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South Carolina Legislative Update - December 5, 2014

December 5, 2014

House Organizational Session

The South Carolina House of Representatives met on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week for an organizational session.  Representative Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) was elected as Speaker of the House and Representative Tommy Pope (R-York) was elected Speaker Pro Tempore.  The following members were elected committee chairmen of the standing committees of the House:

Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs - David R. Hiott (R-Pickens)

Education and Public Works - Merita A. "Rita" Allison (R-Spartanburg)

Ethics - Kenneth A. "Kenny" Bingham (R-Lexington)

Interstate Cooperation - Mark N. Willis (R-Greenville)

Invitations and Memorial Resolutions - Jimmy C. Bales (D-Richland)

Judiciary -  Gregory "Greg" Delleney, Jr. (R-Chester)

Labor, Commerce and Industry - William E. "Bill" Sandifer, III (R-Oconee)

Legislative Oversight – To Be Determined

Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs - Leon Howard (D-Richland)

Operations and Management - Garry R. Smith (R-Greenville)

Regulations and Administrative Procedures -  To Be Determined

Rules - Alan D. Clemmons (R-Horry)

Ways and Means - Brian White (R-Anderson)

In addition, the House amended and adopted their rules (H. 3001) for the 2015 and 2016 sessions of the General Assembly this week.  A few of the changes are:

  • Term Limits on Speaker/ Speaker Pro Tempore (five consecutive terms)
  • Prohibition of Leadership PACs
  • Formation of Two New Committees – Legislative Oversight and Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committees.

Prefiled Legislation

The Senate prefiled over 170 pieces of legislation on Wednesday – measures ranging from tax reform to ethics reform to infrastructure were submitted.  To review prefiled legislation, please click here.

The Senate will prefile again on December 17 and the House will prefile on December 11 and December 18.   

In The News

Columbia to put body cameras on all police

Columbia police and City Hall, sounding themes of transparency and trust, announced plans Thursday for body cameras and more training of all officers as well as the creation of a commission to investigate discrimination or abuse in any city agency. 

Spartanburg woman elected chair of House education committee

State Rep. Rita Allison, R-Spartanburg, became the first woman elected as chairwoman of a House committee in more than a decade Wednesday. 

SC, other states sue President Obama over immigration

South Carolina joined 16 other states in a suit against the Obama administration for what they consider an illegal overreach of executive privilege in the president’s executive order on immigration, Gov. Nikki Haley and Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Wednesday. 

New leader, new rules for SC House

Newly elected House Speaker Jay Lucas told fellow members Tuesday that they “should have nothing to fear from sunlight, but the public has much to fear from the darkness of secrecy.”  State representatives gathered Tuesday to start their organizational session, electing new officers and voting on new rules. “It’s going to be a new, brighter day in the House,” said the Darlington Republican who has served as acting speaker since Bobby Harrell stepped down, was indicted on public corruption charges and resigned. 

U.S. Sen. Tim Scott sworn in, not eyeing governor’s office

Political prognosticators can cross one GOP rising star off their list of politicos who might by eyeing the 2018 S.C. governor’s race.  U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, who was sworn Tuesday morning to finish a two-year unexpired term, said he plans to run again for the Senate seat in 2016 and has no plans or desire to run for governor two years later when the seat opens up.  “Never say never,” Scott said on a conference call with reporters. But, he added, “If there is a plan that is very close to never, this is it.”  

Grand Strand legislators to introduce bills aimed to settle state permit challenges sooner

Grand Strand legislators plan to propose bills in the House and Senate next year that would require groups or individuals appealing state construction permits to go before a judge to give cause for the appeal before it moves forward.  Groups would still be able to appeal permit applications, but would have to show cause for the appeal early in the construction process instead of stalling projects for years and potentially costing the developer money. 

Hearing scheduled for ex-state Senator Robert Ford

Ex-Sen. Robert Ford is expected in court to face charges including a felony forgery charge, and seven misdemeanor charges for campaign finance abuses and misconduct in office. Ford resigned last year after two decades in the state Senate. He was indicted last month. 

Meeting Schedule

Monday, December 8

No Meetings Scheduled.

Tuesday, December 9

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Agency Head Salary Commission
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 516 -- Investigation and Enforcement Subcommittee of the House Ethics and Freedom of Information Act Study Committee
  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 110 -- Joint Legislative Committee to Screen Candidates for College and University Boards of Trustees

Thursday, December 11

  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 110 -- Senate General DSS Oversight Subcommittee
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For more information or to be added to our distribution list, please feel free to contact our South Carolina Legislative team.