes provisions that require the State Fire Marshal to issue a license for a community fireworks display if certain safety conditions and other requirements are met;

S. 1258 – provides for road funding and the restructuring of the Department of Transportation;

S. 1296 – requires the Kershaw County Transportation Committee to be comprised of seven members and provides for their terms; and

S. 1297 – allows the Board of the Chesterfield County School District to adjust per diem payments.

The House will reconvene Tuesday at noon.

Top News Articles

Leatherman says plan for South Carolina’s roads will work 

When the state’s Senate, House and governor couldn’t come to a consensus on a viable road repair bill this year, the likelihood that South Carolinians would see any type of solution to fix the state’s notoriously shoddy roads system seemed grim. Read more.

2 State Senators face primary challenges in Richland 

Among them, state Sen. John Scott, D-Richland, faces opposition from Richland County Council Chairman Torrey Rush, and state Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, hopes to ward off a second challenge from political activist Wendy Brawley. Read more.

Scope of ‘Tucker Hipps’ bill set to broaden beyond fraternity, sorority misconduct 

A bill that would increase transparency of misconduct issues by fraternities and sororities heads to the S.C. Senate floor where a proposed amendment could add varsity college athletic teams to the mix. Read more.

SC House passes road-repair plan that includes Malfunction Junction fix 

The S.C. House passed a plan Tuesday — 102-3 — that will pay for more than $4 billion in road-repair projects, sending it back to the Senate with five days left in the legislative session. Read more.

Senate rejects House independent investigations bill amendment 

The South Carolina Senate on Wednesday rejected a House amendment to a bill that would create an independent panel to investigate when lawmakers are accused of wrongdoing. Read more. 

‘He’s still with us’ Painting of late Senator Clementa Pinckney unveiled at SC Statehouse 

When daughters Eliana and Malana released a purple drape, a smiling Pinckney depicted in front of Mother Emanuel’s stained-glass window backdrop was revealed in front of hundreds of family members, dignitaries and colleagues who gave a thundering standing ovation in the crammed chamber. Read more.

Lowcountry Senator blocks bill expanding open-records law 

A local senator’s effort to quash a bill expanding the public’s access to government records is getting a workaround by others in the South Carolina General Assembly. Read more.

Used tire bill deflating in the Senate 

A bill banning the sale of worn and potentially hazardous used tires that also limits tire repairs appears dead in the state Senate. Read more.

Berkeley transgender bathroom bill dead for now 

The Statehouse bill designed to reverse a Berkeley County School District policy where students could use restrooms with which they gender-identify was killed in the Senate on Tuesday. Read more.

Infrastructure Bank board closes the door on I-526 extension 

The S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank board Thursday delivered the fatal blow to a plan to complete Interstate 526 across Johns and James islands, a decades-old project that deeply divided the community. Read more.

Infrastructure bank could move under SCDOT, report finds 

A report issued by the Statehouse’s investigative arm found the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank, which was behind the financing of the Ravenel Bridge, would be better off merged with the state Department of Transportation. The S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank board Thursday delivered the fatal blow to a plan to complete Interstate 526 across Johns and James islands, a decades-old project that deeply divided the community. Read more.

No fix for rural SC schools this year, Senators say 

More than a year after the state’s highest court ordered lawmakers to improve the state’s poor schools, S.C. lawmakers will delay until at least next year deciding whether to help those schools pay to rebuild or replace aging buildings. Read more.

Meetings and Events

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

6:00 – 7:30    Reception for Senator Leatherman 
                      Nelson Mullins 

5:30 – 7:30     Reception for Mia McLeod 
                       M Space, 530 Lady Street 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016 
5:30 -7:30      Reception for Senator Bright Matthews 
                      Inn at USC

Newly Introduced Legislation

EDUCATION
H. 5407 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) : A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, RELATING TO ACCREDITATION CRITERIA - Placed on calendar without reference. 

H. 5408 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, RELATING TO CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS - Placed on calendar without reference. 

H. 5409 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, RELATING TO CREDENTIAL CLASSIFICATION - Placed on calendar without reference. 

H. 5410 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, RELATING TO REQUIREMENTS FOR ADDITIONAL AREAS OF CERTIFICATION - Placed on calendar without reference. 

ENVIRONMENTAL/NATURAL RESOURCES

H. 5411 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, RELATING TO ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO SPECIFIC PROPERTIES - Placed on calendar without reference. 

H. 5412 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, RELATING TO WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA REGULATIONS - Placed on calendar without reference. 

H. 5417 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL, RELATING TO COASTAL DIVISION REGULATIONS - Placed on calendar without reference.

HEALTHCARE: 

H. 5406 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL, RELATING TO X-RAYS - Placed on calendar without reference. 

H. 5418 (Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee) A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL, RELATING TO EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES - Placed on calendar without reference. 

REAL ESTATE: 

S. 1335 (Alexander) TO ENACT THE "APPRAISAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY REGISTRATION ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.