South Carolina House of Representatives
David H. Wilkins, Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH
Room 309, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230
Return to the LPITS HOME PAGE - Last Updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 2:18 P.M.
Week in Review
Representatives Mack Hines(D-Florence) and Brenda Lee (D-Spartanburg) are new to the House this session. Hines replaces Hicks Harwell and Lee assumes the seat of Donald Beatty. Both men were elected to judgeships last year. Michael Easterday (R-Simpsonville) was chosen to take Beatty's place on the House Ethics Committee. District 19 currently is not represented, as Michael Fair (R-Greenville) was elected to the Senate. Fair replaces Samuel Stilwell who resigned last fall to run for the State Court of Appeals. Also, Representatives set noon Wednesday, January 30th for the election of three seats on the South Carolina Employment Security Commission.
The House upheld all of Governor David Beasley's vetoes to the 1995-96 budget, the capital reserve fund, and the supplemental appropriations bill. However, discussion of a bill distributing surplus general fund revenues from 1994-1995 was postponed until this week to give lawmakers more time to examine the bill.
Representatives gave final approval to a bill that provides emergency workers with control over accident scenes until fire and/or law enforcement officials arrive. The measure also recognizes these areas as special hazards, triggering penalties for violation. It now goes to the Senate, as does "The Gift of Life Organ and Tissue Procurement Act of 1996." This act allows taxpayers to check off a donation for the Gift of Life Trust Fund on their state income tax forms, or to give when receiving drivers' licenses. Other legislation receiving third reading included a bill requiring school board trustees elected for the first time to have orientation if money is available from the State Department of Education to reimburse the school districts for this expense. A measure to draw jurors from election lists only rather than also using drivers records was given second reading.
Debate on several other bills, including the "Economic Development Industrial Cluster Act of 1996" and a state lottery bill, was postponed. An attempt to kill the lottery bill failed, but last week's strategic vote indicates the measure did not have the support of two-thirds of the House which is needed for passage at that time. The "Economic Development Industrial Cluster Act" should be taken up this week after Representatives have had a chance to study the bill.
Senators mourned the death of their late colleague Marshall Williams of Orangeburg. In keeping with the seniority system, they elected Greenwood Senator John Drummond to replace Williams as president pro tem. Drummond promised his peers he would address the issue of voting inequity in joint elections with the House as he assumed the mostly ceremonial post.
Greenville Senator Michael Fair was sworn in, having taken over the seat left vacant by Samuel Stilwell. Stilwell resigned to run for the State Court of Appeals.
State House Committee Chairman Verne Smith reassured colleagues that capitol renovations are on track and should be completed in two years. Smith said he was unable to confirm a report claiming radon and asbestos clean-ups would keep lawmakers out of the State House for five to seven years.
Final approval was given to H.4037, a bill providing that former county council members who have served at least twelve years are eligible for state health and dental insurance benefits. Since the House had already passed the act, it now goes to the Governor for his signature.
The upper chamber also gave third reading to the Senate version of "The Gift of Life Organ and Tissue Procurement Act of 1996." This act allows taxpayers to contribute to the Gift of Life Trust Fund on their state income tax forms and when getting their drivers' licenses. The legislation is similar to a bill which passed the House last week.
Another measure which had caught the public eye was sent back to committee for further study. Senators agreed to take a closer look at legislation easing county control over corporate hog and poultry farms. At issue is whether the state or counties should have greater control over these enterprises.