South Carolina House of Representatives
David H. Wilkins, Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH
Room 213, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230
NOTE: Bill summaries included in this document are prepared by the staff of the South Carolina House of Representatives and are not the expression of the legislation's sponsor(s) or the House of Representatives. The summaries are strictly for the internal use and benefit of members of the House of Representatives and are not to be construed by a court of law as an expression of legislative intent.
The bill also creates a CAPITAL ACCESS PROGRAM (CAP), to be established by the Business Development Corporation of South Carolina (BDC) with an initial appropriation of $2.5 million, to assist participating financial institutions making loans to small businesses located in the state that otherwise find it difficult to obtain regular bank financing. Under this program, a qualifying small business is defined as one with retail sales or annual revenue not to exceed $2 million; or wholesale sales less than $5 million; or a manufacturing business with no more than 50 employees. Under the program, the BDC will establish terms and conditions under which financial institutions will participate. The bill provides terms and conditions under which financial institutions may originate loans under the program. The bill provides that each tax incentive enacted in the bill shall be repealed for tax years beginning after five years from the date of enactment, unless a different time frame is provided in the bill. The bill provides that for purposes of income and license tax and sales and use tax, nexus will be determined without regard for whether the taxpayer owns or utilizes a distribution facility in South Carolina.
The bill also AMENDS THE MOTION PICTURE INCENTIVE ACT (The Act) including numerous technical changes as well as the following changes:
The full committee did not meet this week.
Under the provisions of the bill, District trustees have the same powers, rights, and responsibilities with respect to charter schools as other school district boards of trustees of this State including but not limited to: exercising general supervision over public charter schools, granting charter status to qualifying applicants, and determining district policy. The bill requires applicants who wish to form a charter school to form a charter committee and to submit an application to the Charter School Advisory Committee and the school board of trustees from which the charter committee is seeking sponsorship. The Advisory Committee must determine within sixty days whether the application is in compliance, and an application that is in compliance must be forwarded to the school district from which the application is seeking sponsorship with a letter stating that the application is in compliance. The bill requires that this letter shall also include a recommendation from the Charter School Advisory Committee to approve or deny the charter. The letter must specify the reasons for this recommendation, and the recommendation is nonbinding on the school board of trustees. The bill includes provisions and procedures for local school boards of trustees which have information that an approved application by the Carolina Public Charter School District adversely affects the other students in its district, or that the approval of an application fails to meet the spirit and intent of the Charter Schools Act. In such instances, the local school board may appeal the granting of the charter to the State Board of Education. The bill provides that the State Board must, within forty-five days, affirm or reverse the application for action by the Carolina Public Charter School District. The bill provides that schools currently established as a private school who desire to convert to a charter school must dissolve and shall not be allowed to open as a charter school for a period of twelve months.
The full committee did not meet this week.
The Ways and Means Committee reported out six bills this week. H.3150 was reported favorable with amendment. As reported by the Committee, this bill ESTABLISHES AND PROVIDES FOR THE SOUTH CAROLINA SUNSET COMMISSION (THE COMMISSION) AND FOR A SEPARATE SUNSET REVIEW DIVISION OF THE LEGISLATIVE AUDIT COUNCIL (THE DIVISION). The Division is created to conduct sunset reviews of certain state agency and department programs, and to report its findings based on the review criteria delineated in the bill. The Division is to conduct these reviews to determine whether the programs have outlived their usefulness or must be changed to address the needs and priorities of South Carolinians and the General Assembly. After the report is published, the bill requires the Commission to conduct a public hearing on the agency and its programs. The report must be filed with the House and Senate by January 15 of each year, and reauthorization of an agency or program must be accomplished in a special provision in the annual general appropriations act. The existence of any state agency or program may be reauthorized by the General Assembly for periods not to exceed twelve years. Any agency or program not reauthorized is terminated. The bill authorizes the General Assembly, if it determines the circumstances warrant it and by concurrent resolution, to advance the termination date and sunset review scheduled for an agency. The Committee reported favorable on H.3304. This bill PROVIDES REQUIREMENTS, PROCEDURES, AND CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES INTENDED TO ENHANCE THE ENFORCEMENT OF PROVISIONS OF THE TOBACCO ESCROW FUND ACT AND TO SAFEGUARD THE MASTER SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT.
