February 17, 1998
Vol. 15, No. 6
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
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Legislative Update, February 17, 1998
WEEK IN REVIEW
The House set for special order, amended, and passed
H.4577 which bans video poker. Effective
June 1, 1999, the bill adds video poker machines and certain other coin-operated machines or
devices used for gambling, to those machines which are prohibited and subject to seizure and
destruction. The bill also subjects persons who keep or play the machines to fines and
The House debated and amended H.4115 which
prohibits the state of South Carolina and its
political subdivisions from using race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as a criterion for
either discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group in the
state's system of public employment, education, or contracting. The House amended the bill so
as to include coverage of religion, age, and disability. The bill was also amended to provide that
employment of quotas to achieve equality is prohibited. An amendment provides that the
legislation does not preclude state employees from performing their responsibilities in
submitting required Affirmative Action Plans to the Human Affairs Commission. House
amendments also specify what entities may be considered political subdivisions of the state and
provide that no preferential treatment may be granted to families of members of the General
Assembly in public employment by the state or its political subdivisions.
The House sent to the Senate Joint Resolution H.4303
which proposes amending the South
Carolina Constitution by removing the prohibition on the marriage of a white person with a
negro, mulatto, or person with at least one-eighth negro blood. The prohibition on interracial
marriages is contained in the state constitution, but, currently carries no force of law insofar as it
has been held to violate the United States Constitution.
The House passed H.4459 which provides that the layout
and installation of required fire
protection sprinkler systems must be in accordance with the 1998 edition of the National Fire
Protection Association National Fire Codes and the 1994 Standard Building Code, unless more
recent versions have been adopted by the authority with jurisdiction. The bill eliminates the Fire
Sprinkler Specification Sheet from the approval process for shop drawings of fire protection
sprinkler systems. Consequently, the option to submit the shop drawings to the registered
professional engineer who prepared the specification sheet for compliance is eliminated. The
bill also eliminates the requirement that shop drawings bear the stamp and authorized signature
of the licensed fire sprinkler contractor.
The House amended and approved S.89 which concerns
orders of protection in cases of abuse to
a family or household member. An order of protection may temporarily enjoin the respondent
from abusing, threatening to abuse, or communicating with the petitioner. Current law states
that an order of protection must be for a fixed time not to exceed one year. This bill states that
the order must be for a fixed time not less than six months nor more than one year. The bill was
amended to allow parties who reconcile to agree to dismiss the order if the petitioner appears
personally at the offices of the issuing court, shows proper identification, and signs a written
request to dismiss based on the reconciliation.
The House amended and passed H.4355, which prohibits
the issuance of a liquor license to a
business within 300 feet of a child day care facility in a municipality or to a business within 500
feet of a child day care facility outside a municipality. The bill was amended to provide that the
restrictions do not apply to new applications for locations if the child day care facility or
playground moved to a location within the prohibited distance during a prior period of licensure.
The House passed H.4467, which increases the penalty
for violating provisions of the Uniform
The House passed H.4423, which provides that the
sine die adjournment date for the General
Assembly is shortened by one statewide legislative day for each day before March 31 that the
annual appropriations act is given third reading by the House of Representatives .
The House refused to concur in Senate amendments to
H.3300 which pertains to the issuance of
special motor vehicle license plates for fraternities and sororities.
The House approved H.4364 which excludes kidney
disease treatment centers, including free
standing hemodialysis centers, from the Certificate of Need process. Health care facilities must
apply for a Certificate of Need prior to constructing a new facility or modifying an existing
facility, and before any expenditure or acquisition is made on behalf of a health care facility in
excess of amounts prescribed by DHEC regulations.
