JUDICIAL ELECTIONS A Joint Assembly is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 1, at noon for the election of a number of judges, including a race for a vacant seat on the South Carolina Supreme Court. The candidates for the vacant seat are Circuit Court Judge George C. “Buck” James, Circuit Court Judge Dianne Goodstein, and Circuit Court Judge R. Keith Kelly.
SENATE The Senate spent the first portion of the week focusing on the election of a new Lieutenant Governor and President Pro Tempore of the Senate after Henry McMaster was sworn in as South Carolina’s 117th Governor. Senator Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) resigned as President Pro Tempore of the Senate on Tuesday in a procedural move to avoid becoming the Lieutenant Governor. Members unanimously elected Senator Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson) as President Pro Tempore on Wednesday where he immediately became Lieutenant Governor to fill the vacant seat. Senator Leatherman was subsequently reelected to his former position as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, defeating Senator Harvey Peeler (R-Gaffney) by a vote of 28 to 18.
As a result of the procedural maneuvers, Senator Greg Hembree (R-Florence) made the switch from the Senate Judiciary Committee over to the Senate Finance Committee to fill the newly vacant seat. Senator Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) also became Chairwoman of the Senate General Committee and is first Republican woman to chair a standing Senate committee.
On Thursday, the Senate amended and gave second reading to S.58, the “Port Enhancement Zone Act,” by Senator John Matthews (D-Orangeburg). This legislation would provide tax breaks for businesses that use the Port of Charleston and that build facilities near the intersection of Interstates 26 and 95. The bill was amended to expand the definition of a “distribution facility” to include a port facility which will allow the SC Ports Authority to continue qualifying for both an exemption on equipment and on material purchased. The Senate also amended and gave second reading to S.197, relating to the operation of mopeds, by Senator Hembree. Among other things, the bill would raise the legal age to drive a moped to 15 from 14 and would ensure other existing laws that govern other slow moving vehicles apply.
The Senate Judiciary Committee met Tuesday to take up several bills and gave a favorable report as amended to S.245 by Senator Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg). S.245 conforms the language of trafficking illegal drugs such as opium and heroin to the language concerning the possession and distribution of illegal drugs including synthetic opiates. The bill was amended to clarify that provisions would not undermine existing definitions included in the legislation.
A Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee also met this week on several bills of interest. The subcommittee gave a favorable report as amended to S.181, the South Carolina Hazardous Waste Management Act, by Senator Shealy. S.181 provides that a “responsible party” does not include a person who is excluded from liability under the “Superfund Recycling Equity Act.” S.234, a bill by Senator Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) relating to the confidentiality of data collected or prepared by emergency medical service, also received a favorable report as amended. This legislation provides that information recorded by EMS personnel and the identities of patients and emergency technicians may be subpoenaed. Prior to adjourning, the Committee took up S.243 by Senator Luke Rankin (R-Horry). The bill provides that in the event that a pharmacist is unable to obtain refill authorization from a prescriber, the pharmacist may dispense an emergency refill of up to a thirty-day supply. S. 243 was carried over by the Committee.
The Senate Labor Commerce and Industry met on Thursday morning and gave a favorable report to S.218 by Senator Massey. The bill provides that a political subdivision may not establish, mandate, or otherwise require an employee benefit. S.218 is now pending a second reading on the Senate calendar.
The Senate will reconvene at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
HOUSE The House continued to work through a limited number of bills on their calendar this week with members spending an extended amount of time in various committees and subcommittees. On Tuesday, the House received notice that Rep. Chris Corley (R-Aiken) resigned his seat following a criminal domestic violence indictment. A special election to fill the vacant seat will be set at a later date.
The House also addressed changes to the House Rules and adopted H.3494, relating to the limits on consideration of statewide bills and resolutions. H.3494 provides that the House will not consider legislation received from the Senate after April 10, 2017, unless two-thirds of the members present and voting agree to waive the rule. Any bill or resolution that fails to receive the required two-thirds vote, must be returned to the appropriate committee.
