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South Carolina Legislative Update - March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

The House of Representatives convened on Monday of last week to begin their deliberations of the annual appropriation bill.  The over $6.9 billion budget received second reading on Thursday, without a proposed bond measure, and the House will consider third reading this week before sending the bill to the Senate.  The Senate approved measures banning powered alcohol and the authorization for Department of Natural Resources to study game limits, and amended the human trafficking bill and returned it to the House for their consideration.

Introductions

To view this week’s introductions in the Senate, please click here, and here for the House.

In The News

House kills $500 million bond bill, but passes state budget
In a display of political clout, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley persuaded the GOP-controlled House Thursday to reject a budget proposal that its own leaders had endorsed.  But by the end of the night, the House had adopted its budget plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.   Read more here

DHEC split between new health agency, Agriculture Department under proposal
A bill introduced Wednesday would split up South Carolina’s environmental and health agency.  The plan by Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, folds the health functions of the Department of Health and Environmental Control into a new cabinet agency that also would include South Carolina’s mental health and drug abuse departments.  DHEC’s environmental division would become part of the S.C. Department of Agriculture, an agency now run by an elected commissioner.  DHEC now is one of the few agencies nationally that includes both health and environmental responsibilities in one department. Critics, including Peeler, say the agency is unwieldy and needs streamlining. The agency employs about 3,500, most in its health-related divisions. 

Bill to bar regulation of Uber debated by SC Senate panel
Senators debated a broad bill Wednesday to not regulate Uber and other such taxicab-like companies, but focused on whether the state should require additional insurance coverage.  A Senate Transportation subcommittee took up a bill by senators Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, and Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, that would exclude Uber and similar operations from all regulation by the S.C. Public Service Commission. The commission in January halted Uber’s operations in the state.  The bill also addresses record-keeping requirements, fare disclosures and anti-discrimination procedures. But the Senate panel focused on insurance. No votes were taken.  “Our concern – we just really want to make sure that the appropriate insurance is in place to protect the citizens of South Carolina,” a representative for State Farm in South Carolina and Georgia told subcommittee members. Uber says its drivers have $1 million in insurance coverage.  Read more here.

SC education committee OK’s standards to replace Common Core
The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee on Monday OK’d new education standards for math and English to replace Common Core, drawing closer to an end an effort to ensure South Carolinians are deciding what S.C. students learn in the classroom.  By a 11-1 vote, the Oversight Committee approved the new standards, outlining what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.  The state Board of Education is expected to give the standards their final approval Wednesday, approving them for use starting next fall.  With the state board’s approval, the new standards, written by S.C. educators, will replace Common Core’s education standards, adopted by the state in 2010.  A leading critic of the fact that Common Core was not being written by South Carolinians, state Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, voted to adopt the homegrown standards Monday.  Read more here.

SC ethics reforms would shield dismissed complaints
The public would no longer know about some ethics complaints against many public officials if legislation to end the practice of lawmakers policing themselves becomes law.  State Ethics Commission executive director Herb Hayden pointed out that side effect Wednesday contained in ethics-reform proposals now before the Legislature.  Dismissed ethics complaints against House and Senate members, which now are investigated by legislative ethics committees, never become public. But ethics complaints against all other public officials now are made public when the Ethics Commission dismisses a complaint or finds probable cause of an ethics violation.  Read more here.

SC Politics:  Overpaid?  Underpaid?  Pay of state workers to be studied
S.C. lawmakers soon could know how little or much state employees make compared to workers in the private sector and other government jobs in the Southeast.  S.C. House members Wednesday approved a study of state employees’ salaries, a proposal sponsored by state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg.  The proposal, tacked into the House’s proposed $6.9 billion general fund budget for the state, still needs approval from the state Senate.  Read more here.

SCE&G:  Cost, build delay expected up for SC nuke reactors
The company that owns a majority stake in new nuclear reactors in South Carolina said this week it wants approval to spend more on the project and finish construction later than expected.  SCANA Corp. CEO Kevin Marsh said Friday that he has asked for a hearing before state regulators regarding the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia.  Marsh says SCANA and its electric utility component, SCE&G, originally anticipated that it would need to spend around $660 million due to construction delays. Now, Marsh says that number is around $698 million.  One reactor is already in use at Summer, and Santee Cooper and SCANA are partnering up to build two more. The new reactors are among the first of their kind to be built in the United States in more than 30 years, slated to come online in 2019 and 2020.  Read more here.

SC House approves $4 million for SC State to pay vendors
S.C. State University would get $4 million to pay bills that it owes to vendors in the state budget that passed the S.C. House late Thursday.  The one-time money would have to be used to pay vendors who have been owed money for the longest period.  “Those are the most immediate need,” said state Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley. “That is money owed for services that have been provided. The only thing that can happen if we don’t pay them is bad.”  Merrill chairs the House budget panel that recommends how to spend money for S.C. colleges. 

