South Carolina Legislative Update - February 16, 2015

February 16, 2015

The South Carolina House of Representatives last week adopted the South Carolina Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, several ethics reform measures, and revisions to the South Carolina Whistleblower and Public Employee Protection Act.  In addition, the House Ways and Means Proviso Subcommittee approved the budget provisos and anticipate the full Ways and Means Committee beginning their deliberations of the entire annual appropriations bill this week. 

The South Carolina Senate continued debating their ethics reform measure last Wednesday evening, but S. 1 failed to receive second reading.  A motion to reconsider the failing vote was made on Thursday and was carried over until a later date.  In addition, the Senate adopted the Forfeited Lands Emergency Development Act, gave second reading to a bill allowing South Carolina State University to furlough employees, and confirmed:  Richele Taylor as the Director of the Labor, Licensing and Regulation Department,  and Virginia Alford as the Director of the Department of Social Services.   


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

In The News 

Revenue revisions give extra $50 million to S.C. budget writers
Adjustments made to South Carolina’s revenue projections give legislators an additional $50 million to spend in next year’s budget.  The state Board of Economic Advisors approved the revisions Friday, just before the House Ways and Means Committee puts together that chamber’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The full committee will craft its budget plan next week.  The biggest change occurred in lottery ticket revenue. The lottery agency expects ticket profits to be $12 million more both this fiscal year and next than originally predicted, accounting for nearly half of the total adjustments.  Read more here.

S.C. agencies want 750 employees added to state payroll
State agencies want roughly 750 full-time employees added to the state’s payroll in the budget that takes effect July 1.  S.C. House budget writers will start deciding this week whether to add the jobs to the state’s payroll.  The added jobs include brand new positions – attorneys to prosecute violent crimes and sex crimes, Social Services case workers to investigate cases of abuse and neglect, and advocates for vulnerable children and adults.  But they also include positions that already exist. In those cases, the agencies want to move employees – now paid with non-state dollars, including federal money – back onto the state payroll.  Read more here.

Road proposals from S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, House expected

COLUMBIA — Gov. Nikki Haley met privately with House Republicans Tuesday, asking for their support for her plan to lower income taxes and raise the gas tax to generate more money for roads.  The meeting was part of an effort to avoid competing road-repair bills from the GOP-controlled House and the Republican governor.  “We had a good meeting,” Haley said to reporters afterward, taking no other questions.  Haley said her plan — to lower the state income tax to 5 percent from 7 percent over a decade and raise the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon over three years — would ensure South Carolina remains competitive in economic development with its neighbors and also generate about $3.5 billion to pay for road improvements, lawmakers who attended the private luncheon said.  House members have been working for six months to develop their own roads plan – one that does not include a direct gas-tax increase, which Haley previously had said she would veto.  The House plan would tie a lower state gas tax to inflation, give more money to counties that take over some state-maintained roads and levy a 6 percent tax on fuel wholesalers, which would be passed on to consumers.  Read more here.

S.C. House road plan off to good start
The road plan that Speaker Jay Lucas’ ad hoc committee rolled out last month puts the House back in what used to be familiar territory: a pragmatic voice positioned between a rigid anti-tax governor and an anti-reform Senate.  It’s certainly not a perfect plan, and there’s no guarantee that it can even pass the House.  The biggest problem is what it doesn’t do: It doesn’t overhaul our loophole-riddled, special-interest-driven tax code. We need to do that before we raise or lower any more taxes, but it’s painfully clear that no one in the Legislature or the governor’s office or much anywhere else believes that; so this a wash when we compare competing proposals.  Once you take comprehensive tax reform off the table, what you’re left with is a plan that is an excellent place to start a discussion. It’s also a plan that could be improved significantly with a few simple (if not so simple to pass) tweaks.  Read more here.