The Senate concurred in the House amendments to S.220,
which provides that a person is guilty of a nuisance
for using a building or other place for the purposes of lewdness, assignation, prostitution,
repeated acts of
unlawful possession or sale of controlled substances, or continuous breach of the peace. The bill
enrolled for ratification. After the Senate concurred in the House amendments to
S.89, which provides that an
order of protection must be issued for a minimum period of six months, the bill was also enrolled
The Senate gave third reading and sent to the House the following bills:
S.862, which concerns crime
classification; S.876, which modernizes the reporting
requirements of the comptroller general; S.915, a bill
requiring certain unpublished federal opinions to be annotated in the South Carolina Code; and
legislation providing that a motor vehicle at least 30 years old may bear the license plate of the
model year of
the vehicle. Also receiving third reading were S.198,
which requires handicapped parking signs erected after
June 30, 1998 to include the penalties for unlawful use (although the bill allows local
governments or private
property owners to exhaust their existing stock of signs which do not include information
fines); S.865, a bill which deletes a provision in the code
allowing a former member of the General Assembly
to be elected to a family court judgeship notwithstanding any other provision of law; and
S.852, which creates
the Jocasee Gorges Trust Fund.
The Senate unanimously passed a Joint Resolution (
S.948) which proposes an amendment to the State
Constitution to repeal the prohibition against marriages between Caucasian and
African-American persons. Such prohibitions were declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1967 case
Virginia. A similar measure (H.4303) has passed
H.3908 was returned to the House. This bill concerns
the seizure and sale of property in instances of
delinquent property taxes and provides alternative sites other than the county courthouse for the
delinquent property. An amendment concerning bingo licenses was added to the bill. The
allow specified charitable organizations to obtain a bingo license for $100. Among other
organization must only use volunteer members who operate the game and the holder of the
license may not
conduct more than one bingo session a week.
H.3300 was amended in the Senate before receiving
third reading. Under the provisions of this bill, the
Department of Transportation could issue special motor vehicle license plates featuring the
nonprofit organizations. Before a specialized license plate could be developed, the department
would have to
receive 300 or more applications requesting the plate. Only certified members of the
organization would be
eligible for the organization's special license plate. The bill also creates a special license plate
on behalf of
the H.L. Hunley submarine. Once the Senate sent the amended bill back to the House,
the House refused to
concur in the Senate amendments.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ACTION
AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL
The full Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee did not meet this
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC WORKS
The full Education and Public Works Committee did not meet this week.
The full Judiciary Committee did not meet this week.
LABOR, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee gave a report of favorable with
amendment to H.4377
which establishes a new tier of licensure as a "Licensed Specialist in School
Psychology" which may be
obtained by an individual who has a master's degree in psychology and thirty additional hours of
and which authorizes the individual to offer his services in the private sector. Under current law,
psychologists" who are certified by the Department of Education to work in the public
school system may not
offer their services in private sector settings such as hospitals, clinics, private schools, etc. This
provides guidelines for the private sector service of Licensed Specialists in School Psychology. A Licensed
Specialist in School Psychology is added to the Board of Examiners for the Licensure of
Counselors, Associate Counselors, Marital and Family Therapists. The amendment approved by
committee specifies that the bill in no way requires insurance companies to pay for any services
Specialists in School Psychology.
The committee also gave a report of favorable with amendment to
H.3820 which prohibits the practice of
psychology without a license from the Board of Psychology and revises the list of acts which are
be the practice of psychology. Under the bill, an individual must have a doctoral degree in
order to be licensed as a psychologist, but such licensure cannot be obtained with a doctoral
degree in an allied
field. The legislation revises exemptions to the licensure requirement and increases penalties for
requirement. The bill requires the Board of Psychology to report instances of possible violations
solicitor. The amendment approved by the committee exempts from the licensure requirement
including: educators; day care providers; hospital workers providing intervention within their
resources professionals; business consultants; local, state, or federal employees operating within
the scope of
their employment; SC Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse employees; and school
working under contract to a public or private school, but not if practicing in other settings.
The committee gave a favorable report to H.4459 which
was passed by the full House (see House Week in
Review, this issue).
