February 23, 2018

The House of Representatives took up three bills that draw upon the work of the special House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that was appointed by the Speaker of the House to examine the growing misuse of prescription painkillers and recommend legislative actions to counter the epidemic of ruinous addiction and fatal overdoses. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4492, a bill that provides new DOSAGE LIMITATIONS ON PRESCRIPTIONS FOR SCHEDULE II CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES, including opioid painkillers. The legislation revises the thirty-one day supply limitation imposed upon prescriptions for controlled substances classified in Schedule II to provide that this supply must not exceed one hundred twenty tablets or capsules or four hundred eighty milliliters of an opiate containing liquid.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3819, a bill establishing new REQUIREMENTS THAT MUST BE MET BEFORE PRESCRIBING OPIOID ANALGESICS TO MINORS. The legislation provides that, before the first prescription for an opioid analgesic may be issued to someone under eighteen years of age who is not emancipated, the prescriber must satisfy a set of requirements that include: assessing whether the minor has suffered from a mental health or substance abuse disorder and if prescription drugs have been taken for treatment; discussing with the minor and their parent or guardian such matters as the risks of addiction and overdose associated with opioid analgesics and the dangers of drug interactions with benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other central nervous system depressants; and, obtaining written consent for the prescription from the minor’s parent, guardian, or other adult authorized to consent to the minor’s medical treatment. The legislation includes requirements for the written consent, the name and quantity of the opioid analgesic being prescribed, the number of any authorized refills, and certain other information to be recorded on a “Start Talking!” consent form developed by the State Board of Medical Examiners. Exceptions are provided that apply in such circumstances as medical emergencies.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3820, a bill requiring OPIOID ABUSE EDUCATION IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS. This bill requires, as a part of the public school Comprehensive Health Education Program, certain instruction in prescription opioid abuse prevention in grades nine through twelve beginning with the 2017 2018 School Year. This instruction must include an emphasis on the prescription drug epidemic and the connection between opioid abuse and addiction to other drugs, such as heroin.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4810, a joint resolution creating a temporary SCHOOL METAL DETECTOR STUDY COMMITTEE to examine whether it is in the public interest to require the installation and use of metal detectors at public schools in the state. In making its study, the committee must consider the costs and benefits of the metal detectors to the residents of this state, potential sources of funding, and the feasibility of having each school install metal detectors. The seven member committee will be comprised of three members from the Senate appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, three members from the House appointed by the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, and one additional member with a background in law enforcement appointed by the State Superintendent of Education. After making a report of its recommendations to the General Assembly within ninety days of the effective date of this legislation, the committee will dissolve.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4705, a bill ENHANCING REQUIREMENTS FOR MANDATORY REPORTING OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT. The legislation expands the category of those who are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect by adding firefighters, camp counselors, scout leaders, school or college administrators, coaches, and clerical or nonclerical religious counselors who are licensed counselors or holds themselves out as counselors or regularly counsel others. The legislation specifies that mandatory reporters must make their reports of suspected child abuse and neglect to law enforcement agencies and cannot satisfy their legal duties simply by making reports to their supervisors. The duty to report is not superseded by an internal investigation within an institution, school, facility, or agency.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3329, a bill providing ENHANCEMENTS TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING PENALTIES that draws upon the work of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children. The legislation includes revised criminal definitions, more stringent penalties that apply when a victim is under the age of eighteen, and provisions for human trafficking specialized service providers and Human Trafficking Acute Crisis Care and Resource Centers.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4434, a bill making provisions for comprehensive DYSLEXIA SCREENING AND INTERVENTION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. This bill requires the state Department of Education to establish and provide training and support for a statewide multi tiered support system (MTSS) framework with three tiers of interventions. The MTSS framework will consist of a data based system to match instructional resources to educational needs, an ongoing system of student assessment, and a layered continuum of support. The department would develop a universal screening process to screen for identifying students who may be at risk for problems in reading, math, writing, and social emotional development. The screening would be used by local school districts through their existing response to intervention framework. Beginning in the 2019 20 school year, school districts are to use the universal screening process to screen each child from kindergarten through second grade at least three times a year. Each district will convene a school based team to analyze screening data and progress monitoring data to assist teachers and students. If the screening process indicates the student is at risk for problems the district will notify the parent or guardian and provide information regarding the problem, provide the student with appropriate intervention and monitor the progress of the student. Additionally, this bill requires the department to provide professional development resources for educators for identification and intervention methods for students who are at risk, including students with dyslexia.