Dear Friends and Neighbors:
Here is my 2nd Legislative Update for this session. It is very lengthy but contains important detailed information about the education reform bill and the fiscal budget.
We have been busy since my last update five weeks ago. We passed an education reform act along with several other bills, two of which are bills that I sponsored and worked diligently in getting passed -- the Teen Vaping Prevention Act and the Medical History of An Adopted Child's Biological Parent bill. We also passed a $29.95 billion budget and now the Senate will review it and make its recommendations. All are outlined in more detail below.
As always, I am interested in hearing your thoughts and concerns on any of these issues.
Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you and our community at the State House.
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 5, 2019
The House of Representatives approved and sent the Senate H.3420, legislation PREVENTING YOUTH ACCESS TO VAPING, CIGARETTES, AND OTHER TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS. The bill updates the "Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act of 2006" to prohibit minors under the age of eighteen from entering retail establishments that primarily sell tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or both, unless the minor is actively supervised and accompanied by an adult. The legislation provides for a more expansive definition of "alternative nicotine product” that specifically includes vaping. The legislation revises the restrictions governing Internet commerce and other remote sales to provide for the use of a method of mailing, shipping, or delivery that requires the signature of a person at least eighteen years of age before a tobacco product or alternative nicotine product will be released to the purchaser, unless the remote seller employs certain alternative protections to ensure age verification. The legislation requires every local school district in the state to adopt, implement, and enforce a written policy prohibiting at all times the use of any tobacco product or alternative nicotine product by any person in school buildings, in school facilities, on school campuses, and in or on any other school property owned or operated by the local school administrative unit. The policy also must prohibit the use of any tobacco product or alternative nicotine product by anyone attending an off-site school‑sponsored event when in the presence of students or school personnel.
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 12, 2019
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3630, a joint resolution that provides a three-month EXTENSION IN REAL PROPERTY TAX PENALTIES FOR WORKERS LEFT UNPAID DURING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. For property taxes due on January 15, 2019, this legislation provides a three-month delay in the penalty schedule for unpaid property taxes and assessments that applies to real property owners who are federal government employees who did not receive their salaries on the normal schedule during the shutdown that began on December 22, 2018. This delayed penalty schedule also applies to federal government contractors who were denied at least half of their income during the shutdown.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3398, a bill permanently authorizing the "TUCKER HIPPS TRANSPARENCY ACT" by repealing the three-year sunset provision that calls for the legislation to expire on June 29, 2019. The legislation was enacted in 2016 to require the state’s public institutions of higher education, excluding technical colleges, to maintain reports detailing student misconduct investigations related to fraternity and sorority organizations formally affiliated with the institution that include violations of a Student Code of Conduct for offenses involving alcohol, drugs, sexual assault, physical assault, and hazing.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3131, a bill allowing an anonymous MEDICAL HISTORY OF AN ADOPTED CHILD’S BIOLOGICAL PARENTS to be submitted, maintained, and disclosed. The legislation establishes a procedure that allows someone who is placing a child up for adoption to provide a medical history of the adoptee’s biological parents in a form that does not disclose personally identifiable information.
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 19, 2019
The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3659, a bill furthering voluntary programs that make use of RENEWABLE ENERGY generation resources, such as solar power, and establishing ELECTRICAL POWER CUSTOMER CONSUMER PROTECTIONS in order to: shield customers from rising utility costs; provide opportunities for customer measures to reduce or manage consumption from electrical utilities in a manner that contributes to reductions in utility peak electrical demand and other drivers of electrical utility costs; and, equip customers with the information and ability to manage their electric bills.
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 26, 2019
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3438, a bill making provisions for the DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS within the executive branch of government. In place of the current arrangement where veterans’ affairs are housed as a division of the Department of Administration cabinet agency, the legislation establishes a separate Department of Veterans Affairs within the executive branch that is headed by a Director appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Senate.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3985, a bill CONFORMING STATE TAX PROVISIONS WITH THE FEDERAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE by updating statutory references.
