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South Carolina Legislative Update - January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015

The 1st Regular Session of the 121st South Carolina General Assembly convened on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, and Governor Haley and the state constitutional officers were all inaugurated on Wednesday.  In addition, Governor Haley released her Executive Budget.  The House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittees began their deliberations on the State’s annual budget, two of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittees met to discuss ethics reform and domestic violence, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure & Management Ad-Hoc Committee discussed potential suggestions for funding and managing South Carolina’s roadways. 

Prefiled Legislation

All of the prefiled bills from December officially received first reading/introduction on Tuesday and a number of new bills and resolutions were introduced throughout the week.  To view this week’s introductions in the Senate, please click here,and here for the House.

In the News

Gov. Nikki Haley's inauguration
Gov. Nikki Haley used her second inaugural address Wednesday to press S.C. lawmakers to pass ethics reform in the wake of recent scandals.  Haley did not name anyone. But her speech on the State House steps came on the same day that former state Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, pleaded guilty to misconduct in office and three months after former House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, resigned amid charges of misusing campaign money.  “(T)here is no question that the events of recent times, the revelation of the misuses of public funds, public office, and worst of all, the public trust, have shaken the very soul of our state,” the Lexington Republican said as legislators sat directly in front of her. “The people of South Carolina deserve more from us. They deserve honest service, the kind of service propelled not by a hunger for self-indulgence but by a heart full of grace.”  Read more here.

New SC ed chief carries allies’ hope, trust
Molly Spearman knows her education allies have “high expectations” for her.  The Saluda County Republican, who will be sworn in as the state’s next education superintendent Wednesday, said she hears frequently that, under her leadership, the S.C. Department of Education is “ ‘going to change. Molly’s there now.’ ”  “I’m going to do everything I can, but I’m not going to do this alone,” Spearman said recently in an interview from her Columbia office.  Read more here.

Start of SC legislative session is like Christmas for some
In three decades as a S.C. House member, Grady Brown never has missed a day.  Tuesday was no different as Brown, the longest-serving House member, started his 31st year in the Legislature as the 121st General Assembly convened.  Brown, 70, compares his excitement on each Monday night of the Legislature’s Tuesday-through-Thursday sessions to a child eagerly awaiting Santa Claus.  And, just like Christmas, a present was sitting on Brown’s desk Tuesday — a new legislative license plate with the No. 1 on it, reflecting the Lee County Democrat’s tenure.  Read more here.

Legislative agreement on fixing SC’s roads may be elusive
Those hoping for a breakthrough solution to the state’s ailing infrastructure are being reminded this week just how difficult it may be for state leaders to reach an agreement.  A House committee that has spent almost five months studying the issue could find little consensus after hours of debate.  Read more here.

Gov. Haley’s budget offers little money for SC roads, emphasizes education
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s $6.9 billion executive budget, unveiled Monday, does little to pay for the state’s crumbling roads.  Instead, Haley’s budget proposal pushes a multiyear plan to recruit teachers to the state’s rural schools, which are suing the state.  Read more here.

Former SC insurance commissioner named new DHEC chief
Former state insurance chief Eleanor Kitzman was picked Monday as director of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, but the quick decision to hire her drew immediate questions from senators who must confirm the nomination.  The DHEC board chose Kitzman, an ally of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, just four days after Catherine Templeton announced her resignation as the agency’s director.  As director at DHEC, Kitzman would earn $154,879. DHEC’s chief legal counsel, Marshall Taylor will serve as acting director until the new director is confirmed.  Following a private meeting, the eight-member DHEC board voted to appoint Kitzman. Board member Clarence Batts was the lone member not supporting Kitzman. He abstained. Monday’s vote occurred via conference call, with only board chairman Allen Amsler and member Kenyon Wells attending the meeting in Columbia.  Read more here.

Meeting Schedule

Tuesday, January 20

  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Ways and Means Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee
  1. Clemson University
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee
  1.     Department of Agriculture
  2.     Department of Revenue
  • 10:30 am -- Blatt Room 321 -- Ways and Means Legislative, Executive and Local Government Subcommittee
  1. Office of the Adjutant General
  2. Inspector General
  • 12:00 pm -- State House, House Chamber -- House of Representatives
  • 1:00 pm -- Gressette Room 105 -- Full Judiciary Committee on S.1, S.3 and S.196
  1. S. 1 – 2015 Ethics Reform Act
  2. S. 3 – Criminal Domestic Violence
  3. S. 196 – Human Trafficking
  • 1 hour after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 321 -- Ways and Means Legislative, Executive and Local Government Subcommittee
  1. Office of the Adjutant General
  2. Inspector General
  • 2:00 pm or upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 108 -- Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee
  1. Commission for the Blind
  • 1 hour after the House adjourns or at the Call of the Chair -- Blatt Room 511 -- Ways and Means Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee
  1. SC Technical College System
  2. 16 Technical Colleges
  3. Member Requests
  • 2:30 pm or 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 427 -- Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee
  1. Adoption of Committee Rules
  • 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 305 -- Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee
  1. State Ethics Commission
  2. Office of the Attorney General
  • 2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 410 -- Wildlife Subcommittee (Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs)
  1. H. 3266 – Trespasser Responsibility Act
  2. H. 3118 – Department of Natural Resources
  • 1½ hours after the House adjourns or at the Call of the Chair -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Public Education and Special Schools Subcommittee
  1. ETV
  2. Wil Lou Gray
  3. First Steps

Wednesday, January 21

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Joint Bond Review Committee
  • 9:30 am -- Blatt Room 214 -- SC Procurement Review Panel Appeal Hearings
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee
  1. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon
  2. Department of Corrections
  3. Judicial Department
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 523 -- Ways and Means Public Education and Special Schools Subcommittee
  1. The Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities
  2. The Governor's School for Math and Science
  3. South Carolina Public Charter School District
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 108 -- Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee
  1. Department of Mental Health
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee
  1.     Clemson - PSA
  2.     SC State - PSA
  3.     SCRA
  4.     Forestry Commission
  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Conversation with the Conservationists
  • 10:30 am -- Blatt Room 321 -- Ways and Means Legislative, Executive and Local Government Subcommittee
  1. Department of Administration
  2. Governor's Office - Office of Executive Policy & Programs
  3. Governor's Office - Mansion and Grounds
  4. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs
  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Ways and Means Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee
  1. Medical University of South Carolina
  2. The Citadel
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Banking and Insurance Subcommittee on S.135, S.136 and S.342
  1. S. 342 – Insurance Holding Companies
  2. S. 136 – Oral Surgeons and Dentists
  3. S. 135 – Ryan’s Law Changes
  • 2:00 pm -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.10 and S.11
  1. S. 10 – FOIA Autopsy Results
  2. S. 11 – FOIA Notice of Meetings
  • 1 hour after the House adjourns or at the Call of the Chair -- Blatt Room 511 -- Ways and Means Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee
  1.     University of Charleston
  2.     Member Requests
  • 7:00 pm -- State House, House Chamber -- State of the State Address

Thursday, January 22

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Insurance Subcommittee on H.3020 and H.3080
  1. H. 3020 – Anti Commandeering Act
  2. H. 3080 – Automobile Insurance Policies
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 516 -- Judiciary General and Family Laws Subcommittee
  1. H. 3114 – SC Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act
  • 2:00 pm or 1 hour after both houses adjourn -- Gressette Room 207 -- Joint Transportation Review Committee
  1. Screening of individuals for the South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission from the 3rd District

Friday, January 23

No Meetings Scheduled.

  

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