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South Carolina Legislative Update - January 26, 2016

January 26, 2016

The South Carolina General Assembly had a very active second week of session, although much of the deliberation occurred primarily in the various subcommittees and committees. 

A few highlights are as follows: 

  • Governor Haley delivered her State of the State message;  
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 911 (with a minority report), which clarifies that automobile dealers may charge closing fees.  A recent Supreme Court decision led to the pending clarification legislation;
  • Acting Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall’s name was submitted by the Senate Transportation Committee to the full Senate for confirmation; and
  • The House Ways and Means’ subcommittees continued to hear from state agencies and interested parties as they formulate the annual appropriations bill.

Introductions

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

In The News

Senators to take up roads proposal Tuesday
State senators will start debating a road-repair bill Tuesday, but deep divisions indicate they are nowhere near a deal.  State Sen. Ray Cleary, R-Georgetown, made a procedural move Thursday to set up debate on a road-repair proposal starting Tuesday.  To reach a deal, senators must agree on three sticking points — how much to increase the state’s gas tax and driving fees, how much to cut the state’s income tax and how to reform the Transportation Department.  Read more here.

Reactions to State of the State
For reactions to Gov. Nikki Haley’s State of the State address, read more here

Lawmakers call for move of Confederate Relic Room
Legislators considering a plan to display the Confederate battle flag that was removed from the State House grounds last summer pitched another idea Wednesday. Instead of spending $3.7 million to expand the S.C. Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum to accommodate the flag and other Civil War displays, why not move the museum?  Rather than pay for a new room in the old textile mill that houses the Relic Room and the State Museum, it might be more cost-effective to move the museum to a more visible and tourist-friendly location that would boost visitation and museum revenues, members of a key House subcommittee said.  Last year, the museum, located in the back of the mill building on Gervais Street, attracted 24,700 visitors, with about one-third of them children who enter the museum for free. That compares to the State Museum’s approximately 181,000 visitors.  Ticket sales for the Relic Room generated about $100,000 of the military museum’s $826,000 budget last year, with taxpayers picking up the rest.  Read more here.

Democrats blame GOP for poor roads, schools
The Republican Party’s control of S.C. government and the GOP’s infighting are to blame for the state’s struggling schools and crumbling roads, an S.C. Democrat said Wednesday in response to GOP Gov. Nikki Haley’s State of the State address.  State Rep. Mandy Powers Norrell was the first female lawmaker to give the Democratic response to Haley, who gave her sixth annual address. The attorney is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party.  Read more here.

Haley asks lawmakers to focus on K-12, not colleges
Gov. Nikki Haley asked S.C lawmakers to put more attention on fixing K-12 schools, rather than spending more money on the state’s colleges, during her State of the State address Wednesday.  Haley advocated borrowing $200 million to repair K-12 schools, a year after opposing borrowing for a number of other projects, including, she said, “hundreds of millions of dollars to fill a wish list for our already bloated higher education system.”  “No one can look at the tuition hikes parents and students have seen over the last decade and tell me that higher education doesn’t have enough money,” the Republican governor told the GOP-controlled Legislature.  Read more here.

Senators consider proposals to restrict refugees
Barring state agencies from interacting with refugees will hurt law-enforcement efforts, S.C. Law Enforcement Division chief Mark Keel told state senators Tuesday.  The senators are considering two proposals that would restrict refugee resettlement in South Carolina. One bill would bar state agencies from interacting with refugees in South Carolina.  Keel said that ban would limit the ability of law enforcement to learn who the refugees are and where they are located. The federal government does not provide information about refugees to state law enforcement, he added.  Read more here.

SC lawmaker proposes registry for journalists
State Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, filed a bill Tuesday in the S.C. House to establish a “responsible journalism registry” to be operated by the S.C. secretary of state.  That bill’s summary says the bill would “establish requirements for persons before working as a journalist for a media outlet and for media outlets before hiring a journalist.” The summary also includes registration fees, and sets fines and criminal penalties for violations.  A person seeking to register with the state as a journalist would have to submit a criminal record background check and “an affidavit from the media outlet attesting to the applicant’s journalistic competence.”  The proposed registry “is ridiculous and totally unconstitutional,” said Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association. The State newspaper is a member of the Press Association.  The government cannot require journalists to register, Rogers said, citing the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which ensures freedom of the press.  Read more here.