SC political activist John Rainey passes away
Camden attorney John Rainey, a political and philanthropic fundraiser and former chairman of the S.C. Board of Economic Advisers, passed away Saturday morning at Palmetto Health Baptist in Columbia. He was 73.  A source close to the family said Rainey was suffering from an undisclosed illness.  A conservative – or a “tory,” as he would say in a British reference – Rainey was known for his recent battles with fellow Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.  Rainey’s complaints about Haley’s potential conflicts as an engineering firm consultant and hospital fundraiser while she was lawmaker led to a hearing before the House Ethics Committee in 2012. Haley was cleared of all charges. Rainey continued pursuing charges against Haley to no avail.  Read more here.

Meeting Schedule

Tuesday, March 17

  • 9:45 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Transportation Subcommittee on S.409

    I.  S. 409 – SC Transportation Companies Act

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- SC Legislative Black Caucus
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Legislative Ethics Committee
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 516 -- Healthcare Subcommittee of the Legislative Oversight Committee

     I.  Department of Social Services

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Joint Bond Review Committee
  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Minority Caucus
  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Majority Caucus
  • 12:00 pm -- State House, House Chamber -- House of Representatives
  • 12:00 pm -- State House, Senate Chamber -- Senate
  • Upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 112 -- Minority Caucus
  • 2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 110 -- 3-M Subcommittee II, Occupational Regulation and Licensing Boards

    I.  H. 3508 – Medical Aspects of Advanced Practice of Registered Nursing Act

  • 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 433 -- E.P.W. Public Safety Subcommittee on S.376, H.3304 and H.3446

    I.  S. 376 – Aeronautics

    II.  H. 3304 – Landrum Fire and Rescue District

    III.  H. 3446 – Failure to Stop a Motor Vehicle for Law Enforcement

  • 2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture Wildlife Subcommittee

    I.  H. 3393 – Migratory Hunt and Conservation Stamp

    II.  H. 3449 – Nongame Fishing Devices and Gear

    III.  H. 3668 – Deer Hunting 

    IV.  H. 3762 – Animal Traps

    V.  H. 3786 – Catch Limits for Fish

  • 2:30 pm or 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 403 -- LCI Public Utilities Subcommittee on H.3525

    I.  H. 3525 – Transportation Network Companies

  • 2:30 pm or 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 516 -- Judiciary Committee

    I.  H. 3583 – Proposals 

     II.  H. 3545 – Arson 

    III.  H. 3115 – Firearms and Ammunition

     IV.  H. 3116 – Firearms and Ammunition

    V.  H. 3119 – Theft of a Firearm

    VI.  H. 3521 – Court or Other Enforcement Authority

    VII.  H. 3025 – Concealed Weapon Permit

  • 3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 105 -- Finance Committee
  • Upon adjournment of the Finance Committee -- Gressette Room 105 -- Finance Transportation Funding Special Subcommittee

    I.  S. 2 – Interstate Lane Expansion Fund

    II.  S. 23 – Motor Fuel User Fees

    III.  S. 27 – Tax Rates for Individuals

    IV.  S. 142 – Highway Fund

    V.  S. 244 – Local Option Motor Fuel User Fee Act

    VI.  S. 406 – Motor Fuels

  • Upon adjournment of the Senate Finance Committee -- Gressette Room 407 -- Finance Higher Education Subcommittee Budget Hearings

    I.  Winthrop University

    II.  MUSC

    III.  Higher Education Tuition Grants

     IV.  SC State University

  • 3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 308 -- Judiciary Committee

    I.  S. 255 – Destruction of Booking and Arrest Records 

    II.  S. 237 – Study Commission on the Expungement of Criminal Records

    III.  S. 156 – Election Commission

    IV.  S. 216 – County Boards Registration and Elections

    V.  S. 426 – Mental Health Court Program Act

    VI.  S. 250 – Release of Child’s Medical Records

    VII.  S. 198 – Conventions of the State

    VIII.  S. 30 – Amendment to the US Constitution

    IX.  S. 31 – Amendment to the US Constitution

    X.  H. 3345 – SC Code of Laws Volumes 13 and 15

Wednesday, March 18

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast - South Carolina Association of School Nurses
  • 8:30 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Finance Criminal Justice Subcommittee Budget Hearing

     I.  South Carolina Commission on Prosecution Coordination

    II.  South Carolina Department of Public Safety

    III.  South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Finance Health and Human Services Subcommittee Budget Hearings

    I.  Department of Health and Human Services

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Medical Affairs Subcommittee on H.3114

    I.  H. 3114 – SC Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Administration and Regulations Subcommittee
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 433 -- EPW Higher Education Subcommittee

