South Carolina House of Representatives
Robert W. Harrell, Jr., Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND CONSTITUENT SERVICES
Room 212, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230
NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES 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. THEY 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.
The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3584, a bill that increases the state’s CIGARETTE TAX and devotes the revenue generated by the increase to initiatives that encourage health insurance coverage, state agricultural assistance, and smoking prevention and cessation programs. Effective July 1, 2009, the legislation imposes an additional surtax of two and one-half cents on each cigarette, which amounts to an additional fifty cents for each pack. Each year, five million dollars of the revenue generated by the surtax is to be credited to the Smoking Prevention and Cessation Trust Fund and the revenue of five hundredths of a cent of the surtax on each cigarette must go to the Department of Agriculture for the marketing and branding of South Carolina-grown produce and for relief from natural disasters affecting state-grown crops. The remaining annual revenue generated by the increase is to be credited to the newly-created South Carolina Healthy Families Insurance Trust Fund and the Palmetto Health Care Safety Net Trust Fund. The legislation creates the South Carolina Healthy Families Insurance Plan to provide premium credits that assist eligible individuals to purchase health insurance and small businesses in providing health insurance coverage for their employees. Under the program, an individual who has a family or household income that is less than two hundred percent of the federal poverty level but is not eligible for public assistance, may receive a premium credit of seventy-five percent of the actual cost of a qualifying health insurance plan, not to exceed three thousand dollars a year. A small employer may receive a premium credit of sixty-seven percent of the actual cost of a qualifying health plan, not to exceed three thousand dollars a year. Annually after that, the Department of Insurance may adjust the amount of the premium credits, except that these amounts must not be less than fifty percent of the actual cost of coverage. The legislation creates the Palmetto Health Care Safety Net Program, to establish a self-sustaining and financially independent portion of the premium assistance pool to serve high-risk individuals, such as those with preexisting health conditions, who do not qualify for public assistance and cannot readily secure health insurance coverage in the private market. A program participant is eligible to receive an annual premium that ranges in amount from one thousand dollars to four thousand dollars based upon how the annual family or household income compares to the federal poverty level. Benefits in both the South Carolina Healthy Families Insurance Plan and the Palmetto Health Care Safety Net Program are limited according the funds that are available. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3396, a PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO INCREASE THE HOLDINGS REQUIREMENT OF THE GENERAL RESERVE FUND. This joint resolution proposes to amend the South Carolina Constitution by increasing from three percent to five percent the amount of state general fund revenue in the latest completed fiscal year required to be held in the General Reserve Fund. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3395, a bill to provide for the ENHANCEMENT OF THE GENERAL RESERVE FUND. The bill revises statutory provisions for the General Reserve Fund to conform them to any amendments to the South Carolina Constitution that change the amount required to be held in the General Reserve Fund and the rate of replenishment of that amount. The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.3272, a bill revising the provision of the South Carolina Real Property Valuation Reform Act of 2006 which requires the assessed value of real property to be determined at the time it is sold. In the years since the passage of the comprehensive changes to the taxation of real property, there have been consistent reports that the legislation’s requirement for the point-of-sale reassessment of a property’s value has proven disconcerting for potential buyers and has been hampering sales of both residential and commercial property in this state. The legislation eliminates POINT-OF-SALE REASSESSMENT UNDER REAL PROPERTY VALUATION REFORM ACT requirements by postponing reassessment for a parcel of real property that is sold or undergoes another assessable transfer of interest until the property tax year of implementation of the next countywide assessment. Under the legislation, reassessment is not postponed when improvements are made to the property, and limits on increases in value must be calculated separately on land and improvements. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3018, a bill REVISING REAL PROPERTY TAX PROVISIONS FOR NEWLY-CONSTRUCTED HOMES. Currently, once a certificate of occupation is issued for a newly-constructed home it becomes subject to a higher tax rate applicable to residential property even if that home sits empty and unsold for months or years. Under the legislation, a newly-constructed detached single family home would remain eligible for the lower tax rate allowed for unimproved property until it is occupied by being sold or rented, or for up to three years, whichever comes first. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3147, the "SOUTH CAROLINA RESTRUCTURING ACT." This legislation establishes the Department of Administration under the executive branch of state government. The Department of Administration is headed by a director appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the General Assembly.
