Dear Friends and Neighbors,
It’s amazing how fast April flew by. As Spring turns into Summer, we have had a flurry of activity at the State House to get our House bills passed before the May 1st crossover deadline. Here are the bills that have come through the House during the past two weeks.
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.
Week of April 19th, 2016
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4763, legislation designated as “ALICIA’S LAW” to acknowledge the advocacy efforts of Alicia Kozakiewicz of Pennsylvania who, in 2002 at the age of thirteen, survived abduction by an Internet predator. The legislation provides for a 6.1% assessment on criminal court fines to be deposited in a newly-created INTERNET CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN FUND that is to be used to investigate, prosecute, and prevent Internet crimes against children, such as cyberenticement and child pornography, including the necessary staffing, training, and equipment.
The House approved S.1090 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation names Chapter 19, Title 24 of the South Carolina Code of Laws the “JUDGE WILLIAM R. BYARS YOUTHFUL OFFENDER ACT” in recognition of the many contributions that Judge Byars has made to the juvenile justice system in such capacities as family court judge, Director of the Children’s Law Office at the University of South Carolina School of Law, Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and Director of the Department of Corrections.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3768 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides for the “SOUTH CAROLINA ABLE SAVINGS PROGRAM” that allows for the establishment of savings accounts as a means of empowering individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support the individual with a disability. The legislation establishes the Savings Program Trust Fund and Savings Expense Trust Fund and provides guidelines to the State Treasurer for the maintenance of these accounts. The legislation allows for state implementation that coordinates with the federal Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014.
The House approved S.849 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes REQUIREMENTS FOR INSURANCE PLAN PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGERS TO COMPILE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE DRUG COST LISTSthat show the maximum amount for the cost of a particular generic drug that will be reimbursed to a pharmacist or pharmacy who provides covered health care services or supplies as a participating network plan provider. The legislation includes requirements for pharmacy benefit managers to make these maximum allowable cost lists available to network pharmacy providers and to review and update maximum allowable cost price information. Provisions are included that allow a pharmacy to appeal the provider’s reimbursement for a drug subject to maximum allowable cost pricing.
The House returned S.339, legislation designated as “HOPE’S LAW”, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation establishes REQUIREMENTS FOR MAMMOGRAPHY REPORTS TO BE PROVIDED TO PATIENTS THAT INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT BREAST DENSITY. When a mammogram shows that breast tissue is dense, the required report must include notice to the patient explaining that dense tissue is common and not abnormal, but can, however, make it harder to evaluate mammogram results and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5140, a bill that makes revisions relating to a school district’s ANNUAL SCHOOL CALENDAR for teachers, staff, and students. The legislation provides that, beginning with the 2017‑2018 school year, the school start date for students must not be before August fifteenth, rather than the opening date limit of the third Monday in August that is set in current law, except for schools operating on a year‑round modified school calendar.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4574, legislation enacting the “ELECTROLOGY PRACTICE ACT” to provide for the licensure and regulation of electrologists and electrology instructors by an Electrology Licensure Committee established under the Board of Medical Examiners. The legislation is offered as a means of ensuring minimum standards of competency for those who practice or offer instruction in electrology, which involves the permanent removal of hair from the skin through the application of an electric current.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4492, a bill revising NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES CHILD PLACEMENT HEARINGS that inform foster parents, preadoptive parents, or relatives providing care to abused or neglected children so that, with certain exceptions, notification must be given at least ten days in advance. The legislation includes provisions that allow these parties to file reports with the family court.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4556, a bill providing a PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR PERMANENTLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS. The legislation extends to permanently and totally disabled former emergency medical technicians the homeowner property tax exemption that is currently allowed for military veterans, former law enforcement officers, and former firefighters who are permanently and totally disabled.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4712, a bill making clarifications regarding the CLASSIFICATION OF OFF‑PREMISES OUTDOOR ADVERTISING SIGNS AS PERSONAL PROPERTY FOR TAX PURPOSES. The legislation establishes conditions under which an off‑premises outdoor advertising sign is classified as tangible personal property for tax purposes, and establishes provisions under which the value of a lease or lease income on such billboards may not be used in the assessment of the tax value of the real property on which the advertising sign is erected. The legislation includes provisions for any sign permit required by local, state, or federal law to be considered as intangible personal property for ad valorem property tax purposes.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4398, a bill establishing a FIREARMS EXEMPTION IN BANKRUPTCY CLAIMS. The legislation revises provisions for the real and personal property of a debtor that is exempt from attachment, levy, and sale in a bankruptcy proceeding by adding an exemption that covers any firearms not exceeding a total value of five thousand dollars owned by the debtor. The legislation revises the exemption for a debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed fifty thousand dollars in value by providing that, except that a surviving spouse may exempt, in addition to their interest, the aggregate interest of a deceased spouse not to exceed fifty thousand dollars in value.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4795, a bill ALLOWING A STUDENT WHO HAS BEEN AWARDED A PALMETTO FELLOWS SCHOLARSHIP THE OPTION OF DEFERRING ENROLLMENT IN A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION FOR ONE YEAR following high school graduation without declining the award.
The House returned S.1013, a bill overhauling and updating the licensure and regulation of REAL ESTATE BROKERS, SALESPERSONS, AND PROPERTY MANAGERS, to the Senate with amendments. Notably, the bill includes provisions for the operation of real estate teams supervised by a broker-in-charge and increases continuing education requirements for real estate license renewals from eight hours to ten hours.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3969, a bill making provisions that allow for the ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF INSURANCE NOTICES AND DOCUMENTS should the insured choose to receive notices and documents electronically.
Week of April 24th, 2016
The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4776, the “SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION SCHOOL FACILITIES ACT”. The legislation makes provisions for state financial assistance to school districts, through such means as the issuance of state general obligation bonds and the awarding of grants, that must be used for permanent school instructional facilities, health and safety upgrades, technology access inside the school, and fixed building assets including the costs for construction, improvement, enlargement, or renovation of school facilities.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5006, a bill addressing RETIREMENT SYSTEM OVERSIGHT AND INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT. The legislation makes comprehensive revisions regarding the governance of the state’s pension systems and the investment of retirement system funds.
The House approved H.3167, legislation that adds to the list of acceptable forms of photographic identification that may be used to verify an elector’s identity at the polls so that a valid and current SOUTH CAROLINA RESIDENT CONCEALED WEAPON PERMIT MAY BE USED TO SATISFY VOTER IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4387, a bill PROHIBITING LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES FROM REQUIRING OFFICERS TO MEET A QUOTA FOR THE NUMBER OF CITATIONS ISSUED. The legislation provides that law enforcement agencies, departments, or divisions, including municipal police departments, sheriff departments, the Highway Patrol, SLED, and other agencies that enforce state and local laws, may not require their law enforcement officers to issue a specific amount or meet a quota for the number of citations issued during a designated period of time
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4970, legislation REQUIRING SLOWER MOVING VEHICLES TO TRAVEL IN THE FARTHEST RIGHT HIGHWAY LANE. The legislation requires the Department of Transportation to broadcast periodically on the electronic variable message boards along the state’s interstate highways, which are used for issuing Amber Alerts, messages that inform motorists traveling in slower moving vehicles that they must travel in the farthest right lane in either direction along all multilane portions of highways where appropriate. A motorist who violates this provision may be fined one hundred dollars. The legislation also revises PENALTIES FOR A MOTORIST’S FAILURE TO GIVE PROPER TURN SIGNALS by eliminating the four points assessed for the violation and instead providing that a violator must be fined twenty‑five dollars, all or part of which may not be suspended. In addition no court costs, assessments, surcharges, or points may be assessed against the person or his driving record.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5193, a bill ENHANCING THE “SOUTH CAROLINA OVERDOSE PREVENTION ACT” by making provisions for more expansive dispensation of opioid antidotes to individuals who may be at risk of an opioid drug overdose.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5172, the “SAFE HARBOR FOR EXPLOITED MINORS ACT”. The legislation establishes protections from criminal and civil liability for crime victims who are minors under the age of eighteen residing in or visiting this state engaging in commercial sexual acts or sex trafficking.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4835, the “SUPPORTING AND STRENGTHENING FAMILIES ACT”. The legislation establishes provisions that allow a parent or person with legal custody of a child to delegate to an adult, as attorney‑in‑fact, temporary caregiving authority regarding the child for a period not to exceed one year.