April 16, 1996
Vol. 13, No. 14
South Carolina House of Representatives
David H. Wilkins, Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH
Room 309, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C.
29211, (803) 734-3230
Return to the LPITS HOME PAGE - Last Updated:
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 2:52 P.M.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Circuit Judge William Howard was elected to the State Appeals Court.
Howard, who presided over the Susan Smith murder trial, ran for the Appeals
Court earlier this year but lost to former Representative Tom Huff of North
Augusta. The Joint Committee for Judicial Screening is accepting
applications through Friday from Charleston and Berkeley County lawyers for
Howard's former Circuit Court seat.
Elections also were held for trustee board members of various colleges and
universities, and for two members of the Citadel Board of Visitors. Col.
Leonard C. Fulgham, Jr. and Douglas A. Snyder were elected to the Citadel
Board of Visitors. The following were elected to trustee boards:
Clemson University- Louis B. Lynn, William C. Smith, Jr., Allen P. Wood
College of Charleston- Cherry Daniel, Joel H. Smith, J. Phillip Bell, Meryl
F. Code, J. Vincent Price, Jr., Marie M. Land, Timothy N. Dangerfield
Francis Marion University- J. Michael Murphee, Gail Richardson, William A.
Collins, Alex Kiriakides, Lorraine H. Knight, William W. Coleman, Jr., M.
Russell Holliday, Jr.
Lander University- Nancy J. Cash, George R. Starnes, Jean T. McFerrin, C.
Tyrone Gilmore, S. Anne Walker, Walter D. Smith, Ann B. Bowen
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)- Charles B. Thomas, Jr.,
Cotesworth P. Fishbourne, Jr., E. Conyers O'Bryan, Melvyn Berlinsky, H.
Donald McElveen, Fred Moore
South Carolina State University (SCSU)- John Williams, Jr., Walter L.
University of South Carolina (USC)- Miles Loadholt, J. DuPre Miller, James
Bradley, Herbert C. Adams, Robert N. McLellan, Helen C. Harvey, M. Wayne
Stanton, Samuel R. Foster
Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School- Marvin Efron, Wilhemina McBride,
"Frankie" Newman, Suzanne Turner Reynolds
Winthrop University- Jane C. Shuler, David A. White
concurrence in Senate amendments, to be ratified
H. 4064, regarding manufactured
housing, provides that construction standards apply to mobile homes as
well. The measure requires that manufactured home contractors, installers,
and repairers warrant their work for twelve months. The bill also provides
that a criminal violation is cause for denying a license to sell
manufactured housing, revises some license expiration dates, as well as
fines for license violations. In addition, a tenth member who must be a
licensed manufactured home contractor, installer, or
repairer is added to
the "Manufactured Housing Board." H.
4335 establishes requirements and penalties for
the importation of shellfish into the state.
nonconcurrence in Senate amendments, amended, returned to the Senate for
H. 3901, originally similar to
S. 699, affected the sale of real
property to collect delinquent property taxes. The measure would have
increased the interest rate from eight to twelve per cent during the last
six months of the redemption period, and provided that owners had to pay
delinquent taxes before the sale date to redeem their property. However,
that language was struck and the bill was amended to
provide additional tax
relief and local government tax caps instead. Most local governments would
be required to receive a two-thirds "supermajority" approval to
raise taxes or fees more than the rate of inflation and growth. However,
increases due to natural disasters, debt service retirement, and judicial
mandates would be exempted from these caps. Also, governing bodies would be
allowed to collect up to four per cent, rather than the three per cent
included in the House budget, in taxes on meals and accommodations. Another
provision calls for a referendum asking voters whether to raise the sales
tax by a penny in order to eliminate property taxes on vehicles. This would
save the state's nearly two million vehicle owners about two hundred
thirteen dollars ($213) annually in taxes, providing tax relief to non-
homeowners as well. It is estimated that overall taxes paid in South
Carolina will decrease by eighty million dollars as additional revenue is
collected from tourists. As the bill came from the Senate, it contained proposals to raise the sales tax by a penny to eliminate all property
taxes, reduce the manufacturer's depreciate rate to ten per cent, decrease
small business taxes, phase out income taxes for the
elderly, and provide a
tax credit to low income individuals to offset the sales tax hike. However,
this language was removed from the bill in the House.
received third reading, amended, returned to the Senate for
S. 699 is the Senate version to
accomplish what H.
out to do. The Senate measure affects the sale of real property in order to
collect delinquent property taxes. It increases the interest rate from
eight per cent to the applicable rate during the last twelve months of the
redemption period, and provides that owners must pay
before the sale date to redeem their property. One House amendment to the
bill requires that owners receive written notification of any excess
resulting from the sale of the property. Another prohibits county officials
and their families from participating in the sale of such property for
received third reading, sent to the Senate for consideration
H. 4323 raises the maximum speed limit
on interstate highways in South Carolina to seventy miles per hour, and
sixty miles per hour on multilane divided highways. State engineers would
be permitted to set speed limits higher than fifty-five miles per hour on
some state highways. The bill also provides for a forty-five miles per hour
speed limit on unpaved roads, and a thirty miles per hour limit in an urban
district. In addition, vehicles pulling trailers are
required to travel ten
miles per hour slower than the posted speed limit. The measure was proposed
in response to revocation of national speed limits by the federal
government, allowing states to set their own maximum
limits. H. 4520 provides for binding arbitration as an
alternative dispute resolution for state employee grievances. It also
requires that an employee initiate a grievance within fourteen days of the
effective date of the action rather than the current
twenty-one days. The
bill is similar to S.