The following offices, divisions or components of the State Budget and Control Board, Office of Governor, or other agencies are transferred to and incorporated into the Department of Administration:
The Budget and Control Board remains responsible for the operations and management of the State House, Blatt Office Building, Gressette Office Building, Supreme Court Building, Calhoun Office Building, and Capitol Complex grounds. Also whenever the Budget and Control Board maintains any responsibility related to a program administered by the Department of Administration, the board is authorized to receive and expend revenues generated by the programs to support the board's responsibilities related to the programs. During the year 2015, the Legislative Audit Council shall conduct a performance review of the provisions of this legislation to determine its effectiveness and achievements. The legislation includes a sunset provision.
H.3147 was also amended to include provisions for LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS. In order to determine whether laws and programs addressing subjects within the jurisdiction of a legislative committee are being implemented and carried out in accordance with the intent of the General Assembly and whether they should be continued, curtailed, or eliminated, this legislation provides that each standing committee shall review and study on a continuing basis: (1) the application, administration, execution, and effectiveness of laws and programs addressing subjects within its jurisdiction; (2) the organization and operation of state agencies and entities having responsibilities for the administration and execution of laws and programs addressing subjects within its jurisdiction; and (3) any conditions or circumstances that may indicate the necessity or desirability of enacting new or additional legislation addressing subjects within its jurisdiction. The legislation includes provisions for the assignment of agencies to standing committees; there are also provisions for joint investigating committees. Each standing committee must conduct oversight studies and investigations at least once every five years on all agencies within its jurisdiction. Also a standing committee may by a one third vote initiate a study or an investigation of an agency within its jurisdiction. An investigating committee may vest its investigative authority in a subcommittee. The legislation includes provisions detailing how an investigating committee may acquire evidence or information, including requiring an agency to prepare and submit a program evaluation report. The chairman of the investigating committee may direct the Legislative Audit Council to perform a study of the program evaluation report or to perform its own audit of the program or operations being studied or investigated by the investigating committee. All testimony given to the investigating committee must be under oath. All witnesses are entitled to counsel, and a witness shall be given the benefit of any privilege which he may have claimed in court as a party in a civil action. The legislation includes criminal penalties for anyone who appears before a committee or subcommittee and willfully gives false, misleading, or incomplete testimony under oath. The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3352, a joint resolution providing temporary FUNDING FLEXIBILITY PROVISIONS FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS and special schools, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. For the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years, school districts and special schools of this State may transfer and expend funds among appropriated state general fund revenues, Education Improvement Act funds, Education Lottery Act funds, and funds received from the Children’s Education Endowment Fund for school facilities and fixed equipment assistance, to ensure the delivery of academic and arts instruction to students. A school district may not, however, transfer funds required for debt service or bonded indebtedness. For the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years, school districts may: (1) suspend professional staffing ratios and expenditure regulations and guidelines at the sub-function and service area level, except for four-year-old programs; (2) delay from April fifteenth to May fifteenth the date that contracts are issued to teachers. A teacher who is reemployed by written notification shall notify the board of trustees of the district in writing of his acceptance of the contract within ten days of such notification or May twenty-fifth, whichever occurs later. Failure on the part of the teacher to notify the board of acceptance within the specified time limit is conclusive evidence of the teacher’s rejection of the contract; (3) uniformly negotiate salaries below the school district salary schedule for the 2009-2010 school year for retired teachers who are not participants in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive Program; and (4 if not prohibited by an applicable employment contract, furlough teachers for up to five noninstructional days, provided that district administrators are furloughed for twice the number of days. To further ensure resources are maximized, school districts are encouraged to reduce expenditures by such means as: (1) limiting the number of low enrollment courses; (2) reducing travel for the staff and the school district’s board; (3) reducing and limiting activities requiring dues and memberships; (4) reducing transportation costs for extracurricular and academic competitions; and (5) expanding virtual instruction. Education related entities that require dues from school districts are encouraged to consider cost-saving measures for school districts including, but not limited to, coordination and reductions in dues, workshops, and professional training initiatives. Prior to implementing these flexibility provisions, school districts must provide to public charter schools the per pupil allocation due to the charter schools for each categorical program. The legislation requires written certification reports from school districts implementing these funding flexibility measures. For the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 fiscal years, implementation of formative assessments for grades one, two, and nine, the foreign language program assessment and the physical education assessment, must be suspended. New textbook adoptions may be suspended. School districts and the State Department of Education must be granted permission to purchase the most economical type of bus fuel. In order for a school district to take advantage of the flexibility provisions provided in this joint resolution and for the 2009-2010 fiscal year only, at least sixty-five percent of the school district’s per pupil expenditures must be utilized within the categories of instruction, instructional support, and noninstruction pupil services of the "In$ite" financial analysis model for education programs utilized by the State Department of Education. No portion of the sixty-five percent may be used for business services, debt service, capital outlay, program management, and leadership services, as defined by In$ite. By August 1, 2010, the school district shall report to the State Department of Education the actual percentage of its per pupil expenditures used for classroom instruction, instructional support, and noninstruction pupil services for the school year ending June 30, 2010. For the 2009-2010 fiscal year, school districts must maintain a transaction register that includes a complete record of all funds expended over one hundred dollars, from whatever source for whatever purpose. The register must be prominently posted on the district’s Internet website and made available for public viewing and downloading. For Fiscal Years 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, the joint resolution suspends the statutory provision establishing the level of financial effort per pupil required of each school district. The House approved S.588, relating to TEACHER CONTRACTS, and enrolled the joint resolution for ratification. This joint resolution extends the date by which a school district must decide whether to employ a teacher for the 2009-2010 school year from April fifteenth to May fifteenth, and provides that a teacher has ten days following receipt of written notification of an offer to accept the contract. The legislation provides that a school district may uniformly negotiate salaries below the school district salary schedule for the 2009-2010 school year for retired teachers who are not participants in the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) Program. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3022, the "UNIFORM EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS ACT". This legislation provides a uniform procedure for how applications for expungement of all criminal records must be administered by the solicitor’s office in each circuit of the State. The applicant is responsible for payment to the solicitor’s office of a nonrefundable, administrative fee of $250 dollars per individual order. The solicitor's office prosecuting the case in a court of general sessions, at no cost to the accused person, shall cause an order for expungement to be issued for a person who is found not guilty or who has his charges dismissed or nolle prossed unless the: (1) accused person has other charges pending; (2) solicitor believes that the evidence in the case needs to be preserved and notifies the accused person in writing at the address listed on his bond form, or through his attorney, no later than 30 days after the person is found not guilty or his charges are dismissed or nolle prossed; or (3) accused person's charges were dismissed as a part of a plea agreement. The solicitor’s office shall implement policies and procedures to ensure that the expungement process is properly conducted. The legislation includes similar provisions when criminal provisions are brought in a summary court and the accused person is found not guilty or the charges are dismissed or nolle prossed; however, the presiding judge of summary court has responsibility for the process. The legislation requires the solicitor to prove a copy of the completed expungement order to the applicant or his attorney. The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) shall verify and document that the criminal charges in all cases are appropriate for expungement, and SLED shall receive a $25 dollar fee for each verification request from the solicitor on behalf of the applicant. However, in the case of juvenile expungements, verification and documentation that the charge is statutorily appropriate for expungment must first be accomplished by the Department of Juvenile Justice and then SLED. The applicant is also responsible to the clerk of court for the filing fee per individual order; however, if the charge is determined to be statutorily ineligible for expungement this prepaid clerk of court filing fee must be refunded to the applicant by the solicitor. Also, a filing fee may not be charged by the clerk’s office to an applicant when the charge was discharged, dismissed, nolle prossed, or the applicant was acquitted. Each expungement order may contain only one charge sought to be expunged, except in those circumstances when expungment is sought for multiple charges occurring out of a single incident. An applicant may seek relief in circuit court when a solicitor, in his discretion, does not consent to expungement. The solicitor may waive the fee when it is determined that a person has been falsely accused of a crime as a result of identity theft. Under this bill, a person who intentionally retains the arrest and booking record, files, mugshots, fingerprints, or any evidence of the record pertaining to a charge discharged or dismissed is guilty of contempt of court. This bill reduces the timeframe following a first offense conviction as a youthful offender the defendant may apply for an expungement order from fifteen years from the date of conviction to five years from the date of completion of the sentence, including probation and parole. Relating to conditional discharge of certain first time drug offenses, this bill removes the current requirement that the person not be over twenty-five years of age at the time of the offense. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3311. In order to expedite the placement of adoptive children in stable and permanent homes, the bill establishes the RESPONSIBLE FATHER REGISTRY WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES. The purpose of this registry is to provide notice of adoption or petition for termination of parental rights proceedings to unmarried biological fathers who affirmatively assume responsibility for children they may have fathered by registering. No unmarried biological father who fails to file a claim of paternity with the registry is entitled to notification of any adoption proceeding or any termination of parental rights proceeding concerning the unmarried biological father’s child. The registry is not available for public inspection and is not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act; however, under certain circumstances outlined in the legislation the information may be disclosed. Any unauthorized use, or attempted unauthorized use, of the registry is expressly prohibited, and any person or organization seeking, receiving, using, or publishing, or attempting to do so, of any information contained in the registry in violation of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $500 dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both. A person who knowingly, maliciously, or in bad faith files a false claim of paternity with the registry is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $500 dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both. Relating to persons or entities entitled to be served with a petition for termination of parental rights, this bill further specifies the age as fourteen for serving a child and provides for service on the guardian ad litem of a child under fourteen years of age. The bill also specifies the notice provisions applicable to an unmarried biological father of a child whose parental rights are being terminated. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3148, the "SOUTH CAROLINA RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE ACT". The bill establishes the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority and provides for its governance, powers, and duties. The legislation authorizes the authority to: provide loans and other financial assistance to a municipality, county, special purpose or public service district, and a public works commission in order to finance rural infrastructure facilities; allow state appropriations, grants, loan repayments, and other available amounts to be credited to the fund of the authority; and, authorize lending to and borrowing by eligible entities through the authority. The House approved S.483, the "LOCAL OPTION TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FEE ACT", and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation allows a county in which at least fourteen million dollars of state accommodations tax revenues have been collected in a fiscal year and a municipality located in such a county to impose a fee not to exceed one percent of amounts subject to tax pursuant to the South Carolina Sales and Use Tax Act, for not more than ten years. The legislation provides that the fee may only be imposed by ordinance of the appropriate local governing body. The legislation establishes uses for which the fee revenue must be applied, including tourism promotion, property tax rollback, and capital projects promoting tourism causes. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate on H.3365, the "HIGHER EDUCATION EFFICIENCY AND ADMINISTRATIVE POLICIES ACT OF 2009". This bill provides comprehensive regulatory flexibility for institutions of higher education in the areas of human resources, capital expenditures and procurement, finance, and administration. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3730, a joint resolution to provide that all FUNDS RECEIVED UNDER THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009 FOR THE CLEAN WATER STATE REVOLVING FUND AND DRINKING WATER STATE REVOLVING FUND may be received and expended pursuant to provisions of the Recovery Act for so long as monies are available under the recovery act. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3681, "CHANDLER’S LAW" or the "ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE SAFETY ACT". The legislation provides that it is unlawful for a parent or legal guardian to knowingly permit his child or ward six years of age or younger to operate an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). A person fifteen years old or younger may not operate an ATV within this State unless the person possesses a safety certificate indicating successful completion of an ATV safety course approved by the ATV Safety Institute. The legislation provides that vehicles meeting specific standards only may only be operated by persons of a certain age. The legislation further provides that a person fifteen years of age or younger must wear a safety helmet and eye protection while operating an ATV. The legislation outlines restrictions for the operation of an ATV on those lands open to the public. The legislation provides that ATVs are exempt from ad valorem personal property taxes beginning with calendar year 2009. Violations of this legislation, unless otherwise specified, are misdemeanors punishable by a fine of not less than $50 dollars nor more than $200 dollars. The legislation also provides for the titling of ATVs through the Department of Motor Vehicles. These provisions do not apply to an owner, operator, lessor or renter of a farm or ranch or that person’s employees, immediate family or household members when operating an all-terrain vehicle while engaged in farming or ranching operations or a person using an all-terrain vehicle for hunting or trapping purposes if the person is otherwise lawfully engaged in those activities. The House approved S.26 and enrolled the legislation for ratification. This joint resolution establishes a STROKE SYSTEMS OF CARE STUDY COMMITTEE within the Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop recommendations for a regionally organized and statewide comprehensive plan for stroke systems of care. The study committee shall submit its report electronically to the General Assembly and the Governor no later than December 1, 2010, at which point it will dissolve. The House approved S.407 and enrolled the bill for ratification. This bill revises provisions relating to the donation of human bodies, parts of the human body and human tissue, so as to conform South Carolina’s laws to provisions of the REVISED UNIFORM ANATOMICAL GIFT ACT model legislation that has been adopted by multiple states. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3579, a bill relating to TIMES FOR CONDUCTING REFERENDA OR OTHER BALLOT QUESTIONS. The legislation provides that local governments and any other entity authorized by law to conduct a referendum, ballot measure, or other election event where a person is not elected to an office shall conduct this event, at which qualified electors are allowed to cast a ballot, the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. These provisions do not apply to amendments proposed to the Constitution of this State or the United States Constitution. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3464, pertaining to POLL MANAGERS. Currently all managers of election for the various polling places in the State must be residents and registered of the respective counties in which they are appointed to work or in an adjoining county. Under this bill, all mangers of election for the various polling places in the State must be registered electors of a county in South Carolina and may be appointed to work in another county. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3013, which makes REVISIONS TO THE OFFENSE OF REMOVING OR DESTROYING FENCES, GATES OR OTHER BARRIERS ENCLOSING ANIMALS, CROPS OR UNCULTIVATED LANDS. Under this bill a person, other than the owner or a person acting under the authority of the owner, who wilfully and knowingly removes, destroys, or leaves down any portion of a fence in this State intended to enclose animals of any kind or crops or uncultivated lands or who wilfully and knowingly leaves open or removes a gate or leaves down bars or other structure intended for the same purpose is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be punished as follows: (1) for a first offense, by a fine of $1,000 dollars or imprisonment for 30 days, or both; (2) for a second offense, by a fine of $5,000 dollars, or imprisonment for six months, or both; (3) for a third or subsequent offense, by a fine of $10,000 dollars or imprisonment for one year, or both. Only those offenses occurring within ten years of the last offense constitute prior offenses. The magistrates court is vested with jurisdiction to hear and dispose of these cases. These provisions do not affect an easement holder's right and ability to maintain such easement and rights-of-way consistent with the provisions of the document granting such easement. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3721, this year’s legislation CONFORMING STATE TAX PROVISIONS TO THE FEDERAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3722, this year’s legislation REVISING AND UPDATING VARIOUS STATE TAX PROVISIONS. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3268, a bill revising provisions relating to the construction of TOLL ROADS. The legislation revises the method of disbursal of funds derived from tolls, defines the term "qualified toll project," provides for the disbursal of funds derived from qualified toll projects, and provides when tolls collected from qualified toll projects shall cease. The legislation revises provisions relating to the Department of Transportation’s authority to enter into agreements to finance, construct, and maintain highways, roads, streets, and bridges, so as to provide guidelines for the department’s expenditure of funds on qualified toll projects and the setting of tolls along transportation facilities. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3203, a bill revising provisions governing the operation of the DRYCLEANING FACILITY RESTORATION TRUST FUND. The legislation further specifies that wholesale drycleaning facilities are subject to the provisions of the article and are eligible to seek restoration assistance. The legislation authorizes the Department of Health and Environmental Control to use funds, other than funds from the Drycleaning Facility Restoration Trust Fund, if an emergency exists and funds are not available from the trust fund and to further provide that these funds must be repaid from the trust fund. The legislation provides exemptions from the environmental surcharge imposed on the gross proceeds of sales of retail drycleaning facilities, including an exemption for wholesale sales of drycleaning services. The legislation further provides for eligibility requirements and determinations and procedures for requesting and issuing restoration assistance, including obtaining secondary assessments and the amount of deductibles. The legislation provides for initial and annual registration fees for drycleaning facilities established after October 1, 1995. The legislation authorizes the property owner to register a facility if the owner or operator of the facility does not. The legislation provides for the issuance of certificates of registration and requires presentation of such certificates in order to purchase drycleaning solvents. The legislation prohibits a supply facility, or other drycleaning facility, from selling drycleaning solvent to a drycleaning facility if the facility does not possess a certificate. The legislation provides civil penalties, specifies requirements for a drycleaning facility exemption certificate, and revises the membership of the Drycleaning Advisory Council. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3835, the "SOUTH CAROLINA HYDROGEN PERMITTING ACT." The legislation establishes a program for permitting hydrogen facilities in this state. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3856, a bill that excludes public infrastructure projects from the LIMITATIONS ON DISPOSITION OF HERITAGE TRUST PROPERTY. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3615, a bill relating to PRENEED FUNERAL CONTRACTS. The legislation transfers administrative duties relating to preneed funeral contracts from the State Board of Financial Institutions to the Department of Consumer Affairs. The legislation increases the amounts of fines imposed for violations. The legislation also provides that, before the suspension, revocation, or other action by the department involving a license to sell preneed funeral contracts becomes final, the department shall offer the licensee the opportunity for a contested case hearing before the Administrative Law Court. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3762, a bill authorizing the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue "OUR FARMS-OUR FUTURE" SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES. The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3635, a bill that revises the state’s SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE provisions to bring them into compliance with federal law. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3131, a bill to provide that the WOOD DUCK IS THE OFFICIAL STATE DUCK. The legislation designates the ‘wood duck’ (Aix sponsa) also known as the summer duck and the Carolina duck as South Carolina’s official state duck. The House committed H.3748, a bill relating to the calculation of the INDEX OF TAXPAYING ABILITY, to the Ways and Means Committee. The House committed H.3777, the "EMERGENCY LOCAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACT", to the Judiciary Committee.