WEEK OF MARCH 5, 2019 - EDUCATION REFORM BILL
The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3759, the “SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION, CAREER OPPORTUNITY, AND ACCESS FOR ALL ACT”. The legislation makes comprehensive revisions that are offered as a means of ensuring that the state’s public school students receive the training needed to meet 21st century demands. New emphasis is placed on mathematics and technology that includes a requirement for each public high school in the state to offer at least one rigorous, standards‑based computer science course. Enhancements are made to the SC Read to Succeed Initiative that focuses on crucial literacy skills. Provisions are made to afford public school students a smoother transition into higher education and workforce opportunities. These include expanded dual enrollment programs and improved access to state scholarship funding to cover training costs. The legislation raises the minimum teacher salary statewide and offers an array of incentives geared towards attracting individuals to teaching and retaining those professionals in the classroom. Some of the incentives focus on encouraging teachers to pursue their careers in schools that are failing to meet goals for academic performance and in areas of the state that are experiencing the greatest economic distress. Enhanced accountability provisions are included to direct assistance to schools that are struggling academically and to transform or close chronically underperforming schools. A school district consolidation protocol is established for merging less populous districts that are failing to meet standards for student performance. Local school board members are subjected to ethics provisions. A Special Council on Revitalizing Education is created to advise policy makers on ways to improve collaboration among state agencies and institutions and what steps should be taken to ensure that the state’s public education system is emphasizing skills demanded in the workplace.
Goals and Governance
The State of South Carolina establishes an overall statewide workforce readiness goal of at least sixty percent of all working‑age South Carolinians having a post‑secondary degree or recognized industry credentials before the year 2030. This goal is consistent with all students graduating and having the knowledge, skills, and characteristics contained in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate.
A “Student Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate basic expectations including: students should expect that the General Assembly, Governor, State Superintendent of Education, State Board of Education, local school boards, local superintendents, principals, teachers, and parents to focus on improving education, and creating a system that puts them first; students should feel safe and secure in school; students should have educational choice; and the ability to challenge unfair treatment. These provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a violation.
A “Teacher Bill of Rights” is established to enumerate those things that all certified public school teachers in South Carolina should be able to expect. These include: working in an environment conducive to learning; the inclusion of their discretion with regard to disciplinary and instructional decisions; freedom from frivolous lawsuits, planning time; a competitive salary; no unnecessary paperwork; support from school administration. These provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a violation.
Provisions are made for the South Carolina Teacher of the Year and a public school student appointed by the Governor to serve as non-voting advisory members of the State Board of Education.
Special Council on Revitalizing Education
The legislation establishes within the Office of the Governor the Special Council on Revitalizing Education (SCORE) which is created to: (1) monitor the state education and workforce pipeline to continually determine the education and training levels required by the state’s employers; (2) identify and recommend improvements regarding efficiency and cooperation of agencies and programs throughout the education and workforce pipeline; and (3) report findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on a continuous basis.
The Governor serves as the chairman of the ten-member council. The Governor may, however, delegate the position of chairman and SCORE duties to the Lieutenant Governor. The other council members are appointed to five-year terms, with SCORE being composed of: (a) three members appointed by the Governor; (b) one member appointed by the Speaker of the House; (c) one member appointed by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; (d) one member appointed by the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee; (e) one member appointed by the President of the Senate; (f) one member appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; and (g) one member appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. Council members may not concurrently serve as a member of the General Assembly. Appointed members must have a background in early childhood education, K‑12 education, higher education, business, workforce development, or economic development. Two council members, one from the appointees allotted the House of Representatives and the other from the appointees allotted the Senate, must be current or retired highly‑effective teachers. A member of the council may serve no more than two consecutive terms.
The Governor shall hire an executive director who must possess a background in at least one of the following: early childhood education, K‑12 education, higher education, business, workforce development, or economic development.
Before October 1, 2021, the council shall establish a series of benchmarks that must include, but are not limited to the following:
(1) access to quality early learning, as determined by the council, including the number of three and four‑year old children in quality early‑learning settings;
(2) third grade reading proficiency, including the percentage of third grade students who score ‘Meets’ or ‘Exceeds Expectations’ on the SC Ready assessment, or its successor;
(3) eighth grade mathematics, including the percentage of eighth grade students who score ‘Meets’ or ‘Exceeds Expectations’ on the SC Ready assessment, or its successor;
(4) high school graduation rates, including the percentages of students who graduated in four and five years;
(5) youth nonparticipation, including the percentage of South Carolina residents between sixteen and eighteen years of age who are not going to school on the secondary level or in adult education, not in the military, or not otherwise working;
(6) post‑high school enrollment, including the percentage of South Carolina high school graduates who are in postsecondary education the semester after graduation from high school or are gainfully employed; and
(7) post‑high school education attainment, including the percentage of South Carolina residents ages twenty‑two through sixty‑five who have completed a two‑or four‑year degree, or have received a nationally recognized certification as determined by the Department of Commerce.
