South Carolina House of Representatives
David H. Wilkins, Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH
Room 213, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230
NOTE: Bill summaries included in this document are prepared by the staff of the South Carolina House of Representatives and are not the expression of the legislation's sponsor(s) or the House of Representatives. The summaries are strictly for the internal use and benefit of members of the House of Representatives and are not to be construed by a court of law as an expression of legislative intent.
For purposes of this bill, the following definitions apply:
The compact maintains a coordinated licensure information system to collect and share information on nurse licensure and enforcement actions. When a nursing license application is received in a party state, the licensing board must check through the coordinated licensure information system to verify whether the applicant holds or has ever held a license issued by any other state, whether there are any restrictions on the applicant's multi-state privilege, and whether any other adverse licensure action by any state has been taken against the applicant's license.
The bill specifies the conditions under which a nurse may be issued a license to practice in participating and non-participating states. Under the compact, a license to practice nursing issued by a home state to a resident in that state must be recognized by each party state as authorizing a multi-state licensure privilege to practice in each party state. In order to obtain or retain a license, an applicant must meet the home state's qualifications for licensure, license renewal, and all other applicable home state laws. A party state may, in accordance with that state's due process laws, revoke, suspend, or limit the multi-state licensure privilege of any licensee to practice in its state and may take any other actions under its applicable state laws that are necessary to protect the health and safety of its citizens. The practice of nursing in a party state subjects a nurse to the jurisdiction of the nurse licensing board and the laws and the courts in that party state.
If a party state takes an action against a nurse, it must notify the administrator of the coordinated licensure information system. The administrator must notify the home state of any actions taken by other states in the compact. The compact provides due process procedures for a nurse against whom an adverse licensure action is ordered.
The bill also requires, beginning January 1, 2007, a foreign-educated applicant for licensure as a registered nurse in South Carolina to pass the National Council Licensure Examination and an English language proficiency test. The House approved and sent to the Senate on H.3304. This bill provides requirements, procedures, and civil and criminal penalties intended to enhance the ENFORCEMENT OF THE TOBACCO ESCROW FUND ACT and to safeguard the master settlement agreement. The bill requires tobacco product manufacturers whose cigarettes are sold in this state to deliver an annual certification to the Attorney General certifying that the manufacturer is a participating manufacturer or is in full compliance with statutory provisions requiring participation in the Master Settlement Agreement or depositing funds in a qualified escrow fund. The bill delineates information which must be provided in the certification by participating manufacturers and by nonparticipating manufacturers.
The bill requires that the Attorney General make available for public inspection a directory listing all tobacco product manufacturers that have provided current and accurate certifications and all brand families that are listed in the certifications, with certain exceptions provided for specified nonparticipating manufacturers. The bill includes conditions and procedures for removing nonparticipating manufacturers from the directory.
The bill provides that it is unlawful to: affix a stamp to any container of cigarettes of a manufacturer or brand family not included in the directory if such a stamp is required by law or; sell, offer, acquire, hold, own, possess, transport, import, or cause to be imported for sale in this state cigarettes of a manufacturer or brand family not included in the directory. The bill provides that persons who violate this prohibition are engaging in an unfair and deceptive trade practice. The bill provides that persons who violate this prohibition with knowledge of the prohibition are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars, imprisonment for one year, or both. The bill authorizes the Attorney General to revoke or suspend the license of a cigarette distributor who violates these provisions and authorizes the Attorney General to impose a civil penalty for each violation in an amount up to the greater of five times the retail value of the cigarettes or five thousand dollars.
The bill includes requirements for certain nonresident or foreign nonparticipating manufacturers to have an agent in this state for the service of process regarding actions or proceedings arising from enforcement of the provisions of the bill. A nonparticipating manufacturer who does not have an agent is deemed to have appointed the Secretary of State as the agent.
The bill includes requirements for cigarette distributors to regularly submit information the Attorney General requires to facilitate compliance with the provisions of the bill.
The bill provides for seizure, forfeiture and destruction of cigarettes declared to be contraband. The bill provides that it is a felony for a cigarette manufacturer, importer, distributor, or retailer to sell or possess counterfeit cigarettes, and provides penalties including fines and imprisonment for first and subsequent violations of this provision. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3274, which pertains to APPEALS IN FAMILY COURT MATTERS. Current law provides that the pendency of an appeal or application may not suspend the order of the Family Court regarding a child, nor shall it discharge the child from the custody of that court or of the person, institution, or agency to whose care the child shall have been committed; nor shall it suspend payments for support and maintenance of the wife and child. As passed by the Committee, this bill provides that no automatic ten-day stay applies following the issuance of such an order; the bill also replaces the term 'wife' with the term 'spouse.' The House approved and enrolled for ratification S.207, a bill pertaining to PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS FOR SCOUTING PROGRAMS. The legislation extends to the Girl Scouts of America the property tax exemption allowed the Boy Scouts of America on all property owned and used or occupied that is used exclusively for scouting purposes. The legislation also provides that the exemption allowed also extends to property not owned by these organizations but which is used exclusively by them for scouting purposes.