The committee tabled two bills: H.3922 which
addresses qualifications for registration as a professional
engineer; and, H.3552 which assigns county assessors
the responsibility of examining new nonresidential
structures prior to occupancy.
MEDICAL, MILITARY, PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
The full Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee did not meet this week.
WAYS AND MEANS
The House Ways and Means Committee met jointly with the Senate Finance Committee to
presentation from the State Ports Authority. The State Ports Authority (SPA), responsible for
designing, financing, developing and operating public port facilities in Charleston, Georgetown,
Royal, is a state agency that functions much like a private business, operating solely on its own
earnings. The mission of the SPA is to contribute to the economic development of South
fostering and stimulating waterborne commerce and shipment of freight.
SPA representatives reported to the committees that every vessel that calls our state's port
an average of 37 South Carolina jobs, $4.7 million in sales revenue, $1.2 million in personal
$140,000 in state and local tax receipts. The SPA has experienced significant growth in its
and has begun to experience congestion at its container terminals. The lead time and complexity
to build new
terminals is increasing rapidly, and the SPA has recently completed a transition to a new
organizational structure. Deeper channels are required to handle larger ships and increasing
volume of trade. Congress authorized deepening the Charleston harbor from 40 feet to 45 feet (for every
additional foot of
water depth, ships can carry another $3 million in cargo.) The Federal Government recently
million to begin the harbor deepening in 1998, and the Joint Bond Review Committee approved
of $8.1 in state funds. SPA representatives stated that they will need an additional $66 million in
over the next five years to complete the $116 million project of deepening the harbor to 45 feet.
SPA representatives also discussed with the committee members their need for expanded
Daniel Island. Rail and highway access studies are under way, and environmental, navigation
and soil studies
are also being done. An Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be completed in early
BILLS INTRODUCED IN THE HOUSE
AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL
H.4594 BREAM AS BAIT FOR FISHING ON THE
EDISTO RIVER Rep.
This bill allows a person fishing on the Edisto River to use bream as bait with 9/0 or larger
H.4618 VOLUNTARY CLEANUP PROGRAM Rep.
This bill establishes the Voluntary Cleanup Program to return to use idled or under-used
whose redevelopment is complicated because of contamination. A person who is responsible for
contamination at the site and is subject to a Department of Health and Environmental Control
or permit for assessment and remediation is not eligible to participate. Any non-responsible
lenders and economic development agencies) demonstrating financial viability may contract with
clean up any contaminated site that is not on the National Priorities List for cleanup by the
government. The contract includes a covenant not to sue the non-responsible party except for
that party causes. After signing a voluntary cleanup agreement, the contracting party must
appropriate work plans and reports to DHEC for approval. Before the contract is executed,
provide for public notice and a hearing on the proposed contract.
Upon completion of the contract, the contracting party must submit a release to DHEC, who
shall issue the
party a certificate of completion, which is a covenant not to sue for successfully complying with
the terms of
the contract. DHEC shall charge the responsible or non-responsible party for oversight costs
the Voluntary Cleanup Program.
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC WORKS
H.4607 CURRICULUM AND PROGRAMS FOR
CHILDREN PRESCHOOL THROUGH GRADE
THREE Rep. Townsend
This bill amends Title 59 of the SC Code of Laws, concerning early child development
assistance, by providing that curriculum and programs for children from preschool to grade three
"individually appropriate" rather than "developmentally appropriate" (as provided under current law.)
S.621 MOTOR VEHICLE LICENSE PLATES Sen.
This bill provides that a motor vehicle over thirty years old and used for general transportation
may bear the
license plate of the vehicle's model year instead of its current registration plate, if the current
maintained within the motor vehicle and produced upon request of a law enforcement officer.
H.4623 INTERMODAL TRAILERS, CHASSIS,
CONTAINERS Rep. Townsend
This bill adds a section to the SC Code of Laws creating provisions to govern the
operation of an intermodal
trailer, chassis, or container. This section includes, but is not limited to, provisions governing
requirements (for both the vehicle and for the Department of Public Safety), and provisions
compliance with certain federal requirements.
H.4593 HATE CRIMES Rep. Whipper
Under the provisions of this legislation, a person who commits certain offenses with the intent to
intimidate, or threaten a person because of his race, religion, color, sex, age, or national origin is
guilty of a
felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than $2,000 or not more than $10,000, or
less than 2 years or not more than 15 years, or both. The penalties for animal cruelty and
malicious injury to
property are increased if the person commits those offenses with the intent to assault, intimidate,
or threaten a
person because of his race, religion, color, sex, age.
H.4596 MEETINGS OF THE STATE ELECTION
COMMISSION Rep. Harrison
Current law requires the State Election Commission to meet at its offices in Columbia at least
month. This bill states the commission also may meet at such times as considered necessary by
H.4597 ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES Rep.
Parties who have exhausted administrative remedies are entitled to judicial review. This bill
states that a
petition for review of final decisions from agencies other than the Administrative Law Judge
Division may be
filed in circuit court. A party aggrieved by a final decision of an administrative law judge in an
entitled to judicial review of that decision by the Supreme Court (currently the appeal goes to
The bill also addresses the types of hearings administrative law judges must preside over,
cases assigned by law and contested cases not specifically assigned by law, but which are
by due process under the U.S. or S.C. Constitution. In addition, an administrative law judge
must preside over
all hearings of appeals from final decision of contested cases heard by licensing boards and all
departments, boards, and commissions, except the Workers' Compensation Commission, the
Commission, the Human Affairs Commission, and the Employment Security Commission.
For quasi-judicial review of any final contested case decision of an administrative law judge of
involving departments governed by a board or commission authorized to exercise the
sovereignty of the State,
a petition by an aggrieved party must be filed with the appropriate board or commission and
served on the
opposing party not more than thirty days after the party receives the final decision and order of
administrative law judge unless the parties not in default consent to a direct appeal to the
Supreme Court on
the record at the hearing before the administrative law judge. Appeal in these matters is by right. A party
aggrieved by a final decision of a board in such a case is entitled to judicial review of that
decision by the
Supreme Court. Appeals to the Supreme Court shall be taken in the same manner as prescribed
from the Court of Common Pleas.
For judicial review of any other final decision of an administrative law judge, an appeal must be
taken to the
Supreme Court in the same manner as prescribed for appeals from the Court of Common Pleas.
these matters is by right.
H.4598 ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES Rep.
Under the provisions of this bill, administrative law judges are bound by the Code of Judicial
regulated and enforced by the Commission on Judicial Conduct. Current law provides that the
Commission is responsible for enforcement and administration of the Rules for Judicial
Enforcement. The bill also states that employees of the Administrative Law Judge Division are
subject to the
requirements and restrictions set forth in the S.C. Appellate Court Rules. The bill also exempts
law judges from certain provisions of law applicable to public officials.
H.4599 CRIMINAL ACTIVITY Rep.
Under the provisions of this bill, a person or his personal representative may not file a civil
action for damages
for injuries or wrongful death resulting from a crime the person committed.
H.4605 WRITE-IN CANDIDATES Rep.
This bill states that two weeks before a special or general election, a person who intends to offer
as a write-in
candidate must register with the agency responsible for the election to show his intention to seek
the office as
a write-in candidate, pay any applicable filing fee, and notify any other candidates of his
intention to seek the
office as a write-in candidate. The provisions of this section do not apply when a candidate
nominated by a
political party dies, becomes disqualified after his nomination, or resigns his candidacy for a
H.4606 CANDIDATE'S ADVERTISING
MATERIAL Rep. Townsend
The State Ethics Act defines 'committee' as an association, club, organization, or group of
receives contributions or makes expenditures in excess of $500 during an election cycle to
outcome of an elective office or ballot measure. Committees must maintain records and
file certain reports in
compliance with the act. This bill states that an organization not included within the definition
under the Ethics Act is subject to the same requirements of the committee when the organization
aligns itself with a candidate. The bill also states that actual malice is not an element of
defamation action by
a candidate against an organization that endorses or aligns itself with another candidate for false,
unfounded information, or accusations.
