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Week In Review Thumbnail

Week In Review

Bills That Have Passed The Senate

S.195 – Tax Notice Fair Market Value: A bill to add to the requirements listed in a tax notice provided by a tax auditor to include the fair market value used for a vehicle and a fair market value for a boat.

S.227 – Massage Therapy Practice Act: A bill to update the Massage Therapy Practice Act and create the Board of Massage Therapy in place of the Panel for Massage/Bodywork. The bill makes changes that would strengthen the massage therapy law and help combat human trafficking in South Carolina. New fees were instituted for establishments and various fees were increased and decreased.

S.456 – Fingerprint Background Check: A bill to authorize an agency of the state to obtain a fingerprint-based background check on an individual applicant for employment or licensure by SLED and a national criminal records check by the FBI. SLED may charge a reasonable fee for collection and retention of the fingerprints.

S.463 – Geothermal Machinery and Equipment Tax Credit: A bill to delete the sunset provision of the tax credits for geothermal machinery and equipment.

S.615 – Interscholastic Activities Participation: A bill to permit students who attend private schools to participate in an interscholastic athletic program offered at a public school in the district, if selected, if the student meets certain requirements including: residing in the attendance zone of the public school, if the student’s school is not a member of the SCHSL and the enrollment does not exceed two hundred students, the private school does not offer the sport for the student’s gender, the student meets the eligibility requirements and fees required of all other public school students.

S.627 – Pass-Through Business Entity: A bill relating to income tax rates for pass-through trade and business income to provide a ‘S’ corporation or partnership may elect annually to have income tax on its active trade or business income at the prate provided on the pass-through business entity itself. An individual shall exclude net income or losses received from an electing entity of which the individual is a shareholder, partner or member provided the entity properly filed an income tax return and paid the taxes.

S.631 – Electronic Notaries: A bill to allow a notary public to become an electronic notary public. Before a notary public performs an electronic notarization, the notary must register with the Secretary of State and must identify the technology that he intends to use, which must conform to any rules or regulations adopted by the Secretary of State. A registration fee of fifty dollars must be submitted to the Secretary of State within the registration form, and makes other requirements of electronic notaries.

S.689 – Income Tax Filing Extension: A joint resolution to extend the due date for individuals, for tax year 2020, until the same date as federal returns and payments are due, as extended by the Internal Revenue Service.

S.698 – Cotton Warehouse Funds: A joint resolution to provide the funds in the Warehouse Receipts Guaranty Fund derived from interest and investment revenue be used to pay cotton producer claims for loss until the balance is depleted to three million dollars or all cotton producer loss claims are paid in full. A cotton producer claim must be filed within ninety days of the effective date of the resolutions and failure to file a timely claim shall bar a cotton producer from recovering.

Bills Given Second Reading

S.28 – Ignition Interlock Device Program: A bill to allow a person under the age of twenty-one who is serving a suspension or denial of a license to as a result of a DUI to enroll in the ignition interlock device program for motor vehicles, not including motorcycles. The ignition interlock restriction must be maintained on temporary alcohol license for three months, then the person can obtain a license without an ignition interlock restriction, and make other provisions. 

S.202 – State Inspector General: A bill to authorize the State Inspector General to initiate, supervise, and coordinate any investigation of a public school, public school district, public charter school or public school authorizer if requested by the Governor, State Superintendent, majority vote of the legislative delegation or by majority vote of the local school district board membership.

S.243 – Unfounded Child Abuse and Neglect Reports: A bill to authorize the release of information about child fatalities or near fatalities. The state director or designee may publicly disclose findings about an unfounded case of child abuse or neglect which resulted in a fatality or near fatality under certain restrictions.

S.354 – Golf Carts on Primary Highways: A bill to permit a governing body of a municipality to allow a permitted golf cart to be operated within the jurisdiction of the municipality on a primary highway, secondary highway, or street for which the posted speed limit is thirty-miles an hour or less.

S.461 – Pay For Success Performance Accountability: A bill establish the “South Carolina Pay-for-Success Performance Accountability Act.” The bill provides that a state agency may enter into a pay-for-success contract only if the agency head explains in writing how the contract will produce a quantifiable public benefit or financial savings to the state. A pay-for-success contract is a written agreement between a state agency and a private-sector organization under which the organization provides a program or service, the parties set forth performance measures over a certain time expect to achieve, if the performance measures are achieved the success payment is authorized.  Additionally, the bill outlines other requirements, obligations and terms of the contact and how it may be terminated.

S.503 – Physician Assistance Advanced Practice: A bill to permit advanced practice registered nurses to perform additional duties, to include issuance of order for home health services in accordance with the law.

S.527 – Legally Separated Assessment Ratios: A bill to define “legally separated” for purposes of certificate contained for the special four percent assessment ratio for owner-occupied residential property and require the annual reapplication and recertification to maintain the special assessment, and other provisions.

