Details from Each Chamber

HOUSE

The House worked through their Calendar this week, but devoted most of their time in committee, with the Ways and Means Committee finalizing their version of the House budget. On Thursday, the Committee approved the $24 billion spending bill. The budget proposal will now head to the House once it's printed and House members have time to review it. Notable aspects of the budget include:

  • 1.5 percent raise for state employees
  • 31 new SLED agents
  • 10 new Highway Patrol troopers and vehicles
  • New fire equipment and firefighters for State Forestry Commission
  • Funding for new school buses, which would be equipped with wireless internet access
  • $65 million for an education initiative backed by Nikki Haley    

One of the biggest winners from the budget proposal is the Department of Commerce, which is slated to receive $37 million for closing economic development deals and another $12.5 million for the Department's Office of Innovation.

Click here for more information on the budget proposal.

The House passed the following bills of interest this week:

 SENATE

The Senate devoted most of their time this week working in committees and discussingH.3945, the SC Ethics bill.

On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed a number of statewide appointments, among them, former Haley Chief of Staff, Bryan Stirling, as Director of Corrections. Senator Thomas Alexander (R-Walhalla) introduced S.1040, legislation designed to strengthen protections for the State's elderly citizens against abusers and scammers.

On Thursday, a Senate subcommittee approved S.416, a texting while driving ban. An amendment was added to require a $100 fine and two points for a first offense, unless the driver agrees to participate in a training program. Drivers would receive a $500 fine and four points for second offense.

Senator Grooms took the podium on Thursday to brief the Senate on the Federal Highway Trust Fund. He stated that it will be "upside down" by August. He stated that it will take congressional action to funnel money back into the Trust Fund and will be disruptive to many states. He is concerned that South Carolina will be affected and that the SCDOT will face cash flow problems and possible legal ramifications.

Late Thursday afternoon Senators gave second reading to the Ethics bill as amended, with amendments allowed on third reading. The Senate is expected to spend much of next week debating the bill.

Senators also concurred with the House amendments to H.3847, a bill that updates and strengthens the consumer electronics recycling legislation enacted in 2010. The bill now goes to Governor Haley for her signature.

The Senate passed the following bills of interest this week:

  • S. 268, Certification of Domestic and Foreign Records of Regularly Conducted Activity
  • S. 757 Recognize Wind Energy Capabilities of SC as multi-source energy strategy
  • S. 809, Capital Projects Sales Tax Referendum
  • S. 913, Permit to engage in Falconry
  • S. 953, Update IRS Code

The Governor's Office 

Economic Development Announcements

Governor Nikki Haley announced on Thursday that Esurance, one of the nation's largest insurers, will open a new sales and claims office in Greenville. The $2.1 million investment is expected to create up to 450 jobs in the area.

Individuals interested in applying for a job with the company can apply online athttp://www.esurance.com/about/jobs.

Additionally, the Governor announced this week that Toray Industries, Inc., a Tokyo-based company has selected Spartanburg County, South Carolina for its next global facility. The plant will make high-performance carbon fiber for the aerospace industry. According to the Governor's press announcement, the company plans to invest $1 billion and hire 500 people over the next decade.

During the announcement, Governor Haley said "It is truly a great day when we get to announce something this significant. Toray Industries' $1 billion investment and 500 new jobs will be a real game-changer for the Upstate and all of South Carolina. We congratulate Toray for their decision to come to Spartanburg County, and we look forward to helping them find continued success and opportunities to grow here in our state."

Unions

 In the wake of the UAW's failed attempt to organize a union at Volkswagen's plant in Chattanooga, Governor Haley weighed in by saying, "We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don't want to taint the water." She highlighted major companies like BMW, Michelin, and Boeing who have come to South Carolina without establishing unions.

State Senator Vincent Sheheen, Haley's Democratic opponent in this year's gubernatorial race, said he thinks the State should remain a right-to-work State where workers are free to decide whether to join unions or not, but added that "I also think that if Ford Motor Co. wanted to bring 10,000 jobs to South Carolina, we would welcome them with open arms."

Going to Canada

The Governor announced this week that she and state commerce officials have planned a trip to Canada in March to recruit industry. The Governor will travel to Toronto where she will speak at the Economic Club of Canada. She and her group will travel to Ottawa the following day, where she will give a presentation to the Canadian Club of Ottawa. The three-day economic development trip will conclude with meetings in Montreal. Former US Ambassador David Wilkins of Greenville, who served as Ambassador to Canada under President George W. Bush, will accompany the group on the trip.

Newly Introduced Legislation

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/TAX:

S. 953 Leatherman: RELATING TO THE APPLICATION OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE TO STATE INCOME TAX LAWS - Placed on calendar without reference.

S. 1033 Campbell: TO PROVIDE AN OUT-OF-STATE BUSINESS THAT CONDUCTS OPERATIONS WITHIN THIS STATE FOR THE PURPOSES OF PERFORMING WORK OR SERVICES RELATED TO A DECLARED STATE DISASTER OR EMERGENCY DURING A DISASTER PERIOD MUST NOT BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE ESTABLISHED A LEVEL OF PRESENCE THAT WOULD REQUIRE THAT BUSINESS TO REGISTER, FILE, AND REMIT STATE OR LOCAL TAXES - Referred to the Committee on Finance.

