Rule 4

Committees

    4.1     Committee appointments: see Rule 1.9.

    4.2     As soon as practicable after the members have been sworn in and have taken their seats, the following Standing Committees, except the House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee, and the House of Representatives Committee on Operations and Management, shall be appointed with the indicated number of members appointed thereto:

        1.     Committee on Ways and Means - 25.

        2.     Committee on the Judiciary (Privileges and Elections) - 25.

        3.     Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs (Fish, Game, Forestry, State Parks, Rural Development, Environmental Affairs) - 18.

        4.     Committee on Education and Public Works (Education, Highways, State House and Grounds, Railroads, Aviation) - 18.

        5.     Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs (Medical Affairs, Social Security, Penitentiary, State Hospital, Police Regulations, Military Affairs, Veteran's Affairs) - 18.

        6.     Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry (Labor, Commerce and Manufacturing, Banking and Insurance, Merchants and Mercantile Affairs) - 18.

        7.     Committee on Rules - 15.

        8.     Committee on Interstate Cooperation (membership limited to 5, under 1976 Code, Sec. 1-17-30) - 5.

        9.     Committee on Regulations and Administrative Procedures (State Agency Rule Making, SC Code of Laws Section 1-23-10 et seq.) - 13.

        10.     Committee on Legislative Oversight (Oversight and Review of Government Operations and Accountability, SC Code of Laws Section 2-2-5 et seq.) - 20.

        11.     House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee - 10.

        12.     Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions (Invitations, Resolutions memorializing the Federal or State Government or any official or agency thereof, sympathy, and congratulatory Resolutions) - 5.

        13.     Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives (Advisory to the Speaker on personnel, administration and management of facilities, including management of the Blatt Building) - 8.

    Each member shall serve on one and only one of the first six Standing Committees listed above. However, a member of these Committees may also serve on any one of the following Committees: Committee on Regulations and Administrative Procedures, Committee on Legislative Oversight, Committee on Rules, Committee on Interstate Cooperation, Committee on Ethics, Committee on Invitations, or Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives. The Speaker, Speaker Pro Tempore, and Clerk shall serve as ex officio members of the Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives but no chairman of any other standing committee shall serve as a member of such committee.
    Provided, that a minimum of two members from each of the first six Standing Committees listed above shall be appointed to the Committee on Regulations and Administrative Procedures.
    Provided, that the members of the Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives (advisory to the Speaker on personnel, administration and management of facilities), and the members of the House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee, shall be elected by the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, their terms to be coterminous with their respective term of office. The Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives shall consist of eight members. Four members of the committee shall be members of the majority party represented in the House of Representatives and four members shall be members of the minority party represented in the House of Representatives or be nonaffiliated with any party or another party not in the majority. The Chairman of the Committee on Operations and Management of the House shall be one of the four members of the committee from the majority party represented in the House to be elected by the members of the committee. Other officers of the committee are not required to be affiliated with a particular party.
    Provided, that the Committee on Education and Public Works shall be deemed to be the Committee on Education, and the Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs shall be deemed to be the Committee on Military Affairs and the Committee on Medical Affairs, in all cases where the statutes provide for the Chairman of these committees to perform ex officio duties.
    Provided, that the Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives with the consent of the Speaker may formulate such policies as it deems advisable relating to House personnel. Such policies shall be distributed to the members and must be adopted by majority vote of the House by House Resolution.
    Provided, that except as herein provided neither the Speaker nor Speaker Pro Tempore shall be a member of any of the foregoing Standing Committees.
    No member shall be appointed on a committee before he has been sworn in and has taken his seat. Any member who is sworn in after the general announcement of the committee shall, within a few days afterward, be placed by the Speaker on a Standing Committee whose number of members will not thereby be extended beyond the number provided in these rules.
    After a committee has been appointed, no addition to it or change shall be made, except to fill a vacancy or to remove a member for conduct unbecoming a member.
    Provided, that in filling a vacancy, the assignment of any member may be changed from another committee to fill such vacancy.

    4.3     Unless otherwise ordered, committees shall have jurisdiction only over matters pertaining to the subjects indicated by the names of the respective committees, and to the subject matter indicated in parenthesis following the names.

