S. 142 Sex Trafficking to Include Sexual Exploitation of Minors
The House has passed S. 142, a bill to expand the existing definition of sex trafficking to include sexual exploitation of minors as well as promoting –or participating in– prostitution of a minor. Sex trafficking victims would be given the right to raise duress and coercion as affirmative defenses to nonviolent offenses committed as a direct result of, or incident to, their being so trafficked. Also, child sex trafficking victims cannot be convicted of nonviolent offenses committed as a direct result, or incident to, their being so trafficked. These minors also cannot be subjected to delinquency enforcement actions, if they can show their conduct was a direct result of their being trafficked in either of these ways.

S. 845 2022 Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins [Pact] Act
The House has passed S. 845, extending the appointment deadline in Probate Court cases related to claims under the 2022 Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins [PACT] Act, regardless of the date any individual died. The PACT Act provides benefits for individuals exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, radiation, and other toxins –including sand and dust, particulates, oil well or sulfur fires, chemicals, warfare agents, depleted uranium, herbicides, and other occupational hazards– during their military service. This change will ensure veterans and families can file claims under the PACT Act even if the affected veteran passed away over ten years ago.

H. 4042 Antisemitism as a Listed Discriminatory Act
In further action this week, the House has concurred in Senate amendments to H. 4042, and enrolled the bill for ratification. H. 4042 will codify antisemitism as a listed discriminatory act. It will do so by incorporating the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition, and examples, of antisemitism into our South Carolina Code of Laws. After that process is finalized, incidents of this type of discrimination will be included in efforts to protect South Carolinians’ civil rights. It will also be used for reviewing policies, laws, and regulations prohibiting discriminatory acts.
However, anyone criticizing the country of Israel in the same manner as they criticize other countries, or otherwise exercising their constitutionally-guaranteed First Amendment rights, will not run afoul of this legislation.

H. 5246 Black Skimmer

The House gave third reading to H. 5246 and sent the bill to the Senate. H. 5246 would designate the black skimmer as the official seabird of South Carolina. The black skimmer is a tern-like seabird, one of three similar bird species in the skimmer genus Rynchops in the gull family Laridae, known for its long, lower mandible (beak) used to skim in flight the water’s surface for food.

H. 4871 Farm Animal Being Transported by Motor Vehicle

The House concurred with Senate amendments and enrolled for ratification H. 4871, a bill that prohibits a person from interfering or harassing a farm animal being transported by a motor vehicle, unless prior consent of the driver is given. For the purpose of this provision, the bill outlines the definition of “interfere” as being intentional, knowing, or reckless acts that dis 
rupts or otherwise impede the transportation of animals. The definition of “harass” is intentional, knowing, or reckless acts having the effect of causing apparent emotional distress or fear. This provision is added to the criminal code and therefore the bill provides for penalties if there is a conviction. Also, the bill outlines that law enforcement or emergency personnel acting within the scope of duties are exempted from this provision.