1079 which was
recalled from the House Judiciary Committee last week and now is up for
second reading in the House. H. 4568
authorizes the establishment of additional South Carolina Veterans Homes to
be run by the Department of Mental Health (DMH). Similar to federal
Veterans' Administration nursing homes, the state-run homes will provide
treatment for South Carolina veterans whose physical or mental condition
require long-term care. DMH will consult with the Division of Veterans
Affairs in the Governor's Office concerning the policies, management, and
operation of the veterans homes. H. 4649 establishes a central
cancer registry at the
Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). Statistics will be
compiled from all health care providers who diagnose
and/or treat cancer.
This information will be used to develop a statewide
strategy to prevent
cancer, encourage early detection, and improve care.
Funding will come from
the federal Center for Disease Control. H. 4663 provides that the granting of bail is
discretionary in most cases, but would continue to be prohibited for
offenders serving death or life sentences, or serving a sentence of ten
years or longer. H.
financial institutions to open new deposit accounts at public events or
businesses, such as college campuses, trade shows, grocery stores, etc.
H.4796 permits owners of semitrailers to pay a onetime fee of eighty-seven
dollars ($87) in lieu of property taxes and registration. The bill also
requires the Department of Public Safety to assess the value of motor
carriers subject to property tax. While the measure would have no immediate
fiscal impact, it is estimated that local governments could receive a fifty
per cent increase in future property tax revenues from motor carriers.
H. 4811 is a joint resolution creating
the Committee for Improved Race Relations. The measure requires that the
committee submit recommendations to alleviate racial
problems and tensions
in South Carolina. This report is due to the General
Assembly by October
15, 1996 at which time the committee will be dissolved. H. 4833 updates the Procedures Act of 1995 to comply
with current provisions. It conforms the statute of limitations on gas tax
to make it consistent with other taxes, and clarifies provisions relating
to unclaimed property and jeopardy assessments. Also, the measure extends
time constraints for protest and filing periods.
received second reading
H. 4434 provides
of a person's driver's license after a third driving
under the influence
(DUI) offense. To apply for a one-time reinstatement, a person must have
had no violations for the five years prior to application, have completed a
drug assessment and treatment program, and have paid the fifty dollar ($50)
reinstatement fee. However, a person convicted of felony DUI would not be
eligible for reinstatement. H. 4825
clarifies last session's gas tax bill. The measure provides that license
taxes are in lieu of other taxes, and that the backup tax applies to
alternative fuels as well as gasoline. Another provision states that a
license may be suspended or revoked for failure to comply with deferred
payments. H. 4834
revisions to state tax laws. The bill provides that income tax forms may be
mailed first class rather than certified or registered mail, and authorizes
alternative means for signing returns. It also redefines liabilities of
innocent spouses where the primary responsibility for the incurred tax
rests with the other spouse. Another provision deletes the requirement of
certified notification for revocation of licenses.
placed on the contested calendar
Four bills were placed on the contested calendar for
second reading last
week. H. 3803 raises the age at which
driver's licenses and permits may be obtained. A person would have to be
seventeen years old, rather than the current sixteen
years old, to receive
a driver's license. A person at least fifteen years old who passed the
written examination could receive a twelve month beginner's permit,
allowing him to drive during daylight hours when accompanied by a driver at
least twenty-one years old who has at least one year of driving experience.
A restricted license would be issued to a person between fifteen and
seventeen years old who had received a beginner's permit and had passed a
road test. The restricted license permits unsupervised driving during
daylight hours, but requires supervised nighttime driving accompanied by a
driver at least twenty-one years old who has at least one year of driving
experience. H. 4443,
Schools Act, authorizes establishment of district-wide schools which are
freed from certain state regulations. The measure permits these schools to
be dedicated to specialized academic areas, and to hire unlicensed
teachers. H. 4469
is known as the
"South Carolina Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996." The bill
limits the appeals process and empowers the governor to set execution dates
rather than the Supreme Court. Deadlines would be set for filing post-
conviction death penalty relief appeals. Prosecutors
would have thirty days
to answer an appeal rather than the current ninety days. Fifteen days
later, a status conference would have to be held. A hearing would be
scheduled forty-five days after the conference, with a judge's ruling
required within thirty days of the hearing. H.
4637, similar to S. 1195, defines the mission of higher education in
South Carolina and requires accountability from higher education
institutions. The bill also provides the Commission on Higher Education
with regulatory authority for the first time. The Commission is authorized
to close institutions which do not meet standards, and to eliminate
programs which are duplicated unnecessarily. The measure establishes
critical success factors for academic quality, and prescribes performance
indicators to measure these factors. In addition, it
revises the method of
determining budgets of higher education institutions, and bases those
budgets in part on achievement of standards rather than the number of
tabled, vote reconsidered, debate adjourned
H. 4447 provides that a child may
attend a South Carolina public school only if he lives with a resident of
that school district. The bill deletes a provision that allows for
attendance when a child owns real estate with an assessed value of three
hundred dollars ($300) or more in that district. Debate was adjourned until
Tuesday, April 16, 1996.
