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Week In Review

Bills That Have Passed The Senate

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.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.455 – Temporary Licensure of Nurses: A bill to add an additional category of temporary licensure for graduate nurses, to prescribe criteria for obtaining a temporary licensure that a graduate must function under the supervision of a currently licensed registered nurse and the board must establish other requirements for supervision and employment of graduate nurses as necessary. In addition, the bill sets criteria under which a temporary licensure may be revoked under certain circumstances.

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.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.

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.

S.704 – Return to Five-Day, In-Person Classroom Instruction: A joint resolution to require that for the 2020-2021 School Year, every school district must offer five-day, in-person classroom instruction to students no later than April 12, 2021. For the 2021-2022 School Year, every district must offer five-day, in-person classroom instruction to students. Due to the COVID-19, the earnings limitation does not apply to a retired member if the member retired on or before April 1, 2019 and returns to otherwise covered employment in the K-12 public education system to participate in the state’s public heath response to the COVID-19 virus. A retired member may be hired and return to employment and earn up to fifty thousand dollars annually without affecting the monthly retirement allowance if the member is receiving from the system, and other provision.

Bills Given Second Reading

S.40 – On-Street Parking: A bill to provide that a municipality may not establish or alter parking facilities on any state highway facility without prior approval by the Department of Transpiration. A highway includes the entire area within the highway right-of-way, including the shoulders and parking areas. If any portion of a public highway is obstructed then the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the stretch of highway where the obstruction is located shall remove the obstruction as soon as possible.

S.154 – Right To Attorneys’ Fees: A bill related to the uniform method of collection of taxes levied and assessed by DOR to provide that a taxpayer that is the prevailing party in an action or proceeding instituted by the department or the Attorney General to recover a tax or penalty imposed is entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees or costs associated with defending the action.

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 three miles from the nearest part of any pooled precinct. Notice of the precincts including those pooled must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality on the day of the election.

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.351 – Inmate Discharge: A bill to require that when an inmate is discharged from a state prison, if the person has been convicted of a felony of offenses against the election laws, the Department of Corrections must provide a written notice that contains the information of the voter registration board in his county of residence and a copy of SC Code 7-5-120. Additionally, the bill requires to the requirements of voter registration payment of court-ordered restitution. A person formerly disqualified from being registered to vote must provide verification at the time of registration that his disqualifying sentence has been fully completed.

S.425 – Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation: A bill to provide that a bank, credit union, wealth management institution or other financial services company may, but is not required to, decline or place a hold on any transaction of a vulnerable adult if the account is suspected to be engaged in financial exploitation of the vulnerable adult. A institution that declines or places a hold on the transaction shall make a reasonable effort to notify all parties of the hold and report the incident to the appropriate investigative entity.

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.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. A member may not serve in holdover status for more than one year. IF a member who has been reappointed and is serving in holdover status is not confirmed by the Senate or before the sine die adjournment of the General Assembly following the expiration of the member’s term, then the member’s seat is vacated and is ineligible to serve on the Commission as a recess or interim appointee; If a person to be executive director is not confirmed by the Senate by the date for the sine die adjournment following the appointment, the person must not serve as an interim or permanent executive director.

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.

This Week In Committee

Judiciary Committee

S.464 – Public Service Authority: A bill to make reform efforts to the SC Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper). The reforms include changes to the Board of Directors, audit abilities, rate management, an integrated resource plan, PURC review, energy procurement, territorial agreements and more. The proposed reform provides the Board serve for a term of six years and prohibits the Board from being appointed for more than two unexpired terms. Includes two nonvoting ex officio members (1) Chair of Central Electric Power Cooperative and (2) Central Electric board member chosen by Central’s Board. ORS would be allowed to examine, audi and inspect Santee Cooper in regard to electric and water rates and report its findings to management and the Board. Santee Cooper would adopt pricing principles that would includes a number of factors including low cost, reliability, transparency, financial integrity and customer equity, and include a process for rate adjustment to notify customers at least 180 days before the proposed rate vote. Under the bill, Santee Cooper would be subject to the Siting Act which requires a proceeding at the PSC before constructing an electric generating plant of a certain output, Santee Cooper would be exempt until January 1, 2023. Additionally, Santee Cooper would be required to submit to the PSC and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which describes utility’s plans for the future and conduct public hearings including posting the IRP on Santee Cooper’s website. The bill also includes other reform efforts not mentioned in this brief summary.

S.619 – Sale of Wine by Wineries: A bill to provide for sales of wine on winery premises if the winery is the primary American source of supply for the wine sold, and to provide for the sale of beer with an alcohol content of twelve percent or less. To provide for the retail sales and tastings of alcoholic liquors at micro-distilleries if the micro-distillery is the primary American source of supply, subject to other limitations.

H.3991 – Nonferrous Metals: A bill related to permits to purchase nonferrous metals, transportation and sale of nonferrous metals and related offenses. It includes the procedures for lawful purchase, sale and possession of used detached catalytic converters or any nonferrous part of one unless purchased or possess under certain circumstances.

Finance Committee

S.436 – Community Development Tax Credits: A bill to delete an aggregate credit provision related to community development tax credits, and set an annual limit of two million dollars for all taxpayers in tax year 2021; and three million dollars for all taxpayers in tax years after 2021.

S.587 – Reimbursement of Bond Proceeds: A bill related to economic development bonds for conventions and trade shows to provide the reimbursement is not applicable for a new meeting and exhibit space of not less than fifty thousand square feet or to reimburse a state agency, instrumentality, or political subdivision for the acquisition or construction or a new meeting and exhibit space of not less than fifty thousand square feet if the construction occurred prior to the sale of the original meeting and exhibit space and other related provisions.

S.609 – Criminal Background Checks for Employees: A bill to authorize state agencies and political subdivisions to have access to federal tax information to conduct criminal background checks on its employees and contractors. Each agency or political subdivision is required to conduct background checks and investigations pursuant to the law and establish written policies concerning implementation of the checks and investigations.

S.644 – Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification: A bill to transfer the division of Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification, in the Department of Administration, to the Commission for Minority Affairs and make conforming changes.

S.658 – South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority Board of Directors: A bill to establish PEBA may establish rules for eligibility and enrollment for full insured and insurance products for which it is the plan sponsor and to provide medical evidence of insurability shall not be required sooner than thirty days from the date a person is first eligible to enroll in a full insured insurance product, and make other changes related to the contingent beneficiaries.

S.675 – Tax Proceeds To State Aviation Fund: A bill to provide the disposition of tax proceeds, to credit the proceeds of taxes to the State Aviation Fund, to phase in the crediting of the proceeds and provide a portion of the revenues collected must be used to obtain or develop through the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission an airport facility in a county without an airport facility. 

S.677 – Allocation of Tax Credit: A bill to provide that a tax credit earned by a partnership or a limited liability company taxed as a partnership, may be passed through to the partners or members and may be allocated among any of its partners or members on an annual basis, including , without limitation, an allocation of the entire credit to any partner. The allocation must be allowed without regard to any provision of the Internal Revenue Code or regulation.

H.3726 – Gross Proceeds of Sales: A bill to exclude amounts of gross proceeds of sales received from a buydown. A buydown means an agreement between a retailer and a manufacturer or wholesaler in which the retailer receives a payment from the manufacturer or wholesaler that requires the retailer to reduce the sales price of the manufacturer’s or wholesaler’s product to the retail purchaser. This does not apply to amounts received by a retailer from a retail sales transaction in which a retail purchaser uses a manufacturer’s or wholesalers’ coupon.

Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee

S.500 – Licensure or Regulation by Board of Architectural Examiners Exemption: A bill to revise an exemption for plans and specifications for certain dwellings as it relates to exemptions from licensure and regulation by the Board of Architectural Examiners to include one-family and two-family dwellings, including townhouses. All other buildings and structures classified for residential occupancies or uses in the SC Building Code that are beyond the scope of the Residential Code are not exempt.

Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

S.308 – Home-Based Foods: A bill relating to home-based food production operations, to allow for the operation to sell food to an informed person and require a disclosure on certain food products.

H.3539 – Transport of Live Swine: A bill to provide that it is unlawful to transport live swine on a public road or waterway unless the swine have an official form of identification approved by the State Veterinarian. Live swine transported without identification are presumed to have been taken from the wild and in violation. It is unlawful for a person to misuse or alter a permit, tag or other form of identification or attempt to obtain a permit, tag or form of identification by fraud or misrepresentation. Additionally, it is unlawful to import, possess, buy, sell, offer for sale, transfer, or transport a live member of the family Sudiae (pig) taken from the wild or release a Sudiae into the wild. Each pig imported, bought, offered for sale, possessed, transferred, transported or released in violation constitutes a separate offense.

Medical Affairs Committee

S.150 – Compassionate Care Act: A bill to permit the use of cannabis for medical use and establish regulatory structure for medical cannabis. Under the bill, cannabis may not be legalized for any purposes other than for medical use. The bill defines the legal amount (mg) of cannabis allowed for a fourteen day period of topical administration, oral administration and vaporization, and the specific parts of the plant allowed and that not allowed for use. The bill provides a list of “debilitating medical condition” permitted to use medical cannabis including: cancer, multiple sclerosis, a neurological disease, glaucoma, PTSD under certain requirements, Crohn’s disease, sickle cell anemia, autism, a terminal illness, and others. It defines a dispensary which is the facility operated by a business or organization licensed to possess and dispense the cannabis product. All sales of medical cannabis are subject to 6% sales tax at the POS. Additionally, the bill establishes a Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, speaks to health insurance plans, written certification by physicians, regulation including applicable ID card, privacy measures, penalties, responsibilities of caregivers and patients, and more. The bill also includes other provisions not mentioned in this brief summary.

S.177 – Vaccinations: A joint resolution to provide that no person in the State must be compelled to undergo vaccination to prevent COVID-19 if a person chooses not to undergo vaccination, then the person’s employer may not subject the person to adverse employment action including termination, suspension, involuntary reassignment or demotion. The provision is extended to DHEC’s authority to require isolation and quarantine to not require a person to undergo a vaccination during a public health emergency.

S.379 – Perinatal Integration: A bill to relating to birthing center licensure to provide that DHEC shall promulgate regulation to integrate birthing centers and licensed midwives into perinatal care services and provide conforming definitions. Nothing in the bill shall be construed to require the department to promulgate regulations to restrict the scope of practice permitted under current licenses issued by the department or change existing licensure requirements or a hospital or birthing center to change the way it creates or maintains credentialing and admitting privileges.

Education Committee

S.685 – Name, Image or Likeness: A bill to permit intercollegiate athletes to engage in name, image or likeness (NIL) contracts with third parties, to obtain athlete agents and require disclosures and restrictions. NIL may not exchange for athletic performance or attendance at a particular institution and be provided only by a third party. The athlete would be permitted to receive compensation for non-athletic work or activities related to a business he owns. An institution is prohibiting from facilitating NIL opportunities as a means to recruit or paying an athlete. NIL cannot be tied to endorsements of tobacco, alcohol, illegal substances or activities, banned athletic substances, or gambling to include sports betting, nor can it interfere with policies on missed class time and academic standing, and other limitations.

Fish, Game and Forestry Committee

S.29 – Watercraft Liability Insurance: A bill to provide that owners of watercraft or more than fifty horsepower must carry liability insurance of at least fifty thousand dollars of coverage per occurrence and to provide penalties for failure to comply and a method of collection of fines.

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.