     I.  H. 3545 – Higher Education Excellence Enhancement Program

    II.  H. 3353 – General Education Development Camps

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture Environmental Affairs II Subcommittee

    I.  H. 3216 – Litter Control Officers

    II.  H. 3351 – DHEC and Inspection of Bodies of Water

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 427 -- 3-M Subcommittee IV, Military and Public Affairs

    I.  H. 3547 – Reemployment Rights of the National Guard

    II.  H. 3683 – Adjutant General

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.500 and S.151

    I.  S. 500 – Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

    II.  S. 151 – Child Custody

  • 9:30 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Finance Subcommittee on K-12 Education, Budget Hearings

    I.  Department of Education

     II.  Arts Commission

    III.  Education Oversight Committee

    IV.  First Steps

     V.  SC Public Charter Schools

  • 9:30 am -- Gressette Room 307 -- Finance Natural Resources Subcommittee Budget Hearings
  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Finance Higher Education Subcommittee Budget Hearings

      I.  University of South Carolina

      II.  Lander University

      III.  AHEC

      IV.  Provisos

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Finance Transportation and Regulatory Subcommittee Budget Hearing

    I.  Department of Transportation/County Transportation Fund

    II.  Infrastructure Bank Board

      III.  Aeronautics

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Banking and Insurance Subcommittee on S.135, S.314 and S.441

      I.  S. 135 – Ryan’s Law

    II.  S. 314 – Healthcare Sharing Ministries Freedom to Share Act

    III.  S. 441 – Guaranteed Asset Protection Act

  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.84

    I.  S. 84 – Reckless Vehicular Homicide

  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Transportation Subcommittee on DOT Reform
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Finance Constitutional Subcommittee Budget Hearing

    I.  Mark Hammond, Secretary of State

     II.   Alan Wilson, Attorney General of the State of South Carolina

     III.  Marcia S. Adams, Executive Director, Budget & Control Board

    IV.  Richard H. Gilbert, Interim State Auditor

  • 12:00 noon - 2:30 pm -- State House Grounds -- Legislative Luncheon - Palmetto Conservation Foundation
  • 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Rita Allison)
  • 2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture Environmental Affairs I Subcommittee

    I.  H. 3378 – Coastal Zone Critical Areas

Thursday, March 19

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast - Leadership South Carolina
  • 8:30 am -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee

    I.  H. 3393 – Migratory Hunt and Conservation Stamp 

    II.  H. 3449 – Nongame Fishing Devices and Gear

    III.  H. 3668 – Deer Hunting 

     IV.  H. 3762 – Animal Traps 

    V.  H. 3786 – Catch Limits for Fish 

    VI.  H. 3216 – Litter Control Officers  

    VII.  H. 3351 – DHEC and Inspection of Bodies of Water

     VIII.H. 3378 – Coastal Zone Critical Areas

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 516 -- Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee

    I.  H. 3433 – Domestic Violence Reform Act

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 318 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Mike Pitts)
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 427 -- 3-M Subcommittee III, Local Government and Corrections Affairs

    I.  H. 3714 – Incorporation of Municipalities

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 110 -- Student Nurses' Association of South Carolina
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on H.3396, H.3525 and H.3662

    I.  H. 3396 – Workers Compensation

    II.  H. 3525 – Transportation Network Companies

    III.  H. 3662 – Automatic Residential Fire Sprinklers

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Finance Transportation and Regulatory Subcommittee Budget Hearing

     I.  Department of Consumer Affairs

    II.  Department of Employment and Workforce

     III.  Procurement Review Panel

     IV.  Board of Financial Institutions

    V.  Workers' Compensation Commission

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Judiciary General and Family Laws Subcommittee
  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.512

    I.  S. 512 – Willful Damage to a Water System

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Transportation Committee on S.211, S.358, S.494 and H.3213

    I.  S. 211 – Golf Cart Paths

    II.  S. 358 – Vehicular Requirements

    III.  S. 494 – Vehicle Widths

    IV.  H. 3213 – Auto Accidents

  • 9:30 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Medical Affairs Committee

    I.  H. 3114 – Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Fish, Game and Forestry Committee

     I.  H. 3035 – Take Palmetto Pride Where You Live Act

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Higher Education Subcommittee

    I.  S.261 – Persons Age Sixty and Over Attending Classes

    II.  S.528 – Textbook Policy for Public Institutions of Higher Education

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.281, S.282, H.3145 and H.3266

     I.  S. 281 – Transparency In Private Attorney Contracts Act

    II.  S. 282 – Noneconomic Damages Limit

    III.  H. 3145 – Civil Liability

    IV.  H. 3266 – Trespasser Responsibility Act

  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Leadership Cherokee
  • Upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 403 -- Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee
  • 2:00 pm -- Blatt Room 501 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Anne Thayer)

Friday, March 20

No Meetings Scheduled.

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