H.4611 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS Rep.
Under the provisions of this bill, for purposes of municipal elections only, a municipality may
pool one or
more precincts with other precincts and have one voting place for all of these pooled precincts
conditions. Any precinct which contains 500 or more registered voters within the municipality
must have its
own voting place. In addition, the total number of registered voters within the municipality in
each group of
pooled precincts cannot exceed 1,500. The voting place of any precinct pooled with others
cannot be more
than three miles from the nearest part of any pooled precinct, and proper notice must be given of
the change in
the polling place.
S.862 CRIME CLASSIFICATION Sen.
Crimes are classified as felonies or misdemeanors. This bill states that certain offenses (listed in
(D) of Section 16-1-100) for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for five years or more,
are felonies. The bill also conforms definitions and terminology in the criminal code, repeals obsolete
language, and makes
other technical corrections.
S.915 UNPUBLISHED FEDERAL OPINIONS Sen.
This bill requires the annotation in the South Carolina Code of Laws all unpublished opinions
which, in the
Code Commissioner's opinion, affect or invalidate a South Carolina statute, act, or resolution.
LABOR, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
H.4608 MOTOR VEHICLE TITLE AS PLEDGED
GOODS AT PAWNBROKERS Rep. Kirsh
This bill includes within the definition of "pledged goods" accepted by pawnbrokers
a certificate of title for a
motor vehicle (excluding mobile homes and certain other self-propelled vehicles). The bill
provides that if a
loan where a motor vehicle certificate of title is the pledged goods remains unpaid after a period
of sixty days
from the due date or any renewal or extension, the pawnbroker has rights afforded under Chapter
9 of the
Commercial Code. The bill places restrictions on when pawnbrokers may make use of these
H.4609 LICENSURE AND REGULATION OF
CHECK-CASHING SERVICES Rep. Kirsh
This bill provides for licensure and regulation of check-cashing services by the State Board of
Institutions. The bill imposes a two hundred fifty dollar application fee and a five hundred dollar
fee. Licenses expire annually and may be renewed upon payment of a two hundred fifty dollar
fee plus a fifty
dollar fee for each branch location. A licensed business must maintain liquid assets of at least
dollars per license.
H.4610 SUPERVISED LENDERS Rep.
This bill revises the Consumer Protection Code by increasing from six hundred dollars to eight
dollars the amount at which supervised lenders must lend at restricted lender rates. The bill
increases from six
hundred dollars to eight hundred dollars the amount for which supervised lenders may not post a
exceeding the maximum charges for restricted lenders.
H.4614 ENERGY SAVING PROGRAMS AND DEBT
LIMITATIONS Rep. Walker
This bill specifies that a governmental entity's lease purchase agreement for energy efficiency
guaranteed energy savings contracts are not to be included among the lease-purchasing or
agreements which are subject to the state constitutional debt limitations set for governmental
WAYS AND MEANS
H.4595 RETIREMENT SYSTEM SERVICE
CREDIT Rep. Cobb-Hunter
This bill provides that, upon making the payment required to establish federal civilian service, a
the SC Retirement System or the SC Police Officers' Retirement System may receive service
credit for active
military duty performed after December 31, 1975. The bill also provides that all other
to establishing credit for military service apply to the military service established pursuant to this
S.477 TAXES ON RETIREMENT PLAN
CONTRIBUTIONS Sen. Ryberg
This bill adds a section to the SC Code of Laws, providing that if the right to receive
retirement income by a
taxpayer allowed a specified retirement income deduction was earned by the taxpayer while
another state which imposed state income tax on the employee's contributions, a credit is allowed
taxpayer's South Carolina income tax liability in an amount sufficient to offset the taxes paid the
other state. This credit must be claimed over the taxpayer's lifetime, and the SC Department of Revenue
the method of claiming the credit.