With assistance and consultation from the Department of Administration, the council is charged with creating and maintaining a publicly accessible website that reports the benchmark information, explains the benchmarks, and provides an annual update to show the state’s progress toward meeting each goal.
Beginning in 2021, the council is required to make an annual comprehensive report to the Governor and General Assembly that specifically identifies areas within the education and workforce pipeline where state agencies and other publically funded entities are failing to meet the benchmarks. The council shall provide recommendations regarding ways that state and local efforts can be improved, ways that collaboration and cooperation among state and local agencies and resources can be increased, and efforts underway or being considered in other states that address the noted areas of concern. The council also shall recommend legislation it considers necessary.
Enhancements to Academic Rigor to Improve Student Preparation
Computer Science and Mathematics Coursework and Incentives
The State Board of Education is charged with conducting, at least every five years, a cyclical review of grade appropriate standards for computer science, computational thinking, and computer coding for grades kindergarten through grade twelve.
No later than the beginning of the 2020‑2021 School Year, each public high school and public charter high school must offer at least one rigorous, standards‑based computer science course. The course is to be made available in a traditional classroom setting, in a dual‑enrollment course, blended‑learning environment, online‑based, or other technology‑based format tailored to meet the needs of each participating student.
Beginning in the 2020‑2021 School Year, the Department of Education shall:
(1) employ one experienced full‑time employee whose sole responsibility is to coordinate and lead the South Carolina Computer Science Education Initiative;
(2) support K‑12 academic and computer science teachers in designing interdisciplinary, project‑based instruction and assignments that engage students in applying literacy, math, and computational thinking skills to solve problems;
(3) design career pathways that connect students to postsecondary programs, degrees, or postsecondary credentials in such high demand career fields as cybersecurity, information systems, informatics, graphic design, computer engineering, and software development;
(4) offer professional development and teacher endorsements to new teachers who will teach computer science;
(5) provide information and materials which identify emerging career opportunities in computer science and related fields to parents, students, teachers, and guidance counselors; and
(6) assist districts in developing partnerships with business, industry, higher education, and communities to provide afterschool and extracurricular activities that engage students in computer science.
By August 1, 2021, the State Department of Education shall develop a technology plan that addresses wireless Internet access for all public schools and must provide a report to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate.
Statewide Assessment Program Revisions
The legislation removes summative assessments not required by federal accountability law. This includes eliminating the eighth grade science assessment, all grades 3-8 social studies assessments, and the United States History end-of-course assessment.
The Office of First Steps and the State Department of Education (SDE) must provide a report to the General Assembly regarding how to increase the number of children attending state-funded four-year-old kindergarten programs.
Read to Succeed Initiative Enhancements
The State Board of Education is charged with approving no more than five reliable and valid early literacy and numeracy screening assessment instruments for selection and use by school districts in kindergarten through third grade.
Assessments must be given at the beginning of the school year. For students who need additional assistance, the screening will also occur during the middle and end of the school year. Assessment results must be reported to the State Department of Education which is responsible for monitoring student progress.
Read to Succeed are revised to require that districts provide appropriate in-class intervention until all students are at grade level.
Students are to be retained if their SC Ready scores are at the “Does Not Meet” level. This is more rigorous than the current “Not Met 1” level.
The reading portfolio exemption for retention is strengthened.
When exemptions from retention are granted because of appeals by students’ parents or guardians, school districts are required to report on the number of appeals made, the number granted, and the outcome of the students whose appeals are successful.
More specific job duties and position requirements are established for reading coaches.
The State Department of Education must screen and approve reading coaches for districts where more than one-third of the students score at the lowest achievement level.
Early childhood, elementary, and special education teachers must pass a test regarding reading instruction before they can be certified.
Professional development required for compliance with Read to Succeed must be offered at no cost by the school districts.
The Commission on Higher Education and the Learning Disorders Taskforce are charged with examining the effectiveness of teacher education programs in regard to diagnosing and assisting students with reading difficulties.
Transition into Higher Education and Workforce Opportunities
The legislation provides for an expansion of dual enrollment opportunities so that students who want to go to college already have at least one year of college credit by creating a uniform, statewide credit articulation agreement between K-12 and higher education. The Advisory Committee on Academic Programs is required to develop a statewide dual enrollment articulation agreement that will replace all locally created agreements between K-12 and higher education.