    4.4     Committees shall meet regularly to consider pending legislation in the room assigned for their use by the Speaker. Notice of date, time, and place of such meetings shall be posted on a bulletin board provided for this purpose in the lobby. Whenever feasible twenty-four hour advance notice shall be given for all committee meetings. Such notice shall be mailed to the members by the committee chairmen when the House is not in session. Notice of regular and special meetings shall also be given by the administrative assistants to each member of the committees and to the Sergeant at Arms in the manner the committee deems proper. Information as to subcommittee meetings shall be provided by the administrative assistants to the Sergeant at Arms and shall be available at the Sergeant at Arms' desk. Failure of notice of any meeting shall not invalidate committee action unless bad faith is shown. No committee shall meet while the House is in session without special leave by the Speaker. Provided, however, that the Committee on Rules and any committee of conference or free conference, may sit at any time and may report its message to the House at any time.
    No committee shall sit unless a quorum be present and all bills introduced by committees must carry the statement of the Chairman that the bill has the approval of two-thirds of the membership of the committee, except that the State Appropriations Bill, the Supplemental Appropriations Bill, a Rescission Bill, and the Deficiency Appropriations Bill may be introduced by a majority vote of the Ways and Means Committee.
    No committee shall introduce a bill pertaining to subject matter over which it has no jurisdiction.
    Notice in writing of all public hearings shall be given by Committee Chairmen to the Clerk of the House at least five calendar days prior to the date fixed for the hearing, such notice to be published in the House Calendar. Notice in writing of all committee action taken on a bill or resolution shall be given to the principal author thereof.
    No statewide bill directly appropriating money shall be considered by the House until after such bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee, provided, however, a statewide bill which directly or by implication provides for per diem, subsistence or mileage in connection with the subject matter of the bill, but does not otherwise directly appropriate money, shall not be required to be referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
    After the House sets a bill for Special Order pursuant to Rule 6.3, no point of order may be raised regarding its reference to committee, however, the House by majority vote may commit or recommit a bill or other matter under debate.
    No committee action shall be taken on a bill or resolution except at a regular or called meeting, but this shall not apply to resolutions referred to the Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions.
    When any standing committee or subcommittee schedules a public hearing on a bill or resolution, the principal sponsor of such bill or resolution shall be notified of the time and place of such hearing not less than five calendar days prior to the hearing date.

    4.5     All meetings of all committees shall be open to the public at all times, subject always to the power and authority of the Chairman to maintain order and decorum with the right to go into Executive Session as provided for in the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, Title 30, Chapter 4 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended. Provided, a legislative caucus as defined by Section 2-17-10 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended, and its meetings are not subject to the provisions of Title 30, Chapter 4 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended.
    No committee shall file a report unless the committee has met formally at an authorized time and place with a quorum present. All standing committees of the House shall prepare and make available for public inspection, in compliance with Section 30-4-90 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended, the minutes of full committee meetings. Such minutes need not be verbatim accounts of such meetings but shall include those matters required by the above mentioned Freedom of Information Act.

    4.6     After twenty days from the date of reference, the Chairman of the Committee in possession of a measure shall, upon written request of a sponsor or, in the case of a Senate measure, a House member, set a time for consideration of the measure by the full committee or subcommittee which shall be no later than seven legislative working days thereafter. Provided, however, that a member may request consideration of a bill or resolution pursuant to this rule only one time per bill or resolution during a legislative session.

    4.7     a.     Each report of a committee shall contain the action of the committee on the bill or other measure being transmitted. Such report shall certify the action by the committee and shall be signed by an officer of the committee.
        b.     When reporting a Senate bill as favorable, the committee may include in its report an amendment identical to the final version of any House bill that has been referred to that committee and passed by the House during the current two-year session. If the amendment is identical to a previously passed House bill, the amendment must be considered germane to the bill.

    4.8     Any bill, report, petition, or other paper except an amendment which may come before the House, may be committed or recommitted before a final decision thereon. Provided, further that the Speaker shall commit to a committee any bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution returned from the Senate with an amendment that has so materially changed the bill that the bill's contents, as amended by the Senate, are no longer substantially germane to the bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution as it passed the House. Such bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution may be reported out of the committee with its recommendation and shall be placed on the Calendar under the heading of second reading or concurrent resolution. If not amended, it shall be enrolled as an act and ratified. If said bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution shall be amended, it shall be returned to the Senate at the conclusion of the process as a House amendment. Provided, the provisions of this rule may be dispensed with by a two-thirds vote of the membership present and voting of the House, a quorum being present.