S.876 COMPTROLLER GENERAL/AUDITOR
DUTIES Sen. Drummond
This bill amends sections of Titles 11 and 12 of the SC Code of Laws, concerning duties
of the SC
Comptroller General and local auditors, so as to eliminate unnecessary reports and procedures,
duplication of effort, and provide for more pertinent data. The bill updates laws pertaining to
property tax and
local financing reporting procedures so as to be consistent with recent statutory changes,
progress, changes in accounting methods, and changes brought about by Home Rule.
H.4617 LIFE ESTATES IN REAL ESTATE Rep.
This bill provides that every person having a life estate in real estate is primarily liable to pay
assessments accruing during his life tenancy, and unpaid taxes or assessments accruing during a
constitute a lien against the real estate that, after due notice to persons affected, may be enforced
rights of a remainderman (one who is entitled to the remainder of the estate after a particular
estate carved out
of it has expired) during or after expiration of the tenancy of the person having the life estate.
H.4619 "STATE RETIREMENT SYSTEMS
INVESTMENT SAFEGUARDS ACT" Rep. Wilkins
This bill is the implementing legislation for the recent amendment to Article X, Section 16 of the
Constitution authorizing the investment and reinvestment of the funds of various
systems in equity securities. Consistent with requirements of the Constitutional amendment, this
establishes the State Retirement Systems Investment Panel, consisting of five members, one each
the Governor (this appointee serves as Panel chairman), the State Treasurer, the Comptroller
General, and the
chairs of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Also
provisions of the Constitutional amendment, the bill provides for panel members' qualifications,
service, duties, and compensation. The bill provides for the authorities of the panel, including a
that the panel adopt, in consultation with the State Treasurer, an annual investment plan for the
systems for the next fiscal year. This plan must be approved by the State Budget and Control
must provide the panel with a statement of actuarial assumptions and general investment
objectives. The plan,
which must include specific components specified in the bill, must be reviewed by the panel at
least once each
fiscal year quarter. The bill provides that no more than forty percent of the market value of the
assets of a
retirement system may be invested in equity securities, and any increase during any fiscal year in
proportion of the market value of the assets of a retirement system invested in equity securities
exceed twenty percent of the market value of the assets of that system. The bill specifies that the
Treasurer's Office shall provide staff for the panel and provide investment reports at least
quarterly during the
fiscal year to the Budget and Control Board, the panel, the Speaker of the House, and the
Tempore of the Senate. Also, the State Treasurer is required under the bill to provide an annual
contents of which are specified in the bill. The costs of administering and operating the
for the retirement systems must be paid from the investment earnings of these systems. The bill
guidelines and prohibitions for persons who have authority under the bill to invest, manage, or
regard to assets of the retirement systems. The bill also provides that the State Budget and
Control Board may
invest and reinvest the funds of the system in equity securities of a corporation within the United
States that is
registered on a national securities exchange as provided in the Securities Exchange Act, 1934, or
act, or quoted through the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotations
System, or a
H.4621 SC POLICE OFFICERS' RETIREMENT
SYSTEM Rep. Boan
This bill requires that the benefits paid under the accidental death benefit pension of the SC
Retirement System must be adjusted to reflect increases in the Consumer Price Index in the
under SC Code of Laws, Section 9-1-1810.
H.4622 PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT RATIOS
This bill amends Section 12-43-220(c)(2)(i) of the SC Code of Laws regarding
qualification for the four
percent assessment ratio allowed for owner-occupied residential property. The bill provides that
the owner-occupant must have actually owned and occupied the residence as his legal residence
and been domiciled at
that address on or before December 31 preceding the tax year for which the assessment ratio is
and remain in that status at the time of filing the required application. Current law requires that
the owner-occupant must have owned and occupied the residence as his legal residence and been
domiciled at that
address "for some period during the applicable tax year and remain in that status at the
time of filing the
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