Students desiring an Education Lottery scholarship must, in addition to existing requirements, take a math and English course during their senior year of high school to maintain these skills prior to entering college.
The legislation emphasizes an accountability system that should let parents know if schools are successful in preparing students for eventual success in college or on the job. To further this effort, the State Department of Education must continuously monitor student progress in grades K-12, and provide parents and students with lexile and quantile scores derived from assessments. In addition to using Lexile and Quantile scores, high school equivalency assessment thresholds may also serve as common admission scores to technical colleges. A test in an English/language arts and mathematics course may be used to satisfy the requirement. A test for every course is not required.
The legislation revises and updates the Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA). The State Department of Education, the Technical College System, the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Employment and Workforce must collaborate to ensure that workforce needs are aligned with career pathways and K-12 curriculum.
High schools or career centers must have a minimum of three career pathways, with at least one pathway in a high-skill, high-demand area. Pathways must be reviewed every three years and updated as needed. School districts must coordinate with each other to ensure student access to multiple pathways. Upon Department approval of bus routes, districts may provide transportation for students.
The State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education (SBTCE) must establish, and technical colleges must recognize, common admission scores. (Scores may be differentiated for certain programs of study.) Students who do not meet the minimum admission score should be encouraged to enter a noncredit program that awards a national recognized business or industry credential. Education Lottery Tuition Assistance is available for individuals who enroll in a noncredit, credential awarding program provided they enroll within seven years of the first time they entered the ninth grade.
Incentives for Teachers and Educator Development and Satisfaction
The state’s minimum teacher salary is increased to thirty‑five thousand dollars ($35,000.00).
The legislation provides that no tuition may be charged for a period of four school years by any state‑supported college or university or any state‑supported vocational or technical school for children of full‑time certified classroom teachers with at least five years of teaching service who are employed in schools that have an absolute rating of unsatisfactory for at least three of the previous four years. The teacher must serve as a full‑time classroom teacher during the time the child is receiving the tuition free higher education. The benefit is retained even if the school’s academic performance improves.
An income tax credit is established that covers all of the property taxes paid for five years on a residence for a K-12 public school teacher who lives and teaches is a county designated as a Tier IV economically distressed county.
In order to better understand the demands of the 21st century workplace, public school teachers who work in grades 6-12 are encouraged to become interns for up to 80 hours per year. Employers who hire teachers for these summer internships are eligible for a $2,000 tax credit for each teacher they employee.
The board of trustees of a local school district may authorize the daily mileage reimbursement of a teacher who must travel more than twenty‑five miles each way between home and school. This reimbursement may not exceed the existing federal rate.
Local school boards of trustees may establish policies allowing teachers to enroll their children in the schools where they teach regardless of the student’s zoned area of attendance, and if space is available at the receiving school.
Each classroom teacher and full‑time librarian is entitled to at least a thirty‑minute daily planning period free from the instruction and supervision of students. Each school district may set flexible or rotating schedules for the implementation of this duty‑free planning period. Implementation may not, however, result in a lengthened school day.
The legislation includes provisions for colleges and universities to create alternative teacher preparation programs that are not nationally accredited. Such programs must, however, provide specifically mandated evidence of effectiveness.
The State Board of Education must review educator preparation programs at least once every five years.
The SDE must provide each teacher preparation program with information regarding the performance of its graduates. The programs are required to protect the confidentiality of the data, and the information is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
To provide for accountability in teacher preparation programs, both traditional and alternative, the legislation creates the South Carolina Teacher Preparation Report Card to examine the number of students completing the program, the performance of teacher candidates on basic skills examinations, and the effectiveness of the programs’ graduates in the classroom setting.
The existing teacher satisfaction survey currently administered is now statutorily required. Results must be complied, analyzed, and reported for each school and district. This data should be shared with policy makers on a yearly basis, and the Department will publish those results on its website.
Assistance for students in underperforming schools
The legislation reinforces accountability act provisions regarding assistance for struggling schools or districts.
Local school boards with below average or unsatisfactory performance records are required to establish renewal plans that must be approved by the State Board of Education. These plans must include professional growth plans for teachers and principals. A report on the assistance provided to the schools must be provided to the General Assembly on a yearly basis. Stakeholder groups that include mental health, social services, and law enforcement must be asked for input into renewal plans.
