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SC Public Policy Update - May 20, 2016

May 20, 2016

What's New

SENATE

It was another busy week in the Senate as members continued to work through various bills on the lengthy Senate Calendar. The Senate spent the day on Wednesday taking up the Governor’s veto on H. 4717, the “South Carolina Farm Aid Bill,” by Representative Brian White (R-Anderson). This legislation provides $40 million to assist farmers across South Carolina who suffered production loss as a result of the 2015 flood. The Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto by a vote of 39-3. Now that H. 4717 will be enrolled for ratification, a nine member “Farm Aid Advisory Board” will begin the process of administering grants up to $100,000 for eligible farmers.

The Senate also addressed several other bills of interest this week. H. 4932, by Representative Rita Allison (R-Spartanburg) received third reading and was returned to the House with Senate amendments for concurrence. H. 4932 makes revisions to the specifications and limitations for vehicles and trailers operated along the State’s highways. New provisions are included in the bill to allow motor vehicles fueled primarily by natural gas to exceed weight limitations by specified amounts. An amendment, adopted by the Senate, also provides for a waiver of weights for vehicles used in the construction, repair, or maintenance of the new South Carolina Ports Authority shipping terminal in Charleston, SC. The Senate also gave third reading to H.4548 by Representative Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee) involving dealer closing fees. This bill clarifies what dealers can count as closing costs and requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to administer and enforce requirements regarding motor vehicle dealer closing fees.

Prior to adjournment on Thursday, the Senate addressed local bill S. 1306 by Senator Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley). This proposal would require Berkeley County students to use bathrooms based on the gender on their birth certificate. Senator Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg) argued that the bill should be on the statewide calendar and that the proposal threatened the State’s ability to attract new jobs as well as millions of dollars in federal education funding. Prior to a vote on third reading of the bill, Senator John Courson (R-Richland) called for the Senate to adjourn. S. 1306 remains pending third reading on the Senate calendar.

The Senate Medical Affairs Committee met this week on several bills of interest. The Committee gave a favorable report on H. 5193, by Representative Chip Huggins (R-Lexington), that would require the Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy to issue a joint written protocol to authorize pharmacists to dispense a drug to reverse the effect of an opioid related drug overdose. The Committee also reported favorably on H. 4327 by Representative Murrell Smith (D-Sumter) relating to hospice programs. This legislation allows for the expansion of service areas for outpatient hospice programs. H. 3952, by Representative Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville), would legalize emergency or involuntary commitments for persons who are likely to injure themselves or would become gravely disabled if not for immediate hospitalization. The bill also addresses the transportation of an individual and allows both local law enforcement as well as emergency medical technicians to take into custody and transport an individual to the hospital. This legislation also received a favorable report as amended and will be placed on the Senate calendar.

A Senate Judiciary Subcommittee met Thursday to take up the legislation that would expand the State’s “stand your ground” law. H. 4703, by Representative Greg Delleney (R-Chester), would shift the burden of proof to the prosecution to determine if the use of deadly force in a “stand your ground” case was justifiable. Members of the subcommittee expressed the need to study a recent South Carolina Supreme Court opinion before moving the bill forward. As a result, the subcommittee voted to carry over the bill until further notice.

The Senate Finance Committee also met this week and addressed the following bills:

H. 4577 (White) State Aviation Fund: Favorable Report;
H. 4762 (Anthony) Limitation on Millage Rate Increases & Exemptions: Favorable Report;
H. 4765 (G.R. Smith) Income Tax Check Off for Habitat for Humanity: Favorable Report;
H. 5270 (Tallon) Payroll Deduction for State Employees’ Association Dues: Favorable Report;
H. 5119 (Goldfinch) SC State Guard: Favorable Report;
H. 4661 (Forrester) Piping materials in State Procurement Code: Favorable Report;
H. 5034 (White) Bingo Tax Revenue: Favorable Report; and
H. 5078 (White) Capital Project Sales Tax Imposition: Favorable Report.