H. 4660 Forrester: RELATING TO SALES TAX NEXUS FOR CERTAIN DISTRIBUTION FACILITIES - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H. 4741 Daning: RELATING TO PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS, SO AS TO EXTEND THE EXEMPTION ON TWO PRIVATE PASSENGER VEHICLES OWNED OR LEASED BY A DISABLED VETERAN TO THE SURVIVING SPOUSE. - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H. 4758 H. A. Crawford: TO ENACT THE "FAIRNESS IN LODGING ACT" - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

EDUCATION:

S. 1021 Grooms: SO AS TO ENACT THE "CHARLESTON UNIVERSITY ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Education.

H. 4739 Robinson-Simpson: SO AS TO PROVIDE SOUTH CAROLINA LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIPS TO COVER THE COST OF ATTENDING A PUBLIC INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN SOUTH CAROLINA FOR STUDENTS WHO DEMONSTRATE LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

EMPLOYMENT:

H. 4666 Robinson-Simpson: RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT TRAINING PROGRAMS TARGETING UNEMPLOYED OR UNDEREMPLOYED NONCUSTODIAL PARENTS WHO OWE CHILD SUPPORT - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

ENVIRONMENTAL:

S. 1031 Campsen: RELATING TO COASTAL TIDELANDS AND WETLANDS - Referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

S. 1032 Campsen: RELATING TO PERMITS REQUIRED FOR COASTAL ZONE CRITICAL AREAS - Referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

H. 4760 J. E. Smith: RELATING TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA SURFACE WATER WITHDRAWAL, PERMITTING USE, AND REPORTING ACT -Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

GOVERNMENT:

H. 4655 J. E. Smith: TO TRANSFER THE FUNCTIONS, POWERS, AND DUTIES OF COUNTY BOARDS OF REGISTRATION, COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSIONS, OR COUNTY BOARDS OR COMMISSIONS OF ELECTIONS AND REGISTRATION TO A DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS AND REGISTRATION FOR EACH COUNTY - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4661 Lucas: TO PROVIDE THAT THE OWNER OF A "MOTORSPORTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX" LOCATED IN THIS STATE OR HIS DESIGNEE MAY APPLY FOR AND BE ISSUED AN ANNUAL LICENSE WHICH AUTHORIZES THE PURCHASE, SALE, AND CONSUMPTION OF BEER AND WINE AT ANY OCCASION HELD ON THE GROUNDS OF THE COMPLEX YEAR ROUND ON ANY DAY OF THE WEEK - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H. 4754 Bannister: RELATING TO PROHIBITED PRACTICES OF BEER PRODUCERS AND WHOLESALERS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

HEALTH CARE:

S. 1035 Davis: TO ENACT THE MEDICAL CANNABIS THERAPEUTIC TREATMENT RESEARCH ACT - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

S. 1036 Cleary: SO AS TO ENACT THE "DENTAL SEDATION ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

H. 4665 H. A. Crawford: SO AS TO PROHIBIT THE ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATION TO A MINOR CHILD BY AN EMPLOYEE OR VOLUNTEER OF A CHILDCARE FACILITY WITHOUT PARENTAL PERMISSION - Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs.

H. 4737 Spires: RELATING TO THE SALE AND REGULATION OF PRODUCTS CONTAINING EPHEDRINE, PSEUDOEPHEDRINE, OR PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE - Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs

H. 4752 Cobb-Hunter: SO AS TO REQUIRE PERSONS WITH CERTAIN POOR HEALTH BEHAVIORS TO PARTICIPATE IN WELLNESS PROGRAMS AND IMPOSE A PREMIUM INCREASE FOR FAILURE TO IMPROVE - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

JUDICIAL:

S. 1029 Shealy: RELATING TO CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENSES AND PENALTIES - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1040 Alexander: RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS FROM ABUSE, NEGLECT, OR EXPLOITATION - Referred to the General Committee.

H. 4659 Sandifer: RELATING TO SUITS ON CONTRACTOR PAYMENT BONDS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4673 Simrill: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS REGARDING THE LIMITATION ON LIABILITY OF LANDOWNERS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4755 Toole: SO AS TO PROHIBIT AN ALIEN FROM RECEIVING FEDERAL BENEFITS WITHOUT PROOF OF SATISFACTORY IMMIGRATION STATUS. - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

REAL ESTATE:

H. 4644 Sandifer: ALL RELATING TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS LICENSE AND CERTIFICATION ACT - Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

H. 4670 Newton: TO PROVIDE A PROCESS FOR EXPEDITING MORTGAGE FORECLOSURES AND TO DEFINE NECESSARY TERMINOLOGY. - Referred to Committee on Judiciary

H. 4733 J. E. Smith: TO PROVIDE THAT ALL MUNICIPALITIES AND COUNTIES SHALL INSPECT EACH EXTERIOR BALCONY IN CERTAIN RESIDENTIAL PROPERTIES WITHIN ITS JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE BALCONY SATISFIES THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE - Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs.

H. 4735 Rutherford: TO PROVIDE A STUDENT MUST BE EXEMPT FROM PAYING OUT-OF-STATE TUITION AT A PUBLIC INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND MUST BE ELIGIBLE FOR CERTAIN STATE-SPONSORED SCHOLARSHIPS AND TUITION ASSISTANCE IF HE ATTENDED A HIGH SCHOOL IN THIS STATE FOR THREE OR MORE YEARS - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.