Meeting Schedule

Tuesday, January 26

9:45 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Transportation Subcommittee on S.561

  • I. S. 561 – Inspector General

10:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Medical Affairs Subcommittee on S.246

  • I. S. 246 – Nurse Practice Act

10:00 am -- Blatt Room 427 -- SC Legislative Black Caucus

10:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Ethics Committee

10:00 am -- Blatt Room 516 -- Judiciary General Laws Subcommittee on H.3019, H.4029 and H.4413

10:30 am -- Blatt Room 108 -- Ways and Means Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee

  • I. Medical University of South Carolina
  • II. Member Requests

10:30 am -- Blatt Room 321 -- Ways and Means Legislative, Executive, and Local Government Subcommittee

  • I. Retirement System Investment Commission

11:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Majority Caucus

11:00 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Minority Caucus

11:15 am -- Blatt 516 -- House Rules Committee on H.4700

  • I. H. 4700 – Rules of the House of Representatives

11:30 am -- Blatt Room 318 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Shannon Erickson)

12:00 pm -- State House, Senate Chamber – Senate

12:00 pm -- State House, House Chamber -- House of Representatives

Upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 112 -- Majority Caucus

Upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 305 -- Minority Caucus

1½ hours after the House adjourns, or upon the Call of the Chair -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Public Education and Special Schools Subcommittee

  • I. Provisos from All Agencies

1 hour after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 108 -- Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee

  • I. Commission for the Blind
  • II. Department of Disabilities and Special Needs
  • III. Member Requests

1 hour after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 317 -- Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee

  • I. Department of Natural Resources
  • II. Commission on Indigent Defense
  • III. Judicial Department
  • IV. Member Requests

1 hour after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 321 -- Ways and Means Legislative, Executive, and Local Government Subcommittee

  • I. Office of the Treasury
  • II. Emergency Management Division
  • III. Member Requests

1 hour after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 501 -- Ways and Means Transportation, Regulatory and Cultural Subcommittee

  • I. State Accident Fund
  • II. Patients Compensation Fund
  • III. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
  • IV. Department of Motor Vehicles
  • V. Department of Employment and Workforce

2:00 pm -- Blatt Room 201 -- Charleston County Legislative Delegation

2:30 pm -- Gressette Room 207 -- Finance Subcommittee on Property Tax

  • I. S. 907 – Joint Resolution Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children
  • II. H. 4633 – Joint Resolution Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children
  • III. S. 932 – Property Tax Assessment Ratios for Military

2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 110 -- 3-M Subcommittee II, Occupational Regulation and Licensing Boards on H.3078

  • H. 3078 – Nursing Professionals

2:30 pm, or 1½ hours upon adjournment of the House, whichever is later -- Blatt Room 516 -- Full Judiciary Committee on H.3685, H.4457, H.4579 and H.4665

  • I. H. 3685 – Electronic Tickets and Citations
  • II. H. 4457 – Civil Jurisdiction of Magistrate Courts
  • III. H. 4579 – Governor and Lt. Governor
  • IV. H. 4665 – Require Magistrates to be Screened by the Judicial Merit Selection Commission

2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Insurance Subcommittee on H.3166 and H.4141

  • I. H. 3166 – Unemployment Benefits
  • II. H. 4141 – Limited Lines Travel Insurance Act

2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Higher Education and Technical Colleges Subcommittee

  • I. South Carolina State University
  • II. Member Requests

3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 308 -- Finance Committee

3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Committee

  • I. S. 267 – Adjournment of General Assembly
  • II. H. 3014 – Session of the General Assembly
  • III. S. 281 – Transparency in Private Attorney Contracts Act
  • IV. S. 282 – Noneconomic Damages Limit
  • V. S. 226 – Traffic Offense
  • VI. S. 194 – Dilapidated Buildings Act
  • VII. S. 524 – Indecent Exposure
  • VIII. S. 647 – Hindering Law Enforcement
  • IX. S. 649 – Policy for Investigating Officer Involved Deaths
  • X. S. 650 – Officer Involved Shooting
  • XI. S. 220 – Arson
  • XII. S. 31 – Amendment to the US Constitution
  • XIII. H. 3685 – Bad Faith Assertion of Patent Infringement Act

30 minutes after Judiciary Committee adjournment -- Gressette Room 105 -- General Subcommittee on Refugee Resettlement

Wednesday, January 27

7:30 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Anderson, Pickens, & Oconee County Legislative Delegation

8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast: S.C. Association of Heating & Air Conditioning Contractors

9:00 am -- Blatt Room 433 -- Higher Education Subcommittee on H.4514 and H.4515

  • I. H. 4514 – Eligibility for Instate Tuition, State Sponsored Scholarships and Need Based Grants
  • II. H. 4515 – Instate Tuition for People Entitled to Federal Educational Assistance

9:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- General Committee

9:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Special Hearing on School Choice

10:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Education Committee

  • I. S. 933 – Academic Standards and Assessments

10:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Transportation Committee

10:00 am -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture Wildlife Subcommittee on H.4458, H.4708 and H.4709