The full Committee did not meet this week.
The full Committee did not meet this week.
The full House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee met on Tuesday, February 1, and gave favorable reports on two bills. The Committee gave a favorable report on S.18, the "NATURAL GAS RATE STABILIZATION ACT". The legislation proposes to bring greater stability and predictability to rates charged by natural gas distribution utilities by establishing a procedure for the adjustment of rates and charges that routinely takes into account such factors as changes in a utility's expenses, revenues, investments, and depreciation. The legislation establishes a procedure under which natural gas distribution utilities under the regulatory authority of the Public Service Commission are authorized to apply for rate adjustments on an annual basis that fall within a band of 0.50 percentage points above and below the rates that have been set in order to reflect current changes in investments, revenues, and expenses. The Committee gave a favorable report on H.3130, the "SOUTH CAROLINA RIDER SAFETY ACT". The legislation requires riders of amusement and carnival devices to: (1) comply with posted rules, warnings, and instructions; and (2) refrain from acting in any manner that may cause or contribute to injuries, such as tampering with ride controls, disengaging safety devices, throwing objects off rides, exiting the ride at undesignated areas, etc. The legislation requires timely reporting of any injuries sustained on rides. Under the legislation the owners of amusement devices are required to post signs relating to rider safety and requirements for reporting injuries. The legislation establishes a misdemeanor for violations punishable with a fine of not more than five hundred dollars and/or imprisonment for not more than two months.
The full Committee did not meet this week.
The full Committee did not meet this week.
With regards to the trapping of bears, the bill provides for the types of traps that may be used.
The bill makes revisions as to who is required to obtain a fur processor's license. The bill also makes revisions as to who is required to obtain a fur buyers license. With regards to fur buyers and processors required to keep a daily register, this bill further provides what the contents of the register should contain.
The bill provides that that a person with a commercial fur license who takes an otter or bobcat must tag the fur, pelt, hide or whole animal before it is sold, shipped, or transferred to a person or business or transported out of State, if required by the federal government to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The bill further provides for the elements of the offense of trafficking in furs or furbearing animals. The bill also revises penalties for certain offenses.
Currently the trapping season for furbearing animals for commercial services may not exceed 60 days; this bill extends the season from 60 to 61 days. The bill also changes the permit year for fox and coyote hunting enclosure permits.
The bill also repeals S.C. Code Ann. §50-11-2500 relating to permits to hold furs beyond the end of the regular season for taking furbearing animals.
The bill also prohibits custodial arrest for violation of child passenger restraint system provisions, revises the fine for violation of these provisions, and makes the full amount of this fine mandatory. The bill removes the exemption from seat belt requirements for occupants of the back seat of certain vehicles.
H.3463 CHARACTER EDUCATION Rep. Hinson
This bill requires and provides for conduct grades on a student's report card for each subject taught, and requires that the teacher include comments of explanation if the grade is "N" (Needs Improvement) of "U" (Unsatisfactory). The bill prohibits inclusion of these conduct grades as part of a student's transcript. H.3466 GRADE REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPATION IN INTERSCHOLASTIC ACTIVITIES Rep. Breeland
This bill requires students who participate in interscholastic activities in grades nine through twelve to have an overall "C" average in the preceding semester and have passed at least four academic courses (including each unit the student takes that is required for graduation). The bill requires school districts to provide academic assistance to students who wish to participate but who have not maintained the required "C" average in the preceding semester.
This bill also revises the current definition of the term 'contiguous.' Under this bill, contiguous means adjacent properties that share a continuous border. The bill also provides if a publicly owned property intervenes between two areas proposed to be incorporated that, but for the intervening publicly owned property, would be adjacent and share a continuous border, the intervening publicly owned property does not destroy contiguity.