In addition to the adoption of a House rule change, H.3237 and H.3488 also received a third reading. H.3237, by Rep. Rita Allison (R-Spartanburg), relates to the Secretary of Transportation's duty to evaluate and approve maintenance requests or emergency repairs for highway facilities that are not included in the statewide transportation improvement program. H.3488, by Representative Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee), allows an insurer to deliver, store, or present evidence of insurance coverage by electronic means. Both bills will now go to the Senate for consideration.
The House Agricultural Committee met on Wednesday and approved two bills that were filed as a result of the October 2015 flood. H.3218, by Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington), requires dam owners to file an annual report with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). The report must include updated contact information and a completed owner checklist that contains an emergency action plan. The bill was amended by the Committee to prevent DHEC from requiring changes to dams that are reclassified unless a potential failure poses a threat of loss of life. The amendment also requires local emergency management agencies to notify downstream landowners within the inundation zone in the event of a breach.
H.3340, by Rep. Russell Ott (D-Calhoun), would require dam owners to provide written notice of failed dams that have a State highway running across the surface to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and DHEC. The written notice must indicate whether or not the dam owner intends to repair the dam and the date by which repairs are to be completed. The bill was amended to allow SCDOT to proceed with road repair work if a response is not received from the dam owner within two months of the bill’s enactment. H.3218 and H.3340 are now pending second reading on the House calendar.
The House Education and Public Works Committee reported favorably with an amendment on H.3289 by Rep. G. R. Smith (R-Greenville). The bill provides that the safe distance provision does not apply to the operator of any non-leading vehicle traveling in a procession of vehicles if the speed of each vehicle is automatically coordinated. This legislation will allow for a process known as “platooning” to take place, where two or more trucks that are controlled by a lead vehicle through wireless communication follow each other at a very close distance. The Committee adopted a technical amendment to change the term “driver” to “operator” throughout the bill. H.3289 is not pending second reading on the House calendar.
A House Labor Commerce and Industry Subcommittee met Wednesday on H.3529, the auxiliary container bill, by Rep. Eric Bedingfield (R-Greenville). This legislation would preclude local governments from enacting ordinances to prohibit, restrict, or impose a fee or tax on auxiliary containers. Only the General Assembly could regulate these containers, which are defined as reusable or single-use containers for food or beverages. H.3529 received a favorable report as amended and will now move to the full Labor Commerce and Industry Committee for debate.
A bill of interest introduced in the House this week was H.3595 by Representative Anne Thayer (R-Anderson). This legislation would require that drivers who approach a vehicle stopped for the purpose of collecting solid waste must act with caution and make an appropriate lane change. If a lane change is not possible, the driver must slow or stop as needed
The House Tax Policy Review Committee met after session on Thursday afternoon to review several topics from previous meetings and to discuss a comprehensive business license fee bill that will likely be introduced next week. For a full report from the meeting please visit http://www.nexsenpruet.com/insights/sc-house-tax-policy-review-committee-update
Top News Articles
DOT leaders say roads in crisis but there is no quick fix South Carolina's road system remains in "crisis" even with last year's legislative money, say leaders of the state's highway agency who are trying to dampen expectations by motorists that the system can be improved quickly, no matter how much funding is approved. Read more. Widening SC’s I-95 would cost $4 billion, road agency estimates That initial estimate includes widening about 190 miles of the interstate to three lanes in each direction from the state’s border with Georgia to the border with North Carolina, replacing bridges along the interstate and improving interchanges. Read more.
The most powerful member of the S.C. House of Representatives on Tuesday will introduce legislation to boot one of his colleagues from the Legislature. The resolution from House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, will call for the expulsion of Rep. Chris Corley, R-Aiken, who has been charged and indicted on allegations that he beat his wife in front of his children. Read more.
SC House member resigns after being indicted for criminal domestic violence Rep. Chris Corley, indicted on criminal domestic violence charges for beating his wife, has resigned his House seat. Legislation calling for his expulsion was to be introduced on Tuesday by the chamber’s most powerful member – the House Speaker. Read more here and here.
Big day for S.C. leaders So now they are Ambassador Nikki Haley and Gov. Henry McMaster. Read more.
Senate Confirms Trump's Nominee for US Ambassador to the UN The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump's pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations by a decisive margin Tuesday as Republican-led committees paved the way for three more of his Cabinet nominees to be approved just days into the new administration. Read more.
