Rule 4

Committees

    4.1     Committee appointments: see Rule 1.9.

    4.2     As soon as practicable after the members have been sworn in and have taken their seats, the following Standing Committees, except the House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee, and the House of Representatives Committee on Operations and Management, shall be appointed with the indicated number of members appointed thereto:

        1.     Committee on Ways and Means - 25.

        2.     Committee on the Judiciary (Privileges and Elections) - 25.

        3.     Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs (Fish, Game, Forestry, State Parks, Rural Development, Environmental Affairs) - 18.

        4.     Committee on Education and Public Works (Education, Highways, State House and Grounds, Railroads, Aviation) - 18.

        5.     Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs (Medical Affairs, Social Security, Penitentiary, State Hospital, Police Regulations, Military Affairs, Veteran's Affairs) - 18.

        6.     Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry (Labor, Commerce and Manufacturing, Banking and Insurance, Merchants and Mercantile Affairs) - 18.

        7.     Committee on Rules - 15.

        8.     Committee on Interstate Cooperation (membership limited to 5, under 1976 Code, Sec. 1-17-30) - 5.

        9.     House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee - 10.

        10.     Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions (Invitations, Resolutions memorializing the Federal or State Government or any official or agency thereof, sympathy, and congratulatory Resolutions) - 5.

        11.     Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives (Advisory to the Speaker on personnel, administration and management of facilities, including management of the Blatt Building) - 7.

    Each member shall serve on one and only one of the first six Standing Committees listed above. However, a member of these Committees may also serve on any one of the following Committees: Committee on Rules, Committee on Interstate Cooperation, Committee on Ethics, Committee on Invitations, or Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives. The Speaker, Speaker Pro Tempore, and Clerk shall serve as ex officio members of the Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives but no chairman of any other standing committee shall serve as a member of such committee.
    Provided, that the members of the Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives (advisory to the Speaker on personnel, administration and management of facilities), and the members of the House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee, shall be elected by the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, their terms to be coterminous with their respective term of office.
    Provided, that the Committee on Education and Public Works shall be deemed to be the Committee on Education, and the Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs shall be deemed to be the Committee on Military Affairs and the Committee on Medical Affairs, in all cases where the statutes provide for the Chairman of these committees to perform ex officio duties.
    Provided, that the Committee on Operations and Management of the House of Representatives with the consent of the Speaker may formulate such policies as it deems advisable relating to House personnel. Such policies shall be distributed to the members and must be adopted by majority vote of the House by House Resolution.
    Provided, that except as herein provided neither the Speaker nor Speaker Pro Tempore shall be a member of any of the foregoing Standing Committees.
    No member shall be appointed on a committee before he has been sworn in and has taken his seat. Any member who is sworn in after the general announcement of the committee shall, within a few days afterward, be placed by the Speaker on a Standing Committee whose number of members will not thereby be extended beyond the number provided in these rules.
    After a committee has been appointed, no addition to it or change shall be made, except to fill a vacancy or to remove a member for conduct unbecoming a member.
    Provided, that in filling a vacancy, the assignment of any member may be changed from another committee to fill such vacancy.

    4.3     Unless otherwise ordered, committees shall have jurisdiction only over matters pertaining to the subjects indicated by the names of the respective committees, and to the subject matter indicated in parenthesis following the names.

    4.4     Committees shall meet regularly to consider pending legislation in the room assigned for their use by the Speaker. Notice of date, time, and place of such meetings shall be posted on a bulletin board provided for this purpose in the lobby. Whenever feasible twenty-four hour advance notice shall be given for all committee meetings. Such notice shall be mailed to the members by the committee chairmen when the House is not in session. Notice of regular and special meetings shall also be given by the administrative assistants to each member of the committees and to the Sergeant at Arms in the manner the committee deems proper. Information as to subcommittee meetings shall be provided by the administrative assistants to the Sergeant at Arms and shall be available at the Sergeant at Arms' desk. Failure of notice of any meeting shall not invalidate committee action unless bad faith is shown. No committee shall meet while the House is in session without special leave by the Speaker. Provided, however, that the Committee on Rules and any committee of conference or free conference, may sit at any time and may report its message to the House at any time.
    No committee shall sit unless a quorum be present and all bills introduced by committees must carry the statement of the Chairman that the bill has the approval of two-thirds of the membership of the committee, except that the State Appropriations Bill, the Supplemental Appropriations Bill, a Rescission Bill, and the Deficiency Appropriations Bill may be introduced by a majority vote of the Ways and Means Committee.
    No committee shall introduce a bill pertaining to subject matter over which it has no jurisdiction.
    Notice in writing of all public hearings shall be given by Committee Chairmen to the Clerk of the House at least five calendar days prior to the date fixed for the hearing, such notice to be published in the House Calendar. Notice in writing of all committee action taken on a bill or resolution shall be given to the principal author thereof.
    No statewide bill directly appropriating money shall be considered by the House until after such bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee, provided, however, a statewide bill which directly or by implication provides for per diem, subsistence or mileage in connection with the subject matter of the bill, but does not otherwise directly appropriate money, shall not be required to be referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
    After the House sets a bill for Special Order pursuant to Rule 6.3, no point of order may be raised regarding its reference to committee, however, the House by majority vote may commit or recommit a bill or other matter under debate.
    No committee action shall be taken on a bill or resolution except at a regular or called meeting, but this shall not apply to resolutions referred to the Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions.
    When any standing committee or subcommittee schedules a public hearing on a bill or resolution, the principal sponsor of such bill or resolution shall be notified of the time and place of such hearing not less than five calendar days prior to the hearing date.

    4.5     All meetings of all committees shall be open to the public at all times, subject always to the power and authority of the Chairman to maintain order and decorum with the right to go into Executive Session as provided for in the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, Title 30, Chapter 4 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended. Provided, a legislative caucus as defined by Section 2-17-10 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended, and its meetings are not subject to the provisions of Title 30, Chapter 4 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended.
    No committee shall file a report unless the committee has met formally at an authorized time and place with a quorum present. All standing committees of the House shall prepare and make available for public inspection, in compliance with Section 30-4-90 of the 1976 Code of Laws of South Carolina, as amended, the minutes of full committee meetings. Such minutes need not be verbatim accounts of such meetings but shall include those matters required by the above mentioned Freedom of Information Act.

    4.6     After twenty days from the date of reference, the Chairman of the Committee in possession of a measure shall, upon written request of a sponsor or, in the case of a Senate measure, a House member, set a time for consideration of the measure by the full committee or subcommittee which shall be no later than seven legislative working days thereafter. Provided, however, that a member may request consideration of a bill or resolution pursuant to this rule only one time per bill or resolution during a legislative session.

    4.7     a.     Each report of a committee shall contain the action of the committee on the bill or other measure being transmitted. Such report shall certify the action by the committee and shall be signed by an officer of the committee.
        b.     When reporting a Senate bill as favorable, the committee may include in its report an amendment identical to the final version of any House bill that has been referred to that committee and passed by the House during the current two-year session. If the amendment is identical to a previously passed House bill, the amendment must be considered germane to the bill.

    4.8     Any bill, report, petition, or other paper except an amendment which may come before the House, may be committed or recommitted before a final decision thereon. Provided, further that the Speaker may, in his discretion, commit to a committee any bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution returned from the Senate with an amendment that has so materially changed the bill that the bill's contents, as amended by the Senate, are no longer substantially germane to the bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution as it passed the House. Such bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution may be reported out of the committee with its recommendation and shall be placed on the Calendar under the heading of second reading or concurrent resolution. If not amended, it shall be enrolled as an act and ratified. If said bill, joint resolution, or concurrent resolution shall be amended, it shall be returned to the Senate at the conclusion of the process as a House amendment.

    4.9     In all cases the House may resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole. The motion to resolve the House into a Committee of the Whole shall specify the subject(s) to be considered in the Committee of the Whole. In the event the House resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole, the Committee of the Whole shall limit discussion to the subject(s) specified in the motion. The Speaker shall leave the Chair after appointing a Chairman to preside, who shall, in case of disturbance or disorderly conduct, have the power to cause same to be cleared. No bill or resolution may be considered by the Committee of the Whole House, except by a two-thirds vote, unless same has first been considered by the appropriate Standing Committee of the House.

    4.10     The Committee of the Whole shall consist of the entire body of members in attendance at the particular meeting of the House. Such committee is a real committee in the parliamentary sense. During the time that a meeting of the Committee of the Whole is held, it is technically not "the assembly".

    4.11     The Rules of the House so far as they are applicable shall be observed in a Committee of the Whole, the Chairman being substituted for the Speaker.

    4.12     No Committee of the Whole or other committee shall deface or interline a bill or other paper, referred to it, but shall report any amendments recommended on a separate paper, noting the page and line.

    4.13     No person shall be permitted to address the House or the Joint Assembly except by written resolution, and such resolution shall be referred to the Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions before being considered by the House. The Committee shall not extend an invitation to any individual or group to address the House or the Joint Assembly unless such person or group is of significant national or state prominence at the time the invitation is extended and will bring a message of major importance to the State or such individual or group will present an artistic performance during the established hours of meeting.
    Any invitations extended to the House as a whole to attend any functions shall be submitted to the Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions at least 10 days in advance in order that it may determine what legislation or other pertinent matters may be pending before the House and its Committees before the invitation is accepted. The House shall accept no invitations to any functions other than a breakfast or luncheon prior to 6:00 p.m. Pages are not permitted to attend such functions. No invitations to functions for the House as a whole will be accepted during the week anticipated for the debate of the State Appropriations Bill.

    4.14     No member of a committee shall be allowed under any circumstances to vote by proxy.

    4.15     None of the House Rules shall be rescinded, suspended, or altered, except by written resolution which has been referred to the Rules Committee, or originates therein, and agreed to by two-thirds of the members of the House present after the committee has made its report. Provided, that any rule may be amended by a simple majority of the House during the month of January of each year.

    4.16     a.     The House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee consists of ten (10) members. The ten members of the House of Representatives Legislative Ethics Committee shall be elected by the members of the House. Five members of the committee shall be members of the majority party represented in the House of Representatives and five members shall be members of the minority party represented in the House of Representatives or be nonaffiliated with any party or another party not in the majority. The Chairman of the Ethics Committee shall be one of the five members of the committee from the majority party represented in the House to be elected by the members of the committee. Other officers of the committee are not required to be affiliated with a particular party and shall be elected by members of the committee as well.
    The committee has the following powers and duties:
        (1)(a)     to receive complaints or charges concerning conduct alleged to be unethical from any citizen of this State or member of the House against:
                (i)     House members;
                (ii)     former House members, provided the allegations are related to the former member's service in the House;
                (iii)     candidates for the House;
                (iv)     former candidates for the House, provided the allegations are related to the former candidate's bid for the House;
                (v)     officers and employees of the House;
                (vi)     staff and independent contractors of a House legislative caucus committee.
Only sworn written complaints or charges may be considered;
            (b)     to file a complaint upon concurrence of at least four members of the House Ethics Committee when alleged violations are identified;
            (c)     for purposes of this Rule, unethical conduct may include, but is not limited to, a:
                (i)         violation of Chapter 13, Title 8;
                (ii)     violation of Chapter 17, Title 2; or
                (iii)     breach of this Rule by a person designated in a.(1)(a) above or as designated by statute;
        (2)     to investigate these complaints and charges and, if warranted, to report the results of these investigations to the House with recommendations for further appropriate action as authorized by law;
        (3)     upon request of any member, officer, or employee of the House to render advisory opinions with regard to legislative ethics when, in their judgment, these opinions would serve the public interest, and to act as an advisory body to the House and to individual members of or candidates for the House on questions pertaining to the disclosure and filing requirements;
        (4)     to make available annually to the House a compilation of the principles provided in advisory opinions rendered;
        (5)     to administer or recommend appropriate sanctions or dismiss charges;
        (6)     to ascertain whether a person has failed to comply fully and accurately with the disclosure requirements of Chapter 13, Title 8 and promptly notify the person to file the necessary notices and reports to satisfy the requirements; and
        (7)     to recommend a rule or statutory change relating to ethics as the committee deems appropriate.
    b.     All papers, documents, complaints, charges, requests for advisory opinions, and any other material required to be filed with or received by the committee are strictly confidential prior to a finding of probable cause, or a waiver of confidentiality by the respondent. No persons involved with a complaint before the committee, including complainant, respondent, counsel, counsel's secretaries, committee members and staff, and investigators shall mention the existence of any proceeding nor disclose any information pertaining to it, unless otherwise permitted by the Rules. Disclosure of confidential information must be punished in a manner provided by the Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act. If the House Ethics Committee finds that a person has violated the provisions of this subsection, it must report its findings to the Attorney General.
    c.     Information that must be made public following a finding of probable cause or waiver of confidentiality by the respondent is:
        (1)     the complaint;
        (2)     the response by the respondent;
        (3)     any exhibits introduced at a public hearing, subject to redaction of information of a personal nature when public disclosure would constitute unreasonable invasion of personal privacy; and
        (4)     the final order issued by the committee.
    d.     All investigations, inquiries, hearings and accompanying documents must remain strictly confidential until a finding of probable cause, unless the respondent waives the right to confidentiality.
        (1)     A certified copy of the sworn statement of charges against the respondent must be given to him or her within ten days of the time the statement of charges is received by the Chairman of the Ethics Committee. The respondent has the right to file a response to the complaint within fifteen calendar days after receipt of the complaint and to face and cross examine his accusers and the witnesses against him at any hearing called by the Ethics Committee. All hearings following a finding of probable cause must be conducted in open session. The Ethics Committee must call a hearing if a majority of the membership of the Ethics Committee feels that the charges have merit or if the respondent formally requests a hearing.
        (2)     No complaint may be accepted by the Ethics Committee concerning a member of or candidate for the House during the fifty-day period before an election in which the member or candidate is participating. During this fifty-day time period, a person may petition the court of common pleas alleging the violations complained of pursuant to the provisions of Section 8-13-530. Action on a complaint filed against a member or candidate which was received more than fifty days before the election but which cannot be disposed of or dismissed by the Ethics Committee at least thirty days before the election must be postponed until after the election.
        (3)     If the Ethics Committee determines the complaint does not allege facts sufficient to constitute a violation, the complaint must be dismissed and the complainant and respondent notified. If the Ethics Committee finds that the complaining party wilfully filed a groundless complaint, the finding must be reported to the Attorney General. If the Ethics Committee determines the complaint alleges facts sufficient to constitute a violation, it shall promptly investigate the alleged violation and may compel by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of pertinent books and papers. The subpoena must be signed by the Chairman of the House Ethics Committee.
        (4)     No complaint shall be accepted which is filed later than four years after the violation is alleged to have occurred.
    e.     All ethics committee investigations and records relating to the preliminary investigation are confidential unless otherwise permitted by the Rules.
        (1)     If the Ethics Committee finds that probable cause exists to support an alleged violation after a preliminary investigation, as appropriate, it shall:
            (a)     render an advisory opinion to the respondent and require the respondent's compliance within a reasonable time; or
            (b)     convene a formal hearing on the matter.
        (2)     If the Ethics Committee renders an advisory opinion and the respondent fails to comply, the committee must convene a formal hearing on the matter within thirty days of the respondent's failure to comply.
        (3)     If a hearing is to be held, the respondent must be allowed to examine and make copies of all evidence in the Ethics Committee's possession relating to the charges. The Committee must establish procedures which afford respondents appropriate due process protections, including the right to be represented by counsel, the right to call and examine witnesses, the right to introduce exhibits, and the right to cross examine opposing witnesses. All hearings must be conducted in open session.
        (4)     After the hearing, the Ethics Committee shall determine its findings of fact. If the Committee, based on competent and substantial evidence, finds the respondent has violated Chapter 13, Title 8, or Chapter 17, Title 2, or violated this Rule, it shall:
            (a)     administer a public reprimand;
            (b)     require the respondent to pay a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand dollars for each nontechnical violation that is unrelated to the late filing of a required statement or report or failure to file a required statement or report;
            (c)     require the forfeiture of gifts, receipts, or profits, or the value of them, obtained in violation of Chapter 13, Title 8 or Chapter 17, Title 2;
            (d)     recommend expulsion of the member;
            (e)     in the case of an alleged criminal violation, refer the matter to the Attorney General for investigation; or
            (f)     require a combination of subitems (a) through (e), as necessary and appropriate.
    If the Ethics Committee finds the respondent has not violated a statutory provision or Rule or engaged in unethical behavior, it shall dismiss the charges.
        (5)     The Ethics Committee shall report its findings in writing to the Speaker of the House. If the Committee finds a violation of a statutory provision or Rule or finds unethical behavior, the report must be accompanied by an order of punishment that is supported and signed by a majority of the Ethics Committee members.
        (6)     The respondent has ten calendar days from the date of the notification of the Ethics Committee's action to appeal the action to the full House.
        (7)     No Ethics Committee member may participate in any matter in which he is involved as a respondent.
        (8)     Upon receipt of a recommendation of expulsion or an appeal from an order of the Ethics Committee, the Speaker of the House shall call the House into open session at a time to be determined at his discretion to consider the action of the Ethics Committee. The House shall either sustain or overrule the Ethics Committee's action or order other action consistent with these Rules as otherwise permitted by statute. The consideration and results of a House Ethics Committee report are a matter of public record.
        (9)     No member may vote on the question of his expulsion from the House.
        (10)     Failure to fully comply with a final ethics order is a separate violation that may be considered by the Ethics Committee.
    f.     If the House Ethics Committee finds the respondent has failed to file or was late in filing a required statement of economic interest or campaign disclosure report, the House Ethics Committee must order the respondent to pay a fine according to the provisions in Section 8-13-1510.
    g.     The House Ethics Committee may, in its discretion, determine that errors or omissions on statements of economic interests and campaign disclosure reports are inadvertent and unintentional and not an effort to violate a requirement of Chapter 13, Title 8 and may be handled as technical violations not subject to the provisions of Chapter 13, Title 8 pertaining to ethical violations. The House Ethics Committee may assess a penalty for technical violations not exceeding fifty dollars.
    h.     The Speaker of the House, and the House Ethics Committee on behalf of the entire House, may receive:
        (1)     certified copies of any indictment or information for a felony or offense against the election laws filed or returned against any member of the House;
        (2)     certified copies of any plea of guilty or nolo contendere to the felony entered by any member of the House;
        (3)     certified copies of any conviction of a member for a felony; and
        (4)     certified copies of any opinion, order, or judgment of any court, state or federal, trial or appellate, relating to any of the aforementioned matters.

    4.17     The Standing Committees may order to be printed for their use such papers as shall be referred to them.

    4.18     The House shall not resolve itself into Executive Session except under those circumstances permitted by the laws of this State, and then only upon a vote of two-thirds of the membership present and voting, a quorum being present. Upon resolving itself into Executive Session, the Halls of the House shall be cleared of all persons except the members of the House, the Clerk of the House and the Sergeant at Arms.
    No action shall be taken which violates the Statutory Law of this State and when such action is permissible it shall only be taken upon a two-thirds vote of the membership present and voting, a quorum being present.

    4.19     When a bill or resolution is reported out of a standing committee of the House of Representatives, a summary of the bill or resolution prepared by the staff of that committee, if such summary is available, may be made available to the members electronically. Each summary prepared by staff shall have the following language printed in bold capital letters at the top of the summary: "THE BELOW CONSTITUTED SUMMARY IS PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND IS NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION'S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. IT IS STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT".

Last Updated: 12/04/2012 5:37 PM




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