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4078, the “MILITARY PRIORITY REGISTRATION ACT”. The legislation makes provisions for the state’s public institutions of higher learning to give enrollment priority to military related students, including active duty members of the uniformed services, reservists, members of the South Carolina National Guard, and honorably discharged veterans.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4977. The legislation implements in statute changes authorized with the adoption of the amendment to the South Carolina Constitution which provides for the JOINT ELECTION OF THE GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR beginning with the general election of 2018. Under the revised system, a gubernatorial candidate selects a running mate for the post of Lieutenant Governor in a manner comparable to the selection of the President and Vice President at the federal level. The legislation establishes a timeline of requirements to govern the election of this joint ticket and makes provisions for the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to be considered as a single candidate under campaign contribution and election committee requirements.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4116, a bill that revises the state’s Medical Practice Act to provide that PHYSICIANS CANNOT BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN NATIONAL CERTIFICATION AS A CONDITION OF LICENSURE, REIMBURSEMENT, EMPLOYMENT, OR ADMITTING PRIVILEGES AT A HOSPITAL. This prohibition applies to “Maintenance of Certification” or “MOC” continuing education programs that measure core competencies in the practice of medicine and surgery and are approved by a nationally recognized accrediting organization.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4529, a bill that revises practice acts to provide AUTHORIZATION FOR NURSES AND PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS TO UTILIZE TELEMEDICINE.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4672, a bill REINSTATING VISION SCREENING REQUIREMENTS FOR DRIVER’S LICENSE RENEWALS. The legislation provides, after October 1, 2019, individuals will once again be required to satisfy vision screening requirements in order to renew a driver’s license by either passing a vision test administered at the Department of Motor Vehicles or providing a certificate of vision examination form executed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4676, a bill to provide that those included on the list of RESPONSIBLE ADULTS WHO CAN SIGN APPLICATIONS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A BEGINNER’S PERMIT, A CONDITIONAL DRIVER’S LICENSE, AND A SPECIAL RESTRICTED DRIVER’S LICENSE can fulfill various requirements for accompanying young drivers which currently require the presence of a parent or legal guardian. The legislation also provides that someone on the list of responsible adults is authorized to sign the consent form at the Department of Motor Vehicles to register the applicant with the federal Selective Service System upon attaining eighteen years of age.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4682, a bill revising OPTIONS FOR SATISFYING THE “MOTOR VEHICLE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT”. The legislation eliminates the options of filing a bond and filing of a certificate of deposit of money or securities as methods of establishing proof of financial responsibility. Drivers have been obtaining automobile insurance that satisfies “Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act” requirements and have not been using the other methods for establishing proof of financial responsibility.

The House and Senate adopted a conference committee report on H.3649 and the bill was enrolled for ratifications. The legislation makes revisions to allow for greater CONFORMITY BETWEEN THE ARCHITECTURE AND ENGINEERING PRACTICE ACTS and eliminate ambiguity concerning the issuance of local government permits for buildings and structures.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3337, a bill REVISING FILING AND RECORDING FEES CHARGED BY THE REGISTER OF DEEDS AND CLERKS OF COURT to make provisions for charging certain flat fees.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4704, a bill that codifies current procedures for the issuance by the Department of Health and Environmental Control of GENERAL PERMITS AVAILABLE FOR TIDELAND CRITICAL AREAS OF THE COASTAL ZONE.

The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3139, a bill revising provisions allowing the issuance of biennial permits and licenses for the SALE AND CONSUMPTION OF BEER, WINE, AND LIQUOR AT SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEXES to include a soccer complex.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4475, a bill enacting a recommendation from the House Legislative Oversight Committee that eliminates obsolete statutory references to DIVISIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY and provides for DPS to maintain a list of its divisions on the department’s website.

The House gave third reading approval to H.4377, a bill providing REFORMS FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, and sent the legislation to the Senate.