S.556 – Commercial Fur Licenses: A bill to provide a penalty for violation relating to commercial licenses, to remove the license requirement for persons who trap fur-bearing animals. Anyone having more than five fur-bearing animals or more than five green pelts must have a valid commercial fur license. A person taking fur-bearing animals for commercial purposes must report to the department by April fifteenth of each year the number and type of fur-bearing animals taken, sold, or shipped, together with the names and addresses of persons to whom sold or shipped using forms prescribed by the department.

H.3011 – Left-Lane Driving: A bill to require a motor vehicle to drive on the right half of a roadway when practical that a vehicle may not be driven in the farthest left lane of a controlled access highway of more than three lanes except when overtaking and passing another vehicle, except under certain circumstances such as hazards, inclement weather, congestion, emergency vehicles and others. A person who violates the provisions must be fined not more than twenty-five dollars.

H.3059 – Heritage Trust Revenue Bonds: A bill to repeal Article 3, Chapter 17, Title 51 of the 1976 Code relating to the Heritage Trust revenue bonds.

H.3071 – Equine Industry Support Study Committee: A joint resolution to establish a study committee to examine the growth of the equine industry in the state and the resulting economic impact. The study committee will be comprised of seven members: two of the House appointed by the Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee; two of the Senate appointed by the Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee; two from the equine industry, one appointed by the Speaker and one by the President upon recommendation of the South Carolina Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association; and the Commission of Agriculture or his designee. The committee shall issue a report to the General Assembly by February 15, 2022 with its findings and recommendations.

H.3549 – Hunting and Fishing Licenses: A bill to authorize DNR to offer a license, permit or tag made of a durable material for a reasonable fee, and provide that a person carrying a mobile electronic device with access to electronic proof is deemed to be carrying the license, permit or stamp in his person.

H.3587 – Reduction in Coverage: A bill to prohibit an insurer from treating a correction of a typographical or scrivener’s error as a reduction in coverage and to make conforming change in the notice requirements for cancellation or refusal to review a policy.

H.3684 – Cobia Limits: A bill to establish the limits to cobia as one per person per day and no more than three per day taken within a certain region and time subject to a minimum size requirement of thirty-six inches in fork length; one per person per day and no more than six per boat per day in certain areas subject to a minimum size requirement of thirty-six inches in fork length; or two per licensed commercial fisherman per day and no more than six per boat per day subject to minimum size requirement of thirty-three inches in fork length. It is unlawful to sell cobia taken from the waters of the State or possess cobia when federal regulations provide for the closure of the recreational or commercial cobia fishery in waters of the South Atlantic Ocean.

H.3770 – Emergency Rental Assistance Program: A joint resolution to provide that federal funds disbursed to the State for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program are authorized to be expended. The resolution creates the program administered by the SC State Housing Financing and Development Authority to assist eligible households unable to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic. The resolution outlines who is considered an “eligible household” and requirements for the funds.

H.3925 – Homeschool Student Eligibility in Public School Interscholastic Activities: A joint resolution to provide that for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 School Years, the requirements related to homeschool student eligibility in public school interscholastic activities are waived for homeschool students and other related provisions.

This Week In Committee

Corrections and Penology Committee

S.351 – Inmate Discharge: A bill to require that when an inmate is discharged from a state prison, the Department of Corrections shall provide written notice to the inmate that he will be eligible to register to vote upon competition of his sentence and supply the inmate with instructions of how to register to vote. A pardon order must explicitly state that civil right include the right to vote, and instructions about how to register to vote must accompany the pardon order.

Judiciary Committee

S.235– Renewable Water Resources: A bill to reduce the members of the Renewable Water Resources (ReWa), from Spartanburg County from two members to one; and increase the members from Greenville County from seven to eight and make conforming changes.

S.236 – Pooling Precincts: A bill to provide that make changes to the ability of municipalities to pool precincts for municipal elections only so that a municipality may pool if: a precinct contains three thousand or more registered voters, the total number of registered voters cannot exceed three thousand registered voters, the voting place cannot be more than five miles from the nearest part of any pooled precinct.

S.304 – Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations: A bill to permit a person or corporation who uses an electric vehicle charging station to resell electricity to the public for compensation if the person or corporation has procured the electricity from a utility, municipality, political subdivision or electric cooperative; the person furnishes exclusively for charging plug-in electric vehicles; and the charging station is immobile.

S.499 – Election Commission Restructuring Act: A bill to make restructuring changes to the South Carolina Election Commission. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, on behalf of their respective bodies, have the unconditional right to intervene in a state court action that challenges the validity of an election law, policy, or the manner in which the election is conducted. The State Election Commission must notify the President and the Speaker within twenty-four hours of the receipt of service of a complaint that challenges election law or policy. Further, the Election Commission shall be appointed by the Governor upon Advice and Consent of the Senate. The terms of the members shall be four years until their successors are appointed and qualify. The Commission shall appoint an executive director, upon advice and consent of the Senate. In the event of a vacancy of the executive director, an interim director must be appointed by the commission and a formal appointment submitted to the Senate as soon as practical. If a person who is appointed is rejected, the person must not serve as an interim director. 

H.3262 – Candidate Filing Fees: A bill to provide that beginning July 1, 2021, all candidates from each political party in the State shall pay a filing fee, including candidates from parties that are not required to conduct a primary election. In addition to the filing fee, political parties may also charge a certification fee not to exceed the sum of one hundred dollars to all candidates seeking nomination by political party primary or political party convention.

H.3264– County Convention Postings: A bill to delete the requirement that notices for county conventions be published by the county committee at least once a week for two consecutive weeks before the day in a newspaper having general circulation in the county.

H.4027 – Renewable Water Resources: A bill to reduce the members of the Renewable Water Resources (ReWa), from Spartanburg County from two members to one; and increase the members from Greenville County from seven to eight and make conforming changes.

Banking and Insurance Committee

S.432 – Defense Costs: A bill to provide that a liability insurer owing a duty to defend an insured against a claim, suit or other action has a right of contribution for defense costs against any other liability insurer owing a duty to defend. A court shall allocate the costs among insurers in accordance with the terms of the policies. If defense costs are not otherwise in conflict, the court may use equitable factors in making the allocation.

S.435 – Travel Insurance: A bill to provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for travel insurance, to separate travel assistance services and fee waivers from actual travel insurance. The bill includes consumer protections including requiring the seller to provide details of coverage and exclusions in materials, allowing purchasers fifteen days to cancel a mailed copy and ten days to cancel a copy by other means and provide that insurance cannot be offered on an opt-out basis that requires affirmative action by a consumer to not purchase coverage. 

S.623 – Rate Increase Requirements: A bill to provide that a rate increase may not be implemented until the onset of a new policy period, to require approval by the Director of the Department of Insurance for certain rate increases and to remove language requiring the submission of a report by the Director.

H.3585 – Department of Insurance Procedures: A bill to clean-up procedures from the Department of Insurance. It creates requirements for an insurer to withdraw from the state, requires insurers to provide the director with a list of underwriting restrictions upon request, sets a deadline for bondsmen to submit reports, clarifies disclosures that a health insurer must provide, requires a notice of cancellation of workers’ compensation policy before it can be effective and eliminates the extra 30 day notice for nonrenewal of property and casualty policies during the hurricane season.

Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee

S.232 – Conversion of a Nonprofit to LLC: A bill related to the mergers under the SC Nonprofit Corporation Act to provide a mechanism for a nonprofit corporation to convert to a limited liability company. The Board of Directors shall adopt a plan of conversion that includes the name of the corporation and the name of the resulting LLC, the terms and conditions of the plan, the manner and basis of converting memberships to the resulting LLC and make other conforming changes.

Family and Veterans’ Services Committee

S.101 – State Flag: A bill to codify a uniform, official designated flag design for the State to include the design, color, and other elements of the State flag.

S.614 – Unorganized Militia of the State: A bill related to the unorganized militia, as defined in the State Constitution, and to provide that the unorganized militia will be under the supervision of the Governor who will serve as the commander-in-chief and the Adjutant General. The unorganized militia shall have the right to possess and keep all arms that can be legally acquired by a South Carolina citizen including shouldered rifles and shotguns, handguns, clips, magazines, all components fitted for such weapons. The unorganized militia may not fall under an law or regulation of any jurisdiction outside of South Carolina.

Transportation Committee

S.245 – Safe Operating Distance: A bill to provide that a driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle, meaning not less than three feet and must be maintained until the driver of the motor vehicle has clearance to pass the bicycle safely.

S.296 – Golf Carts After Sunset: A bill to provide that a municipality with a land area of approximately 3.87 square miles and a population between ten and eleven thousand persons, as of July 1, 2017, that is located within a county that had a population of two hundred twenty-six thousand seventy-three persons according to the 2010 Census may enact an ordinance allowing the operation of a permitted golf cart up to sixty minutes after sunset on locally owned roads for which the posted speed limit is twenty-five miles and hour or less if the golf cart has operable headlights and brake lights.

S.595 – States Ports Authority Ex-Officio Membership: A bill to delete the provision prohibiting ex-officio members of the State Ports Authority from attending executive session meetings.

S.667 – Outdoor Advertising: A bill related to the relocation and adjustment of signs by the Department of Transportation to provide options and parameters to adjust or relocate signs to restore visibility and provide the costs of adjustment or relocation.

The information provided in this review is not intended to represent Senator Bennett's approval or disapproval but rather a listing of the activity and outcomes within the South Carolina Senate. You may find Senator Bennett's voting record here.