April 15, 2016

The House of Representatives amended Senate amendments on H.3579, legislation that includes DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RESTRUCTURING AND ROAD FUNDING INITIATIVES, and returned the bill to the Senate. The legislation includes a restructuring of the Commission overseeing the South Carolina Department of Transportation that retains the commission’s geographical representation, but provides that legislators would no longer elect commissioners and that all commissioners would, instead, be appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the General Assembly, by a roll call vote in each legislative house. Commissioners are to serve at the pleasure of the Governor and their terms of service are limited to a maximum of twelve years. Under restructuring, the DOT Commission assumes the responsibility of appointing the Secretary of Transportation, upon the advice and consent of the General Assembly, by a roll call vote in each legislative house. In order to afford the chief internal auditor of the Department of Transportation greater independence, the legislation provides for the department’s chief internal auditor to be appointed and overseen by the State Auditor rather than the DOT Commission. The legislation provides for all of the motor vehicle sales tax revenue to be transferred to the Department of Transportation to be used exclusively for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair. The legislation also provides for revisions to the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Before providing a loan or other financial assistance, the Board of Directors that oversees the Infrastructure Bank must, under the legislation, submit its decision to the Department of Transportation Commission for its consideration. The DOT Commission can, in turn, approve or reject the decision or request additional information from the bank’s board of directors. The Infrastructure Bank’s policy of following the SC Department of Transportation’s project priority criteria is established as a statutory requirement. The General Assembly may, however, enact a joint resolution specifically allowing the bank to fund a project without using DOT’s prioritization criteria. The minimum project amount set in Transportation Infrastructure Bank requirements is lowered from $100 million to $25 million. This threshold is lowered to allow more areas to be able to afford local match requirements and take advantage of the bank’s bonding capabilities for financing their transportation projects.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3204, the “CERVICAL CANCER PREVENTION ACT”, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides that, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) may offer the cervical cancer vaccination series, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) series, for adolescent students including those enrolling in the seventh grade in any school, public, private, or home schooling program, in this state. The legislation includes parental consent requirements for vaccinations provided by DHEC and provides that no student is required to have the cervical cancer vaccination series, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) series, before enrolling in or attending school. The department may develop and provide informational brochures concerning adolescent vaccinations, including the cervical cancer vaccination series, that schools and home schooling programs may distribute to the parents or guardians of all students in the sixth grade. DHEC’s informational brochure must state the benefits and side effects of the cervical cancer vaccination series and that the vaccination series is optional. The brochure shall encourage the student’s parent or guardian to go to the child’s own health care provider for vaccination. DHEC may not contract with a health care provider to offer the vaccination series if the health care provider performs abortions.

