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

February 3 , 2012

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3793, a bill addressing SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA AND OTHER SYNTHETIC DRUGS. The legislation adds numerous materials, chemical compounds, mixtures and preparations, including those commonly known as bath salts, spice, and K2, to the list of Schedule I controlled substances, which are unlawful for members of the general public to purchase, sell, distribute, manufacture, or possess.

The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.4614, legislation establishing procedures and requirements relating to COURT-ORDERED JOINT CUSTODY OF CHILDREN. Among other things, the legislation requires parents to jointly prepare and submit a parenting plan, which the court must consider before issuing temporary and final custody orders; however, the failure by a party to submit a parenting plan to the court does not preclude the court from issuing a temporary or final custody order. The legislation requires the court to make final custody determinations in the best interest of the child based upon the evidence presented. The court may award joint custody to both parents or sole custody to either parent. It requires the court to consider joint custody if custody is contested or if either parent seeks it and to state findings of fact as to why or why not joint custody was awarded. The legislation provides matters that may be included in a custody order, provides factors the court may consider in issuing or modifying a custody order when considering the best interest of the child, and authorizes a parent to seek arbitration of an issue that cannot be resolved between the parents. The family court retains jurisdiction to modify a joint custody order based upon a substantial change of circumstances.

The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.4595, a bill revising a 2011 2012 General Appropriations Act proviso that directs the Department of Education to transfer certain funds to meet federal MAINTENANCE OF EFFORT REQUIREMENTS FOR THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT (IDEA).

The House approved and sent to the Senate H.4664, a bill revising the MEMBERSHIP OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE AUTHORITY by providing that the members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee may be members of the General Assembly. Such members must reside in or represent all or some portion of the counties designated as distressed or least developed, and if appointed, must serve on the board in an ex officio capacity.

The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.4571. This bill makes revisions pertaining to the REPEAL OF SECTION 56-1-754, WHICH RELATES TO THE SUSPENSION OF A DRIVER’S LICENSE OF A PERSON CONVICTED OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE VIOLATION. This particular code section was repealed by the General Assembly last year by Act 13 of 2011. This legislation enacts language in order to carry out the intentions of the General Assembly when it enacted this legislation to discontinue the suspension of the driver’s license of a person who was charged with a controlled substance violation before April 12, 2011, but whose conviction occurred on or after April 12, 2011.