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4546, a bill ENHANCING REQUIREMENTS AND REVIEWS REGARDING CHILDREN PLACED IN FOSTER CARE. Notably, the legislation includes provisions for adhering to a “reasonable and prudent parent standard” characterized by careful and sensible parental decisions that maintain the health, safety, and best interests of a child while at the same time encouraging the growth and development of the child, that a caregiver shall use when determining whether to allow a child in foster care to participate in age or developmentally appropriate extracurricular, enrichment, cultural, and social activities.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4547, a bill REVISING AGES WHEN INDIVIDUALS ARE CONSIDERED CHILDREN AND JUVENILES under various statutes.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4029, legislation enacting ALIMONY REFORM provisions. The legislation creates a new type of alimony, transitional alimony, which is awarded as a form of short‑term support when the Family Court finds that rehabilitation is not required, but that the economically disadvantaged spouse needs financial assistance in adjusting to the economic consequences of the divorce. Transitional alimony is designed to aid a spouse who already possesses the capacity for self‑sufficiency but needs financial assistance in adjusting to the economic consequences of establishing and maintaining a household without the benefit of the other spouse’s income.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.5021, the “ADULT STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS CONSENT ACT”. The legislation establishes procedures and policies through which adult students who are eligible for special education under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act may delegate authority over their educational program to agents or representatives.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.5034, a bill making CHARITABLE BINGO GAME REVISIONS. The legislation requires the Department of Revenue to establish an informational charitable bingo webpage on its website to serve as a clearinghouse for information and access to the Bingo Tax Act and its implementation and regulation, including access to licensure information, the manner in which to file complaints, and clarification on issues the department finds in connection with violations of the Bingo Tax Act.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.5270, a bill expanding provisions for payroll deductions for state employees’ association dues by ALLOWING MEMBERSHIP DUES FOR THE SOCIETY OF FORMER AGENTS OF THE STATE LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION TO BE DEDUCTED FROM THE COMPENSATION OF STATE RETIREES and paid over to the association in the same manner other membership dues are deducted and paid.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.5119, relating to the SOUTH CAROLINA STATE GUARD. The legislation clarifies the circumstances authorizing the Governor to call the State Guard into duty and to provide that circumstances involving a natural or manmade disaster, emergency, or emergency preparedness may warrant calling the State Guard into service. Compensation provisions for State Guard members are revised to provide that they may receive a daily stipend or per diem pay for reasonable expenses, or both, if approved by the Adjutant General.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4845, a bill addressing PAYMENTS FOR SERVICES WHEN A BODY IS TRANSFERRED FROM ONE FUNERAL HOME, FUNERAL DIRECTOR, OR EMBALMER TO ANOTHER. The legislation establishes a cause of action in magistrate’s court to address situations when one funeral home, funeral director, or embalmer transfers a dead human body to second funeral home, funeral director, or embalmer who does not properly compensate the first provider for services rendered.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4728, a bill enacting EYE CARE CONSUMER PROTECTION provisions. The legislation provides that a person in this state may not dispense spectacles or contact lenses to a patient without a valid prescription from an individual licensed by the South Carolina Board of Examiners in Optometry or the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners. A prescription for spectacles or contact lenses may not be based solely on the refractive eye error of the human eye or be generated by an automated kiosk. Violations are subject to penalties established for misconduct by optometrists and physicians.
The House rejected H.3039, legislation to enact the “DILAPIDATED BUILDINGS ACT”.
The House voted to continue H.5037, legislation REVISING SIGNED WITNESS REQUIREMENTS FOR ABSENTEE BALLOTS.