Notable bills passed by the Senate this week include:
S. 936 – provides for minors to be able to apply for a beginner’s permit, instruction permit, or driver’s license under the authorization of a responsible adult willing to assume the obligation imposed;
S. 1257 – redesignates the map on which the names of the Charleston County voting precincts may be found and maintained by the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office;
S. 1296 – requires the Kershaw County Transportation Committee to be composed of seven members and establishes their respective terms;
S. 1297 – amends Act 185 of 1999 so as to provide that the Chesterfield County School Board may adjust the amount of per diem payments and to provide for the effective date of the adjusted rates;
H. 3560 – allows teachers the opportunity for a hearing with a school board or its designee if they have received a written notice of dismissal;
H. 3849 – establishes confidentiality for teacher evaluation records;
H. 3891 – allows rental companies that rent a vehicle for 90 days or less to charge separately stated fees to cover certain taxes and fees;
H. 4138 – establishes requirements for those holding licenses in the mechanical contractor subclassification of air conditioning, heating, or packaged equipment to display their mechanical contractor licenses in a conspicuous manner at their principal places of business and to display their mechanical contractor license numbers on their commercial vehicles and on their invoice and proposal forms;
H. 4413 – revises “safe haven” provisions for abandoned babies;
H. 4548 – clarifies what dealers can count as closing costs and calls for lawsuits brought under the closing fee statute to only be heard individually rather than as a group;
H. 4817 – requires bondsmen to provide their business address, email, mailing, and residential street address on their license application with the department of insurance;
H. 4932 – provides specifications regarding the maximum lengths and weight of vehicles on South Carolina roads;
H. 4938 – directs the State Department of Education and Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) to collaborate with the Commission of Higher Education in surveying students enrolled in the South Carolina colleges and universities;
H. 4999 – places free healthcare provider services within the scope of “The Good Samaritan” law, allowing the providers to be immune from civil damage liability unless there is gross negligence or willful misconduct;
H. 5011 – makes provisions for the reimposition of a local option tourism development fee that allow for a municipality’s use of a portion of the fee for tax relief to continue without interruption; and
H. 5024 – requires the State Department of Education to provide training to all literacy coaches and literacy teachers in kindergarten through grade three on dyslexia, including evidence-based dyslexia screening, instructional methods, and interventions.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday at noon.

HOUSE

The House of Representatives returned to Columbia on Tuesday following their final week of furlough. Members of the House addressed H. 4717, the South Carolina Farm Aid Bill, and voted in favor of overriding the Governor’s veto by a vote of 112-2. The House also took up H. 5001 (General Appropriations Bill) and H. 5002 (Capital Reserve Fund) as returned from the Senate. Members voted to non-concur with the Senate amendments on the bill and restored the legislation back to the original House language. The House also adopted an amendment to H. 5002 that would add $500,000 to the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation’s V-SAFE Program. H. 5001 and H. 5002 now return to the Senate for concurrence on the House amendments.

In addition to the “Farm Aid Bill” and the budget bills, the House addressed the Senate amendments on H. 3184, the “Ethics Reform Act” by Representative Tommy Pope (R-Spartanburg). The House voted 101-2 to amend the bill to give an independent ethics commission the ability to move an investigation forward rather than referring it to the House or Senate ethics committees. H. 3184 now returns to the Senate for concurrence on the House amendment. Additionally, the House voted 79-29 to adopt the Free Conference Report on H. 3114, the “SC Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” by Representative Wendy Nanney (R-Greenville). This legislation now bans abortions at 20 weeks or later and offers no exceptions for rape or incest. However, the bill does provide an exception to the 20 week ban on abortion for cases of “severe fetal anomalies” and the endangerment of the life of the mother. H. 3114 is now enrolled for ratification and pending the Governor’s signature.