When a school receives an overall rating of unsatisfactory for three out of four years, the school is considered to be ‘chronically underperforming’ and one of the following must occur:
(1) the school will be reconstituted immediately after the end of the school year in which the annual report is published; and:
(a) the State Superintendent shall make all personnel decisions for the reconstituted school and shall have the authority to determine whether to terminate the principal, faculty, and staff;
(b) the State Superintendent of Education shall hire the new principal and staff for the reconstituted school if necessary; and
(c) the department shall contract with a public or nonprofit entity that has a proven record of success in working with underperforming schools and districts. The entity shall use research‑based strategies to assist schools with their operations and oversee the administration of the school until the overall rating of the school improves; provided, if the overall rating does not improve within three years then the school either must be restarted under the management of a high‑performing charter management organization selected by the State Superintendent of Education or must be governed by the South Carolina Transformation School District, and all state, local and federal funds generated by the students must follow the students to the charter management organization or to the South Carolina Transformation School District;
(2) the school must be closed and restarted under the management of an existing charter school authorizer or a nonprofit educational management organization selected by the State Superintendent; provided, if the school is a Title I school, the Department of Education will award competitive grants as authorized under federal law to support these new schools and all state, local and federal funds generated by the students follow the students to the charter school authorizer or to the educational management organization. The authorizer or management organization has the authority to terminate any and all employees of the school and hire employees at its discretion; or
(3) the school must be closed and its students must be transferred to higher‑performing schools in the district.
The South Carolina Transformation School District is established as part of State Department of Education to operate and manage unsatisfactory schools.
The Superintendent of Education is directed to utilize lower child to teacher ratios as a strategy to assist chronically unsatisfactory schools.
The legislation establishes a school district consolidation protocol which provides that, before August 1, 2023, local school districts whose kindergarten through grade twelve student population is less than one thousand, and where greater than fifty percent of the students attend schools whose report card ratings are below average or unsatisfactory, shall be merged with a district in the same county in which it is located.
School Board Ethics Provisions
The State Board of Education must adopt a model code of ethics that shall be adopted by local districts by July 1, 2020.
A person may not serve on a local school board if a family member is employed by the district as a superintendent, principal, assistant principal, or member of the district administrative staff. This requirement may be waived for districts with a student population under 3,000.
School board members may not their position for personal or family advantage. Expectations for board members are codified.
The State Ethics Act, including the requirement to file a statement of economic interest, is applied to local board members.
Local school boards must adopt an annual training programs for members that includes instruction on school law, ethics, school finance, nepotism, board relations, and conflicts of interest. Completion of the training must be reported to, and retained by the State Department of Education.
In addition to other statutory authority relating to the removal of officers, the Governor may remove a member of a school district board of trustees in a case involving fraud, misappropriation of funds, nepotism, violation of election or procurement laws, or a combination of these.
A protocol is established that allows board members to be removed by the Governor if the district loses accreditation for school governance reasons.
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Federal Programs and Grants
The Legislative Audit Council is directed to study publish a report by August 1, 2020, identifying and detailing federal funding streams for programs and grants in elementary and secondary education in this state in total and breaking out the cost of overhead, compliance, and reporting incurred by the State Department of Education, school districts, and local schools.
WEEK OF MARCH 12, 2019 - BUDGET WEEK
The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4000, the General Appropriation Bill, and H.4001, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, which together comprise the FISCAL YEAR 2019-2020 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET. The $29.95 billion total budget includes $497 million in recurring state general fund revenue estimated for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, $159 million in nonrecurring surplus funds estimated for Fiscal Year 2018-2019, $177 million in the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Contingency Reserve Fund, and $152 million in Capital Reserve Funds.
The budget provides for $96 million in nonrecurring funds to be returned to the state’s taxpayers as rebates. The Rebate Fund includes the $61 million in taxes collected on the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket sold in South Carolina last year. The total allows for a $50 one-time rebate for each South Carolina income tax payer.
$614 million in recurring funds is transferred into the Tax Relief Trust Fund that provides for the residential property tax caps.
$41.4 million in recurring funds is used to provide a 2% state employee pay increase. Employees of institutions of higher education and technical colleges that earn a base salary of at least $100,000 are not eligible to receive the increase in compensation.
$49.7 million in recurring funds is included to cover the increased costs of operating the state's health and dental insurance plans so that employees will have no additional monthly premium costs.
A total of $32 million from the General Fund and $4 million in Education Improvement Act funds is devoted to the 1% increase in the employer contribution rates for the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System that is in keeping with the schedule for addressing the unfunded liability facing the state’s pensions established in Act 13 of 2017.