McMaster sworn in as SC governor after Haley resigns South Carolina’s lieutenant governor became its governor Tuesday, within an hour of Haley being confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and resigning from her job as the state’s chief executive. Read more.
Chris Corley resigns; two state intention to run for South Carolina House seat South Carolina Rep. Chris Corley resigned from the S.C. House of Representatives on Tuesday as expulsion efforts were forthcoming from House Speaker Jay Lucas. Read more.
State’s business leaders say ‘It’s Time’ to pass roads plan After years of frustration, business leaders from around the state each said they are cautiously optimistic the pieces of the puzzle will fall into place when it comes to fixing South Carolina’s roadways. Read more.
Laurens Co. seeks to block eminent domain for Upstate pipeline construction Laurens County Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to urge government regulators and representatives to deny a private company the right to use eminent domain to acquire easements for the construction of a natural-gas pipeline. Read more.
Kevin Bryant becomes lieutenant governor after Senate vote Sen. Kevin Bryant of Anderson became the state's lieutenant governor on Wednesday. Read more.
Crowded field may seek Bryant's former Senate seat A crowded field of candidates is lining up to run for the state Senate seat that became vacant Wednesday when Kevin Bryant was sworn in as South Carolina's lieutenant governor. Read more.
Leatherman keeps Senate leadership role Florence Sen. Hugh Leatherman has managed to keep his position as South Carolina’s most powerful lawmaker, despite Republican opposition that said he sidestepped his constitutional duties to become lieutenant governor. Read more.
'Is it guns? What we gonna ban next?' South Carolina lawmakers move to stop towns from banning plastic bags. State lawmakers have advanced a bill that would keep local governments from enacting bans on plastic bags in their communities, outraging coastal residents and environmentalists. Read more.
Report: Department of Juvenile Justice isn't prepared to handle major incidents at its facilities South Carolina's prisons for youthful offenders are inadequately prepared to respond to major incidents despite efforts to boost security at Department of Juvenile Justice facilities after a riot last February exposed serious lapses, according to a report. Read more.
Sparks fly on House bill to allow non-South Carolinians to carry concealed guns A bill that would allow perhaps thousands of out-of-staters to carry concealed weapons in South Carolina came under fire Thursday from a lawmaker who charged the bill would be unfair to S.C. residents and make them less safe. Read more.
Law strengthening penalty for those who kill police animals heads to South Carolina Senate floor A bill that could double the penalty for those who injure or kill a police dog or horse sailed through a panel Thursday morning and is headed for discussion on the Senate floor. Read more.
Meetings and Events
Wednesday, February 1 5:30 Reception for Representative Brian White Palmetto Club
Newly Introduced Legislation
BANKING AND INSURANCE H.3546 Thayer: TO ESTABLISH THAT A DIRECT PRIMARY CARE AGREEMENT IS NOT A CONTRACT OF INSURANCE - Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. H.3570 Herbkersman: TO ALLOW A COUNTY TO ESTABLISH A WINDSTORM PROTECTION AND HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE PROGRAM TO ASSIST A HOMEOWNER WITH THE FINANCIAL COSTS OF QUALIFIED WIND RESISTANCE IMPROVEMENTS - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means. S.269 Gambrell: RELATING TO THE INSURANCE FRAUD DIVISION OF THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL- Referred to the