Details from Each Chamber
South Carolina Restructuring Act
The South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives adopted the Conference Committee report for S.22, the South Carolina Restructuring Act. The bill abolishes the State Budget and Control Board and moves most of its functions to a new Department of Administration under the Governor's Office. During her State of the State address on Wednesday night, Governor Haley called the bill "the biggest and most important piece of government reform South Carolina has seen in two decades."
The House worked through their Calendar this week, adjourning early on Wednesday so that Governor Haley could prepare for the State of the State address in the House Chamber. During Tuesday's session, the Speaker announced that the House would be furloughed the week of February 10th and the weeks before and after Easter.
There was lengthy discussion on S.308, a bill that would allow patrons to take concealed weapons into bars and restaurants. Representatives eventually concurred with the Senate amendments. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for her signature.
The House passed the following bills this week:
H.4355 - Election of University Board of Trustees and Judges
H.3764 - Non-Embryonic and Non-Fetal Cell Therapy Act
H.4521 - Local Voting Precinct Bill
Additionally, the House Ways and Means subcommittees continued to hear budget presentations from State agencies throughout the week, and will continue next week.
The Senate spent all day Tuesday debating S.22, the Restructuring bill, carrying over all other bills. Several members voiced concerns and comments. Senator Shane Martin (R-Spartanburg) held the podium for a fairly lengthy time to voice his concerns about the legislation. Senators eventually adopted the Conference Committee report on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday, the Senate carried over all bills on the Calendar and began discussing H.3945, the Ethics bill. Several amendments were discussed and withdrawn.
On Thursday, Senator Campsen made introductory comments on S.970, the Surface Water Stewardship Act. The bill was referred to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The Senate carried over all bills on the Calendar to continue discussion on H.3945, the Ethics Bill. No action was taken before the Senate adjourned for the week.
The Governor's Office
2014 State of the State Address
On Wednesday night, Governor Nikki Haley gave her fourth State of the State address. In the speech, she focused on her K-12 Education Reform plan, Infrastructure funding, Ethics Reform, and the State's recent economic development success. She mentioned that "We have announced over 43,000 new jobs, in 45 out of 46 counties. We have seen almost $10 billion invested in South Carolina. We have seen 186 expansions of existing companies, the ultimate compliment a business can give a state."
You can access the full text of the Governor's speech here. You can also read excerpts from the Democratic response to the speech here.
Economic Development Announcements
Governor Haley's office announced two economic development projects this week.
Sandvik, Inc., a manufacturer of carbide inserts is expanding its operations in Oconee County. The $12 million investment is expected to increase the company's production at its Westminster facility. Governor Haley said that "We are quickly becoming known for work in advanced manufacturing and technology, and its companies like Sandvik which makes that possible."
Additionally, the Governor's Office announced that Kent International Inc., a supplier of bicycles and accessories for major retailers, is building its new bicycle manufacturing facility in Clarendon County. The company intends to invest $4.3 million in the project and is expected to bring 175 jobs to the area.
Kent International Inc. is headquartered in New Jersey and has been a major supplier of bicycles for Walmart, Toys R Us, Amazon and Academy Sporting Goods.
Newly Introduced Legislation
S. 951 Bennett: RELATING TO PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 953 Leatherman:RELATING TO THE APPLICATION OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE TO STATE INCOME TAX LAWS - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 964 L. Martin: RELATING TO THE LIMIT ON ANNUAL PROPERTY TAX MILLAGE INCREASES IMPOSED BY POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
H. 4520 Herbkersman: SO AS TO ENACT "UNCLE PRESTON'S LAW" TO ALLOW A TAXPAYER TO CLAIM THE FOUR PERCENT ASSESSMENT RATIO ON A RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY OTHER THAN THEIR LEGAL RESIDENCE - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
H. 4563 Skelton: RELATING TO THE USER FEE ON GASOLINE AND DIESEL FUEL - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
S. 963 Jackson: RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER SALARIES - Referred to the Committee on Education.
H. 4518 White: SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT NO PORTION OF THE LOTTERY NET PROCEEDS MAY BE APPROPRIATED FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS AT OR ASSOCIATED WITH AN INSTITUTION OF HIGHER LEARNING. - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
H. 4535 Barfield: RELATING TO THE ELECTION OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY TRUSTEES - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.
H. 4564 Ryhal: RELATING TO THE PROHIBITION OF STUDENT HARASSMENT, INTIMIDATION, OR BULLYING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS - Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.