The bill further provides it is unlawful to possess an untagged bear; to attempt to hunt or take bear by use or aid of bait; or to take bear on or over a baited area. The bill provides definitions for "bait" and "baited area". This bill requires a resident to purchase a bear tag for twenty-five dollars and a nonresident to purchase a bear tag for one hundred dollars. In Game Zone 1, a registered dog hunt party may take up to five bear per season per party with conditions. The full committee adjourned debate on H.3522, a bill that repeals the provisions for the COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT APPELLATE PANEL. H.3483, a PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PERTAINING TO HUNTING, TRAPPING, AND FISHING, received a favorable with amendment recommendation from the committee. This joint resolution proposes to amend the State Constitution so as to provide that hunting, trapping, and fishing and the taking of wild animals, birds, and fish are a valued part of our heritage and shall be forever preserved for the people. Fish and wildlife shall be managed by laws and regulations that provide persons with the continued opportunity to take, by traditional means and methods, species traditionally pursued by hunters, anglers, and trappers. Fish and wildlife management, including taking, shall be consistent with the state's duty to protect this heritage and its duty to conserve wild animals, birds, and fish. Hunting, fishing, or trapping by sportsmen shall always be a preferred and available means of controlling all invasive or overpopulated species. Any person who is licensed to hunt, fish, or trap and who is adversely affected by a failure to comply with this provision shall have a private cause of action to enforce this provision. The right of the people to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest game shall be subject only to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law. This joint resolution would be submitted to the voters at the next general election. The full committee adjourned debate on H.3433, regarding the FURBEARING TRAPPER LICENSE. H.3681 "ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE SAFETY ACT" - "CHANDLER'S LAW" received a favorable with amendment report from the full committee. The legislation provides that it is unlawful for a parent or legal guardian to knowingly permit his child or ward six years of age or younger to operate an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). A person fifteen years old or younger may not operate an ATV within this State unless the person possesses a safety certificate indicating successful completion of an ATV safety course approved by the ATV Safety Institute. The legislation provides that vehicles meeting specific standards only may only be operated by persons of a certain age. The legislation further provides that a person fifteen years of age or younger must wear a safety helmet and eye protection while operating an ATV. The legislation outlines restrictions for the operation of an ATV on those lands open to the public. The legislation provides that ATVs are exempt from ad valorem personal property taxes beginning with calendar year 2009. Violations of this legislation, unless otherwise specified, are misdemeanors punishable by a fine of not less than $50 dollars nor more than $200 dollars. The legislation also provides for the titling of ATVs through the Department of Motor Vehicles. These provisions do not apply to an owner, operator, lessor or renter of a farm or ranch or that person’s employees, immediate family or household members when operating an all-terrain vehicle while engaged in farming or ranching operations or a person using an all-terrain vehicle for hunting or trapping purposes if the person is otherwise lawfully engaged in those activities.
The full committee did not meet this week.
The full committee did not meet this week.
The full Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee met on Thursday, April 2, and reported out three bills. The committee approved H.3882 as a committee bill. This legislation provides for the first round of SMALL BUSINESS "RED TAPE" REDUCTION proposals drawn from the testimony of small business leaders who were invited to relate their frustrations with bureaucracy and identify regulations that are placing unnecessary burdens on their efforts. The legislation includes proposals to ease a renewal deadline requirement for limited liability partnerships, expedite the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s certification of consistency with the coastal zone management plan for property development in the coastal region, and implement an online answer desk and centralized clearinghouse concerning all state agency licensing, permitting, and regulation of economic activity. The committee gave a report of favorable with amendment on S.268 which revises provisions for Building Code Inspection Officers to authorize the certification of SPECIAL BUILDING INSPECTORS. The revisions are offered to allow for the use of inspectors who are equipped with specialized knowledge in particular construction trade disciplines, such as plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and fuel gas and energy conservation, rather than general construction trade knowledge. The committee gave a report of favorable with amendment on H.3371. This bill establishes new requirements for the CONTINUATION OF CARE FOR A SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION WHEN A PROVIDER BECOMES OUT-OF-NETWORK FOR A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN during the course of treatment. The legislation provides new requirements for health insurers covering such situations that allow the insured to receive continuity of care for ninety days or until the termination of the benefit period, whichever is greater.
The full committee did not meet this week.
The full committee did not meet this week.
AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND
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