Committee on Banking and Insurance. S.276 Bryant: TO ESTABLISH THAT A DIRECT PRIMARY CARE AGREEMENT IS NOT A CONTRACT OF INSURANCE AND NOT SUBJECT TO REGULATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE - Referred to the Committee on Banking and Insurance. S.307 Shealy:, RELATING TO ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE, AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER COVERAGE - Referred to the Committee on Banking and Insurance. S.313 Davis: TO ALLOW A COUNTY TO ESTABLISH A WINDSTORM PROTECTION AND HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE PROGRAM TO ASSIST A HOMEOWNER WITH THE FINANCIAL COSTS OF QUALIFIED WIND RESISTANCE IMPROVEMENTS - Referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. S.315 Cromer: RELATING TO THE HURRICANE, EARTHQUAKE, AND FIRE ADVISORY COMMITTEE - Referred to the Committee on Banking and Insurance.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TAX H.3594 Alexander: TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN IMPROVEMENTS MADE TO A RESIDENCE DAMAGED BY THE CATASTROPHIC WEATHER EVENT IN OCTOBER 2015 ARE NOT CONSIDERED AN IMPROVEMENT FOR PROPERTY TAX PURPOSES. - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means. S.268 Gambrell: TO PROVIDE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYER ORGANIZATIONS MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR CERTAIN TAX CREDITS AND ECONOMIC INCENTIVES UNDER THE ENTERPRISE ZONE ACT - Referred to the Committee on Finance. S.314 Sheheen: RELATING TO THE CHANGE OF CORPORATE LIMITS FOR MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
EDUCATION H.3583 Norrell: RELATING TO THE PALMETTO FELLOWS SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. H.3590 Atwater: RELATING TO TOPICS OF STUDY ON VETERANS DAY AND ATTENDANCE AT VETERANS DAY ACTIVITIES - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. H.3591 Govan: RELATING TO BENCHMARKS AND OBJECTIVES REQUIRED AS PART OF THE FIRST STEPS TO SCHOOL READINESS COMPREHENSIVE LONG-RANGE INITIATIVE - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. S.270 Allen: RELATING TO VARIOUS FUNDING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE EDUCATION FINANCE ACT, INCLUDING CERTIFIED TEACHER AND ADMINISTRATOR SALARY REQUIREMENTS - Referred to the Committee on Education. S.273 Bryant: TO ALLOW SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND SPECIAL SCHOOLS TO TRANSFER AND EXPEND CERTAIN FUNDS AMONG APPROPRIATED STATE GENERAL FUND REVENUES - Referred to the Committee on Education. S.302 Sheheen: RELATING TO PHYSICAL EDUCATION INSTRUCTION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS - Referred to the Committee on Education.
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES H.3559 Pitts: RELATING TO THE CULTIVATION OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP - Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. S.298 Campbell: RELATING TO REMEDIES FOR CAUSING OR PERMITTING POLLUTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.
HEALTHCARE H.3587 Henderson: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO CREATE THE "SEIZURE SAFETY IN SCHOOLS STUDY COMMITTEE" TO EXAMINE ISSUES RELATED TO EPILEPSY AND SEIZURE SAFETY AWARENESS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. S.283 Grooms: RELATING TO ABORTIONS, BY ADDING SECTION 44-41-83, TO ENACT THE "ABORTION COMPLICATION REPORTING ACT," - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs. S.299 Bryant: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS IN THE DRUG PRODUCT SELECTION ACT - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs. S. 311 Shealy: A SENATE RESOLUTION TO DECLARE FEBRUARY 26 THROUGH MARCH 4, 2017, AS "EATING DISORDERS AWARENESS WEEK" IN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.