  • I. H. 4458 – Operation of Watercraft and Boat Safety
  • II. H. 4708 – Fish
  • III. H. 4709 – SC Marine Resources Act of 2000

10:00 am -- Blatt Room 318 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Jerry Govan)

10:00 am -- Blatt Room 433 -- Transportation Subcommittee on H.4688

  • I. H. 4688 – Unlawful Interference with Traffic Control Devices and Railroad Signals

10:00 am -- Blatt Room 321 -- Ways and Means Legislative, Executive, and Local Government Subcommittee

  • I. Office of Comptroller General
  • II. State Election Commission
  • III. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs
  • IV. Section 117 and 118 Provisos
  • V. Member Requests

11:00 am -- Blatt Room 433 -- K-12 Education Subcommittee on H.4505 and H.4536

  • I. H. 4505 – Compulsory Attendance Requirements for Schools
  • II. H. 4536 – Students Attending the South Carolina National Guard Youth Challenge Academy

11:00 am -- Blatt Room 523 -- Ways and Means Economic Development and Natural Resources Subcommittee

  • I. Department of Revenue
  • II. Department of Commerce
  • III. Rural Infrastructure Authority
  • IV. SCRA

11:00 am -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Transportation, Regulatory and Cultural Subcommittee

  • I. State Ports Authority
  • II. Department of Transportation
  • III. State Transportation Infrastructure Bank

11:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Banking and Insurance Committee on S.849, S.850, S.972, S.973, S.976 and S.978

  • I. S. 849 – Pharmacy Benefit Managers
  • II. S. 850 – Principle Based Reserves
  • III. S. 972 – Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits Act
  • IV. S. 973 – Insurance Premium Act
  • V. S. 976 – Limited Line and Special Producers Licensing
  • VI. S. 978 – Risk Based Capital Plans

11:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on H. 3450

11:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S. 1017

  • I. S. 1017 – Superintendent of Education

11:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S. 975

  • I. S. 975 – Workers Compensation Commission

11:30 am -- Blatt Room 108 -- Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee

  • I. Medical University of South Carolina – Hospital Authority
  • II. Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • III. Member Requests

12:00 noon - 2:00 pm -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Luncheon: S.C. Association of Habitat for Humanity Affiliates, Inc.

1:00 pm -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Real Estate Subcommittee on H.4280

  • I. H. 4280 - Real Estate Brokers, Salespersons, and Property Managers

 30 minutes after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 110 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Bill Chumley)

1:00 pm -- Gressette Room 209 -- Fish, Game and Forestry Subcommittee

  • I. SC Forestry Commission Oversight

2:00 pm -- Blatt Room 318 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Jeff Bradley)

Immediately upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 321 -- Ways and Means Legislative, Executive, and Local Government Subcommittee

  • I. Section 117 and 118 Provisos
  • II. Agency Carried Over Provisos
  • III. Member Requests

Immediately upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 409 -- Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee

Thursday, January 28

8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast: S.C. Water Utility Council

8:30 am -- Blatt Room 410 -- Full Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee on H.4458, H.4708 and H.4709

  • I. H. 4458 – Operation of Watercraft and Boat Safety
  • II. H. 4708 – Fish
  • III. H. 4709 – SC Marine Resources Act of 2000

9:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on S.280, S.493, S.589 and S.637

  • I. S. 280 – General and Mechanical Contractors
  • II. S. 493 – Professional Employment Organization Service Agreements
  • III. S. 589 – Music Therapy Practice Act
  • IV. S. 637 – Manufactured Housing Dealers

9:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- State of Nuclear in South Carolina

9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Banking and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee on H.4548

  • I. H. 4548 – Closing Fees on Motor Vehicle Sales Contract

9:00 am -- Blatt Room 521 -- Legislative Oversight Committee

9:30 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- State House Committee

10:00 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Corrections and Penology Subcommittee

10:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on H. 3325

  • I. H. 3325 – Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act

10:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S. 163

  • I. S. 163 – Duties of the Joint Legislative Committee on Municipal Incorporation

Upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Revenue Policy Subcommittee

  • I. H. 4717 – South Carolina Farm Aid

11:30 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Dennis Moss & Sen. Harvey Peeler)

1:30 pm or upon adjournment of the Senate -- Gressette Room 105 -- Special Senate Subcommittee In Response to the Abbeville Lawsuit

2:00 pm -- Blatt Room 426 -- State and Local Level Veterans Issues Study Committee

  • I. Pre-filed Legislation
  • II. Division of State Veterans Affairs
  • III. SC National Guard
  • IV. Laurens/Greenwood Veterans Affairs

Friday, January 29

No Meetings Scheduled.

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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.