Weekly Update from the State House - February 28, 2014: The House met this week in lengthy sessions to try to clear the calendar in preparation for budget week beginning March 10, while the Senate worked its calendar and continued discussions of amendments to the Ethics Bill...

Details from Each Chamber

HOUSE

The House met this week in lengthy sessions to try to clear the calendar in preparation for budget week beginning March 10.

On Wednesday, a number of bills received a favorable report out of House committees. These bills have been placed on the Calendar for Tuesday.

This week, a House panel moved ahead six bills that would change campaign rules. Representative Finlay (R), of Richland County, has sponsored several bills that call for a 30-day period for lawmakers to fix problems relating campaign finance. If passed, it would mean the House and Senate ethics committees would only deal with more serious cases instead of ones for minor violations. Much of the debate Thursday was for H. 4223, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

The House will reconvene Tuesday at noon.

The House passed the following bills of interest this week:

  • H. 3796, Fees imposed by political subdivisions
  • H. 3925, Discharge of pollutants into the environment
  • H. 4596, Snapper-Grouper fishery
  • S. 757, Resolution to Recognize Wind Energy Capabilities (returned to Senate with concurrence)

SENATE 

The Senate worked through their Calendar this week, continuing discussions of amendments to the Ethics Bill, H.3945. On Tuesday, the Senate received several statewide gubernatorial appointments, which were referred to their respective committees. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved S.416, a texting while driving ban. The bill will now head to the Senate floor. South Carolina is the only state in the South that does not have some sort of driving while texting ban.

On Wednesday, a Senate subcommittee approved a bill addressing concerns about the Common Core education standards. A bill, S.300, will go to the full Senate Education Committee for consideration.

On Thursday, the Senate worked quickly through the Calendar to allow continued debate on H. 3945, Ethics Reform. After discussing numerous amendments, Rule 15-A was invoked, closing the door for added amendments, and a third reading was given to the bill. Governor Haley and Senator Sheheen were quick to blast the bill for not having enough teeth. "The legislators need to understand that ethics reform is not about what's convenient to them. Ethics reform should be about what's transparent," said Haley.

The Senate will reconvene Tuesday at noon.

The Senate passed the following bills of interest this week: 

  •   H.3945, Ethics Reform
  •   H.3089, Income deductions for volunteer constables
  •   H.4576, Snow Days for Charter Schools and Approved Home Schools
  •   S.440, Restraints on juveniles in court
  •   S.748, Immunity from liability for free health care
  •   S.764, Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad litem Program
  •   S.812, SC Rural Infrastructure Board
  •   S.815, Nomination of candidates by primary to a convention
  •   S.840, State prescription monitoring 

Newly Introduced Legislation

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/TAX:

S. 809 Leatherman: RELATING TO THE CAPITAL PROJECTS SALES TAX - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

S. 825 Alexander: SO AS TO EXEMPT FROM AD VALOREM TAXATION ANY REAL PROPERTY LOCATED WITHIN A MILITARY BASE OR INSTALLATION THAT IS USED OR OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H. 4772 Nanney: RELATING TO THE EXPUNGEMENT OF STATE TAX LIENS, SO AS TO CLARIFY THAT EXPUNGEMENT APPLIES ONLY TO LIENS FILED IN ERROR. - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H. 4778 J. E. Smith: SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA NEW MARKET JOBS ACT" TO PROVIDE A CREDIT AGAINST INSURANCE PREMIUM TAXES AND POSSIBLE OTHER STATES TAXES MADE IN CERTAIN INVESTMENTS BY COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ENTITIES - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H. 4807 Edge: RELATING TO THE CORPORATE LICENSE TAX CREDIT ALLOWED FOR CASH CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROVIDE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ELIGIBLE PROJECTS,  - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

EDUCATION:

S. 1047 Martin: RELATING TO THE STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM TO MEASURE STUDENT PERFORMANCE UNDER THE EDUCATION ACCOUNTABILITY ACT - Referred to the Committee on Education.

S. 1048 Hutto: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO NAME THE WEEK OF MARCH 2, 2014, THROUGH MARCH 8, 2014, AS "READERS-2-LEADERS LITERACY AWARENESS WEEK" IN SOUTH CAROLINA. - Referred to the Committee on Education.

ENVIRONMENTAL:

S. 757 Hembree: TO RECOGNIZE THE WIND ENERGY CAPABILITIES OF SOUTH CAROLINA AS PART OF A MULTI-SOURCE ENERGY STRATEGY - Introduced, adopted, returned with concurrence.

H. 3925 Hardwick: RELATING TO PROHIBITING THE DISCHARGE OF POLLUTANTS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT AND REMEDIES FOR VIOLATIONS -  Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

H. 4596 Goldfinch: TO OPPOSE ANY ADDITIONAL LIVE BOTTOM MARINE PROTECTED AREAS OFF THE COAST OF SOUTH CAROLINA - Referred to the Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry.

HEALTH CARE:

S. 840 (Bryant: RELATING TO THE SUBMISSION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION BY DISPENSERS AS PART OF THE STATE PRESCRIPTION MONITORING PROGRAM - Referred to Committee on Judiciary

S. 1055 Nicholson: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS CONCERNING LONG TERM HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATORS - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

S. 1056 Turner: RELATING TO THE LICENSE REQUIRED TO ENGAGE IN THE PRACTICE OF SPECIALIZING IN HEARING AIDS - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

H. 4803 Horne: SO AS TO ENACT THE "MEDICAL CANNABIS THERAPEUTIC TREATMENT RESEARCH ACT" - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4808 Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee: RELATING TO VACCINATION, SCREENING AND IMMUNIZATION REGARDING CONTAGIOUS DISEASES - Placed on calendar without reference.