    4.9     In all cases the House may resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole. The motion to resolve the House into a Committee of the Whole shall specify the subject(s) to be considered in the Committee of the Whole. In the event the House resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole, the Committee of the Whole shall limit discussion to the subject(s) specified in the motion. The Speaker shall leave the Chair after appointing a Chairman to preside, who shall, in case of disturbance or disorderly conduct, have the power to cause same to be cleared. No bill or resolution may be considered by the Committee of the Whole House, except by a two-thirds vote, unless same has first been considered by the appropriate Standing Committee of the House.

    4.10     The Committee of the Whole shall consist of the entire body of members in attendance at the particular meeting of the House. Such committee is a real committee in the parliamentary sense. During the time that a meeting of the Committee of the Whole is held, it is technically not "the assembly".

    4.11     The Rules of the House so far as they are applicable shall be observed in a Committee of the Whole, the Chairman being substituted for the Speaker.

    4.12     No Committee of the Whole or other committee shall deface or interline a bill or other paper, referred to it, but shall report any amendments recommended on a separate paper, noting the page and line.

    4.13     No person shall be permitted to address the House or the Joint Assembly except by written resolution, and such resolution shall be referred to the Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions before being considered by the House. The Committee shall not extend an invitation to any individual or group to address the House or the Joint Assembly unless such person or group is of significant national or state prominence at the time the invitation is extended and will bring a message of major importance to the State or such individual or group will present an artistic performance during the established hours of meeting.
    Any invitations extended to the House as a whole to attend any functions shall be submitted to the Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions at least 10 days in advance in order that it may determine what legislation or other pertinent matters may be pending before the House and its Committees before the invitation is accepted. The House shall accept no invitations to any functions other than a breakfast or luncheon prior to 6:00 p.m. Pages are not permitted to attend such functions. No invitations to functions for the House as a whole will be accepted during the week anticipated for the debate of the State Appropriations Bill.

    4.14     No member of a committee shall be allowed under any circumstances to vote by proxy.

    4.15     None of the House Rules shall be rescinded, suspended, or altered, except by written resolution which has been referred to the Rules Committee, or originates therein, and agreed to by two-thirds of the members of the House present after the committee has made its report. Provided, that any rule may be amended by a simple majority of the House during the month of January of each year.

