Weekly Update from the SC State House: In the House, a number of bills of interest passed this week. In the Senate, a number Statewide Appointments were received from the Governor...

by Nexsen Pruet, PLLC
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Details from Each Chamber

HOUSE

The House worked through the Calendar on Tuesday, giving second reading to a number of bills, and positioning their Calendar for a long day Wednesday in order to meet the May 1st crossover deadline. On Wednesday, the House worked lengthy hours getting legislation across to the Senate.

On Thursday, the House dispensed with most of their Calendar, adjourning debate on three bills, and giving second and third reading to several bills. The House concurred with most of the Senate amendments on bills returned from the Upper Chamber and enrolled the bills for ratification. The Speaker announced that there would be abbreviated session schedules on Tuesday and Wednesday for the next two weeks. He directed the subcommittees to meet and to suspend any committee meetings during the remaining three weeks of Session, at which time they will attempt to address the committee reports and send the bills back to the Senate.

A number of bills of interest passed the House this week:

  • H.4061 - Health EDU/Age-Appropriate Instruction in Sexual Abuse & Assault Awareness
  • H.4399 - On-premises Alcohol Permits/No Objections by Schools & Churches
  • H.4346 - Child Abuse Registry/Cases, Appeals, Hearings
  • H.4518 - Lottery Net Proceeds
  • H.4742 - Public Records/Prohibit Filing False Lien or other Public Records
  • H.4791 - Electronic Data Privacy Protection Act
  • H.4828 - Administrative Law Judges/Retirement
  • H.4840 - High School Equivalency Diploma Accessibility Act
  • S.1189 - Distribute Energy Resource Program Act
  • S.1194 - Summer Reading Program Funding

SENATE

The Senate worked steadily through the uncontested Calendar Tuesday, with the May 1st crossover deadline approaching. H.3198, an elections bill, was given third reading and returned to the House. In the Senate Finance Committee meeting, Senator Leatherman stated his intention of completing work on the budget this week. Staff will work throughout the weekend and information will be posted on the state website. The Senate will begin work on the budget next Tuesday, and will hopefully have it completed and returned to the House by the end of next week. He stated that his goal is to have a conference committee report adopted and the Governor's vetoes addressed prior to the last day of session.

On Wednesday, Senators worked through the uncontested Calendar, moving bills to the House. H.3412, a Transportation Funding bill was set for Special Order. The Senate spent time discussing, S.1145, a bill related to Common Core standards. Also on Wednesday, a Senate panel voted 4-1 to advance a bill banning and criminalizing abortions after 19 weeks. Legislators also inserted language to protect the use of contraceptives and the morning-after pill. The bill now heads to the full Senate Medical Affairs Committee.

A number of Statewide Appointments were received from the Governor Wednesday:

  • Board of Directors of the SC Public Service Authority - Alfred L. Reid
  • Board of Trustees for the Veterans' Trust Fund of SC - Valerie A. Brunson & Rufus Bernard Chapman
  • Secretary of Transportation - Janet P. Oakley
  • SC Commission on Disabilities and Special Needs - William O. Danielson 
  • SC Panel for Dietetics - Michael C. Greene & Judy H. Thomas

On Thursday, Senator Leatherman gave an update on the State budget, referring to it as the "Education Budget", with education as the top priority for the state. He announced that Monday will be a perfunctory session day and the budget bill will be placed on members' desks. The bill will be available on the state website on Sunday, if not earlier. He would like to return the bill to the House, complete the conference committee process and Governors' vetoes before last Thursday in June when the Senate adjourns. Numerous bills were received from the House and several bills were reported out of committees and placed on the Calendar.

Prior to adjournment, Senators convened in Executive session to take up Appointments. The following were confirmed as members of the Board of Directors of the SC Public Service Authority: Kristopher Clark, Merrell Floyd, Catherine Heigel, John Calhoun Land, IV, Danny Joe Ray and Jack F. Wolfe.