The House concurred in Senate amendments H.4328, a bill including various TAX PROVISIONS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation synchronizes certain filing deadlines regarding income tax withholdings to eliminate a lag time that presents an opportunity for fraud. The legislation updates statutory references to U.S. Internal Revenue Code provisions so that state tax provisions coordinate with federal tax provisions. The legislation provides for a state sales tax exemption for liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas sold to a person with a miscellaneous fuel user fee license for use as motor fuel in motor vehicles. Applicable motor fuel user fees must be remitted.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4165, the “HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION REGIME FEE FAIRNESS TO DEPLOYED SERVICE MEMBERS ACT”. The legislation provides that, once a service member who belongs to a homeowners’ association has provided proper notification to the association of orders of military deployment, the homeowners’ association is prohibited from assessing or imposing penalties or enforcing a lien on unpaid regime fees that accrue during the time when the homeowner is deployed or mobilized outside of this state.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4580, a bill to provide an exemption from Department of Health and Environmental Control licensure provisions for MEDICAL FOSTER HOMES FOR VETERANS that provide care for up to three veterans per home as approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5091, a bill to provide for the nineteenth day of June of each year, designated as “Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Day” to also be recognized as “SICKLE CELL DAY IN SOUTH CAROLINA” to coordinate with “World Sickle Cell Day” initiatives to raise awareness of the genetic disease and support and encourage research, treatment, and management of sickle cell disease.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4327, a bill that includes provisions for HOSPICE PROGRAMS for terminally ill patients to apply to the Department of Health and Environmental Control for an expansion of their service areas and provisions that allow parent hospice organizations to offer services at multiple locations.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4773. Designated as MARGY’S LAW, the legislation expands South Carolina’s Emergency Medical Services Do Not Resuscitate Order Act by including provisions for a DO NOT RESUSCITATE BRACELET that may be worn by someone with a terminal condition to signify to health care providers and EMS personnel that they are to withhold resuscitative treatment in keeping with a “do not resuscitate” order.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5100, legislation INCLUDING ORAL SURGEONS AND DENTISTS AS EMERGENCY MEDICAL PROVIDERS under the Access to Emergency Medical Care Act so that they can be reimbursed for emergency care services.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3952, a bill REVISING THE PROCESS FOR COMMITTING THE MENTALLY ILL TO MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES. The legislation adds to commitment provisions the category of the “gravely disabled” which is defined as person who, due to mental illness, lacks sufficient insight or capacity to make responsible decisions with respect to his treatment and because of this condition is likely to cause harm to himself through neglect, inability to care for himself, personal injury, or otherwise. The legislation includes a preference that emergency admissions of the mentally ill be conducted by plain clothes law enforcement officers that have had crisis intervention training and, in certain instances, the legislation allows for the option of having someone transported to a facility, not by law enforcement officers, but by emergency medical technicians in an ambulance. For an individual who has eloped after commitment, a request for an order to search, locate, and return must be issued by the probate court and transportation must be by a state or local law enforcement officer.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5024, a joint resolution providing for REQUIRED TRAINING ON DYSLEXIA FOR LITERACY COACHES AND LITERACY TEACHERS. The legislation provides that, before the 2016 2017 school year, the State Department of Education shall provide training to all literacy coaches and literacy teachers in kindergarten through grade three on dyslexia, including evidence-based dyslexia screening, instructional methods, and interventions. Before October 1, 2016, the State Department of Education shall provide the Senate Education Committee and the House Education and Public Works Committee with a report describing the specific training used and stating the number and percentage of literacy coaches and teachers who successfully completed the training.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4932, a bill making revisions to SPECIFICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS FOR VEHICLES AND TRAILERS operated along the state’s highways. The legislation revises provisions for maximum trailer lengths to provide for a greater maximum length that applies only to trailers or semitrailers used exclusively or primarily to transport vehicles used in connection with motorsports competition events. The legislation makes revisions relating to axle and weight limits for motorhomes and intrastate public agency transit passenger buses. The legislation makes provisions for increased weights associated with idle reduction systems. New provisions are included to allow motor vehicles fueled primarily by natural gas to exceed weight limitations by specified amounts.

The House returned S.454 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation provides for the issuance of DEER HUNTING TAGS for in-state residents and non-residents. This new tagging system does not revise game zones or seasons, but it does include requirements for hunters to tag every deer taken in the state. The legislation provides for the Department of Natural Resources to issue eight doe day specific tags and three buck tags with the purchase of a South Carolina hunting license and big game permit for in-state residents. Hunters (including youth and gratis licensees) will have the option to purchase two additional buck (with four points on one side or a minimum 12-inch antler spread) tags at $5 each and/or four additional doe tags at $5 each. All funds collected from the two additional buck tags sales will go into a Coyote Management Program. With the purchase of a hunting license and big game permit, non-resident hunters will pay $50 for the first purchased antlered tag and $20 for each additional antlered tag (with a maximum purchase of four tags of which two must have size restriction). There is a $10 charge for each antlerless tag purchased. The legislation provides for antlerless and antlered deer limits to be two doe taken per day and two bucks taken per day. The Department of Natural Resources to provide a report of a four year study by July 1, 2022, to the Chairman of the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee and the Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee on such issues as the status of state’s the white tailed deer population and a review of the tagging program. As part of its Coyote Management Program, DNR is directed to develop and implement a coyote tagging and bounty program. The department must tag and release no less than three coyotes in each of the four game zones and apply a bounty of not less than one thousand dollars per tagged coyote. The department must neuter any coyote before it is released.