S. 1079 was recalled from the House
Judiciary Committee last week and now is up for second reading in the
House. The bill provides for binding arbitration as an alternative dispute
resolution for state employee grievances. It also specifies which
grievances may be mediated, and requires an employee to initiate a
grievance within fourteen days after the effective date of the action,
rather than the current twenty-one days. The measure is similar to
H. 4520 which received third reading in
the House last week and was sent to the Senate for consideration.
conference committee members appointed
Representatives Marion Carnell, Harry Hallman, and Juanita White were
appointed to a conference committee on S. 846. The bill provides for issuance of state
Olympic license tags raising an estimated twenty-three thousand dollars
($23,000) per thousand tags. The House proposed that
revenue be divided
equally between the United States Olympic Committee and the South Carolina
Special Olympics. However, the Senate provided that the South Carolina
Amateur Sports Program would receive half of the money.
The Senate Finance Committee began work on the $4.4 billion dollar budget
for fiscal year 1996-97 last week. Among the proposals suggested are $27.3
million dollars for the first year of a two year phase in of all day
kindergarten for five year olds, a 3.4% pay raise for state employees, $2.7
million dollars to hire forty-five new troopers, $1.6 million dollars for
new license tags, and $3 million dollars for electronic monitoring of
concurrence in House amendments, to be ratified
S. 991 revises the "Omnibus
Insurance Fraud and Reporting Act." Requested by the Insurance Fraud
Division of the Attorney General's Office, the bill requires that all state
agencies report any knowledge or suspicion of insurance fraud and provides
them immunity for such reports. Insurance employees designated to
investigate fraud who share information with the National Insurance Crime
Bureau, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or other
insurance employees also designed to investigate fraud would be granted
immunity as well.
nonconcurrence in House amendments, amended, returned to the House
S. 1101 requires
members of voter
registration boards, and election and registration commissions to complete
training and pass an examination by the State Election Commission within
eighteen months after election. The bill also changes appointment
procedures for poll managers and clerks.
read the third time, amended, returned to the House
H. 3557 provides that a civic
organization which is exempt from paying federal taxes does not have to
file a registration statement with the Secretary of State under the
Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act. The bill also allows an organization
to collect up to twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) without having to file
the statement. Currently that cap is five thousand dollars ($5,000). The
bill also provides that state and local governments do not have to file a
registration statement. Under the measure, organizations which are not
exempt under these conditions must file a financial report covering the
preceding fiscal year within four and one-half months after the close of
the organization's fiscal year. Currently that report is due within two and
one-half months. H.
public hearing and notification requirements concerning insurance rate
increases. The bill provides that insurers which earn less than two million
dollars annually in South Carolina, rather than the current five hundred
thousand dollars ($500,000), do not have to comply with public notice and
hearing requirements for rate increases. The measure also revises
information to be included in a public notice when needed, and provides
that a copy of the notice must be sent to the Consumer Advocate. H.
4666 provides that the South Carolina Research
Authority may be known as the "SCRA." The bill also authorizes
the SCRA to form not-for-profit and for-profit corporations. The Senate
amendment provides for independent auditing of any for-profit corporations
formed. This measure is similar to S. 1187 which was recommitted to the Senate Finance
Committee last week.
received third reading, sent to the House
S. 128 decreases the sentence for a
second offense of driving under the influence (DUI) from sixty days to
thirty days so that these cases may be heard in magistrate's court rather
than circuit court. S. 659
hotels with liquor licenses may establish in each room a locked
"hospitality cabinet" containing no more than thirty mini-
bottles. S. 1033
requires the Attorney
General to establish a youth mentor program combining church and community
resources. Participation in this program may be ordered by the Family Court
as a pretrial diversion option or as an alternative case disposition for
nonviolent offenders. This bill is similar to H.
4900 which was assigned to the House Judiciary
Committee last week. S.
local government expenditures mandated by the General Assembly, provides
that counties are bound by general and special appropriation acts although
these bills do not require two-thirds approval for passage. S. 1079 provides for binding arbitration as an
alternative dispute resolution for state employee grievances. The bill
specifies which grievances may be mediated, and requires an employee to
initiate a grievance within fourteen days of the effective date of the
action, rather than the current twenty-one days. The
measure is similar to
H. 4520 which received third reading in
the House last week and was sent to the Senate for consideration. S.
1114 authorizes Georgetown County to have a
Register of Mesne Conveyance. S. 1195
defines the mission of higher education in the state. It provides the
Commission on Higher Education with regulatory authority for the first
time. The Commission also is allowed to close institutions which do not
meet standards, and to eliminate programs and institutions which are
duplicated unnecessarily. Critical success factors for academic quality are
established, and performance indicators are prescribed to measure these
factors. The measure also revises the method to determine budgets, based in
part on achievement of standards rather than number of students served. The
bill also provides for an independent audit of the $600 million dollars
spent annually on higher education. This audit is to be completed by July
1998. The measure is based on recommendations of a bipartisan,
public/private task force. It focuses on several major areas: teacher and
classroom quality, cooperation between the institutions, entrance
requirements, achievements of graduates, efficiency,
mission, and research
funding. H. 3915,
a complementary bill
enacting some of these provisions, was recalled from the Senate Education
Committee last week and committed to the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
S. 1327 prohibits the governor from
reappointing a magistrate who fails to meet training or certification
requirements. This measure was introduced after reports that four
magistrates who failed the test were able to keep their jobs despite a
state law requiring their removal. S. 1328 approves a State Crop Pest Commission
regulation designating the tropical soda apple as a noxious weed which may
be eradicated in the state. S. 1345
concerns the Confederate submarine sunken off the coast of Sullivan's
Island. The measure provides that the Hunley Commission is exempt from the
state procurement code. It also authorizes the Commission to sign an
agreement which gives South Carolina permanent custody of the submarine but
allows the federal government to retain the title.
concurrent resolution adopted
H. 4841 designates Thursday, May 2,
1996 as "Legislative Family Day 1996" in recognition and
appreciation of the patience and understanding shown by families of members
of the General Assembly.
recalled and committed
H. 3915 was recalled from the Senate
Education Committee and committed to the Senate Committee on Medical
Affairs. This bill addresses the composition of the Commission on Higher
Education and enacts some of the provisions contained in S. 1195.
S. 1187 was recommitted to the Senate
Finance Committee. The measure is similar to H.
4666 which received third reading in both
chambers but was amended by the Senate last week and
returned to the House
for concurrence. The Senate bill provides that the South Carolina Research
Authority may be known as the "SCRA," and may form not-for-profit
and non-profit corporations. H. 4387
was recommitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill grants
employers immunity for providing references for former employees. An
absolute immunity would be granted for such objective information as hiring
date and salary. Qualified immunity would be provided for subjective
information, such as work ethic and habits. Ligation
could be brought only
in cases of knowingly false or reckless disclosure. This measure is similar
to S. 1041 which has received third
reading in both chambers and has been enrolled for ratification.
The Senate Medical Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday,
April 22, 1996 at the Koger Center in Columbia. Members will hear testimony
about the proposed lease of three hospitals at the Medical University of
South Carolina (MUSC) to the Columbia/HCA hospital chain.
AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND ENVIRONMENTAL
Committee members reported favorably on two bills last week. S. 68 provides immunity from liability for a technical
expert who provides advice and assistance to a local
government during a
hazardous materials emergency. H. 4717
defines "structural fill" and restricts local governments from
regulating these facilities. Also, the measure authorizes the Department of
Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to issue permits for short term
structural fills which operate less than twelve months.
The Committee also approved a DHEC regulation concerning the use of
nonhazardous solid waste on land for agricultural, silvicultural, and
horticultural purposes rather than simply for disposal. The regulation
encourages and establishes criteria for recycling materials which
habitually have been disposed of in a landfill but may be used instead to
produce crops or forest products, or on land being reclaimed to enhance its
aesthetic value or to reduce environmental degradation.
Last month, H. 3553
failed to be
approved. The bill prohibited the transportation of spent nuclear fuel or
high-level radioactive waste in the state without an
statement and certification that the material would not pose a significant
risk. The measure was designed to lessen the amount of European spent fuel
being sent to the Savannah River Site for storage. A
motion was made at
that time to reconsider the vote; however, the motion to reconsider failed
last week, effectively killing the measure for the session.
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC WORKS
Only the full Education and Public Works Committee met last week, reporting
out no legislation.
Committee members reported favorably on ten bills last week. S. 1084 codifies and condenses provisions concerning
sale of beer, wine, and alcoholic beverages into a single chapter. S. 1102, concerning absentee ballots,
authorizes that handicapped and illiterate voters may make their marks on
ballots. Originally the bill provided that the absence of the witness'
address on the envelope was not a ground for challenging the ballot;
however, the Judiciary Committee struck that provision from the bill.
H. 4251 provides that drivers are
responsible for requiring anyone under eighteen years old, rather than the
current seventeen years old, to wear safety belts in
vehicles. Drivers who
do not comply are guilty of failure to secure a safety belt on a minor.
This offense is punishable by a waivable fine of not more than twenty-five
dollars ($25). The Judiciary Committee amended the bill to provide that
drivers may not be stopped for this offense in the absence of another
violation, except at license and registration checkpoints. H. 4502 prohibits same-sex marriages, and provides
that such marriages performed in other states will not be recognized in
South Carolina. A similar bill was reported favorably by the Senate
Judiciary Committee last week also. H. 4692 concerns sales of abandoned property by
owners of self-storage facilities to recoup delinquent rental fees. The
bill deletes the requirement that the sale must be advertised in a local
newspaper, and that other parties with superior liens must be notified. A
Judiciary Committee amendment requires owners to provide local law
enforcement agencies with a detailed inventory of the personal property to
be sold, including serial numbers when available. H.
4743 authorizes a candidate for director of a
watershed conservation district to declare his candidacy with the State
Election Commission rather than being required to submit a nominating
petition. H. 4789,
support payments, also contains "The Uniform Interstate Family Support
Act" relating to Welfare provisions. The measure requires applicants
for licenses to submit their social security number, and provides employers
with greater incentives and tax breaks for hiring Welfare recipients. An
amendment by the Judiciary Committee provides for transitional Medicaid and
child care benefits for two years rather than one year for Welfare
recipients who lose eligibility because of employment or who become
employed after losing eligibility by exceeding the two year time limit.
H. 4802 provides that retired Family
Court judges may be assigned by the Chief Justice to
serve in any court as
needed. H. 4803 gives the State Supreme
Court more power to remove bad judges. The joint resolution establishes
reasons, other than impeachment, that the State Supreme Court may recall
judges. These include misconduct, ethical breaches, habitual intemperance,
persistent failure to perform the duties of office, and mental or physical
incapacity. H. 4805
is an extensive
revision of appeals laws.
Two bills failed and another was tabled in committee
action last week.
Members tabled H.
a certificate of environmental compatibility and public convenience, and
necessity for siting of gas pipelines. The measure also deletes language
stating that the Public Service Commission (PSC) does not have the
authority to prescribe the routing of pipeline "rights-of-way."
Representatives failed to approve H. 4529 and H. 4652. H. 4529
called for a referendum to determine whether members of the State House of
Representatives should serve four year terms rather than two year terms.
H. 4652 concerned the transfer of a
domestic animal to a shelter when the owner fails to pick up the animal.
Current law provides that a person who boards animals of others may
transfer an abandoned animal to a shelter ten days after the agreed date on
which the owner was to have picked up the animal. Before doing so, owners
must have signed an agreement for doing such, and notification by mail must
have been attempted. This bill provided that a person who transfers an
animal without first undertaking these measures is guilty of a misdemeanor,
and must be imprisoned for not more than thirty days or fined not more than
two hundred dollars ($200).
LABOR, COMMERCE, AND INDUSTRY
The full Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee reported favorably on two
bills: H. 4701 allows financial
institutions to open new deposit accounts at public events or commercial
locations (i.e. college campuses, trade shows, etc.) so long as the
sponsoring organization gives permission; H. 3913 exempts homeowners associations from
regulations for swimming pool construction and operation permits. The
Committee also recommended approval for two regulations: R. 1908, proposed by the Residential Builders
Commission to establish qualifications and fees for home inspectors similar
to those which apply to residential builders and specialty contractors; R. 1909, promulgated by the Pilotage
Commission for the Port of Charleston to add prerequisites for
apprenticeship applications and repeal the age caps for pilots.
The Property and Casualty Insurance Subcommittee amended and gave a
favorable report to H.
legislation suggested by the Department of Insurance in the hopes of
dissuading insurance companies from pulling out of the South Carolina
market due to weighty assessments which may be charged to them by the
state's Wind and Hail Association in order to keep the Association self
sustained. If premiums charged by the Wind and Hail
insufficient, all property and casualty insurers transacting businesses in
this state may be called upon to share in the Association's losses
(regardless of whether the insurer operates only in Greenville or Aiken
Counties, for example, and the losses are sustained on the coast). In the
wake of Hurricane Hugo, over forty licensed insurers have pulled out of the
state for fear of sharing in these losses. The bill aims to correct the
situation by allowing for flex rating, that is, an insurer would be allowed
to file and use, without going through the lengthy pre-approval process,
rates for wind coverage which are 90% or less than the rates charged by,
and approved for, the Wind and Hail Association. Insurers would also be
able to adjust rates according to such factors as use of storm shutters,
distance from water, elevation, etc. The bill also provides legal immunity
for the good faith actions of the Department of Insurance and the Wind and
Hail Association. The Committee also recommended approval for R. 1929, a regulation promulgated by the Department
of Insurance to repeal in their entirety the risk classifications and
territories for automobile insurance, allowing the Director to promulgate
revised plans, as authorized.
The Labor and Commerce Subcommittee amended and gave a favorable report to
H. 4545, a bill redefining an electric
utility's costs by: (1) requiring the Public Service
Commission to review
and set fuel costs every twelve months (rather than the current six) which
a utility may recover through charges to customers; (2) allowing a utility
to include sulfur dioxide emission allowances as part of fuel costs rather
than capital costs; (3) making clear that a utility is allowed to include
purchased power in fuel costs; (4) requiring that an
operating a nuclear power plant at 90% net capacity make every reasonable
effort to minimize the cost of operating its nuclear
subcommittee amended and gave a favorable report to H.
4546, a bill which allows an electrical utility
to sell or otherwise dispose of its utility property
without the currently-
required hearing before the Public Service Commission. Amendments to the
bill allow the Public Service Commission to review such transactions
through hearings as it sees fit, and requires the electrical utility to
notify the Consumer Advocate when disposing of its property. The
Subcommittee also reported favorably on S. 1075, a bill which authorizes the Public Service
Authority to: (1) add Calhoun and Colleton to the list of counties in which
it may purchase and operate water treatment and distribution facilities;
(2) buy, sell, and distribute water in those counties as it may already do
in Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Dorchester, Orangeburg, and Sumter
counties; and (3) transfer water from one river basin to another, which it
is presently prohibited from doing.
MEDICAL, MILITARY, PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
The Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee gave
favorable reports to the following bills: H. 4568, allowing the Mental Health Commission to
establish on its own property state veterans' homes;
H. 4649, creating a central cancer registry to
compile data for use in combatting cancer; H.
4277 which brings the state's employment
discrimination law into accordance with the federal Americans with
Disabilities Act; and, S.
procedures for the Division of Foster Care Review.
The Military and Public Affairs Subcommittee gave a favorable report
H. 4404 which allows the legislative
delegation to delegate its authority to recommend the appointment and
removal of county veteran's affairs officers to the county governing body. The Subcommittee amended and reported favorably on H.
4702, "The Alzheimer's Special Care
Disclosure Act," which requires any facility licensed by the
Department of Health and Environmental Control to offer an Alzheimer's
special care unit to include in its policies and procedures the specific
form of care provided which makes the program especially suited to
sufferers of Alzheimer's disease. The facility would also have to provide
such information to those seeking to place someone in the special care
The Health and Environmental Affairs Subcommittee amended and gave
favorable report to two bills. H. 4392, "The Osteoporosis Prevention and
Treatment Act," creates a fund separate from the General Fund to be
administered by the Department of Health and Environmental Control to
promote public awareness, prevention, and treatment of osteoporosis. H. 4677 requires a boxer to produce a
physician's certification that he is free of HIV and AIDS before
participating in a match.