S. 952 Peeler: RELATING TO A RETURN TO COVERED EMPLOYMENT BY RETIRED MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA RETIREMENT SYSTEM (SCRS) - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 954 Courson: RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT, ORGANIZATION, MEMBERSHIP, AND DUTIES OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC EMPLOYEE BENEFIT AUTHORITY (PEBA) - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 959 Scott: RELATING TO MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS, SO AS TO IMPOSE A MANDATORY MINIMUM WAGE FOR PEOPLE EMPLOYED IN THE STATE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE MINIMUM WAGE PROVIDED BY FEDERAL LAW - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 960 Scott: SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA MINIMUM WAGE ACT" -Referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.
H. 3147 Pope: RELATING TO THE DEFINITIONS OF "INJURY" AND "PERSONAL INJURY" IN WORKERS' COMPENSATION - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 970 Campsen: RELATING TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA SURFACE WATER WITHDRAWAL, PERMITTING USE, AND REPORTING ACT, BY ENACTING THE "SURFACE WATER STEWARDSHIP ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
H. 4553 Skelton: RELATING TO AREAS WHERE SMOKING IS PROHIBITED - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
H. 4549 Atwater: SO AS TO REQUIRE THE ANNUAL STATE BUDGET TO EMPLOY A ZERO-BASED BUDGET PROCESS IN BOTH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSED STATE BUDGET AND IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY'S CONSIDERATION OF THE STATE BUDGET BEGINNING JULY 1, 2015, AND EVERY SECOND FISCAL YEAR THEREAFTER. - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
S. 955 Reese: RELATING TO THE MANDATORY AVAILABILITY OF THE STATE HEALTH AND DENTAL PLANS TO STATE EMPLOYEES AND PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICTS - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 961 Cleary: SO AS TO ENACT THE "NAVIGATOR BACKGROUND CHECK ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Banking and Insurance.
S. 962 Peeler: RELATING TO THE OPTION OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF HOSPITAL MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA RETIREMENT SYSTEM (SCRS) TO OPT OUT OF MEMBERSHIP IN SCRS - Referred to the Committee on Finance.
H. 3764 Long: SO AS TO ENACT THE "NONEMBRYONIC AND NONFETAL CELL THERAPY ACT" - Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.
H. 4536 Allison: RELATING TO THE OPTION OF CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF HOSPITAL MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA RETIREMENT SYSTEM (SCRS) TO OPT OUT OF MEMBERSHIP IN SCRS - Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.
H. 4542 Long: SO AS TO PROVIDE CERTAIN PODIATRIC SURGERY MUST BE PERFORMED IN CERTAIN FACILITIES - Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs.
H. 4550 Parks: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS CONCERNING LONG TERM HEALTH CARE ADMINISTRATORS - Referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs.
H. 4565 Ryhal: SO AS TO BE ENTITLED "IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY FOR PROVIDING FREE HEALTH CARE SERVICES", AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE SERVICES OF A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER TREATING A PATIENT FREE OF CHARGE ARE DEEMED TO BE WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN STATUTE - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H. 4534 Stavrinakis: SO AS TO PROVIDE NO CAUSE OF ACTION FOR FORECLOSURE OF A REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE MAY BE COMMENCED IF THE ALLEGED DEFAULT WAS BASED SOLELY ON A FAILURE TO PURCHASE OR MAINTAIN FLOOD INSURANCE COVERING THE MORTGAGED PROPERTY - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H. 4559 McCoy: TO MEMORIALIZE THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES TO ENACT SENATE BILL S.1846, THE HOMEOWNER FLOOD INSURANCE AFFORDABILITY ACT OF 2013, IN ORDER TO DELAY FLOOD INSURANCE RATE INCREASES CAUSED BY THE BIGGERT-WATERS FLOOD INSURANCE REFORM ACT OF 2012 - Referred to Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions.
H. 3174 Whitmire: SO AS TO ALLOW THE GOVERNING BODY OF A COUNTY OR MUNICIPALITY TO EXEMPT CERTAIN HISTORIC PROPERTIES FROM THE APPLICATION OR ENFORCEMENT OF BUILDING CODES UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE LOCAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION. - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
H. 4355 Clemmons, Mack, Bannister, Whitmire, Henderson and McCoy: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO FIX NOON ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2014, AS THE TIME TO ELECT A SUCCESSOR TO A CERTAIN JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT - referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 958 Bright: SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST MOTORCYCLES, MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS, OR MOTORCYCLE PASSENGERS. - Referred to the Committee on Transportation.
H. 3514 Hamilton: SO AS TO DEFINE NECESSARY TERMS, PROHIBIT THE OPERATION OF A PUBLIC UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM AND THE DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACQUIRED THROUGH THE OPERATION OF A PUBLIC UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM. - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
Top 20 News Articles of the Week
ELECTION 2016: SC secures early primary spot
South Carolina will keep its first-in-the-south Republican presidential primary. Read more.
The Gun Report: January 23, 2014
Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was in the state capital on Tuesday advocating for child gun locks, just as lawmakers there are contemplating two bills aimed at increasing gun rights. Read more.
Water withdrawal bill introduced; Lee Bright giving away rifle in US Senate campaign
A state senator introduced legislation Thursday to restrict mega-farms from siphoning large amounts of water from rivers. Read more.
State revenues down in December, but economists not worried
South Carolina's tax revenue fell by 1.7 percent in December compared to one year ago, but state economists say the state is still on track to meet its revenue projects for the 2014 budget year that ends June 30. Read more.
S.C. Legislature urged to focus on early childhood education
Early childhood education advocates called out state lawmakers Wednesday to put aside their differences and reach a bipartisan compromise that invests in pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk children. Read more.
USC wants at least $10 million from state to freeze tuition
The University of South Carolina system is asking state lawmakers for $10.1 million - the equivalent of a 3 percent tuition hike - to freeze students' tuition bills for a year. Read more.
Gov. Nikki Haley pushes education plan in state address
Gov. Nikki Haley put education at the forefront of her State of the State address Wednesday, calling for lawmakers to reshape classrooms in poorer areas of South Carolina. Read more.
State of the State: Haley supports education, lower taxes, rejection of Medicaid funds
South Carolina should invest in education and infrastructure while continuing to lower taxes and reject federal Medicaid dollars, Gov. Nikki Haley told a joint session of the Legislature Wednesday night. Read more.
Haley touts progress in State of the State address
Gov. Nikki Haley says South Carolina is in a strong state and "we're just getting started." Read more.
Sen. Tim Scott fires back about NAACP leader's comments
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, went on Fox News to combat comments by a NAACP leader who said the state's first African American U.S. senator was a puppet of the Tea Party. Read more.
SC Corrections asks judge to reconsider ruling on mentally ill
The state prison system is asking a circuit judge who ruled that the treatment of mentally ill inmates violates constitutional standards to amend his order and address various defense arguments that lawyers for the state contend weren't properly addressed in the order. Read more.
Tribe: Existing SC law allows reservation gambling
South Carolina's only federally recognized tribe argued before the state's Supreme Court Wednesday that current law allows them to have a reservation casino - even though video gambling is banned elsewhere within the state's borders. Read more.
Cards left with Charleston-area restaurants: 'No Lead with My Drink Please'
Blind Tiger Pub manager Hannah Wilson respects the right of people to have guns, but not in bars and restaurants. Numerous other area businesses on Tuesday also received this small flier attempting to influence the Legislature's consideration of a bill allowing it. Read more.
SC House budget chief suggests giving away state roads to local governments
The S.C. House's top budget writer has an idea about how the state can close its $29 billion deficit in money that it has for road repairs over the next 20 years: Give some roads away. Read more.
Democratic senator introduces bi-partisan bill to raise teacher pay
S.C. Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, introduced a bill Tuesday to raise S.C. teacher pay to the national average. Read more.
SC restructuring bill passes despite some Senate drama
A bill to give South Carolina's governor new powers starting next year won House and Senate approval Tuesday but not without a bit of last-minute drama. Read more.
Charleston County has plans, but not the money, for $277 million in Boeing-related roads
Charleston County's road construction plans associated with the Boeing manufacturing facilities are expected to have large impacts on regional traffic, particularly between Interstate 526 and Ladson Road. Read more.
Providence Hospitals CEO George Zara to retire in February
George Zara, president and CEO of Providence Hospitals since 2008, said he plans to retire in February. Read more.
Grand jury's inquiry and possible effects on Speaker Harrell's future
Bobby Harrell stepped into a Statehouse meeting room filled with reporters Thursday. He shuffled some papers around and took a sip of water. Read more.
Meetings and Events
Tuesday, January 28th
5:30 Reception for SC House Labor Commerce and Industry Chairman Bill Sandifer
Wednesday, January 29th
9:30 Budget and Control Board
5:30 SC Leadership PAC Reception
SC House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White