South Carolina Legislative Report - March 8, 2013
March 8, 2013
On the Floor
Budget Debate – Next Week
Beginning on Monday, March 11, the House of Representatives will take up the annual appropriation bill (H. 3710) and the Capital Reserve Fund (H. 3711) on the floor. The $6.9 billion budget includes an alternative Medicaid expansion plan that will add roughly $85 million in spending for uninsured and underinsured and provide several incentives for hospitals and other providers to produce better outcomes. In addition, the budget directs approximately $80 million additional dollars to the Department of Transportation for repair and maintenance of the state’s road and bridges.
The Ways & Means Committee hosted a series of meetings this week to brief lawmakers on the budget as recently passed by the committee. Each subcommittee chairman gave an overview of their respective budget sections and took questions from House Members. The goal of these meetings was to give representatives a chance to familiarize themselves with the budget headed into the floor debate next week.
The House of Representatives recommitted H. 3147 to the Judiciary Committee this week. The legislation proposes to exempt mental illness or injury caused if the employee is a firefighter, law enforcement, or EMS or if the conditions giving rise to the mental illness or injury occur while the employee is engaged in events that are part of the employee’s employment.
Superintendent of Education
The Senate gave second reading to S. 53 this week, which will authorize a constitutional amendment changing the Superintendent of Education from an elected position to one appointed by the Governor. The Senate is expected to give final approval next week.
Introduction of Notable Legislation
S. 480 – Public Service Commission Elections May 1st
S. 491 – Economic Development Bonds
H. 3763 – SC Marketplace and Infrastructure Improvement Act
Medicaid Expansion Hearing
A Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee heard testimony from Health and Human Services Director, Tony Keck, on his thoughts regarding federal Medicaid expansion and the state’s efforts to reform the healthcare system in South Carolina. Director Keck reiterated his opposition to accepting the expansion and outlined the plans for an alternative contained in the House of Representatives version of the budget. He noted the overall goal of the alternative plan was to incentivize hospitals and other providers to improve outcomes, reduce costs and eliminate barriers to access – making the system more productive and affordable.
In addition, Keck talked about the need to eliminate or drastically reform the Certificate of Need program and allow for more competition and innovation to drive the marketplace.
Utility Theft Legislation
H. 3568 received a favorable report, as amended, by the House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee this week. The bill, introduced by Representatives Weeks (D-Sumter) and Sandifer (R-Oconee), enhances the penalties for altering, tampering with or bypassing electric, gas or water meters. The amendment adopted by the subcommittee provides for additional penalties for altering, tampering with or bypassing meters for the purposes of growing a controlled substance.
Unemployment Benefits – Drug Testing
H. 3165, a bill that would that would revoke unemployment benefits for anyone who failed a drug test administered by a potential employer will advance to the full Judiciary committee after failing to receive a favorable report by the subcommittee. A similar bill passed the House of Representatives last year, but did not receive a vote in the Senate.
In The News
Sheheen endorses temporary expansion of Medicaid (+survey)
South Carolina should give health insurance to more poor people -- at least as long as the federal government is willing to pay for it, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D- Kershaw) said Thursday.
S.C. health director says federal Medicaid money is no cure
South Carolina’s health department director rejected a suggestion Thursday that an infusion of federal money could help cure the state’s ailing Medicaid program.
“We don’t need more money in the system to care for folks,” said Tony Keck, director of the state Department of Health and Human Services.
SC attorney general won’t face penalties for missing campaign contributions
S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson will not be punished for failing to report an estimated 10 to 15 donations to his 2011 inauguration gala, the S.C. Ethics Commission’s executive director said Thursday.
Sanford Outraises Field, But Colbert Busch Not Far Behind
The latest, pre-primary financial disclosure forms are out in South Carolina's First District special election, and it's no surprise that former Gov. Mark Sanford leads the pack. Absent any public polling in the race, the reports filed with the Federal Election Commission provide the first -- and likely last -- glance at each candidate's support ahead of the March 19 primary.
Meeting schedules are periodically updated. To view the most up-to-date schedule, please click the links below.
Tuesday, March 12th
10:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Finance Constitutional Subcommittee Budget Hearing
3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.472 (Student Association Freedom of Religion Act)
3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 209 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.124 (Liability of Members & Managers of LLCs)
3:00 pm -- Gressette Room 308 -- Finance Committee
Wednesday, March 13th
9:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Finance Health and Human Services Subcommittee Budget Hearings
9:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Finance Criminal Justice Subcommittee Budget Hearing
9:30 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- L.C.I. Regulatory Subcommittee
10:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Education Committee
10:00 am -- Gressette Room 307 -- Finance Natural Resources and Economic
11:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Banking and Insurance Committee
Thursday, March 14th
9:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee
9:30 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Finance K-12 Education Subcommittee Budget Hearing
10:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Finance Constitutional Subcommittee Budget Hearing
10:00 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Finance Transportation and Regulatory Subcommittee Budget Hearing