The Occupational Regulation and Licensing Boards Subcommittee amended and
reported favorably on H.
allows a patient to receive treatment from a physical therapist without
first receiving a referral from a doctor or dentist. The physical
therapist would be authorized to refer a patient to a doctor or dentist
should the patient's medical condition be beyond the PT's scope of
practice. Amendments adopted by the subcommittee: (1) specify that
insurance companies need not reimburse for any physical therapy services
rendered without a doctor's or dentist's prescription; (2) make clear that
physical therapists are not authorized to perform chiropractic services;
and (3) requires the physical therapist to consult with the patient's
physician or dentist within thirty days after commencement of the physical
WAYS AND MEANS
The full Ways and Means Committee did not meet last week. Neither did any
of its subcommittees.
AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND ENVIRONMENTAL
The bill deletes provisions requiring reciprocal license acknowledgements
of veterinarians. Instead the measure requires that veterinarians licensed
in another state pass a written examination to practice in South Carolina.
ILL TREATMENT OF
ANIMALS Rep. Cain
This skeletal measure will be designed to increase the penalty for ill
treatment of animals.
The proposed legislation authorizes coastal property
owners to shrimp from
docks that they own which are adjacent to their property.
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC WORKS
AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
MONUMENT Sen. Jackson
This joint resolution proposes that an African American History Monument be
erected on the State House grounds and creates a commission to select its
design and placement.
RETENTION OF STATE
AGENCY RECORDS General Committee
This joint resolution recommends approval for Regulation 1904 promulgated
by the Department of Archives and History to provide a general retention
schedule for data processing and electronic records common to most state
agencies and institutions.
DRIVER'S LICENSES Rep. Limehouse
This bill raises from sixteen to seventeen the minimum age at which one may
obtain a driver's license and requires the successful completion of a
driver's education course for obtaining or renewing a driver's license.
PROOF OF AUTO
INSURANCE Rep. Stille
This bill requires that proof of valid auto insurance, in addition to
vehicle registration, be carried while operating a vehicle and displayed to
officers on request.
"BEAR'S BLUFF ROAD
SCENIC HIGHWAY" Rep. Seithel
This bill designates a portion of South Carolina Highway 316 in Charleston
County as "Bear's Bluff Road Scenic Highway."
HIGHWAY" Rep. Seithel
This bill designates a portion of South Carolina Highway 700 in Charleston
County as "Maybank Scenic Highway."
HOSPITALITY CABINETS Sen. Cork
The bill provides that hotels with liquor licenses may establish in each
room a locked "hospitality cabinet" containing no more than
YOUTH MENTOR PROGRAM Sen. Jackson
Similar to H. 4900
, the measure
requires that the Attorney General establish a youth
mentor program which
combines church and community resources. Participation in the program may
be ordered by the Family Court as a pretrial diversion option, as an
alternative case disposition for nonviolent offenders, or as a condition of
MANDATES TO LOCAL
GOVERNMENTS Sen. McGill
Concerning expenditures mandated to local governments by state government,
the bill provides that such mandates contained in general and special
appropriation acts passed by the Legislature do not have to receive two-
thirds approval of the General Assembly in order to require that counties
are bound by these mandates.
GRIEVANCES Sen. Drummond
The bill authorizes binding arbitration as an alternative dispute
resolution for state employee grievances. The measure specifies which
grievances may be mediated, and requires that an employee initiate a
grievance within fourteen days of the effective date of the action, rather
than the current twenty-one days. This bill is similar to H. 4520
which received third reading in the House last week and was sent to the
Senate for consideration.
MESNE CONVEYANCES Sen. Smith
The bill authorizes Georgetown County to establish a
Register of Mesne
MAGISTRATES Sen. Holland
The proposed legislation prohibits the Governor from
magistrate who fails to meet training or certification requirements. The
measure is similar to H.
also was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee last week.
INTENT TO COMMIT
CRIME Rep. McElveen
This measure provides that it is unlawful for an inmate to tell another
person that he plans to commit a crime when released. The person would be
subject to penalty provisions applicable to the crime he says he intends to
MAGISTRATES Rep. Wright
The proposed legislation prohibits the governor from
reappointing a person
as magistrate who has failed to complete the required training or pass the
certification examination. The bill is similar to
1327 which received third reading in the Senate
last week, and was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
BOARD/COMMISSION TRAINING Rep. Robinson
The bill requires members of voter registration boards and election and
registration commissions to complete training and pass a certification
examination within eighteen months after appointment or reappointment.
DIVORCE COUNSELING Rep. Easterday
This measure requires a couple to receive divorce counseling before a
divorce may be granted.
YOUTH MENTOR ACT Rep. Howard
Similar to S. 1033
, the proposed
legislation enacts the "Youth Mentor Act." It requires that the
Attorney General establish a youth mentor program based on community and
church resources. Youthful nonviolent offenders could opt to voluntarily
participate in the program. Also, the courts may order participation in the
program as a pretrial intervention or a condition of
AUTHORITY Rep. Harrison
This bill prohibits the Public Service Authority from making charitable
contributions or expending any funds except when directly related to
purposes which the Authority was established to accomplish.
RESPONSIBILITIES Rep. Neal
The measure revises penalties for a driver involved in an accident which
results in death or injury to another. It also provides that failure to
stop in such an accident is a felony punishable by a
mandatory fine of five
to ten thousand dollars ($5,000-$10,000) and mandatory imprisonment of
thirty days to fifteen years when injury results. When death occurs, a
mandatory fine of ten to twenty-five thousand dollars ($10,000-$25,000) and
mandatory imprisonment of one to twenty-five years is imposed. No part of
the fine or sentence could be suspended, or probated. In addition, the
person's driver's license is suspended for the term of imprisonment plus
three years. Current law only provides for punishment including a thirty
day to one year sentence, or a one hundred to five thousand dollar ($100-
$5,000) fine. Also, driving privileges are revoked.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
ACT Rep. Hodges
Concerning public records, the bill provides that a person's name, address,
and telephone number are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of
Information Act when requested for commercial solicitation.