A number of bills of interest passed the Senate this week:

  • H.3198 - Elections
  • H.4259 - SC Military Service Integrity and Preservation Act
  • S.890 - Permits for coastal zone critical areas 
  • S.909 - Captive Insurance Companies
  • S.919 - False Claims, Representations for Purposes of qualification of medical claims
  • S.1177 - Establishment, Operation and Maintenance of wildlife management areas
  • S.1219 - School districts may negotiate salaries with teachers

Newly Introduced Legislation      

EDUCATION:

H. 5196 Rivers: , SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA CHOICE SCHOLARSHIP ACT" - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H. 5152 Sellers: SO AS TO ENACT THE "STUDENT EMPOWERMENT IN COLLEGE GOVERNANCE ACT" - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

JUDICIAL:

S. 1252 Verdin: RELATING TO ARREST, PROCESS, SEARCHES AND SEIZURES - Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1270 L. Martin: SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A PUBLIC UTILITY MAY USE EASEMENTS RELATED TO PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OR ROADS FOR PURPOSES RELATED TO THAT UTILITY IF GRANTED A PERMIT BY THE STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT. - Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

H. 5182 Hiott: RELATED TO PUBLIC HIGHWAYS OR ROADS FOR PURPOSES RELATED TO THAT UTILITY IF GRANTED A PERMIT BY THE STATE OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 5153 Cole, Merrill and Clemmons: RELATING TO GENERAL PROVISIONS CONCERNING ALCOHOL AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

Top News Articles of the Week      

SC Senate approves replacing Common Core in 1 year
The Senate on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that replaces Common Core education standards with those developed in South Carolina by the 2015-16 school year. Read more.

Vote delayed on InfiLaw's license to run Charleston law school
A state regulatory panel delayed voting on InfiLaw's request to run the Charleston School of Law on Thursday to allow more time to review documents and public comments. Read more.

Money for local governments cut in SC Senate budget plan
Local governments could pay the price for the Senate Finance Committee's decision to expand South Carolina's 4-year-old kindergarten program for at-risk students. Read more.

Senate Finance budget plan includes 4K expansion
The Senate Finance Committee has advanced a budget proposal that expands 4-year-old kindergarten and gives legislators a raise. Read more.

How they voted: Senate budget-writers restore funding to colleges  
Senate budget writers voted Wednesday to restore about $70,000 in state money to two S.C. colleges, money the S.C. House voted to cut for assigning gay-themed books. Read more.

SC solar plan rises from shadows
With West Coast critics mollified, a proposal to expand solar energy in South Carolina sailed through the state Senate Wednesday after months of negotiations between sun power backers and utilities concerned about profits. Read more.

SC State gets $6 million -- to 'tread water'
S.C. State University got a promise of a $6 million state loan to help stabilize its finances Wednesday, but the college still needs additional help to cover the rest of its $13.6 million deficit. Read more.

Democrats: Top accountant needs to apologize
The Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday called on the state's top accountant to apologize to the students and alumni of South Carolina State University for offensive comments, but Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom called it a political request that distracts from the need to fix the school's finances. Read more.

Latest child death prompts DSS policy change
The S.C. Department of Social Services announced late Wednesday it was changing its policy and will now require its workers to get in touch with law enforcement within 72 hours if DSS can't locate a family or child. Read more.

Justices wary of unlimited cellphone searches
The Supreme Court seemed wary Tuesday of allowing police unbridled freedom to search through cellphones of people they arrest, taking on a new issue of privacy in the face of rapidly changing technology. Read more.

20-week abortion 'fetal pain' measure faces S.C. Senate test
Supporters of a measure that would ban and criminalize abortions at 20 weeks in South Carolina are planning a late-session effort to push the bill through the often slow-moving Senate. Read more.

SC House OKs creating University of Charleston
The House has approved a bill creating a research university as a subsidiary of the College of Charleston.  Read more.

Sellers files bill to add students to college boards
Bamberg County Rep. and lieutenant governor candidate Bakari Sellers, alongside Reps. Joshua Putnam, R-Anderson, and Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, filed the Student Empowerment in College Governance Act, which would add two student members to each public universities' board of trustees. Read more.

Senators look to expand 4K, buy more buses
South Carolina senators want to put more money in the budget toward 4-year-old kindergarten, new school buses and public colleges. Read more.

South Carolina Resists as U.S. Seeks to Shut Down Disposal Site
As the Cold War ended, the United States and Russia agreed to each dispose of 34 tons of plutonium that was produced for use in nuclear weapons, with most of it being turned into fuel for civilian power reactors.  Read more.

Meetings and Events

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

5:30       Legislative Reception for Senator Nikki Setzler

                602 Meeting Street, Suite B, West Columbia

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

4:00       SC Women's Leadership Council's Annual Women of Distinction Awards Tea 

                Lace House

Thursday, May 8, 2014

5:30       Fundraising Reception for SC Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers 

               Home of Margaret and Wes Jones, 910 May River, Bluffton

 

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