    4.16     A.     The House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee consists of ten (10) members. The ten members of the House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee shall be elected by the members of the House. Five members of the committee shall be members of the majority party represented in the House of Representatives and five members shall be members of the minority party represented in the House of Representatives or be nonaffiliated with any party or another party not in the majority. The Chairman of the Ethics Committee shall be one of the five members of the committee from the majority party represented in the House to be elected by the members of the committee. Other officers of the committee are not required to be affiliated with a particular party and shall be elected by members of the committee as well.
     B.    Jurisdiction
        (1)    The committee shall have jurisdiction over individuals and entities pursuant to Chapter 13, Title 8.
        (2)    No matter shall be considered later than four years after the violation allegedly occurred.
        (3)    No complaint may be accepted by the Ethics Committee concerning a member of or candidate for the House during the fifty day period before an election in which the member or candidate is participating.
      C.    Duties
      The committee shall:
       (1)    receive complaints or allegations concerning any person under the jurisdiction of the committee alleging a violation of Chapter 13, Title 8 or Chapter 17, Title 2;
       (2)    upon a majority vote of the members of the committee initiate a complaint concerning any person under the jurisdiction of the committee alleging a violation of Chapter 13, Title 8 or Chapter 17, Title 2;
       (3)    cause to be investigated these complaints or allegations;
       (4)    upon request of any member, officer, or employee of the House render committee advisory opinions with regard to legislative ethics when, in its judgment, these opinions would serve the public interest. Such advisory opinions shall serve as binding precedent for the committee until specifically altered or withdrawn;
       (5)    act as an advisory body to the House and to individual members of or candidates for the House on questions pertaining to Chapter 13, Title 8 or Chapter 17, Title 2;
       (6)    issue through its staff a written informal advisory opinion, based on real or hypothetical sets of circumstances, to a person or entity within the committee's jurisdiction upon that person's or entity's request. If an informal advisory opinion is raised as a defense in response to a complaint, the committee shall consider whether the respondent is the person who requested the informal advisory opinion or is a member of the entity that requested the informal opinion. The committee also shall consider the accuracy of the facts presented in the informal advisory opinion and determine whether the respondent relied in good faith upon the written informal advisory opinion. The committee shall consider this information prior to making a probable cause determination;
       (7)    administer or recommend appropriate sanctions or dismiss charges as the result of a properly filed complaint;
       (8)    ascertain whether a person has failed to comply fully and accurately with the disclosure requirements of Chapter 13, Title 8 and promptly notify the person to file the necessary disclosures to satisfy the requirements and assess and collect any fines or fees authorized by state law for the failure to timely file a disclosure statement; and
       (9)    recommend a rule or statutory change relating to ethics as the committee deems appropriate.
      D.    Complaints and Investigations
       (1)    Complaints must be written, sworn, and contain allegations of specific conduct believed to be a violation within the jurisdiction of the committee.
       (2)    When a complaint is filed with or by the committee, a copy must be sent to the person alleged to have committed the violation, the respondent, within thirty days from the date the complaint was filed and prior to the initiation of any investigation.
       (3)    If the committee determines that the complaint alleges facts sufficient to constitute a violation, an investigation shall be conducted into the alleged violation.
       (4)    Upon the initiation of an investigation by the committee, pursuant to Rule 4.16D.(3) the committee shall notify the respondent of what matters it intends to investigate and the respondent shall have the opportunity to submit a written response to any complaint or allegations being investigated within thirty days of being notified by the committee.
       (5)    The committee may compel testimony and issue subpoenas for the procurement of witnesses and materials including books, papers, records, documents, or other tangible objects relevant to its investigation by approval of the chairman or a majority of the committee membership, subject to judicial enforcement as provided by law. The committee may administer oaths and affirmation for the testimony. A person to whom a subpoena has been issued may move before the committee for an order quashing a subpoena issued pursuant to this rule.
       (6)    If the committee determines that assistance is needed in conducting an investigation, the committee shall request the assistance of appropriate agencies.
       (7)    Upon completion of the committee's investigation, the committee shall make a determination as to whether there is probable cause to believe a violation under its jurisdiction has occurred. If the committee determines that there is no probable cause it shall dismiss the complaint. If probable cause is found the committee may either:
          (a)    render an advisory opinion to the respondent and require the respondent's compliance within a reasonable time; or
          (b)    convene a formal public hearing on the matter within thirty days.
       (8)    The committee shall refer any matters, regardless of a finding of probable cause, that are violations of law not under its jurisdiction to the appropriate law enforcement or regulatory agency.
      E.    Formal Public Hearings
        (1)    All formal public hearings of the committee must be open to the public subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (Chapter 4, Title 30).
        (2)    The investigator or attorney handling the investigation for the committee shall present the evidence related to the complaint at any public hearing and shall not serve as counsel to the committee during the hearing.
        (3)    It is the duty of the investigator or attorney to further investigate the subject of the complaint and any related matters under the jurisdiction and at the direction of the committee, to request assistance from appropriate state agencies as needed, to request authorization from the House of Representatives for funds for the hiring of auditors, investigators, or other assistance as necessary, to prepare subpoenas, and to present evidence to the committee at any public hearing. The committee shall maintain the authority to approve subpoenas, dismiss complaints, schedule hearings, grant continuances, and any other authority as provided for by the rules.