Haley outlines DHEC goals
COLUMBIA, SC — Gov. Nikki Haley says there are “a lot of things” she would like to see done at the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control if her choice to run the agency is confirmed by the state Senate.  During a news conference Thursday, Haley said she wants Eleanor Kitzman to focus on key health issues. She also suggested that Kitzman could help environmentalists and businesses make compromises similar to one they recently struck over dredging the port of Charleston.  “I don’t want that to be a one-time thing,” the Republican governor said, responding to questions about changes she’d like to see Kitzman make. “I’d like to see us do more of that. See more how we can pull those groups together to get more things done for South Carolina.”  Read more here.

S.C. lawmakers push civics test for HS school students (+Quiz)
COLUMBIA — State lawmakers say S.C. high-school students should know the same facts about the United States that immigrants seeking citizenship are required to know.  Palmetto State high-school students would take a 100-question U.S. civics test – made up of questions immigrants must answer to be granted citizenship – if a bill introduced in the S.C. House and state Senate becomes law.  Students would not be required to pass the test to graduate, but they would receive a certificate for passing the quiz.  Read more here.

Meeting Schedule

Tuesday, February 17

  • 8:00 am -- Blatt Room 321 -- South Carolina Education Policy Fellowship Program
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 317 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Jenny Horne)
  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- SC Legislative Black Caucus
  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Executive Subcommittee of the Legislative Oversight Committee

     I. Comptroller General’s Office

  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 521 -- Ways and Means Committee

     I.  H. 3250 – Certificate of Need

     II.  H. 3374 – Local Government Fund

  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Majority Caucus
  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Minority Caucus
  • 11:00 am -- Blatt Room 511 -- Economic Development, Transportation, Natural Resources and Regulatory Subcommittee of the Legislative Oversight Committee

     I.  SC Department of Transportation

  • 12:00 pm -- State House, House Chamber -- House of Representatives
  • 12:00 pm -- State House, Senate Chamber -- Senate
  •  12:15 pm -- Blatt Room 305 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Mia McLeod)
  • Upon adjournment of the House -- Blatt Room 112 -- Minority Caucus
  • 2:30 pm or 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Administration and Regulations Subcommittee
  • 2:30 pm -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Regulations Subcommittee

     I.  Reg. 4497 – Department of Health and Environmental Control; Pasteurized Milk and Milk Products

     II.  Reg. 4541 – Department of Health and Environmental Control; Hazardous Waste Management Regulations

    III.  Reg. 4504 – Environmental Certification Board - Labor, Licensing and Regulation

     IV.  Reg. 4506 – Board of Registration for Geologists - Labor, Licensing and Regulation

  • 2:30 pm or 1½ hours after the House adjourns -- Blatt Room 427 -- Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee

    I.  H. 3204 – Cervical Cancer Prevention Act

    II.  H. 3343 – Euthanasia at Animal Shelters

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

     I.  S. 373 – Optional forms of Retirement Allowances

     II.  S. 397 – Annual Tax Conformity

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

     I.  S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice, Director, Ms. Sylvia L. Murray

     II.  State Human Affairs Commission, Ms. Harold J. "Jean" Brown

  • Upon adjournment of Senate Judiciary Committee -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.398

      I.  S. 398 – Magistrates Eligibility Examination

  • 30 minutes after adjournment of Senate Judiciary Committee -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.255

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

  • 3:30 pm -- Blatt Room 410 -- Agriculture Environmental Affairs I Subcommittee

     I.  H. 3024 – Highway Construction Projects

     II.  H. 3575 – Solid Waste

     III.  H. 3646 – On Site Disposal Systems

  • 3:30 pm -- Blatt Room 501 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Phyllis Henderson)

Wednesday, February 18

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast - South Carolina Association of Probate Judges (Members Only)
  • 8:30 am -- Blatt Room 321 -- South Carolina First Steps
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Leadership Charleston
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 433 -- Education K-12 Subcommittee on H.3073, H.3390 and H.3520

