What's New

SENATE

Extended debate on the South Carolina Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act (H. 3579) began this week in the Senate, but members once again found themselves in a state of gridlock on the road funding issue. Legislators returned home Thursday afternoon after a two-day filibuster by Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) against an increase in the State’s gas tax. Senator Davis stressed the need to reform the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the State Infrastructure Bank before relying on an increase in the gas tax as a funding component for road repair projects. Additionally, Davis added that members should consider approximately $1.3 billion in new money from budget surpluses that could be added to the road funding formula.

When the Senate returns on Tuesday, Senator Davis will once again retain the floor on the bill. Senator Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) announced Thursday prior to adjournment that the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee will not meet as scheduled on Tuesday in an effort to provide additional time for debate on the bill.

In addition to extensive floor debate, several bills of interest were taken up at the committee level this week.

H. 4857, a bill establishing landfill requirements for coal ash from electrical power plants, received a favorable report as amended by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. The bill was placed on the calendar and received second reading in the Senate on Thursday.

The Senate Medical Affairs Committee gave a favorable report with an amendment to S. 929, the “Right to Try Act.” This bill would allow terminally ill patients to use “investigational drugs,” biological products, or other devices upon the recommendation of a physician and with the patient’s informed consent. The amendment provides that an agent may give informed consent for any patient that lacks the capacity to do so.

In addition to S.929, the Committee also favorably reported with a substitute amendment, S. 1035, the “South Carolina Telemedicine Act.” This legislation allows licensed South Carolina physicians to treat patients, including prescribing certain medications through telemedicine technologies. The amendment passed by the Committee includes language requiring that any physician establishing a physician-patient relationship solely via telemedicine must adhere to the same standard of care required under traditional in-person care. Additionally, the physician must evaluate the patient according to the standard of care applicable to the physician’s area of specialty. S.929 and S.1035 will now move to the Senate floor for debate.

Bills passed by the Senate this week include:

  • S. 72 – Provides elective credit for released time classes in religious instruction for high school students.
  • S. 524 – Establishes procedures for incidents involving indecent exposure in a correction or detention facility.
  • S. 849 – Creates procedures governing the maximum allowable cost reimbursements for generic prescription drugs by pharmacy benefit managers.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday at noon.

HOUSE

The House took their first of three scheduled furlough weeks and did not convene in session.

The House is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday at noon.

The House Ways and Means Committee will begin debate on the Appropriations bill for FY 2016-17 next week.

Top News Articles

Senator begins Year Two of his filibuster of road-repair plan

The S.C. Senate started its much-delayed debate Wednesday of a proposal to repair the state’s crumbling roads the same way it left the issue last spring – with state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, filibustering. Read more.

Beatty, Kittredge take first step toward applying for SC chief justice post:

On Wednesday, the Judicial Merit Selection Commission confirmed that the two senior most associate justices on the S.C. Supreme Court, Donald Beatty of Spartanburg and John Kittredge of Greenville, have made formal expressions of interest in running for the the chief justice position. Read more.

New law banning mug shot ‘extortion’ signed by governor

New legislation signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley on Tuesday would crack down on websites that post mug shots and charge hundreds of dollars to remove them. Read more.

Automobiles, aircraft help South Carolina notch 30.9B in exports

South Carolina set another record in 2015 with $30.9 billion in exports by both sea and air, with BMW automobiles accounting for nearly one-third of all goods sent to foreign countries. Last year’s total is 4.2 percent higher than in 2014 and is the sixth consecutive year of export growth for the State Ports Authority, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Read more.

Congressional delegation to visit Emanuel AME Church in pursuit of lessons on racial healing

It hasn’t been a full year since the shooting at Emanuel AME Church, but nearly three dozen members of the U.S. House and Senate will soon fill the pews at a Sunday morning service to reflect on the legacy of the tragedy. Read more.

Bills in S.C. House would raise minimum wage, repeal right to work law

Proposals to raise the minimum wage in South Carolina and repeal an anti-union law have virtually no chance of passing in the Republican-dominated Legislature, but Democrats hope to spark a debate as the nation’s attention turns to the first-in-the-South primary state. Read more.

Boeing delivers 100th North Charleston-made Dreamliner to American Airlines

Boeing South Carolina on Tuesday turned over the 100th North Charleston-made Dreamliner to American Airlines — just about four years after the plant’s first wide-body jet rolled off the assembly line. Read more.

Meetings and Events

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

5:00 – 6:30           Reception for Representatives Govan, Mack, Bamberg, Alexander and Hart

Kaminsky’s, 930 Gervais Street

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

5:30 – 7:30    House Legislative Oversight Committee Chairman, Weston Newton

Palmetto Club

5:30 – 7:30    Reception for Representative James Smith

Palmetto Club

Thursday, February 25, 2016

5:30 – 7:00     Reception for Senator Paul Campbell

Nexsen Pruet, Charleston

Newly Introduced Legislation

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/TAX:

S.1088 (Cleary) RELATING TO THE CORPORATE LICENSE TAX CREDIT ALLOWED FOR CASH CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROVIDE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ELIGIBLE PROJECTS - Referred to the Committee on Finance.

EDUCATION:

S.1091 (Setzler) RELATING TO THE COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION, TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION MAY ENTER INTO INTERSTATE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENTS - Referred to the Committee on Education.

INSURANCE:

S. 1081 (Scott) RELATING TO INSURANCE POLICIES OFFERED BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC EMPLOYEE BENEFIT AUTHORITY - Referred to the Committee on Finance.

JUDICIAL:

S. 1082 (Hembree) RELATING TO THE PROHIBITION OF MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BEING ELIGIBLE FOR ELECTION TO A JUDICIAL OFFICE DURING THE TIME THEY ARE IN OFFICE - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1083 (Hembree) RELATING TO THE ELECTION OF JUDGES IN JOINT SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1087 (Gregory) RELATING TO MODIFICATION, CONFIRMATION, OR TERMINATION OF ALIMONY - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1092 (Hutto) TO CONFORM THE LANGUAGE OF TRAFFICKING IN ILLEGAL DRUGS - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1093 (Hutto) TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA FANTASY CONTESTS ACT" - Committee on Banking and Insurance.

S. 1099 (Shealy) RELATING TO FAMILY COURT JUDGE QUALIFICATIONS AND TERMS - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1100 (Shealy) TO PROVIDE THAT SUPREME COURT JUSTICES, JUDGES ON THE COURT OF APPEALS, AND CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.