Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Here is my Legislative Update for February! We had another busy month in the General Assembly.
Last week, I was honored to speak on behalf of the SC House of Representatives in advocating for Fort Jackson at the Community Listening Session at Shandon Baptist church. There was tremendous support to #SaveOurFort! For more information, please click on this link:
As always, I am interested in hearing your thoughts and concerns on the issues. Thank you for electing me to serve you and our community at the State House.
February Legislative Summary
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
February 3, 2015
The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3145, a bill SHIELDING FROM LEGAL LIABILITY THOSE WHO TAKE ACTIONS TO PREVENT HOT CAR DEATHS of children as well as the elderly and other vulnerable adults who are left unattended in locked motor vehicles.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3035, the “TAKE PALMETTO PRIDE IN WHERE YOU LIVE ACT”. The legislation establishes the twelve-member Take Palmetto Pride in Where You Live Commission under the Department of Natural Resources.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3266, the “TRESPASSER RESPONSIBILITY ACT”. This legislation codifies common law provisions relating to trespassers under which a possessor of land owes no duty to a trespasser except to refrain from causing a wilful or wanton injury.
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
February 10, 2015
The House of Representatives approved and sent the SenateH.3114, the ”SOUTH CAROLINA PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT” which establishes a prohibition on the performance of abortions beginning at twenty weeks following fertilization. This legislation provides that, except in the case of a medical emergency, no abortion must be performed, induced, or attempted unless a physician has first made a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child or relied upon such a determination made by another physician.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3125, legislation enhancing provisions for COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING. The legislation includes within the jurisdiction of the state grand jury human trafficking offenses that involve more than one county.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3194, a bill ENHANCING CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS. The legislation expands the definition of a candidate who is subject to the requirements of the Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act so that it also includes someone who maintains an open bank account containing campaign contributions.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3189, a bill establishing REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES AND ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATIONS that are made to influence the outcome of an election or ballot measure question. The legislation requires reports to be made to the State Ethics Commission by those individuals and groups, not already subject to the campaign finance requirements imposed upon committees, who make an independent expenditure in excess of five hundred dollars during a year or who engage in electioneering communications.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3195, a bill revising campaign finance provisions for candidates and elected officeholders that relate to the USE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS. The legislation prohibits campaign funds from being used to pay penalties, fees, or fines imposed by the State Ethics Commission or other supervisory body or by a court in a criminal matter. The legislation provides clarification on what qualifies as reasonable and necessary expenses that may be paid for with campaign funds.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3202, the “SOUTH CAROLINA WHISTLEBLOWER AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PROTECTION ACT”. The legislation adds the Inspector General to the list of appropriate authorities who can receive a public employee’s report of alleged government wrongdoing.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3519, a bill to provide for the RATIFICATION OF THE AMENDMENT TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTION AUTHORIZING CHARITABLE RAFFLES CONDUCTED BY NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS that was approved by the state’s voters at the last general election.
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
February 17, 2015
The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3191, legislation to provide ENHANCEMENTS TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT provisions, which guarantee citizens’ access to government proceedings and public documents. The legislation adjusts time frames for responding to FOIA requests to require more prompt compliance from public bodies, but additional time is allowed for compiling older documents. The fees that government bodies may charge for complying with FOIA requests are revised to better ensure that they do not become prohibitive. The legislation accommodates the electronic transmission of requested records.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3192, a bill ENHANCING PUBLIC NOTICE REQUIREMENTS FOR GOVERNMENT MEETINGS under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The legislation clarifies that an agenda is required for all meetings of a public body and provides that this agenda must be publicly accessible and posted online if the public body maintains a website. The legislation provides that, once a meeting agenda has been posted, no items may be added without affording the public an additional twenty-four hours’ notice.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3186, a bill providing for MORE EXPANSIVE STATEMENTS OF ECONOMIC INTERESTS for public officials and others who are required to make these filings under the Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act. Disclosure requirements are revised so that they address not only public money, but also require a listing of the private source and type of any income received in the previous year by the filer or a member of his immediate family.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3044, a bill establishing SCHOOL CALENDAR FLEXIBILITY provisions by revising various statutory requirements that set the length of the school year in terms of a minimum number of days so that these requirements may also be satisfied with an equivalent number of hours. Under the revisions, a local school district is afforded greater authority in deciding how best to structure the instructional day and how many days of instruction comprise the school year.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3037, a bill revising eligibility criteria for IN-STATE HIGHER EDUCATION TUITION RATES FOR VETERANS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS. The legislation provides that an honorably discharged veteran of the Armed Services of the United States, who has evidenced intent to establish domicile in South Carolina and their dependents, are entitled to receive in state tuition and fees at state institutions without the requirement of a one year of physical presence in this state.
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
February 24, 2015
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3432, a bill to provide that MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY AND MEMORIAL DAY MUST BE RECOGNIZED AS HOLIDAYS FOR ALL LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS of the state and that the schools and offices of the districts must be closed on those dates. This new requirement begins with the 2016-2017 school year and districts may not schedule make-up days on either holiday.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3646, a bill that deals with PASSIVE SOIL-BASED ON-SITE DISPOSAL SYSTEMS used to collect, treat, and discharge, or reclaim wastewater or sewage. The legislation increases trench sizing from two-thirds to three-quarters of that required for a conventional gravel trench and repeals, as unnecessarily burdensome, requirements such as financial assurances, installer certification, and single-family dwelling limitations.