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South Carolina Legislative Update - April 27, 2015

April 27, 2015

The House and Senate were extremely busy this week – The Senate Finance Committee approved their version of the over $6 billion appropriation bill, which includes a $236 million bond provision for higher education, technical colleges, and  National Guard armories.  The full Senate is expected to begin debate on the appropriation bill on Monday, May 4.  In addition, the Senate approved the Guaranteed Asset Protection Act as well as revisions to the residential builder licensure requirements.  The House Ways and Means Committee approved a measure which proposes revisions to the certificate of need process for health care facilities and provides for a sunset for the program.  In addition, the House approved several measures, including the James B. Edwards Civics Education Initiative and revisions to the South Carolina Higher Education Excellence Enhancement Program.

Introductions

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

In The News

SC chairman vows to fill Democrats’ bench
South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison says he has a plan for refilling the party’s political bench after years of demoralizing losses.  The plan includes launching a program to prepare 250 young Democrats to run for office or direct campaigns over the next five years and building county parties where Democrats have performed the worst.  The challenge for Democrats is “getting people to believe again” and “building a whole cadre, a whole army of believers,” said Harrison, elected in 2013.  Recruitment efforts could get a boost this weekend, as Palmetto State Democrats gather in Columbia for their annual Jefferson-Jackson fund-raising dinner and state party convention.  The events will honor Charleston Mayor Joe Riley’s 40 years in office and give party activists a chance to hear from 2016 White House prospects or their surrogates.  Read more here.

Senate revives borrowing plan for state buildings
The state Senate will try to borrow money to pay for state building projects.  On the heels of the House’s rejection last month of a $500 million borrowing bill, Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, introduced a bill Tuesday to borrow by selling state bonds.  Leatherman did not specify the amount the state should borrow or where that money should be spent. Instead, he invited state senators to suggest the projects that should be included.  The revival of a borrowing proposal is sure to face opposition from some Republicans, including Gov. Nikki Haley. Haley pressured the GOP-controlled House to reject its $500 million borrowing plan, which its own leaders had endorsed.  Read more here.

Haley says she can drive Volvo deal without Legislature
As South Carolina leaders wait to see if Volvo chooses the Palmetto State to build a $500 million plant, Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday she does not need legislative help to pay for an incentives deal for the automaker.  The Republican governor told GOP state senators Tuesday she did not need a borrowing bill passed to pay for economic development obligations, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens.  Haley indicated she and the state Commerce Department already have enough resources to persuade Volvo, threatening to veto a bond bill proposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence. Leatherman’s proposed borrowing plan could include money for workforce training as well as incentives.  Read more here.

Sonoco CEO Sanders calls for gas tax increase to fix poor SC roads
The chief executive of Sonoco, the state’s largest home-based company, on Tuesday said the state’s poor roads will stall industrial recruitment and cause existing companies to expand elsewhere.  M. Jack Sanders also told The State newspaper that he would support raising the gas taxes to pay for repairs.  Sonoco estimates that poor roads cost the global packaging giant up to $5 million annually in increased maintenance to its trucks as well as driving farther to avoid bad South Carolina roads.  About $10 million of the $40 million the company spends in-state on freight is gasoline, the company said.  Read more here.

SC House, Senate panels advance dueling police body camera bills
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday afternoon unanimously passed out a bill that, if passed by Legislature and approved by the governor, would require state and local police officers in South Carolina to wear body cameras.  The bill now goes to the Senate floor for consideration. If passed into law – and with proper funding – body cameras might start to be implemented in state and local law agencies around the state sometime next year. Both bill shave been fast-tracked since and April 4 citizen video captured a North Charleston police officer shooting an unarmed African-American man in the back.  Within an hour, the House Judiciary Committee passed its own version of a police body camera bill. It basically approves the concept of police body cameras, but calls for a law enforcement study committee to examine existing practices in the 20-odd S.C. law agencies that now use body cameras and report back to the General Assembly in six months.  Read more here.

Road repair plans hit roadblock as panel questions $325 million plan
A $325 million package of road improvements for the Columbia area is going back to the drawing board after state transportation officials raised questions Monday about parts of the plan.  Inclusion of streetscaping proposals for some downtown corridors ran into major opposition from members of the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank.  The effort to reshape the plan – in the works among local leaders for more than a year – came after board chairman Don Leonard of Myrtle Beach told area political leaders that panel members “want to make it work and we are struggling.”  An alliance of leaders from the city of Columbia and Richland and Lexington counties is making a pitch for state aid from the infrastructure bank for four projects downtown, as well as a new entrance to Columbia Metropolitan Airport.  Read more here.