$2.8 billion in recurring funds is utilized to set State Aid to Classrooms at $3,846 per pupil. Several funding lines are consolidated to form State Aid to Classrooms as a replacement for the Base Student Cost.
$159 million in recurring funds is devoted to raising the minimum teacher salary from $32,000 to $35,000 and providing across-the-board teacher pay increases of at least 4%. To further recruitment and retention efforts, those who have been teaching for no more than four years are to receive raises ranging from 6% to 10%. The budget’s teacher pay increase, the largest since 1984, places South Carolina above the Southeastern average teacher salary of $52,830.
Provisions are made for a Rural Teacher Recruitment pilot program at the University of South Carolina's College of Education for the development of innovative and cost-effective teacher recruitment strategies, customized training for new teachers, and dedicated, ongoing mentoring support.
A Rural School District and Economic Development Closing Fund is established within the Department of Commerce to facilitate economic development and infrastructure improvements for projects that create a minimum of fifty jobs located within the twenty-eight school districts with the lowest Index of Taxpaying Ability (ITA) in the State of South Carolina.
Provisions are made for the transfer of excess debt service funds in the amounts of $85 million to the Department of Commerce for the Rural School District and Economic Development Closing Fund and $50 million to the Department of Education for school district capital improvements.
$20 million in lottery funds is included for instructional materials.
$10 million in Education Improvement Act funds is allocated for school resource officers. School districts with the lowest taxpaying ability are to receive priority consideration in the distribution of these funds. The budget also includes provisions that waive South Carolina Police Officers Retirement System earnings limitations for retirees who return to work as school resource officers.
$14.8 million in Education Improvement Act funds is included to address S.C. Public Charter School District growth.
$19 million in lottery funds is provided for school buses.
From the funds appropriated to the Department of Education to fulfill black history instruction requirements, the instruction in grades 3 through 12 must include a cultural sensitivity component educating students about how they should interact with and be respectful of the beliefs and practices of people of a different race or creed.
Full funding is provided for the LIFE, HOPE, and Palmetto Fellows higher education scholarship programs through Education Lottery funds.
The budget includes a higher education tuition mitigation initiative in which a total of $44 million in additional recurring funds is distributed among the state’s institutions of higher learning. In order to retain these appropriations, the institutions must comply with provisions for freezing in-state tuition and mandatory fees during the 2019-2020 academic year.
The bulk of the Capital Reserve Fund is devoted to capital needs at the state’s colleges and universities, with a total of $100 million in these nonrecurring funds allocated among the institutions for repairs, renovations, and maintenance of various facilities.
The University of South Carolina is directed to use a portion of the funds appropriated to or authorized for the university to recruit undergraduate African American students, to recruit African American students at the Medical School, and to recruit African American students at the School of Law.
The Commission on Higher Education is afforded $20 million in lottery funds for need-based grants, $10 million in lottery funds for tuition grants, $2.6 million in lottery funds for National Guard Tuition Repayment, and $6 million in in unclaimed prize money for the Higher Education Excellence Enhancement Program.
$8 million in lottery funds is dedicated to technology for the state’s four-year and two-year colleges and universities and technical colleges.
The Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education is afforded $17 million in lottery funds and $11 million in in unclaimed prize money for SC Workforce Industry Needs scholarships that help provide full tuition at technical colleges for SC WINS recipients seeking degrees in industry sectors with critical workforce needs.
$26.8 million is allocated to the Ready SC Program which provides worker training at the state’s technical colleges that is customized to the needs of new and expanding business and industry.
$6 million in recurring funds is divided among the state’s technical colleges.
A study committee is established to develop a plan to determine the feasibility of transforming Denmark Technical College from a technical college to its original mission of an area trade school.
$3.7 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the Deal Closing Fund that the Department of Commerce uses to recruit new business to the state. The Department of Commerce is afforded $4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Locate SC Site Inventory, $1.5 million in recurring funds for innovation grants to accelerate growth in high tech applied research and emerging industries, $625 thousand in recurring funds and $750 thousand in nonrecurring funds for the Military Base Task Force, and $400 thousand for the state’s small and existing businesses.
$4 million is appropriated from the Capital Reserve Fund for Clemson University’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
$4 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the Jasper Ocean Terminal Port Facility Infrastructure Fund.
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism receives $1 million in nonrecurring funds for coastal tourism advertising, $8.5 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for deferred maintenance at state parks, $2.5 million in nonrecurring funds for parks revitalization, $1 million in recurring funds for its sports marketing grants program, $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for the Saluda River Greenway, and $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Aquarium.
$1.5 million in recurring funds is appropriated to the Rural Infrastructure Authority for Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund match to update rural water and sewer systems.
The Department of Agriculture is afforded $1 million in recurring funds for agribusiness infrastructure grants and $500 thousand for food inspection and consumer safety.
Clemson PSA receives $1 million in recurring funds for its statewide extension programs, $2 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for water research facility renovation, and $750 thousand in recurring funds for livestock poultry health and regulatory programs.
SC State PSA is afforded $300 thousand for 1890 Program match for community outreach programs.
The Department of Health and Human Services is afforded $49.5 million in recurring funds for Medicaid maintenance of effort to address program cost growth, $7.4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Medicaid Management Information System, and $2.8 million recurring and $2.8 million nonrecurring for medical contracts.
The budget provides for the continuation of Medicaid accountability and quality improvement programs of the Healthy Outcomes Initiative for meeting the needs of chronically ill uninsured patients in settings outside the comparatively expensive emergency room through a Primary Care Safety Net utilizing such resources as Federally Qualified Health Centers and free clinics.
$5.5 million is appropriated to DHHS for the Children’s Health Insurance Program to allow more children to be eligible for CHIP coverage. The new eligibility limits place South Carolina at the Southeastern average for this program that serves children whose parents’ income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, but low enough to make private health insurance largely unaffordable.
A family planning funds provision is included in furtherance of statutory provisions that have been enacted to prohibit state funds, directly or indirectly, from being utilized by Planned Parenthood for abortions, abortion services or procedures, or administrative functions related to abortions. Having prevented Planned Parenthood from performing abortions with state funds, once the federal injunction is lifted, the Department of Health and Human Services may not direct any federal funds to Planned Parenthood. An otherwise qualified organization may not be disqualified from receipt of these funds because of its affiliation with an organization that provides abortion services, provided that the affiliated organization that provides abortion services is independent of the qualified organization. An independent affiliate that provides abortion services must be separately incorporated from any organization that receives these funds. An organization that provides abortion services in compliance with the budget provision addressing the performance of medically necessary services under the Medicaid program is excepted from this restriction on state family planning funds and may receive state family planning funds.
The Medical University of South Carolina is afforded $2.2 million in recurring funds for the state’s telemedicine network and $1.5 million in recurring funds for statewide health improvements.
$15 million from the Capital Reserve Fund and $2 million in recurring funds is provided for the Rural Health Initiative partnership between DHHS and the USC School of Medicine to improve access to life-saving emergency room care in the wake of rural hospital closures.
$1 million in recurring funds is appropriated for the SC Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System at MUSC.
$2 million is appropriated from the Capital Reserve Fund for Clemson University’s health innovation extension programming.
The Department of Health and Environmental Control receives $1 million in recurring funds for its prescription drug monitoring program that is used by physicians and pharmacists to track the prescription and use of opioids. DHEC is also afforded $500 thousand in recurring funds for communicable disease abatement, $202 thousand in recurring funds for mosquito borne disease abatement, $250 thousand in recurring funds for the orphan petroleum spills and releases contingency fund, $2 million in recurring funds for ocean outfalls, and $2 million in nonrecurring funds for Murrell’s Inlet channel clearing.
The Department of Mental Health is afforded $1.3 million in recurring funds for inpatient services contractual adjustments, $2.2 million in recurring funds for school mental health services, $1.6 million in recurring funds for information technology, $482 thousand in recurring funds for the sexually violent predator treatment program, and $37 million in nonrecurring funds for VA nursing homes certification state match.
The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs receives $11.3 million in recurring funds to increase direct care staff starting salaries from $12 to $13 an hour. $2 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for autism research at the Greenwood Genetic Center.
The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is afforded $6 million in nonrecurring funds for infrastructure improvements in its substance abuse provider system.
The Department of Social Services is appropriated $29 million in nonrecurring funds for the development of the child support enforcement system, $3.9 million in recurring funds for child welfare information systems, and $800 thousand in nonrecurring funds for criminal domestic violence programs.
A Department of Social Services reform committee is established to examine how the mission and responsibilities of DSS might be better fulfilled.