JUDICIAL:

S. 268 L. Martin: SO AS TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE FOR THE CERTIFICATION OF DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN RECORDS OF REGULARLY CONDUCTED ACTIVITY -Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4801 Mitchell: SO AS TO ENACT THE "REASONABLE PROTECTION OF PERSONS AND PROPERTY ACT"- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4806 Burns: RELATING TO THE JUDICIAL MERIT SELECTION COMMISSION - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4811 Huggins: TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA OVERDOSE PREVENTION ACT"  - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

Top News Articles of the Week      

Insurance newcomer making an impact in SC
With a month to go in the first year of the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, it appears Consumers' Choice Health Plan, a newcomer to South Carolina, has made an immediate impact. Read more.

Seizmic exploration off SC to Virginia coast backed by feds
The Interior Department is endorsing seismic exploration for oil and gas in Atlantic waters, a crucial move toward starting drilling off the Carolinas, Virginia and possibly down to Florida.  Read more.

First-time abusers in SC could see more jail time, have guns taken away
For years, domestic violence victims advocates have insisted that society asks the wrong question about abusive relationships.   Read more.

SC ethics reform bill heads back to the House
The South Carolina Senate has approved an ethics bill that allows voters to see where candidates get their money and expands reporting rules for those seeking to influence legislators. Read more.

SC senators reject disclosing their income amounts
State senators swiftly rejected Wednesday a proposal requiring elected officials in South Carolina to disclose on ethics forms how much their employers pay them. Read more.

Gov. says she put jobs before education changes
Gov. Nikki Haley said she waited three years to push "historic" equal educational opportunities for poor children because she has been busy creating jobs. "For the first time, we have acknowledged the fact that every child deserves a good education," she said. Read more.

New federal report highlights Medicaid fraud in South Carolina
Health care providers cheated the South Carolina Medicaid program out of more than $30 million during the 2010 fiscal year, according to a new federal health care fraud report published Wednesday.  Read more.

20-week abortion ban advances to S.C. House
A bill banning abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later is heading to the House floor for debate. Read more.

Statewide texting ban drives forward in SC
South Carolina could become the last state in the South to approve a ban on texting while driving. Read more.

SC Gov. Haley, military work to get vets jobs
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and state officials are working together to help the state's military veterans find jobs in the civilian world.  Read more.  

Black senators eye future generation
Most of the nation's current and former black senators gathered Tuesday to reflect on how far the nation has come and how far it has to go, with all emphasizing the importance of inspiring the next generation of leaders.  Read more.

Bill to reform sex education in South Carolina schools in limbo
A bill that would have updated South Carolina's sex education law will likely not be heard by the General Assembly because of a tie vote at the subcommittee level.  Read more.

February 2014 Winthrop Poll Results of the Latest Winthrop Poll are in:
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham Has Support of 45% of Likely Republican Primary Voters, Though 35% Remain Undecided.  Read more.

Oops ... lawmaker says bill's goal was not to intend regulations
State Rep. Todd Atwater, R-Lexington, said he did not mean for the House to pass a bill that, if it became law, immediately would eliminate several regulations that protect public safety, health and the environment. Read more.

S.C. politicians howl over proposed Defense cuts 
Sweeping budget and personnel cuts proposed Monday by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel could hit hard some S.C. military bases, including Columbia's Fort Jackson, while protecting others. Read more.

Haley objects to National Guard Cuts
Gov. Nikki Haley was among several governors who complained to President Barack Obama on Monday about proposed budget cuts to the National Guard.  Read more.

Could hemp be state's next big cash crop? Lawmakers weigh options
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are opening the door to allow marijuana back into South Carolina in one form or another. Read more.

S.C. could lose out in next round of base closings if military quality of life not fulfilled 
South Carolina considers itself one of the most military-friendly states in the nation.  Read more.

In the DeMint Era at Heritage, a Shift From Policy to Politics
Not long after Jim DeMint took over the Heritage Foundation last spring, his team summoned the staff for a meeting unlike any the decorous conservative policy organization had ever convened. Music blared in the auditorium. Policy analysts began with a few awkward jokes and then scampered about in a series of skits that laid out the foundation's goals.  Read more.

Is Even South Carolina Ready for Hillary?
Outside a hip converted textile mill in a leafy downtown neighborhood, Barack Obama's former Upstate political director Jon Metcalf is beaming as the place empties out. A largely black crowd of about 100 had shown up to hear about the Ready for Hillary shadow campaign. They didn't pack the house, and plenty of chicken fingers, sandwiches, and meatballs are still left on the buffet table inside, but Metcalf is thrilled with the turnout. Read more.

Minimum wage hike could hurt workers, York County business owners say 
It's shortly before noon on a Friday, and the staff at the Patti-O Grill is preparing to move into high gear. The gravel parking lot is almost full and so, too, are the booths and tables in the simple but homey brick restaurant.  Read more.

Meetings and Events

Wednesday, March 5th

5:30       House Democratic Caucus Annual Business Roundtable Reception

               M Grille

5:30       Fundraising Reception for House LCI Chairman Bill Sandifer 

               Palmetto Club    

5:30       Fundraising Reception for Senator John Scott

               931 Senate Street

Thursday, March 6th

5:30       Fundraising Reception for Speaker Bobby Harrell

               Palmetto Club 

Topics:  Economic Development, Federal Budget, Income Taxes, Legislative Agendas, Tax Reform

Published In: Civil Procedure Updates, Elections & Politics Updates, Environmental Updates, Health Updates, Tax Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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