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

May 25, 2012

The House of Representatives approved S.102, a bill establishing a PROHIBITION ON ABORTION COVERAGE OFFERED THROUGH A HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. This legislation provides that abortion coverage may not be provided by a qualified health plan offered by a health insurer through a health insurance exchange created pursuant to the federal ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’. This prohibition applies to group health plans as defined in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and health maintenance organizations. This limitation does not apply to an abortion performed when the life of the mother is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

The House returned S.836 to the Senate with amendments. This bill enacts an INTERSTATE HEALTHCARE COMPACT and enters South Carolina into the compact along with any other states legally joining the compact by the adoption of similar legislation. Member states shall take joint and separate action to secure congressional consent to this compact in order to return the authority to regulate health care to the member states. The legislation provides that the legislature of each member state has the primary responsibility to regulate health care in their state. Each member state, within its jurisdiction, may enact legislation to suspend the operation of all federal laws, rules, regulations, and orders regarding health care that are inconsistent with those adopted by the member state pursuant to this compact. Each federal fiscal year, each member state shall have the right to federal monies up to an amount equal to its member state current year funding level for that federal fiscal year, funded by Congress as mandatory spending and not subject to annual appropriation, to support the exercise of member state authority under this compact. This funding shall not be conditional on any action of or regulation, policy, law, or rule being adopted by the member state. The legislation establishes an Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission and provides for its membership and responsibilities.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3478, dealing with MOTOR FUEL BLENDING, and enrolled the bill for ratification. This legislation provides that the requirements relating to the sale of unblended and preblended petroleum products apply to every terminal operator, supplier, permissive supplier, refiner, and all others involved in the bulk transfer of motor fuel in the state. The legislation provides that it is not considered a violation of requirements when compliance is hindered by a catastrophic event such as a natural disaster, severe weather event, act of God, or acts of terrorism, fire, war, or riot. The legislation establishes conditions under which a refiner, supplier, wholesaler, or retailer is not liable for damages caused by the use of incompatible motor fuel dispensed at a retail site.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.5026, relating to the OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLE HEARINGS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation replaces the term “administrative hearing” with the term “contested hearing” with regard to certain hearings before the Office of Motor Vehicles. The bill also increases the filing fee for a contested case from $150 to $200. Funds generated from the collection of this fee must be retained by the Administrative Law Court, provided however, that these funds must first be used to meet the expenses of the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings, including the salaries of its employees, as directed by the chief judge of the Administrative Law Court. The legislation provides that the Department of Motor Vehicles and the arresting officer shall have the burden of proof in contested case hearings. If neither the Department of Motor Vehicles nor the arresting officer appears at the contested case hearing, the hearing officer shall rescind the suspension of the person’s license, permit, or nonresident’s operating privilege regardless of whether the person requesting the contested case hearing or the person’s attorney appears at the contested case hearing.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3934, a bill providing for PROPERTY TAX REVISIONS, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises eligibility for and provides for an extension of the multi-lot property tax discount available under provisions for the property tax assessment of undeveloped acreage subdivided into lots. The legislation revises qualifications for the special four percent assessment ratio allowed for owner-occupied residential property, so as to require the taxpayer to certify that the taxpayer nor any member of the taxpayer’s household claims to be a resident of another jurisdiction or claims the special four percent assessment ratio on another residence. The legislation provides for an apportionment of the special four percent assessment ratio in circumstances where ownership interests in residential property are created by deed. The legislation establishes circumstances under which a transfer of a fractional interest between family members for zero or de minimis consideration is not to be considered an assessable transfer of interest for property tax valuation purposes.

The House did not concur in Senate amendments to H.3757, a bill that expands and enhances penalties for HUMAN TRAFFICKING and implements other measures to combat the practice of trafficking in persons where victims are subjected to involuntary servitude, sex trafficking, or debt bondage by means of physical restraint, extortion, control of immigration documents, drug dependency, or other forms of coercion. A conference committee was appointed to address differences with the Senate on the legislation.

The House did not concur in Senate amendments to H.3400, a bill addressing TERMINATION OF A CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION.

The House did not concur in Senate amendments to H.3710, a bill providing authority for the ISSUANCE OF TEMPORARY PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSES TO SPOUSES OF ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY PERSONNEL stationed in South Carolina.

The House returned S.391, a bill REVISING ELECTION TIMELINES, to the Senate with amendments.

The House returned S.1014, which pertains to QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE OFFICE OF CORONER, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation revises the list of qualifications for the office of coroner by eliminating the qualification of two years experience as a licensed private detective and adding the qualification of being a medical doctor and the qualification of having a bachelor of science degree in nursing. The legislation further provides that the Coroners Advisory Training Advisory Committee, appointed by the Director of the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, shall determine those forensic science degree and certification programs that qualify as “recognized” for purposes of the training requirements required for coroners.