The State Law Enforcement Divisions is afforded $814 thousand in recurring funds for officer rank change.
The Department of Public Safety is appropriated $711 thousand in recurring funds for master trooper and officer rank change, $1.8 million recurring and $500 thousand nonrecurring for vehicle replacement, and $600 thousand in recurring funds for local law enforcement grants.
The Department of Corrections receives $10 million in nonrecurring funds for detention services and prison safety equipment upgrades, $10 million in recurring funds for the Hepatitis C treatment program, and $2.3 million in recurring funds for electronic health records and support for mobile data collection.
The Department of Juvenile Justice is afforded $1 million in recurring funds for salary increases for juvenile corrections officers and community specialists, $1 million for electrical grid conversion, and $170 thousand in nonrecurring funds for child advocacy centers.
The Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services is provided $1.9 million in recurring funds to address declining revenue collection from the Omnibus Crime Bill and $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for information data technology connectivity services.
The Law Enforcement Training Council receives $2 million in recurring funds to increase the number of officers that can complete its basic training program each year by allowing four weeks of the training to be conducted in regional settings outside of the centralized Criminal Justice Academy. $1.2 million recurring and $271 thousand nonrecurring is provided for a mobile training team that travels to provide officer training and recertification.
The Attorney General’s Office is appropriated $1.5 million in recurring funds for stability funding and $522 thousand in recurring funds for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
$11 million in recurring funds is provided for judicial salary increases.
$4 million in recurring funds is provided for Judges and Solicitors Retirement System pension stabilization.
The Judicial Department is afforded $11.2 million in recurring funds for safety enhancements and $13 million in nonrecurring funds for case management modernization.
$40 million in nonrecurring funds is provided to the Department of Administration for a new statewide voting system with the goal of having the new voting machines in place for the 2020 election cycle.
The State Election Commission receives $2.2 million in nonrecurring funds for the 2020 Presidential Primary.
$37 million is used to provide full funding for the constitutional reserve accounts that the state uses to cope with revenue shortfalls.
$254 million in recurring funds is provided for the Local Government Fund. This includes an $11.1 million increase in recurring funds that is consistent with the revised approach to sending revenue to political subdivisions provided in H.3137, which was approved by the House earlier this year and sent to the Senate.
$22 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the state FEMA match for Hurricane Florence.
The Adjutant General receives appropriations of $250 thousand in nonrecurring funds for improvements at the state’s emergency operations center, $120 thousand in recurring funds for Emergency Management Division personnel, $2.2 million in nonrecurring funds for land management at the McEntire Joint National Guard Base, and $5.6 million in nonrecurring funds for armory construction and revitalizations.
The Forestry Commission is provided $1.5 million in recurring funds for recruitment and retention and $1 million in recurring funds and $1 million in nonrecurring funds for firefighting equipment.
The Department of Natural Resources $383 thousand in recurring funds for officer step increases and $714 thousand in recurring funds for statewide water monitoring and evaluation.
$5 million is appropriated from the Capital Reserve Fund for Francis Marion University’s Freshwater Ecology Center.
The Conservation Bank is afforded $1.5 million in recurring and $4 million in nonrecurring for conservation grants.
The Human Affairs Commission is appropriated $71 thousand recurring and $70 thousand nonrecurring for SC Pregnancy Accommodations Act training.
The Workers’ Compensation Commission receives $1.8 million in nonrecurring funds for information technology modernization.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is appropriated $118 thousand in recurring funds for an Assistant Consumer Advocate.
The Department of Motor Vehicles is afforded $4 million in nonrecurring funds for the final phase of REAL ID implementation costs.
The Department of Transportation receives $4 million in nonrecurring funds for upgrades to the state’s rest areas.
The Department of Administration is afforded $5 million in recurring funds, $27 million in nonrecurring funds, and $29 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for state-owned building deferred maintenance needs.
The Office of Revenue and Fiscal Affairs is provided $2 million in nonrecurring funds for a statewide aerial imagery project to update mapping used in disaster response and recovery efforts.
$114 thousand in recurring funds is provided for a Deputy Inspector General staff attorney position.
The Department of Archives and History receives $100 thousand in nonrecurring funds for the African American Heritage Commission’s Greenbook of SC.
$2.7 million is provided to Patriots Point for the USS Clamagore Veteran Memorial Reef.
The Arts Commission is afforded $865 thousand in recurring funds for community arts development and education grants.
$1 million in recurring funds is provided for aid to county libraries.