The House Ways and Means Committee met this week to take up numerous bills that were reported out of various subcommittees. The Committee took up S. 1258, the new roads bond bill that will provide over $2.2 billion to improve interstates, roads, and bridges across the State without implementing new taxes or fees. The Committee approved an amendment that incorporated the Department of Transportation reform language from H. 3579. S. 1258 received a favorable report as amended and is expected to move through the House next week. Other bills addressed by the Committee include:

S. 1122 (Rankin) Local Option Tourism Fee: Favorable Report;
S. 381 (Shealy) Service Credit Purchases for Retirement Eligibility: Favorable Report;
H. 4942 (J.E. Smith) Income Tax Credits for Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles: Adjourn Debate;
S. 170 (Kimpson) Sales and Use Tax Remittance on Internet Sales: Adjourn Debate;
S. 460 (Campsen) Electronic Property Tax Bill: Favorable Report as Amended;
S. 932 (Bennett) Property Tax Deadline Extension for Military: Favorable Report;
S. 227 (Campbell) Remission of Redevelopment Fees: No Action;
S. 743 (Matthews) Port Enhancement Zone Act: Adjourn Debate;
S. 973 (Insurance Premium Tax): Favorable Report as Amended;
S. 626 (Gregory) Renewable Energy Property Tax Credits: Favorable Report as Amended; and
S. 1075 (Campbell) Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Infrastructure: Adjourn Debate.

The House Judiciary Committee also met Thursday to take up multiple bills. The Committee gave a favorable report as amended to S. 1015 by Senator Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence). This legislation provides penalties for knowingly and intentionally installing counterfeit or nonfunctional airbags or airbag components in automobiles. The Committee also gave a favorable report to S. 139 by Senator Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley). This legislation will freeze the building restriction line (“baseline”) along the coast and will prevent the line from being moved seaward after December 31, 2017. Debate on S. 139 and S. 1015 should begin on the House floor next week. Other bills addressed by the House Judiciary Committee include:

S. 997 (Bright) Refugees and Voluntary Resettlement Organizations: Adjourn Debate;
S. 267 (Young) Adjournment of the General Assembly: Favorable Report as Amended;
S. 913 (L. Martin) Freedom of Information Act: Favorable Report as Amended;
S. 233 (Campsen) Prayer or Invocation: Favorable Report;
S. 221 (Malloy) “Sentencing Reform Oversight Committee”: Favorable Report;
S. 1182 (Shealy) Coroners & Med. Examiners Scheduling Local Child Fatality Reviews: Favorable Report;
S. 778 (Malloy) Uniform Power of Attorney Act: Favorable Report;
S. 777 (Malloy) Payment of Benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs: Favorable Report;
S. 908 (Hayes) SC Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act: Favorable Report;
S. 1064 (Young) Insurers Writing Workers’ Compensation Policy: Favorable Report;
S. 868 (Young) Eminent Domain: Favorable Report;
S. 1065 (Young) Petroleum Pipeline Study Committee: Favorable Report; and
H. 4634 (Hicks) Dismemberment Abortions: Adjourn Debate

The House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Subcommittee II on Occupational Regulation and Licensing Regulation met Thursday on several bills including S. 371 by Senator Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson). This legislation deals with the process of disciplining nurses when a nurse misreads an order for the administration of medications and that error contributes to a patient’s death. The Subcommittee amended the bill to clarify that the order for the administration of the medication may be issued by other authorized prescribers in addition to physicians. The bill received a favorable report as amended and will move to the full committee.

Notable bills passed by the House this week include:
S. 652 – authorizes financial institutions that do business in South Carolina to conduct savings promotion contests for members and customers;
S. 693 – revises the Insurers’ Rehabilitation and Liquidation Act to make provisions that are specific to federal home loan banks and insurer-members of those banks in delinquency proceedings;
S. 978 – involves risk-based capital plans so as to increase the multiplier for a company action level event for a life and health insurer from 2.5 to 3.0;
S. 1233 – amends provisions relating to counties in which the Education Capital Improvements Sales and Use Tax may be imposed, so as to revise the criteria applicable to certain counties in order for them to place the question of imposing this sales and use tax on a referendum ballot;
H. 5364 – establishes a joint resolution to approve regulations of the Department of Employment and Workforce relating to unemployment trust fund solvency; and
H. 5367 – adds the "Northern Greenville" area of Greenville County to Renewable Water Resources’ (REWA) service area.