H.3435 KIDNAPPING Rep. Whipper
The bill allows a person convicted of kidnapping before June 5, 1991, and sentenced to life imprisonment to petition the Court for a reduction in his/her sentence to 30 years. The Court, in its sole discretion, may reduce the sentence accordingly. H.3436 ABORTION Rep. Davenport
This is a joint resolution to direct the State Election Commission to hold a referendum at the time of the next general election for representatives to ascertain whether the South Carolina electors favor amending the United States Constitution to allow states to prohibit abortions. H.3438 ELECTION OF COUNTY ASSESSORS Rep. Townsend
This bill provides for county assessors to be elected at the time of the general election for a term of four years. H.3451 PROOF OF IDENTITY FOR VOTING Rep. Thompson
The bill adds passport as another form of proof of identity authorized to be accepted when a person presents proof of his or her identity to vote. H.3452 STATE REGULATION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES REVIEW COMMITTEE AND THE S.C. PUBLIC SERVICE AUTHORITY Rep. Umphlett
Currently, the State Regulation of Public Utilities Committee has the power to appoint an advisory committee from the general public; this bill requires that at least one member of the advisory committee must have electric cooperative experience. The bill also provides that the State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee has the duty to review candidates for appointment to the South Carolina Public Service Authority to determine whether or not the candidates are qualified. The bill establishes qualifications and other requirements for candidates for the South Carolina Public Service Authority. The bill also adds South Carolina Public Service Authority to the category of those State officers who can removed only for cause by the Governor. H.3454 METHODS OF ENTERING A MORTGAGE SATISFACTION Rep. Cotty
This bill makes revisions pertaining to the contents of the affidavit that an attorney is permitted to file in regard to a mortgage which he/she has satisfied. Current law provides for the affidavit to state that the attorney was given written payoff information and made such payoff and is in possession of a canceled check to the mortgagee, holder of record, or representative servicer. This bill allows for a canceled check or other evidence of payment. H.3457 PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PERTAINING TO HUNTING AND FISHING Rep. White
This joint resolution proposes submit to the electors at the next general election whether or not to amend the State Constitution so as to provide that consistent with the responsibility of the State to protect, conserve, and replenish the natural resources of this State, the people of South Carolina have the right to hunt, fish, and take game subject to reasonable restrictions prescribed by law relating to methods, times, and locations of hunting, fishing, and taking game, the rights of the owners of real property affected by hunting, fishing, and taking game, and the health and safety of the people of the State. H.3461 PROOF OF IDENTITY FOR VOTING Rep. Rutherford
The bill adds college identification card containing a photograph as another form of proof of identity authorized to be accepted when a person presents proof of his or her identity to vote. H.3462 ELECTION OF JUDGES BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY Rep. Hinson
Current law prohibits members of the General Assembly from being elected to judicial office while serving in the General Assembly and for a period of one year after service. This bill extends this prohibition to a member of the General Assembly's immediate family; the bill also defines the term 'immediate family member.' H.3464 ABSENTEE VOTING Rep. Clyburn
This bill authorizes a qualified elector to cast a ballot during a period beginning five days before a general election without qualification. H.3465 NONECONOMIC DAMAGES IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTIONS Rep. Davenport
This bill adds Chapter 32 entitled 'Noneconomic Damages in Medical Malpractice Actions' to Title 15 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
Among other things, the bill provides that the amount of noneconomic damages awarded in a medical malpractice action against a health care provider must not exceed $250,000 per plaintiff. The bill defines 'noneconomic damages' as damages to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary, compensatory damage; the term noneconomic damages does not include punitive damages.
The bill authorizes the periodic payment of future damages in lieu of a lump-sum payment when the award equals or exceeds $50,000 in future damages. The term 'future damages' includes compensatory damages for future medical treatment, care, or custody; loss of future earnings; loss of bodily function in the future; or future pain and suffering of the judgment creditor.
The bill establishes maximum limits for attorney's fees that are to be paid on a contingency fee.
The legislation establishes a process under which all medical malpractice claims will be reviewed prior to being filed with the court system. The legislation establishes the Medical Claims Review Office in the Department of Insurance. To begin a medical malpractice proceeding, a claimant is required to send a demand letter to the health care provider. This tolls the statute of limitations for 180 days from the date service was effected on the healthcare provider or 60 days after the Medical Claims Review Office has served a final opinion on the claimant, whichever occurs first.
The claim is then submitted to a medical claims review panel made up of two healthcare professional having expertise in the area of medicine that is the basis of the claim; two attorneys having expertise in the area of medical malpractice claims; two business owners with nonmedical and nonlegal backgrounds; the director of the Department of Insurance or a designee; and two members of the public having at least an associate's degree. The panel reviews the claim and determines whether the claim has merit. There is no review or appeal of the panel's decision.