DAYCARE LICENSING Rep. Wofford
The proposed legislation revises definitions and requirements of daycare
facilities. Also, it provides that church sponsored daycare facilities must
meet these requirements beginning October 1, 1996.
STEALING ELECTRICITY Rep. Kennedy
The measure adds penalties for a second or subsequent offense of illegally
connecting to electricity. An offender is guilty of a misdemeanor
punishable by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000),
imprisonment of not more than three years, or both.
STATEMENTS OF INTENTION
OF CANDIDACY Rep. Clyburn
The bill authorizes candidates to file their statements of intention of
candidacy with the county election commission rather than the county
executive committee of their respective party.
VEHICLES Rep. Loftis
In response to a recent nationally reported incident, this measure
prohibits a department, agency, municipality, or county responsible for
enforcing traffic laws from doing so while using unmarked patrol vehicles.
REGISTRATION OF MOTOR
VEHICLE CARRIERS Rep. Jaskwhich
Concerning certification and registration violations of taxis, moving vans,
and hazardous waste transporters, the bill provides that a person who
either directly or indirectly violates these provisions is guilty of a
misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars
($100) for a first offense, and not less than five hundred dollars ($500)
for a second offense. Subsequent offenses are subject to a fine of not less
than one thousand dollars ($1,000), a sentence not to exceed thirty days,
or both. The measure also deletes the requirement that the Public Service
Commission (PSC) mail copies of summons to motor vehicle carriers.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Rep. H. Brown
When fleshed out, this skeletal measure will provide a simplified procedure
for using fee-in-lieu of taxes to promote economic development in the
Also a skeletal bill, this measure will revise provisions related to liens
for repairs or storage, and the liability of certain
ACQUISITION Rep. Seithel
The bill authorizes the state to acquire historically valuable property by
condemnation. The measure also requires that the state preserve and protect
HATE CRIMES Rep.
The measure provides additional penalties for malicious injury to personal
and real property with intent to assault, intimidate, or threaten certain
persons. The bill provides that a person convicted of a "hate
crime" is guilty of a felony, and must be fined two to ten thousand
dollars ($2,000-$10,000), imprisoned two to fifteen years, or both. Two
thousand dollars ($2,000) of a fine or two years of a sentence may not be
suspended. Also, the bill also revises the sentence for an offense against
real property as well from the current ten years to fifteen years.
VEHICLES Rep. Tripp
The proposed legislation requires the director of the Department of Public
Safety to publish and place written copies of policies regarding the use of
an unmarked patrol vehicle in each of these vehicles.
UPON MULTIPLE DEFENDANTS Rep. S. Whipper
The skeletal bill provides that certain causes of action involving a
special verdict to specify proportionate liability upon multiple defendants
must be filed in magistrate's court.
VISITATION RIGHTS Rep. Neilson
Concerning visitation, the measure requires the Family Court to order
travel expenses of the child be paid by the custodial parent, and that the
length of visitation by the noncustodial parent be extended to reflect
COMMISSION Rep. Neilson
The proposed legislation establishes the South Carolina Judicial Nominating
Commission which would assist the General Assembly in selecting judges. The
bill also provides for nominating and election procedures, and requires
that legislators resign before applying to become judges.
LABOR, COMMERCE, AND INDUSTRY
AGENCIES Sen. Rose
This bill would give the Secretary of State discretion in determining
whether to renew the license of a private personnel agency when the
licensee fails to meet the deadline for renewal.
INFRASTRUCTURE BANK ACT Rep. Limehouse
This bill establishes a state infrastructure bank to
provide loans and
other financial assistance to government units and private entities to
finance public highways and transit projects. The Department of
Transportation is authorized to fund the bank with up to five percent of
funds appropriated for construction and maintenance of state highways. Federal grants, loan repayments, etc. could be credited to the bank, and
public and private entities could borrow from it.
REAL ESTATE AGENT
CONTINUING EDUCATION Rep. J. Young
This bill raises from eight to sixteen the number of
hours of continuing
education required biennially for real estate agents to renew licenses.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS Rep. Jaskwhich
This bill requires the Public Service Commission to monitor the cellular telecommunications industry in this state for the purpose of compiling data
which would facilitate the state's regulation of this industry should the
federal government transfer that regulatory function to the states.
MEDICAL, MILITARY, PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
OFFICERS Rep. Neilson
This bill reduces the minimum logged service time required of reserve
police officers from twenty to ten hours per month and from sixty to thirty
hours per quarter.
HEARING AID FITTERS AND
DEALERS Rep. Cato
This bill conforms professional and licensing boards for hearing aid
fitters and dealers under a uniform framework for the organization and
operation of professional and occupational boards.
IMPLANT WARNINGS Rep. Koon
This bill requires a physician to inform a patient of the advantages,
disadvantages, risks, and manufacturers warnings before surgically
implanting any foreign matter into the patient's body.
WAYS AND MEANS
SPOLETO LOAN Sen.
The $1.2 million dollar Spoleto loan is to be repaid in three equal annual
payments. This measure defers the first $400,000 payment for a year until
June 30, 1997.
PROSECUTION COORDINATION Sen. Holland
Concerning the Commission on Prosecution Coordination, the proposed
legislation replaces the executive director of the South Carolina Criminal
Justice Academy as a member of the Commission with the director of the
Department of Public Safety.
BORDER Sen. Drummond
The bill specifies that measurements for the South Carolina/Georgia border,
specifically the Lower Savannah River Region, are based on North American
ON LAKE WILLIAM C. BOWEN Sen. Reese
This measure authorizes the use of watercraft with one hundred ninety
maximum horsepower on outdrive or inboard motors rather than the current
limit of one hundred eighty horsepower.
RETIREMENT BENEFITS FOR
FORMER LEGISLATORS/JUDGES Rep. Kirsh
Until recently, a former state legislator at least sixty-five years old who
was employed by an agency participating in either the State Retirement
System or the State Police Officers' Retirement System, was prohibited from
collecting benefits from the Retirement System for Members of the General
Assembly while employed by the agency. However, lawmakers overturned that
prohibition. Introduced in response to recent media reports on the change
in provisions, this bill reinstates the prohibition,
affecting six former
legislators. The measure also prohibits judges from drawing judicial
pensions if becoming a legislator after retirement. The bill is similar to
SALES TAX ON NEW
TIRES Rep. Cromer
The measure provides that consumers do not have to pay sales tax on the two
dollar ($2) disposal fee on new tires.
PRODUCTS DEVELOPED BY
HIGHER EDUCATION FACILITIES Rep. Davenport
This bill provides that institutions of higher education may sell products
which they develop to public sector recipients. Other sales would require
prior approval from the Budget and Control Board (B&C) or that no
private sector vendors within the state sell a similar product.
CAPITAL GAINS TAXES Rep. Davenport
The proposed legislation limits the amount of capital gains which may be
deducted from state income taxes to five hundred thousand dollars
($500,000) per year. If reinvestment requirements are not meet, proceeds
not reinvested within the required period must be added to taxable income
in the year the period expires.
HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION FOR
SCHOOL PROPERTY TAXES Rep. Waldrop
Concerning property tax relief, this bill requires that the state reimburse
at least ninety per cent of property taxes levied for school operations no
later than October 15th each year. The balance be paid no later than the
next March 1st.
CORPORATE INCOME TAX Rep. Canty
The bill allows an exclusion of twenty-eight and one half per cent for sole
proprietors, subchapter "S" corporation shareholders, partners,
and members of limited liability companies. However, this deduction would
be capped at ten thousand dollars ($10,000), and would be phased out as
GAS TAX EXEMPTIONS Rep. Hallman
This measure deletes the sales tax exemption for gasoline and other motor
fuels, but leaves in place the exemption for farming and commercial fishing
purposes. It also dedicates all of the gas tax collected to the state
highway fund to be used for new road construction.
INVESTING Rep. Carnell
The proposed legislation authorizes local governments to invest in stocks.
Currently state and local governments are allowed to
invest only in fixed
income securities such as bonds and savings accounts. Investment in stocks
has been prohibited since stocks are traditionally more volatile, and thus
produce greater returns. South Carolina is one of only three states with
such a prohibition.
STATE INCOME TAX
DEDUCTIONS Rep. Richardson
The measure increases the state income tax deduction for a person sixty-
five years old or older on a sliding scale according to age and deduction
percentages. Twenty per cent of income would be tax exempt for a person
sixty-five years old; forty per cent for someone sixty-six years old; sixty
per cent when the person is sixty-seven years old; and eighty per cent for
those sixty-eight years old. No more taxes would be paid by a person over
sixty-eight years old. The bill also provides for cases in which spouses
file joint state income tax returns, but one spouse is ineligible for the
EXEMPTIONS Rep. Littlejohn
Under this bill, a person who is blind and permanently and totally disabled
is exempted from paying property tax on his primary residence.
SERVICE DISTRICT PROPERTY TAX Rep. Seithel
The measure requires that if a special purpose district or public service
district levies a tax millage in the county area, a portion of the
distribution to the county must be used to provide a
credit against the
district property tax liability of taxpayers in the district.
RETIREMENT BENEFITS Rep. Fleming
Similar to H. 4883
, the bill addresses
retirement benefits of some former legislators and judges. In the past, a
former state legislator at least sixty-five years old or older who was
employed by an agency participating in either the State Retirement System
or the State Police Officers' Retirement System, was
collecting benefits from the Retirement System for Members of the General
Assembly while employed by the agency. Lawmakers overturned that
prohibition, but recent media attention prompted the
introduction of these
bills to reinstate the prohibition. The measure also
prohibits judges from
drawing judicial pensions if becoming a legislator after retirement.
REVENUES Rep. Govan
This skeletal bill will provide for the disbursement of certain state and
federal funds for educational purposes.
BENEFITS Rep. Rogers
Another skeletal bill, the measure will eliminate prospectively the
Retirement System for Members of the General Assembly. Instead legislators
would participate in the State Retirement System.
The Legislative Update is now on-line! Members and staff who are on the
network may access documents by pressing "List Files (F5)," then
typing "H:\UPDATE" and pressing "enter." All of the
Legislative Updates will be listed by week. Using up/down arrows, choose
the Legislative Update which corresponds to the week you need and press
If you need or prefer to access the Legislative Update through the World
Wide Web, visit the South Carolina General Assembly Home Page. Click on the
"Quick-Find Guide" on the first page. Click on
"Reports" on the next page. This will list all of the Legislative
Updates by week. Click on the week you need.
Follow the links in this index to pull up the paragraph in this issue
discussing the bill concerned. Follow the link in that paragraph to pull
up the bill's text, history, and status.
The S.C. General Assembly
Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 2:52 P.M.