Weekly Update from the State House - March 21, 2014: The House focused on "South Carolina Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" & a procedural issue in the Senate halted the Affordable Care Act Nullification bill

by Nexsen Pruet, PLLC
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Details from Each Chamber

HOUSE  

The House moved through the Calendar this week, focusing much of their time debating H. 4223, the "South Carolina Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act". The bill, which bans abortion after 19 weeks, has received criticism from opponents who say it would open up the State to legal challenges, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

On Wednesday morning, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley told a special House panel that his world-class city will fall behind without a major research university. "Not having this most essential educational opportunity is a huge disservice to the future of South Carolina," said Riley. Bills to merge MUSC and the College of Charleston in the House and Senate are not expected to make it to the floor this session, but panels have begun to examine the issue.

A few bills of interest were passed in the House this week: 

  • S. 148 - Identity Theft Protection
  • S. 657 - Magistrate Jury areas (amended)
  • H. 4223 -South Carolina Pain Capable Unborn Protection Act  
  • H. 4922 - Veterans Employment   

SENATE   

The Senate worked through much of the Uncontested Calendar Tuesday and Wednesday, before getting to H. 3101, the Affordable Care Act Nullification bill.  After lengthy procedural debate, the bill failed to get a second reading.  Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell, the Senate President, struck down the Senate bill that tried to fix problems with the House's version.  Soon after, the Senate rejected the House measure by a vote of 33-9.  Several Republican Senators voted against the House measure, despite their disdain for the Affordable Care Act, citing the inevitable federal lawsuit that would have followed. Senator Tom Davis, a Beaufort Republican who authored the new version, appealed McConnell's ruling.  The Senate, however, voted 24-18 to side with the Lt. Governor.

Prior to taking up the nullification bill, Senator Lourie took the podium for a moment of personal interest, calling for the resignation of DSS Director Lillian Koller. He referenced the DSS hearings that have been held for the past few months, stating that the agency needs to be restructured.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee gave a favorable report on two Statewide Appointments to the South Carolina State Ethics Commission: Thomas Miller Galardi and Francis E. Grimball

A few bills of interest were passed in the Senate this week: 

  • S. 1007- Mortgage Foreclosures
  • S. 1065- Limited Licensing of Self-Storage Facilities to offer insurance
  • S. 985- Fairness in Lodging
  • H. 3231- DOT/Discriminate against Motorcycles (amended)
  • H. 4347- South Carolina Children's Advocacy Medical Response System Act

Newly Introduced Legislation 

EMPLOYMENT/LABOR:

H. 4950 Atwater: RELATING TO EXEMPTIONS FROM THE DEFINITION OF EMPLOYMENT FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT PURPOSES -  Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

ENERGY:

H. 4957 Loftis: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS CONCERNING MOTOR FUEL USER FEES, SO AS TO INCLUDE LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF "ALTERNATIVE FUEL"  -  Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

S. 1135 Peeler: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS CONCERNING MOTOR FUEL USER FEES, SO AS TO INCLUDE LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF "ALTERNATIVE FUEL" - Referred to the Committee on Finance.

GOVERNMENT:

S. 1139 Thurmond: RELATING TO EARMARKS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION SURROUNDING EARMARKS REQUESTED BY MEMBERS OF THE SENATE FOR INCLUSION IN AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL - referred to the Committee on Rules.

HEALTH CARE:

H. 4929 Allison: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO URGE ALL HOSPITALS IN THIS STATE TO OFFER TO INPATIENTS SIXTY-FIVE YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER, PRIOR TO DISCHARGE, IMMUNIZATION AGAINST THE INFLUENZA VIRUS - Introduced, adopted, sent to Senate.

H. 4932 Anderson: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS CONCERNING RISK-BASED CAPITAL - Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

JUDICIAL:

S. 1128 Leatherman: RELATING TO PROHIBITED PRACTICES OF BEER PRODUCERS AND WHOLESALERS - Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4943Hamilton: SO AS TO PROHIBIT A PUBLIC BODY FROM ACQUIRING A MORTGAGE USING THE POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN. - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4947 Atwater: RELATING TO DEFINITIONS IN REGARD TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT - Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

Top News Articles of the Week  

South Carolina's House passes 20-week abortion ban
South Carolina's House on Wednesday passed a ban on abortions at or after 20 weeks, putting it on track to join 11 other state legislatures that have passed similar measures. Read more.

Judge announces Friday hearing in House speaker's secret push to kick AG off grand jury probe
State circuit Judge Robert Hood has announced a Friday morning hearing in the matter concerning House Speaker Bobby Harrell's secret effort to disqualify Attorney General Alan Wilson from leading a State Grand Jury probe into Harrell's affairs. Read more.

Fort Jackson general: More budget cuts hit jobs
The commander in charge of the Army's largest training installation warned Thursday that if a new round of automatic federal budget cuts moves forward and the Army becomes even smaller, Fort Jackson would lose about 3,100 jobs. Read more.

BMW hints at expansion in Upstate
BMW executives teased next week's announcement at the company's Greer plant by speaking Wednesday of a possible expansion of the big factory along Interstate 85. Read more.

Lift caps on solar
Walking along South Main Street in the West End you are unlikely to notice that there is a power plant mounted on the roof of a renovated warehouse near Pendleton Street. Read more.

State 14th-least business friendly in terms of taxes
South Carolina's taxes are some of the best in the country for businesses and worst for individuals, according to a new report released by the Tax Foundation comparing the effects of state taxes on business climates. Read more.

Emma's Law: To go easy, or not, on drunk drivers to be debated at Thursday House hearing 
Just how leniently to treat first-offense drunk drivers by exempting a large number of them from having to use an ignition interlock device on their cars is the topic of a Thursday morning hearing in the S.C. House of Representatives office building. Read more.

Obamacare fight in SC busted by Senate rules
South Carolina's main bill fighting the federal health care law died on a technicality Wednesday. Read more.

SC House approves banning abortion beyond 19 weeks
The House has approved a bill banning abortion in South Carolina beyond 19 weeks of pregnancy.  Read more.

On Grand Strand Golf: Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday refocuses on European markets The Myrtle Beach golf market has made some inroads with golfers in China through the Olle Sports marketing company with Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship participation and a series of Chinese qualifiers, and a new annual Ryder Cup-style event. Read more.

New council to address prescription drug abuse, over-prescribing doctors in South Carolina
Members of Gov. Nikki Haley's new prescription drug abuse task force acknowledge that other nearby states, including Georgia, Florida and Kentucky, have been tackling painkiller addiction more aggressively than South Carolina has done. Read more.

SC lieutenant governor's office could go vacant
The S.C. lieutenant governor's office could be vacant for a half year if Glenn McConnell starts work as College of Charleston's next president on July 1. Read more.

S.C. jobless rate falls to 6.4% in January
The unemployment rate in South Carolina fell to 6.4% in January, the second consecutive month the Palmetto State was lower than the national rate in 13 years, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce reported today.  Read more.

State's labor forces shrinking
South Carolina is making progress putting people back to work, state officials said Monday, citing new figures that show the unemployment rate dropped in January for the eighth month in a row, dipping to 6.4 percent. Read more.

Unemployment dips to post-recession lows in 30 states
Unemployment rates in 30 states are the lowest they've been since the recession ended, according to the Labor Department. But beneath that headline statistic, the state of the state labor markets is far from recovered. Read more.

Harrell-Wilson hearing expected later this week
A hearing on House Speaker Bobby Harrell's request to have Attorney General Alan Wilson removed as prosecutor in his grand jury investigation is expected to take place later this week in Columbia.  Read more.

2-week filing period for SC elections is under way
Three candidates for state superintendent were among those filing for office through the South Carolina Election Commission on Monday, the first full day in the two-week period candidates have to submit paperwork and pay their fees. Read more.

State should keep certificate-of-need program
South Carolina needs a certificate-of-need program to oversee the expansion of health care services in the state, and Gov. Nikki Haley shouldn't be allowed to unilaterally extinguish the program by vetoing funding for it.  Read more.

Lawmakers to S.C. colleges: Choose freedom or funding
Some S.C. legislators are trying to teach the state's public colleges a lesson in a way no one can recall being done before. Read more.

Meetings and Events

Tuesday, March 25th

5:30       Legislative Reception for Senators Yancey McGill and Kent Williams - Mamas & the
               Tapas - 931A Senate Street

Wednesday, March 26th

5:30       Legislative Reception for Senators Floyd Nicholson and Glenn Reese - Inn at USC


               Fundraiser Reception for Representatives Kenny Bingham, Bill Herbkersman, Chip
                Limehouse, Jim Merrill, Mike Pitts, Gary Simrill, Murrell Smith - Palmetto Club

The Nexsen Pruet State House Update is published as a service to our attorneys, clients, and friends. It is intended to be a high level overview of the weekly activity at the South Carolina State House and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation.

 

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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