If the claimant files an action for damages based upon the conduct complained of in the claim of the damages, the opinion of the panel must be included in pre-trial briefs required pursuant to South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. The proceedings of the panel and any documents, reports, and opinions of the panel are privileged and not subject to discovery and are not admissible as evidence in a medical malpractice action nor are they subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
H.3471 DISPOSAL OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA FLAG Rep. Kirsh
This bill provides that the flag of South Carolina, when it is not in a condition that it becomes a fitting emblem for display, must be destroyed in a dignified manner. Under the bill, the preferable way to destroy the South Carolina State Flag is by burning at a dignified public flag disposal ceremony.
The bill further provides for the licensure and regulation of chiropractors, including authorizing the treatment of articulation and extremities and the use of acupuncture under certain conditions. The bill clarifies that only chiropractors may perform spinal adjustment and examinations to evaluate for treatment. The bill provides for preceptorship training. The bill defines the term 'preceptorship or resident training program' as a clinical program of an approved college of chiropractic in which a chiropractic intern or resident practices chiropractic under the direct supervision of a licensed chiropractor. The bill allows out-of-state chiropractors to obtain licensure by endorsement and to serve as consultants. The bill also requires medical malpractice insurance.
H.3412 MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT Rep. Harrison
With regards to emergency admission to mental health facilities, this bill provides if a patient does not require involuntary treatment, the Court, upon proper notice, shall dismiss the petition for commitment.
With regards to taking persons who are believed to be a danger to themselves or others into custody, this bill provides that an order authorizing such custody is valid for only 72 hours after it was issued. If the person is not taken into custody within those 72 hours, the order is no longer valid.
This bill establishes procedures for a law enforcement officer to take a person that the officer believes to be mentally ill into protective custody. The bill provides immunity from liability for the officer.
With regards to the procedures for judicial commitment to a mental health facility, this bill authorizes the Court to order out-patient treatment to follow in-patient commitment.
With regards to the authority of the Family Court to commit certain children for psychiatric evaluation, this bill provides that the Court may order that such an evaluation be conducted by a community mental health center. The bill further provides if an in-patient evaluation is recommended, the Court may commit the child to a designated hospital for up to 15 days for such an evaluation.
With regards to procedures for emergency admission for alcohol and drug treatment, this bill clarifies that if the Court issues an order to take a person in need of such treatment, the order is valid for only 72 hours. If the person is not taken into custody within those 72 hours, the order is no longer valid.
The bill also exempts from ad valorem property taxation an amount of the fair market value of any watercraft, and the combined fair market value of any watercraft and its motor, sufficient to limit to one thousand, five hundred dollars the total property tax on the watercraft for a property tax year, and sufficient to limit to one thousand, five hundred dollars the total of the combined property tax on any one watercraft and its motor for a property tax year.
H.3456 MILLAGE RATE INCREASE LIMITATION Rep. White
Currently, a local governing body may increase the millage rate for general operating purposes above the previous year's rate only to the extent of the increase in the consumer price index for the preceding year. In the year in which a reassessment program is implemented, the rollback millage must be used in lieu of the previous year's millage rate. This bill provides that this rollback millage rate may be increased only by favorable vote in a referendum held for this purpose. H.3472 PAYMENT TO DARLINGTON COUNTY TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE Rep. Neilson
This bill authorizes and provides for the payment of seventy-five dollars to each member of the Darlington County Transportation Committee for each meeting of the Committee that he or she attends, up to a maximum of fifteen meetings per year for each member. The bill provides that these payments will be made from Darlington County "C" Fund revenues. The bill also provides that the Chairman of the Darlington County Legislative Delegation shall be an ex officio, nonvoting member of the Committee. H.3474 NON-PROFIT HOUSING CORPORATIONS Rep. Huggins
Currently, when nonprofit housing corporations which own property within a county or municipality which is exempt from ad valorem property taxes under an act of the General Assembly, the county or municipality or both are authorized to contract with the corporation for payments in lieu of taxes for county or municipal services. This bill adds school districts as an entity to which these payments apply, and makes the payment mandatory. H.3475 FISCAL DISCIPLINE PLAN OF 2004 Rep. W.D. Smith
This joint resolution creates and provides for an extension, through fiscal year 2010-2011, of the spending limitation imposed under the Fiscal Discipline Plan of 2004. The resolution provides for the uses of surplus fund revenue during this extension, including repayment of General Fund deficits; restoration of the General Reserve Fund; restoration of "other funds" accounts used in prior years to offset reduced General Fund Revenues; and a special fund to be created for funding road improvements and deferred maintenance on roads. The resolution provides that if the extension provides a lower spending limit than existing law and is enacted with the required special affirmative vote, the provisions of the resolution are deemed to be the constitutional spending limitation set pursuant to the 2005 review of the constitutional spending limitation (as provided in the State Constitution).
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