     I.  H. 3073 – Equal Access to Interscholastic Activities Act

     II.  H. 3390 – Sign Language Interpreters Act

    III.  H. 3520 – Veterans Day

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 427 -- 3-M Subcommittee V, Social Services, Mental Health and Children's Affairs

     I.  H. 3251 – Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Review Committee

  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 308 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.29, S.30, S.31 and S.198

     I.  S. 29 – Amendment to US Constitution

     II.  S. 30 – Amendment to US Constitution

     III.  S. 31 – Amendment to US Constitution

    IV.  S. 198 – Convention of the States

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

     I.  Vocational Rehabilitation Department

     II.  Retirement System Investment Commission

     III.  Commission for the Blind

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- L.C.I. Insurance Subcommittee on S.342

     I.  S. 342 – Enterprise Risk Report

  • 9:15 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Finance Natural Resources and Economic Development Subcommittee Budget Hearing

     I.  Clemson PSA

     II.  SC State PSA

     III.  Department of Insurance

    IV.  SC Jobs Economic Development Authority

  • 9:30 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Finance Criminal Justice Subcommittee

     I.  Administrative Law Court

     II.  South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

     III.  South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy

     IV.  South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice

  • 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 108 -- South Carolina Association of Probate Judges
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- L.C.I. Regulatory Subcommittee
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 105 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on an Appointment to the S.C. Workers' Compensation Commission
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Finance Subcommittee on Property Taxation
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Transportation Committee
  • 11:00 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Finance Constitutional Subcommittee

      I.  Comptroller General

      II.  Inspector General

      III.  Governor's Executive Control of State & Mansion

  • 11:30 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- Legislative Group (Rep. Rita Allison)
  • 12:00 noon - 2:00 pm -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Luncheon -- United Way Association of South Carolina
  • 1:00 pm -- Gressette Room 209 -- Corrections and Penology Committee
  • 1:00 pm -- Gressette Room 407 -- Banking and Insurance Subcommittee on S.314, S.361, S.389 and S.441

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

     II.  S. 361 – Automobile Insurance

    III.  S. 389 – Business Development Corporations

    IV.  S. 441 – Guaranteed Asset Protection Act

Thursday, February 19

  • 8:00 am - 10:00 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- Legislative Breakfast -- Water Utility Council
  • 8:30 am -- Blatt Room 305 -- National Foundation of Women Legislators
  • 9:00 am -- Gressette Room 307 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on Court Rules
  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 427 -- 3-M Subcommittee IV, Military and Public Affairs

    I.  H. 3324 – State and Local Veterans Issues

     II.  H. 3464 – Barbers 

  • 9:00 am -- Blatt Room 403 -- Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee on S.342 and H.3525

    I.  S. 342 – Enterprise Risk Report

    II.  H. 3525 – Transportation Network Companies

  • 9:30 am -- Gressette Room 408 -- Fish, Game and Forestry Subcommittee on S.454

    I.  S. 454 – Hunting and Fishing Licenses

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

     I.  Ms. Eleanor L. Kitzmen; South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

  • 9:30 am -- Gressette Room 207 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.227, and S.304

     I.  S. 277 – State Telecom Equity in Funding Act

     II.  S. 304 – Contracts to Buy Power

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 407 -- Judiciary Subcommittee on S.209 and S.426

     I.  S. 209 – Mental Health Court Act

     II.  S. 426 – Mental Health Court Act

  • 10:00 am -- Gressette Room 209 -- Agricultural Subcommittee on S.284 and H.3323

     I.  S. 284 – Federal Good Manufacturing Practices Regulation

     II.  H. 3323 – SC Noxious Weed Act

  • 30 minutes upon adjournment of the House and Senate -- Gressette Room 209 -- Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children

Friday, February 20

  • 8:30 am -- Blatt Room 112 -- South Carolina Attorney General's Office
  • 9:30 am -- Blatt Room 110 -- Procurement Review Panel

For more information or to be added to our distribution list, please feel free to contact our South Carolina Legislative team.



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