JUDICIARY H.3547 Hart: RELATING TO PROHIBITED ACTS REGARDING THE SALE OF BEER AND WINE - Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs. H.3548 Bennett:TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION FROM DISMEMBERMENT ABORTION ACT" - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3549 Cobb-Hunter: RELATING TO A PERMIT ISSUED FOR ON-PREMISES CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC LIQUOR IN PROXIMITY TO A CHURCH, SCHOOL, OR PLAYGROUND - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3550 Putnam: RELATING TO NOTICE OF CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT HEARINGS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3558 Bales: RELATING TO PETIT AND GRAND LARCENY - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3562 B. Newton: RELATING TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS OF THIS STATE, SO AS TO DELETE THE COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE FROM THE LIST OF STATE OFFICERS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3563 B. Newton:RELATING TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICERS OF THIS STATE, SO AS TO DELETE THE STATE TREASURER FROM THE LIST OF STATE OFFICERS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3564 B. Newton: TO DELETE THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FROM THE LIST OF STATE OFFICERS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3565 Fry: RELATING TO TIMELY REQUESTS FOR CONTESTED CASE HEARINGS UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES ACT - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3571 J. E. Smith TO REQUIRE INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE COMMITTEES TO PROVIDE CERTAIN DISCLOSURES AND DISCLAIMERS REGARDING THE INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE COMMITTEE'S ELECTION COMMUNICATIONS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3578 Pitts: RELATING TO THE REGISTRATION AND REPORTING OF LOBBYISTS AND LOBBYISTS' PRINCIPALS, SO AS TO INCREASE THE FILING FEE FROM ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS TO TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3579 Pitts: TO CLARIFY WHO MAY NOT SOLICIT CONTRIBUTIONS - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3581 Thayer: TO PROVIDE THAT THE REGISTERED OWNER OF A VEHICLE THAT UNLAWFULLY OVERTAKES A SCHOOL BUS MAY BE SUBJECT TO A CIVIL PENALTY IF THE IDENTITY OF THE VEHICLE OPERATOR CANNOT BE DETERMINED OR THE VEHICLE'S REGISTERED OWNER CAN BE DETERMINED - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. H.3592 Burns: RELATING TO ENTRY ON ANOTHER'S LANDS WITHOUT PERMISSION - Referred to Committee on Judiciary. S.267 Gambrell: RELATING TO LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS CONCERNING THE STATE GRAND JURY SYSTEM - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.271 Allen: TO ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE TO ALLOW AN INMATE WHO THE DEPARTMENT HAS DETERMINED IS NOT A SECURITY RISK AND CONFINED IN A DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS' FACILITY TO ATTEND THE FUNERAL SERVICE OF CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS - Referred to the Committee on Corrections and Penology. S.275 Bennett: RELATING TO BREWERIES, SAMPLES AND SALES FOR ON- AND OFF-PREMISES CONSUMPTION - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.277 Alexander: TO LIMIT THE LIABILITY OF CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS WHO PROVIDE VOLUNTEER TRANSPORTATION TO A SENIOR CITIZEN - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.278 Alexander: TO PROVIDE UNIFORM STANDARDS FOR FORMATTING DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED TO A CLERK OF COURT OR REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR RECORDING - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.279 Alexander: TO ENACT THE "APPRAISAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY REGISTRATION ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. S.280 Goldfinch: RELATING TO SENDING OR ACCEPTING A CHALLENGE TO FIGHT, - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.289 Shealy: TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA CRIME VICTIM SERVICES ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.291 Shealy: TO ENACT THE "PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RIGHT TO PARENT ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.308 Talley: RELATING TO SUBMISSION TO TESTING FOR DRUGS AND ALCOHOL - referred to the Committee on Judiciary. S.309 Malloy: PROVIDE FOR THE CONDUCT OF GAMBLING AND GAMING ACTIVITIES - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary. REAL ESTATE S.318 Shealy: RELATING TO GROUNDS FOR EJECTMENT OF A TENANT - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
TRANSPORTATION H.3577 Huggins: RELATING TO PROVISIONS THAT REGULATE THE OPERATION OF VARIOUS TYPES OF WATERCRAFT - Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. H.3580 Thayer: RELATING TO PERSONS WHO MAY SIGN AN APPLICATION OF AN UNEMANCIPATED MINOR FOR A BEGINNER'S PERMIT - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. H.3595 Thayer: PROVIDE THAT A DRIVER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE APPROACHING A VEHICLE COLLECTING SOLID WASTE OR RECOVERED MATERIALS, AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 56-5-2510, MUST PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND, IF POSSIBLE, YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works S.300 Bryant: RELATING TO DRIVER'S LICENSES, TO PROVIDE FOR MINORS TO BE ABLE TO APPLY FOR A BEGINNER'S PERMIT, INSTRUCTION PERMIT, OR DRIVER'S LICENSE UNDER THE AUTHORIZATION OF A RESPONSIBLE ADULT - Referred to the Committee on Transportation. S.301 Massey: RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENTS OF STATE GOVERNMENT AND THEIR GOVERNING BODIES, TO DELETE THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION - Referred to the Committee on Transportation.
The Nexsen Pruet State House Update is published as a service to our attorneys, clients, and friends. It is intended to be a high level overview of the weekly activity at the South Carolina State House and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation.