(Published by the Office of Research of the House of Representatives)

February 24, 2012

The House of Representatives approved S.929, “BENJI’S LAW”, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes new SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR MINIATURE TRAIN AMUSEMENT RIDES in public parks. Before the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation may issue or renew a permit for a miniature train amusement ride, the legislation requires: (1) the ride to have a properly operating speedometer; (2) the ride to be equipped with a regulating device that restricts the train’s maximum speed; (3) all drivers operating the ride to satisfy new training requirements; and (4) the ride to pass safety inspections that must be conducted on an annual basis, if not more frequently.

The House approved and sent to the Senate H.4690, the “JASON FLATT ACT”. Under this legislation, the Department of Education shall require two hours of training in YOUTH SUICIDE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION as a requirement for the renewal of credentials for middle and high school teachers. This new required training counts toward the total of one hundred twenty credits required for the renewal of teacher certification. The department is required to develop guidelines for training and materials that may be used by schools and school districts; school districts may approve training materials for their employees. The new training requirement may be satisfied through self review of suicide prevention materials. No person shall have a cause of action for any loss or damage caused by any act or omission resulting from the implementation of the provisions or resulting from any training required by these provisions, or lack of training, unless the loss or damage was caused by wilful or wanton misconduct. The training required by these provisions, or lack of training, must not be construed to impose any specific duty of care.

The House rejected H.4592, legislation offered as a means of COMBATING UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION FRAUD more effectively through enhanced penalties and the creation of a Special Investigations Unit within the Department of Employment and Workforce charged with the responsibility of enforcing all laws relating to unemployment insurance fraud in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3750 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises provisions for independent AUTOPSIES ordered by coroners or medical examiners in instances of patient death at health care facilities so as to allow the autopsy to be performed by the health care facility where the death occurred, by a physician employed by the facility, or by a physician connected to the treatment of the deceased only in instances where the coroner or medical examiner certifies that there is no reasonable alternative. The legislation also revises provisions for the Vulnerable Adults Investigations Unit of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division by providing that when a coroner rules that the death of an individual in a veterans nursing home under the authority of the Department of Mental Health results from natural causes, SLED is not required to conduct an investigation regarding the individual’s death.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3583 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation UPDATES STATE INCOME TAX LAW’S REFERENCE TO THE FEDERAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE to include its most recent amendments.

The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3390 which relates to PETITIONING A COURT TO ABANDON OR CLOSE A STREET, ROAD, OR HIGHWAY. The legislation provides that notice of intention to file a petition must be posted along the street, road, or highway subject to the approval of the location of the posting by the governmental entity responsible for maintenance of the street, road, or highway. The Department of Transportation shall promulgate regulations to establish the minimum mandatory size, language, and specific positioning of the posted signs.

The House approved and sent to the Senate H.4639. This bill adopts the 2009 Edition of the International Energy Conservation Code as the STATE ENERGY STANDARD for building code purposes, updating the current statutory reference to the 2006 edition of the code.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H.3506, a bill revising ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROVISIONS.