HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
May 4, 2018
The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H.3826 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation draws 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 legislation requires a written prescription for any Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substance to be written on a TAMPER-RESISTANT PRESCRIPTION PAD that meets the counterfeit-resistant standards required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for prescriptions. Prescription orders transmitted by facsimile, orally, or electronically are exempt from the tamper-resistant prescription pad requirement. The tamper-resistant prescription pad requirements do not apply to refill prescriptions of an original written prescription that was issued before the effective date of this act. A pharmacy may fill a prescription written on a non-tamper-resistant pad on an emergency basis as long as the pharmacy receives a verbal, facsimile, electronic, or compliant written prescription from the prescriber within seventy two hours after the date on which the prescription was filled.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4705, a bill ENHANCING REQUIREMENTS FOR MANDATORY REPORTING OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation expands the category of those who are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect by adding clerical or nonclerical religious counselor who charges for services. 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 The duty to report is not superseded by an internal investigation within an institution, school, facility, or agency.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 approved to S.27, a bill making provisions for the APPOINTMENT OF THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION BY THE GOVERNOR with the advice and consent of the Senate, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. Under the provisions of the legislation, the State Superintendent of Education is no longer to be elected through a statewide vote and is, instead, to be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at the Governor’s pleasure. Qualifications are established for the office of State Superintendent relating to educational attainment and professional experience. Compensation for the position is to be set by the Agency Head Salary Commission. A procedure is established for filling a vacancy in this office.
The House amended Senate amendments to H.4950, the FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL to return the proposed state government budget, for the most part, to the version approved by the House earlier this year, with notable exceptions.
$15 million is provided from the Education Lottery for School Safety Facility and Infrastructure Safety Upgrades.
In order to assist state and local agencies and departments that are experiencing difficulties in hiring needed personnel, earnings limitations are eliminated in the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System for the fiscal year as a means of encouraging retirees in these systems to return to work as school resource officers, classroom teachers, correctional officers, and other crucial positions. Those who retired on or before December 31, 2017, are eligible.
$8 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the Department of Corrections for critical security upgrades in the state’s prisons including the installation of window frames and glazing and new door locks for inmate cells.
$54 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the State Law Enforcement Division for the construction of a new Forensic Laboratory Building.
The Public Service Commission is afforded additional time to make a decision on whether the Base Load Review Act has been properly used to finance the failed nuclear power project in Fairfield County by providing for a PSC hearing on the matter no earlier than November 1, 2018, and requiring a PSC ruling by December 21, 2018.
The legislation revises provisions for solar power and other distributed energy resources and net-metering provisions for the electrical power they generate which were approved by the General Assembly in Act 236 of 2014 to promote the establishment of a reliable, efficient, and diversified portfolio of distributed energy resources for the state. The legislation increases the cap on placed on solar power generation and other distributed energy resources, currently set at 2%, to 4% of the previous five year average of the electrical utility’s South Carolina retail peak demand. The legislation discontinues existing arrangements where all of an electrical utility’s customers are subsidizing solar power programs, regardless of whether they are participating in the programs, by providing that nonparticipants in net energy metering programs are not required to subsidize the costs of customer generators. A “Renewable Energy Development Joint Study Committee” is created to make recommendations to lawmakers to support the development of renewable energy resources and production facilities to generate electricity.
The Public Service Commission is directed to require public utilities to implement any reasonably achievable cost savings that may be achieved from such resources as renewable power generation.
The Department of Health and Human Services is directed to prepare and submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) such waivers and state plan amendments that are necessary to ensure that no family planning funds may be expended to subsidize abortion clinics and none of the funds appropriated may be paid or granted to an organization that owns or is owned by an abortion clinic. Funds must be held until a decision is made as to whether to grant the waiver. If the waiver is not granted, then all funds must be submitted back to CMS.
The legislation includes provisions enhancing South Carolina’s laws prohibiting sanctuary cities that disallow the adoption of ordinances and policies by municipalities and other local governments to prohibit, restrict, or interfere with the enforcement of immigration laws. The legislation authorizes the Attorney General, in addition to a resident of a political subdivision, to bring a civil action in the circuit court against a political subdivision that adopts ordinances or policies to restrict law enforcement officers, local officials, or local government employees from enforcing immigration provisions, limit communications with federal or state officials regarding someone’s immigration status, or establish work authorization provisions that conflict with federal or state law. If a court finds that a political subdivision has violated provisions that prohibit interference with the enforcement of immigration laws, the political subdivision is not allowed to receive Local Government Fund appropriations.
$350 thousand is provided from the Education Lottery for a Military Connected Children Program to ease the transition into public schools for students of military families assigned to bases in South Carolina.
A definition of anti-Semitism derived from the U.S. State Department is provided for South Carolina’s public colleges and universities to use when reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion.
$5 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the State Ports Authority for Jasper Ocean Terminal Port Permitting.
A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on to H.4950, the FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.5341, a bill CONFORMING SOUTH CAROLINA’S INCOME TAX PROVISIONS TO FEDERAL INCOME TAX PROVISIONS and making accommodations for the federal tax changes that were enacted by Congress in December 2017 so that these changes at the federal level will not result in increased tax collection at the state level. The legislation continues the practice of conforming state tax provisions to federal provisions to simplify tax preparation, but retains, at the state level, an array of deductions that were eliminated in the federal tax changes of 2017 so that South Carolina taxpayers may still take advantage of these deductions for state income tax purposes.
The House approved S.891, legislation dealing with INFORMATION THAT MUST BE MADE AVAILABLE TO PARENTS OF NEWBORNS, and enrolled the bill for ratification. Currently, state law requires every hospital to make a video approved by the Department of Health and Environmental Control on the dangers associated with shaking infants and young children available to the parents of each newborn baby delivered in the hospital. The bill requires the educational video to include information on safe sleeping practices and the causes of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome, as well.
The House approved and enrolled for ratification S.79, a bill designating July of each year as “FIBROID TUMOR AWARENESS MONTH” to raise awareness of the impact fibroid tumors have on women’s health.
The House approved and enrolled for ratification S.888, a bill authorizing local public school policies that allow TEACHERS TO RECEIVE PAY FOR UNUSED ANNUAL LEAVE AND SICK LEAVE. The legislation authorizes a local school district board of trustees or, in the case of a charter school, the governing body of a charter school, to adopt a policy that allows classroom teachers and certain other public school faculty members to receive payment at the end of each fiscal year for unused annual leave and sick leave time in excess of ninety days at the rate established for substitute teacher pay or another approved amount. These optional local policies apply only to sick leave and annual leave in excess of ninety days that is accrued after July 1, 2018.
The House approved and enrolled for ratification S.28, a bill addressing the criteria for public schools to award ELECTIVE CREDIT FOR RELEASED TIME CLASSES IN RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. Addressing situations where a student is transferring to a public high school from a private high school, the legislation provides that the criteria for awarding the maximum of two elective credits is satisfied if a school district leaves the evaluation and assessment function for an off campus released time class to an accredited private school, and accepts the off campus released time transfer of credit without individually assessing the quality or subject matter of the class, trusting the private school accreditation process to ensure adequate academic standards.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4672, a bill REINSTATING VISION SCREENING REQUIREMENTS FOR DRIVER’S LICENSE RENEWALS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation provides that 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 through the submission of a certificate of vision examination form executed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. A certificate of vision examination form executed by a certifying ophthalmologist or optometrist must be transmitted to the DMV electronically. These provisions take effect October 1, 2020.
The House approved and enrolled for ratification S.874, a bill that establishes criteria for ORGAN PROCUREMENT ORGANIZATION VEHICLES to considered authorized emergency vehicles when transporting human organs, human tissue, or medical personnel for the purpose of organ recovery or transplantation in a situation involving an imminent health risk.
The House approved S.1042 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises insurance law provisions to define the term “INTERNATIONAL MAJOR MEDICAL INSURANCE” and include this form of insurance in the definition for the term “surplus lines insurance”. International major medical insurance is a temporary health insurance policy that covers the expenses associated with illnesses or accidents that occur while traveling or when temporarily residing outside of a person’s home country.
The House approved to S.812, a bill making revisions to RAFFLES CONDUCTED BY NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS FOR CHARITABLE PURPOSES, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation modifies nonprofit, charitable organization raffle rules to increase the maximum value of noncash prizes from $500 to $950, and maximum ticket price from $100 to $300. The legislation also provides that a volunteer who assists a house in operating bingo games is not an agent, promoter, or representative of the house and may participate in a bingo game at the house in which he volunteers except on days he has volunteered.