        (4)    The respondent must be allowed to examine and make copies of all evidence in the committee's possession relating to the charges. At the hearing the respondent must be afforded appropriate due process protections, including the right to be represented by counsel, the right to call and examine witnesses, the right to introduce exhibits, and the right to cross examine opposing witnesses. The committee shall issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses requested by the respondent pursuant to these rules.
        (5)    The committee may deliberate in executive session but must render its findings of fact and issue any sanctions in a public hearing.
      F.    Sanctions
          (a)    If the committee finds the respondent has committed a violation within the committee's jurisdiction it shall:
            (1)    administer a public reprimand;
            (2)    determine that a technical violation as provided for in Section 8-13-1170 or 8-13-1372 has occurred;
            (3)    require the respondent to pay a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars for each nontechnical violation that is unrelated to the late filing of a required statement or report or failure to file a required statement or report;
            (4)    require the forfeiture of gifts, receipts, or profits, or the value of each, obtained in violation of Chapter 13, Title 8 or Chapter 17, Title 2;
            (5)    recommend expulsion of the member;
            (6)    provide a copy of the complaint and accompanying materials to the Attorney General if the committee finds that there is probable cause to support the existence of criminal intent on the part of the respondent when the violation occurred;
            (7)    require a combination of items (1) though (6) as necessary and appropriate.
          (b)    The Committee shall report its findings in writing to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The report must be accompanied by an order of punishment and supported and signed by a majority of the ethics committee members. If the committee finds the respondent has not violated a code or statutory provision, it shall dismiss the charges.
          (c)    The complainant or respondent has ten days from the date of the notification of the committee's action to appeal the action to the full legislative body by written notice to the Speaker of the House.
      G.    Confidentiality
        (1)    All investigations and accompanying documents are confidential and only may be released pursuant to this rule.
        (2)    The respondent or his counsel may, by written notice, waive the confidentiality requirement. The committee shall not accept any partial waivers.
        (3)    After a finding of probable cause by a majority of the committee or a waiver by the respondent, the following documents become public record: the complaint, the response by the respondent, the notice of hearing, exhibits introduced at a hearing, the committee's findings, and the final order. Exhibits introduced must be redacted prior to release to exclude personal information when the public disclosure would constitute an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy including, but not limited to, social security and bank account numbers.
      H.    General Provisions
        (1)    Unless otherwise indicated by rule or statute, all meetings, deliberations, actions, issuance of advisory opinions, debates, recommendations, and other activities of the committee are subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (Chapter 4, Title 30).
        (2)    In an instance when the statutory process of amending a required disclosure form cannot adequately correct an error or omission contained in the form, persons subject to the jurisdiction of the committee may request that the committee correct the original filing electronically. All requests must be made to the committee in writing, containing the specific error or omission to be corrected and an explanation as to why the statutory amendment process is not adequate. The request is considered public and must be supported by a vote of a majority of the committee to be carried out. The committee will maintain a record of requests made and changes made for no less than five years.
        (3)    Notwithstanding Section 8-13-1340, a member of the House shall not, directly or indirectly, establish, finance, maintain, or control any entity including, but not limited to, a noncandidate committee that receives or makes contributions as defined in Section 8-13-1300. This rule does not apply to a candidate committee or a legislative caucus committee.
        (4)    The Clerk of the House shall, in consultation with the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, cause to be employed by the House of Representatives, counsel exclusively for the purpose of providing legal advice and counsel to the Ethics Committee. Counsel employed for this purpose shall not be employed by or with any office within the House of Representatives other than the office of the Clerk of the House.

    4.17     The Standing Committees may order to be printed for their use such papers as shall be referred to them.

    4.18     The House shall not resolve itself into Executive Session except under those circumstances permitted by the laws of this State, and then only upon a vote of two-thirds of the membership present and voting, a quorum being present. Upon resolving itself into Executive Session, the Halls of the House shall be cleared of all persons except the members of the House, the Clerk of the House and the Sergeant at Arms.
    No action shall be taken which violates the Statutory Law of this State and when such action is permissible it shall only be taken upon a two-thirds vote of the membership present and voting, a quorum being present.

    4.19     When a bill or resolution is reported out of a standing committee of the House of Representatives, a summary of the bill or resolution prepared by the staff of that committee, if such summary is available, may be made available to the members electronically. Each summary prepared by staff shall have the following language printed in bold capital letters at the top of the summary: "THE BELOW CONSTITUTED SUMMARY IS PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND IS NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION'S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. IT IS STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT".

    4.20     All Committees and subcommittees shall order a roll call vote, with the yeas and nays recorded in the minutes, on the questions of adopting a bill or joint resolution with a favorable report.

Last Updated: 12/03/2014 5:12 PM



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