Meeting Schedule

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- SC Legislative Black Caucus
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Economic Development, Transportation, Natural Resources and Regulatory Subcommittee of the Legislative Oversight Committee

      I.  Discussion of Scope of South Carolina Department of Transportation Study

      II.  Preliminary Meeting with the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank held pursuant to the Legislative Oversight Committee’s Standard Practice

  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Majority Caucus
  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Minority 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
  • 2:00 pm -- State House, 3rd Floor Conference Room -- Corrections and Penology Subcommittee on S.505

     I.  S. 505 – Relating to Periods of Probation, Community Service, and Parole 

  • 3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 105 -- Finance Committee

     I.  H.3579 – DOT Infrastructure Bank

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

     I.  H. 3396 – Workers Compensation

     II.  S. 31 – Amendment to the US Constitution

     III.  S. 165 – Administrative Law Court

     IV.  S. 18 – SC Homeowners Protection Act

     V.  S. 679 – Homeowners Association Study Committee

     VI.  S. 281 – Transparency in Private Attorney Contracts

     VII.  S. 282 – Noneconomic Damages Limit

    VIII.  H. 3168 – SC Emergency Management Law Enforcement Act

      IX.  S. 226 – Traffic Offenses

      X.  S. 490 – Small Business Regulation Review Committee

      XI.  S. 194 – Dilapidated Buildings Act

    XII.  S. 429 – Workers Compensation

Wednesday, April 29

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast--South Carolina Association of Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Legislative Oversight Committee

    I.  Discussion of Scope of South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice Study

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 321 -- South Carolina Asphalt Pavement Association
  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.157

    I.  S. 157 – Cockfighting

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Medical Affairs Subcommittee on Regulations and on S.600, H.3748, H.3749 and H.3914

      I.  S. 600 – Create the Division of Disabilities and Special Needs

      II.  H. 3748 – DHEC Procedures for Contested Cases

      III.  H. 3749 – Hypodermic Devices

      IV.  H. 3914 – Particle Accelerators 

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 307 -- Leadership Lancaster
  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Senate General DSS Oversight Subcommittee
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Agriculture and Natural Resources Regulation and Resolution Subcommittee

     I.  Document Number: 4539; Department of Health and Environmental Control.  The South Carolina Manufacturer Responsibility and Consumer Convenience Information Technology Equipment Collection and Recovery Act establishes requirements for the sale, prohibition of disposal, and recovery of consumer electronic devices, specifically for household computers, printers and televisions. The Act requires the Department of Health and Environmental Control to promulgate regulations to implement the provisions of the Act.

  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Education K-12 Subcommittee

     I.  S. 702 – Charter School Exemptions

      II.  S. 703 – Charter School Accountability Requirements

      III.  S. 484 – Elementary School Food Service Meals Requirements

      IV.  S. 508 – Comprehensive Health Education Program

      V.  S. 574 – Comprehensive Health Education

  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.178 and S.524

    I.  S. 178 – Video Recording of a Field Sobriety Test

    II.  S. 524 – Indecent Exposure

  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Transportation Committee
  • 11:30 am - 2:00 pm -- State House Grounds -- Legislative Luncheon,'A Taste of South Carolina'--South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association
  • 1:00 pm -- Blatt Room 305 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Terry Alexander)
  • 1:00 pm -- Gressette Room 207 -- L.C.I. Labor and Employment Subcommittee / Legislative Oversight

    I.  SC Department of Employment and Workforce

Thursday, April 30

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast--South Carolina Birth Coalition
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 516 -- Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee
  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Corrections and Penology Committee

     I.  S. 338 – Prisoners

     II.  S. 505 – Relating to Periods of Probation, Community Service, and Parole

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.647, S.649 and S.650

     I.  S. 647 – Recording Law Enforcement Officers

    II.  S. 649 – Policies for Officer-Involved Deaths

     III.  S. 650 – Investigation of Officer-Involved Shootings

  • 9:30 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Medical Affairs Committee on Appointments, Regulations and on S.600, H.3575, H.3646, H.3748, H.3749, H.3847 and H.3914

      I.  H. 3575 – Solid Waste Policy and Management

      II.  H. 3646 – Soil-based On-site Disposal Systems

      III.  H. 3847 – Speech Language Pathology Assistant

      IV.  H. 3748 – DHEC Procedures for Contested Cases

       V.  H. 3749 – Hypodermic Devices

      VI.  H. 3914 – Particle Accelerators

      VII.  S. 600 – Create the Division of Disabilities and Special Needs 

Friday, May 1

  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office
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