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 legislation creates a South Carolina Public Integrity Unit to maximize existing resources, expertise, and available information to coordinate investigations of alleged government corruption, unethical conduct, and violations of the public trust, all of which are imperative to preserving the faith of the public in its institutions. The Public Integrity Unit is established as an investigative partnership composed of six partner members: (1) the Attorney General; (2) the Chief of the State Law Enforcement Division; (3) the Director of the Department of Revenue; (4) the Executive Director of the South Carolina Ethics Commission; (5) the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Ethics; and (6) the Inspector General. The members may provide staff from their respective agencies for the unit as necessary. The Public Integrity Unit accepts investigations by referral only and does not address complaints from the general public. The unit is established to receive allegations of criminal conduct from partner members, an appropriate supervisory office, or any other state agency authorized to receive complaints against public employees, officers, or officials. Completed investigations that substantiate serious criminal conduct may be provided directly to the Attorney General or a solicitor. Substantiated investigations not undertaken by the Attorney General or a solicitor, substantiated investigations deemed procedural errors, or unsubstantiated investigations must be returned to those that made the referral. The Public Integrity Unit is to be dissolved in ten years unless reauthorized by the General Assembly.
The legislation revises what a public official must disclose on a statement of economic interests. The legislation establishes requirements for disclosing the sources of private income that exceed $2,500. The legislation requires disclosure of the specific source and amount of income received by a public official, a member of the public officialís immediate family, or a business with which the public official is associated if the public official directly derives income from a contractual or financial relationship, including a consultant or independent contractor relationship, with a lobbyistís principal. The legislation requires disclosure of the name of any governmental entity at the state level, if the filer is a state public official, or at the local level, if the filer is a local public official, from which the filer directly derives income from a contractual or financial relationship, including a consultant or independent contractor relationship, between that governmental entity and that public official, a member of the public officialís immediate family, or a business with which the public official is associated.
The legislation expands regulation of lobbying to include activity at local levels of government (county, municipal and school board).
The legislation requires members of the General Assembly to offer detail on the potential conflict of interest that prompts them to recuse themselves from casting a vote or taking another official action. Also, the legislation requires public officials that are required to recuse themselves from votes to do so at all levels of consideration. The legislation provides that a public official, including members of the General Assembly, or a public employee, may not take a vote on or take an action on a matter in which he, an immediate family member, or a business with which he is associated, has a known financial interest.
The legislation authorizes public officials to represent clients before agencies if the matter can ultimately become a contested case and is, therefore, subject to review by the judicial system.
Currently, a candidate, committee, or ballot measure committee must maintain and preserve an account the occupation of each person making a contribution. The legislation provides that a written request for this information shall satisfy.
The legislation provides that during the 20 day period prior to an election, a candidate, committee or ballot committee must electronically report a information about a contribution of more than $250 or a contribution of less than $250 when combined with all other contributions accepted from the person during the period have not been reported, exceed $250. This electronic report must be made within forty-eight hours after receipt.
The legislation discontinues the use of what are commonly referred to as leadership PACs by prohibiting contributions from such political action committees.
The legislation provides that contributions received to retire campaign debt must be used for this purpose only.
The legislation prohibits campaign funds from being used to pay penalties and fines issued by the State Ethics Commission or the Joint Committee on Ethics pursuant to a finding of misconduct, or levied by a court as a result of any criminal convictions
H.3945 prohibits the head of any state agency or department who is selected by the Governor, General Assembly or an appointed or elected board from engaging in fundraising activity. The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3560 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes a new statewide MENTAL HEALTH ADJUDICATION AND COMMITMENT REPORTING initiative to compile information that is to be used to preclude firearms purchases and disallow concealed weapons permits for those who have been committed to mental institutions, have been found insane by a criminal court, or have otherwise been officially designated as mentally defective by a court. The legislation's Mental Health Adjudication and Commitment Reporting initiative requires the Judicial Department and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to work in conjunction to compile information regarding those who have been adjudicated as a mental defective or who have been committed to a mental institution. Adjudication as a mental defective involves a court making a determination that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, mental illness, mental incompetency, mental condition, or mental disease, is a danger to himself or to others or lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs. This determination includes a finding of insanity by a court in a criminal case as well as a finding that someone is incompetent to stand trial or is not guilty by reason of insanity. Information amassed on those committed to mental institutions involve all formal commitments by courts, including all involuntary commitments, to mental hospitals, sanitariums, psychiatric wards, and other mental health facilities for mental illness, mental defectiveness, and other reasons, such as for drug use. This does not apply to voluntary admissions or to someone who is in a mental institution for observation. Information relating