Top News Articles

Haley vs. Leatherman: The $2million S.C. Senate race
The chatter is growing from the Statehouse to the heart of the Pee Dee about the political vulnerability of Senate leader Hugh Leatherman.

Beer coupons by phone proposal breezing through the Legislature
Beer and wine drinkers could soon buy brewskies and bottles at cheaper rates if a bill making its way through the Legislature expanding the use of coupons becomes law.

Senate blocks Berkeley bathroom ban
The S.C. Senate abruptly adjourned Thursday, blocking a vote on a proposed Berkeley County bathroom ban that opponents said could cost the state jobs and federal money. Read more.

$40 million farm aid bill becomes law with Senate veto override
The S.C. Senate finalized $40 million in assistance for flood-affected farmers, following a move by the House and rejecting Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of the bill.

Supreme Court knocks down deal allowing governor to name roads chief
The S.C. Supreme Court ruled unlawful Wednesday a one-year budget amendment extending the governor’s ability to appoint the head of the S.C. Department of Transportation. Read more.

SC lawmakers ban abortions at 20 weeks
S.C lawmakers Tuesday passed a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks or later – a proposal that has been struck down by courts in three other states as unconstitutional. Read more.

SC proposal to register refugees stalls
A state Senate bill that would require refugees who resettle in South Carolina to register with the state stalled Wednesday, when a committee hearing the proposal could not attract a quorum. Read more.

Meetings and Events

Monday, May 23, 2016
5:30 – 7:30 Reception for Representative Chip Huggins
                  Columbia Conference Center, 169 Laurelhurst Avenue

5:30 -7:30 Reception for Senator Hugh Leatherman
                 Nexsen Pruet, Charleston

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
5:30 – 7:00 Reception for Senator John Scott
                  Nexsen Pruet

5:30 – 7:30 Reception for Senators Sabb and Johnson
                  Inn at USC

5:30 – 7:00 Reception for Senator Katrina Shealy
                  Vista Room, Blue Marlin

5:30 – 8:00 House Democratic Caucus Awards Reception
                  M Space, 530 Lady Street

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
5:30 – 7:00 Reception for Representative Jerry Govan
                  Nexsen Pruet

Newly Introduced Legislation

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/TAX:

S. 1306 (Grooms) TO PROHIBIT A PERSON OF ONE SEX FROM USING A RESTROOM, LOCKER ROOM, SHOWER ROOM, OR OTHER FACILITY DESIGNATED FOR USE BY THE OPPOSITE SEX - Placed on the Local and Uncontested Calendar.

JUDICIAL:

S. 1318 (Fair) AN EXECUTIVE ORDER OF THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THAT DIRECTS OR HAS THE PRACTICAL EFFECT OF FORCING PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN THIS STATE TO ENGAGE IN CONDUCT CONCERNING THE PERSONHOOD OR GENDER IDENTITY OF ITS STUDENTS OR FACE SANCTIONS CONSTITUTES A VIOLATION OF THE TENTH AMENDMENT OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 1319 (Jackson) TO ENACT THE "REVENGE PORN ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 1325 (Hayes) TO PROVIDE FOR THE MANNER, PROCEDURES, AND REQUIREMENTS BY OR UNDER WHICH NONPROFIT LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES MAY BE FORMED IN SOUTH CAROLINA. - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 1311 (L. Martin) TO FIX NOON ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2016, AS THE TIME TO ELECT A SUCCESSOR TO A CERTAIN JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT, CHIEF JUSTICE, UPON HIS RETIREMENT ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 2016 - Adopted, ordered sent to the House.

The Nexsen Pruet State House Update is published as a service to our attorneys, clients, and friends. It is intended to be a high level overview of the weekly activity at the South Carolina State House and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation.

Firm clients who wish to receive individualized legislative updates, bill monitoring, or lobbying services may discuss options with Bob Coble. He can be reached at 803-253-8211 or bcoble@nexsenpruet.com.

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