The House approved and enrolled for ratification S.1083, a bill providing authorization for the Department of Motor Vehicles to administer a UNIFORM PROGRAM FOR THE ISSUANCE OF TEMPORARY LICENSE PLATES FOR NEWLY ACQUIRED VEHICLES. The program includes provisions for uniform plate design, dimensions, and materials and vehicle identifying information requirements including the date of issue, the date of expiration, the name of the issuing entity, and a unique identifying license plate text that will be assigned by the DMV.
The House approved S.337, a bill that revises the authorized activities of CREDIT UNIONS so that the state’s credit unions are able to offer services that allow them to be competitive with national credit unions. The legislation authorizes credit unions to sell, to persons in the field of membership, negotiable checks, including traveler’s checks, money orders, and other similar money transfer instruments, including international and domestic electronic fund transfers and remittance transfers and cash checks and money orders for persons in the field of membership for a fee. The legislation revises provisions relating to membership in a credit union, so as to provide a procedure to admit new community groups to a credit union. The legislation relating to board meetings, so as to provide that, unless the bylaws provide otherwise, one regular meeting each calendar year must be conducted in person. If a quorum is present in person for the annual in person meeting, then the remaining board members may participate using audio or video teleconference methods. The other regular meetings may be conducted using audio or video teleconference methods. The legislation revises provisions relating to permissible investments of credit union funds, so as to allow for an investment in certain charitable donation accounts.
The House approved on S.877. This bill revises APPRAISAL MANAGEMENT COMPANY REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS to allow the option of satisfying a registration requirement with a surety bond in an amount not to exceed fifty thousand dollars.
The House approved S.567, a bill that revises the “South Carolina Amusement Rides Safety Code” so that its provisions govern the operation of concession go karts, but do not apply to SUPER KARTS.
The House approved S.1099, a bill addressing SOUTH CAROLINA MINING ACT EXEMPTIONS. The legislation revises provisions governing the application of the South Carolina Mining Act, to add exemptions for the Department of Commerce, Division of Public Railways, and persons acting under contract with the Department of Commerce.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4673 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises the REVOCATION OF CERTAIN BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS BY DIVORCE, ANNULMENT, OR AN ORDER TERMINATING MARITAL PROPERTY RIGHTS UNDER EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS ADMINISTERED BY THE SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC EMPLOYEE BENEFIT AUTHORITY.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4807 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides an extension, until July 1, 2019, for WILD TURKEY HUNTING SEASON and bag limit revisions while the Department of Natural Resources conducts its required study of the state’s wild turkey population.
A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.4434, a bill making provisions for comprehensive DYSLEXIA SCREENING AND INTERVENTION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
The House refused to concur in Senate amendments to H.4727, legislation RESTRUCTURING AND REAUTHORIZING THE SOUTH CAROLINA CONSERVATION BANK on a permanent basis.
The House refused to concur in Senate amendments to H.4117, a bill AFFORDING DRUG COURTS ACCESS TO PRESCRIPTION MONITORING PROGRAM INFORMATION.
The House returned S.345 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation revises the scope of practice and supervision requirements for an ADVANCED PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSE (APRN). The legislation includes authorization for nurse practitioners to participate in telemedicine.
The House amended and approved S.1043, a bill revising tax incentives available for the REVITALIZATION OF ABANDONED BUILDINGS and textile mill sites.
The House amended and gave second reading approval to S.962, a bill providing CRITERIA FOR LICENSURE AS AN ADDICTION COUNSELOR.
The House amended and approved S.1116, a bill by which the General Assembly ratifies and confirms the actions of the GREENVILLE HEALTH SYSTEM in entering into the amended Master Affiliation Agreement and the Lease and Contribution Agreement.
The House amended Senate amendments to H.3895, a bill updating and clarifying the duties of the REVENUE AND FISCAL AFFAIRS OFFICE, and returned the legislation to the Senate.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3751, a bill establishing provisions for the licensure and regulation of GENETIC COUNSELORS.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4489, a bill that specifies that KIDNEY TREATMENT CENTERS are exempt from Certificate of Need review requirements of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, but these centers are still subject to licensing requirements.
The House continued S.367, WATERCRAFT SAFETY legislation.