to a person's diagnosis or treatment may not be submitted and confidentiality provisions are included relating to submitted information. Courts must submit information on individuals who have been adjudicated as a mental defective and those who have been committed to a mental institution to SLED on an ongoing basis, and SLED is required to transmit the information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is used by federal firearms licensees to determine instantly whether a prospective buyer is eligible to buy firearms. The legislation provides that persons adjudicated as mental defective or who have been committed to a mental institution are prohibited from shipping, transporting, possessing or receiving firearms or ammunition under state law, as in federal law. Additionally, SLED must review the state's concealed weapons permit holder list to determine if a person adjudicated as a mental defective or someone who has been committed to a mental institution possesses a current concealed weapons permit. If the review reveals that such an individual holds a concealed weapons permit, the permit is revoked and must be surrendered to law enforcement. Procedures are included for law enforcement to retrieve the permit should the holder fail to return it within ten days of being notified of its revocation. An appeals process is included that allows someone to petition the court to remove a firearms and ammunition prohibition. The House did not concur in Senate amendments to S.2, a bill providing ELECTION LAW REFORM measures, and a conference committee was appointed to address differences with the Senate on the legislation. The House approved and sent the Senate H.3176, legislation making ELECTION LAW REVISIONS including new EARLY VOTING PROVISIONS. The House approved and sent the Senate H.3101, legislation PROHIBITING THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE FEDERAL PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IN THE STATE and declaring that the General Assembly of South Carolina has the sovereign authority to refuse to enforce the provisions this federal health care legislation insofar as its scope exceeds the powers delegated to the federal government under the United States Constitution. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3919, legislation which provides for the ELIMINATION OF THE HIGH SCHOOL EXIT EXAM AS A REQUIREMENT FOR GRADUATION AND CREATION OF THE HIGH SCHOOL ASSESSMENT STUDY COMMITTEE. Before being awarded a high school diploma, all South Carolina public high school students must achieve a passing score on both Highs School Assessment Program (HSAP) tests. This legislation provides that all students must take the HSAP tests, but successful passage of the tests is no longer a requirement to graduate. The legislation further provides that an eligible student who previously failed to receive a high school diploma or was denied graduation solely for failing the exit exam may reenroll in high school and will not have to pass the exit exam to receive a high school diploma, and the legislation requires the Department of Education to remove any conflicting requirements and promulgate conforming changes in its applicable regulations. Additionally, the legislation creates the High School Assessment Study Committee to consider whether the high school assessment program should remain the accountability assessment used by the state and to recommend an alternative, if necessary. The legislation provides for the composition and staffing of the study committee, and it requires the committee to make a report to the General Assembly no later than January 31, 2014, at which time the study committee must be dissolved. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4014, legislation RECONSTITUTING THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY. The legislation revises the Board of Trustees which is currently composed of thirteen member, twelve of whom are elected by the General Assembly (one from each congressional district and five at-large) and the Governor, or designee , as the, ex officio, thirteenth board member. As reconstituted by this legislation, the South Carolina State University Board of Trustees is composed of eleven members, nine of whom are elected by the General Assembly, one member from each congressional district and two elected from the state at large. The Governor appoints two members from the state at large, one of whom must be appointed on the recommendation of the South Carolina State University National Alumni Association or its successor, recommended by that body in a secret ballot election conducted at its annual meeting. The legislation establishes a schedule for replacing current members of the board of trustees, except for the board members elected by the General Assembly this year. The House returned S.237, legislation REVISING THE PROTOCOL FOR FLYING STATE CAPITOL BUILDING FLAGS AT HALF-STAFF IN MEMORY OF FALLEN SOUTH CAROLINA MILITARY, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation revises the protocol so that State Capitol Building flags may be flown at half-staff in tribute for a period of five days before the day of the South Carolina funeral through the date of interment for members of the United States military services who were residents of South Carolina and who lost their lives in the line of duty while in combat. The legislation provides for flags to be hoisted and lowered as many times as is needed if the period of tribute is for multiple individuals. During the time of tribute, those memorialized must be identified on a conspicuous place on the Governor's website. The House approved S.448, legislation dealing with physicians' supervisory relationship requirements with PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation states that a licensed physician who accepts the responsibility to supervise a physician assistantís activities, must enter into a supervisory relationship with a physician assistant. The physician must notify the Board of Medical Examiners of South Carolina, in writing, of the proposed supervisory relationship and include the proposed scope of practice guidelines for the relationship. The legislation further outlines that no more than three full-time physician assistants can be supervised by a supervising physician. A physician assistant may practice in a public place, a private place, or a facility where the supervising physician regularly sees patients, may make house calls, perform hospital duties, and perform any functions performed by the supervising physician if the physician assistant is also qualified to perform those functions. A physician assistant may authorize prescriptions for an orally administered Schedule II controlled substance under certain requirements. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3366, a bill relating to the AUTHORIZATION OF DISCLOSURE OF MEDICAL INFORMATION. Under the legislation, a health care provider or the providerís agent shall provide on the patient information form an opportunity for the patient to designate a family member or other individual as a person with whom the provider is allowed, but not required to, discuss the patientís medical condition and treatment plan. Provisions are established to provide a health care provider with immunity from legal liability for authorized disclosures made in good faith. The legislation does not apply to nursing homes, dentists, dental hygienists, or dental technicians. This legislation satisfies the Federal requirements relating to public health and the privacy rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3941, legislation PROHIBITING POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS FROM MANDATING EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. This bill revises provisions governing a political subdivisionís authority to set a minimum wage, so as to also prohibit a political subdivision from mandating or otherwise requiring an employee benefit such as health benefits, disability benefits, death benefits, group accidental death and dismemberment benefits, paid days off for holidays, sick leave, vacation, personal necessity, retirement benefits, and profit-sharing benefits. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3960, a bill establishing REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYERS PARTICIPATING IN A MULTIPLE EMPLOYER SELF-INSURED HEALTH PLAN TO EXECUTE HOLD HARMLESS AGREEMENTS in which the employer agrees to pay all unpaid portions of insured claims. The legislation provides that each participating employer, as a condition of participation in a multiple employer self-insured health plan, is required to execute an agreement by which the employer agrees to personally pay all claims for benefits covered under the multiple employer self-insured health plan which are incurred by his or its covered employees and their covered dependents, but which the plan has failed to pay. The legislation establishes notification requirements regarding the new provisions and provides that neither failure of a participating employer to execute an agreement, nor failure of the plan to require such execution, shall excuse the employer from liability for unpaid claims incurred by covered employees and dependents. The legislation revises requirements for a multiple employer self-insured health plan to include aggregate and individual excess stop-loss coverage, charging the Department of Insurance with reviewing the amounts of this required coverage to ensure that it is sufficient. The House approved and sent the Senate H.4020, legislation providing for TEMPORARY REAUTHORIZATION OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA FIRST STEPS TO SCHOOL READINESS ACT. This joint resolution provides that Act 99 of 1999, South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Act, is reauthorized until July 1, 2014. The House approved and sent the Senate H.3124, legislation which provides PROTECTIONS FOR REPORTING CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT. This legislation provides that an employer must not dismiss, demote, suspend, or otherwise discipline or discriminate against an employee or prospective employee who is required or permitted to report child abuse or neglect. An employee or prospective employee who is adversely affected by conduct that is in violation of these provisions may bring a civil action for reinstatement and back pay. An action may be brought against an employer, including the state, a political subdivision of the state and any office, department, independent agency, authority, institution, association, or other body in state government. An action must be brought within three years after the cause of action arises. If judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff in an action, the court also shall award a reasonable attorney's fee in favor of the plaintiff against the defendant. The House approved and sent the Senate H.3856, a bill EXPANDING PROHIBITIONS ON EMPLOYMENT IN CHILDCARE FACILITIES. The bill adds those who have been convicted of unlawful conduct toward a child, cruelty to children, or child endangerment to the list of persons that childcare facilities are prohibited from employing. The House approved and sent the Senate H.3567, legislation regarding MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN. The bill revises the definition of "children" and "adolescents" in need of mental health treatment who are in a residential treatment facility, to include young adults. The bill increases the eligibility age for treatment from eighteen to twenty-one years old. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate to H.3961, the "SAVANNAH LEE MONROE AUTISM AWARENESS SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES ACT". This legislation authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue Autism Awareness special license plates with proceeds distributed to the South Carolina Autism Society. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3978, a bill revising provisions relating to MEDICAID NURSING HOME PERMITS. The legislation: provides a new definition for "Medicaid permit day"; specifies the manner in which additional Medicaid permit days are allocated; establishes new reporting requirements; and, sets forth compliance standards with penalties imposed upon facilities that exceed their allotment of Medicaid permit days. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3822, a bill REVISING CONCEALABLE WEAPONS PERMITS PROVISIONS.† The legislation revises the requirements that must be met in order to receive a concealable weapons permit.† Relating to definitions for purposes of concealable weapons permits, the legislation deletes the definition of "proof of residence" and revises the definitions of "picture identification" and "proof of training".† The legislation deletes the requirement that an education course must be a minimum of eight hours, and the legislation provides that individuals with military training and retired law enforcement officers complete only the portion of the class reviewing statutory and case laws.† The legislation increases the application fee for a permit for residents of the state from $50 to $75, and it provides for a nonresident application fee of $75.† The legislation allows permit applications to be submitted online with State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).† If an applicant submits his application online, the legislation authorizes SLED to continue to make all contact with the applicant through online communications.† The legislation provides that a person may not carry a concealable weapon into a place clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon on the premises, except that a property owner or an agent acting on his behalf, may allow individuals of his choosing to enter onto property regardless of any posted sign to the contrary.† The legislation provides that a permit is valid for five years rather than four years, and it requires SLED to send a renewal notice at least 30 days before a permit expires.† The legislation repeals Section 23-31-240 relating to persons allowed to carry a concealable weapon while on duty.† Additionally, the legislation provides that a concealable weapons permit holder may secure his weapon under a seat in a vehicle, or in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle's passenger compartment. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3149, a bill revising provisions concerning the PURCHASE OF PRECIOUS METALS. The legislation specifies acceptable forms of identification a seller of precious metals must present to the buyer. The legislation modifies the term "purchase" to include means of being pawned to a dealer. The legislation increases the mandatory period for which a dealer in precious metals, except coins, must hold precious metals he purchases before he may sell them from seven days to fourteen days. The legislation requires the dealer to keep the item in the county where it was purchased during the holding period. The legislation expands the list of acceptable forms of identification that may be used to satisfy requirements for purchases of precious metal or precious or semiprecious stones or gems. The legislation expands the list of locations where a permitted dealer in precious metals is not allowed to operate by adding a residential dwelling and a sub-leased space with a lease term of less than one year. Additionally, the legislation requires violations to be wilful by dealers and increases penalties for the purchase of precious metals by a dealer with a revoked license. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3561, a bill providing for ACCOMMODATIONS TAX REVISIONS. The legislation revises accommodations tax provisions, to remove room service, amenities, entertainment, special items in promotional tourist packages, in room movies, and other guest services from the list of items subject to the five percent tax on additional surcharges. Under the revisions, the additional tax would continue to apply only to charges for room service, laundering and dry cleaning services, in-room movies, telephone service, and rentals of meeting rooms. The House approved and sent the Senate H.3956. Relating to DEFINITIONS IN THE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL ACT, this legislation revises the definition of the term "furnishing lodging" to provide for at least eighteen instead of twenty rooms that a business must offer for accommodations on a regular basis. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3894. Relating to FACTORS THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED WHEN DETERMINING JUST COMPENSATION IN CONDEMNATION ACTIONS REGARDING EMINENT DOMAIN, this legislation includes diminution in value of the landowner's remaining property caused by reconfiguration of roadways, restriction of access and circuitous access. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3907, a bill pertaining to METHODS OF PAYMENT FOR DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICES. This legislation provides the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with an administrative remedy for returned checks. This legislation authorizes the DMV to accept uncertified checks for payment for fees, taxes, and other charges for products or services issued by the DMV; also, the DMV may, upon the approval of the State Treasurer, contract with banks or vendors to guarantee collection of funds paid by uncertified checks. The legislation authorizes the DMV to refuse to provide a person any product or service, except an identification card, until the person has paid all fees owed the DMV as a result of a returned check. The legislation clarifies the DMV's authorization to collect a returned check fee, and the legislation provides that the DMV may charge a processing fee for the use of credit cards. The legislation provides that all processing fees collected must be placed in a special restricted account to be used by the DMV to defray its costs. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate to H.3631, relating to GOLF CARTS. This legislation moves existing golf cart provisions to Chapter 3 (Motor Vehicle Registrations and Licensing) of Title 56 (Motor Vehicles) so as to clarify that a violation of these provisions is subject to a misdemeanor penalty; last session legislation passed by the General Assembly moved these provisions out of Chapter 3 and placed them in Chapter 2 (Specialized Vehicles) of Title 56. Additionally, the legislation removes a restriction on golf carts only operating during daylight hours; the legislation provides that the night-time prohibition does not apply to a golf cart that is equipped with working headlights and rear lights so long as the operator may legally operate a motor vehicle after daylight. The legislation provides that a sufficient portion of the five dollar golf cart registration fee is to be used by the Department of Motor Vehicles to defray expenses of producing and administering golf cart permits. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4038, a bill establishing an EXEMPTION FROM STATE PROVISIONS GOVERNING THE LICENSURE AND REGULATION OF ENGINEERS and surveyors that applies to the work or practice of a person rendering engineering services, meaning design, construction, and maintenance of airplanes and airplane manufacturing equipment, to a corporation that operates in South Carolina under a production certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Authority, provided that the general business of the corporation does not consist, either wholly or in part, of the rendering of engineering services to the general public. The House approved and sent the Senate H.3783, a bill that revises CRITERIA FOR THE ADMISSIONS LICENSE TAX EXEMPTION FOR A MOTORSPORTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX by establishing the requirement that the complex be a NASCAR sanctioned motor speedway or racetrack that hosted at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in 2012, and continues to host at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, or any successor race featuring the same NASCAR Cup series. By replacing the current requirement that the speedway have at least sixty thousand seats for race patrons, the legislation would allow the Darlington Raceway to continue to retain a portion of its admissions tax funds to be used for promotional expenses even if renovations at the race track should reduce the number of available seats.
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