The bill requires tobacco product manufacturers whose cigarettes are sold in this state to deliver an annual certification to the Attorney General certifying that the manufacturer is a participating manufacturer or is in full compliance with statutory provisions requiring participation in the Master Settlement Agreement or depositing funds in a qualified escrow fund. The bill delineates information which must be provided in the certification by participating manufacturers and by nonparticipating manufacturers.
The bill requires that the Attorney General make available for public inspection a directory listing all tobacco product manufacturers that have provided current and accurate certifications and all brand families that are listed in the certifications, with certain exceptions provided for specified nonparticipating manufacturers. The bill includes conditions and procedures for removing nonparticipating manufacturers from the directory.
The bill provides that it is unlawful to: affix a stamp to any container of cigarettes of a manufacturer or brand family not included in the directory if such a stamp is required by law or; sell, offer, acquire, hold, own, possess, transport, import, or cause to be imported for sale in this state cigarettes of a manufacturer or brand family not included in the directory. The bill provides that persons who violate this prohibition are engaging in an unfair and deceptive trade practice. The bill provides that persons who violate this prohibition with knowledge of the prohibition are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars, imprisonment for one year, or both. The bill authorizes the Attorney General to revoke or suspend the license of a cigarette distributor who violates these provisions and authorizes the Attorney General to impose a civil penalty for each violation in an amount up to the greater of five times the retail value of the cigarettes or five thousand dollars.
The bill includes requirements for certain nonresident or foreign nonparticipating manufacturers to have an agent in this state for the service of process regarding actions or proceedings arising from enforcement of the provisions of the bill. A nonparticipating manufacturer who does not have an agent is deemed to have appointed the Secretary of State as the agent.
The bill includes requirements for cigarette distributors to regularly submit information the Attorney General requires to facilitate compliance with the provisions of the bill.
The bill provides for seizure, forfeiture and destruction of cigarettes declared to be contraband. The bill provides that it is a felony for a cigarette manufacturer, importer, distributor, or retailer to sell or possess counterfeit cigarettes, and provides penalties including fines and imprisonment for first and subsequent violations of this provision. The Committee reported favorable on H.3086, the S.M.A.R.T. (STREAMLINED MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTING RESOURCES FOR TEACHING) FUNDING IN EDUCATION ACT. This bill establishes a fund management and accounting program that consolidates all program funding to the state's school districts and special schools for enhanced flexibility in their operations of grades K-12. The bill outlines six general categories in which funds may be spent: quality teaching; instruction; technical assistance; operations, infrastructure, and safety; workforce education; and special needs. The bill allows for transfer of monies between programs within these categories, and provides for some flexibility in distribution of funding across the general categories. The bill provides that the General Assembly and the Governor, beginning with the annual general appropriations act for 2005-2006, shall adjust the format of the general appropriations act to reflect the categories established in the bill. The Committee reported favorable with amendment on H.3009, an ADMINISTRATIVE RESTRUCTURING BILL. As reported by the Committee, this bill establishes the Department of Administration as an Executive Branch department headed by a director appointed by the Governor. Various offices, divisions, or components of the State Budget and Control Board (the Board), Office of the Governor, and other agencies are transferred to and incorporated into the Department.
The bill also establishes and provides for the Division of the Office of the State Chief Information Officer, a Joint Information Technology Review Committee, an Information Technology Business Case Review Panel, an Information Technology Architecture Oversight Panel, and an Information Technology Innovation Fund to provide leadership, direction, incentives, and funding for the use of information technology within South Carolina government. As reported by the Committee, these provisions do not apply to the State Ports Authority.
The bill creates and provides for the Office of the State Inspector General as a division within the Department of Administration to be headed by the State Inspector General, appointed by the Governor. This office and position are established to, among other things, find and eradicate fraud, waste, misconduct, and abuse within executive branch government agencies; keep heads of executive agencies and the Governor informed about such findings; and provide leadership and control over satellite Inspector General offices in designated executive agencies which would report to and operate under the Office of the State Inspector General.
The bill transfers into the Department of Administration, the Facilities Management, Business Operations, and Fleet Management Programs of the Division of General Services of the Budget and Control Board. The bill provides that the Budget and Control Board contains an additional division, known as the State House, Legislative, and Judicial Facilities Operations Division, responsible for the operations and management of the State House, Blatt Office Building, Gressette Office Building, Supreme Court Building, Calhoun Office Building, and Capitol Complex grounds.
The bill provides that the Department of Administration must ensure that a specified number of parking spaces are available in the garage below the Capitol Complex, in proximity to the buildings used by the legislative, judicial, and executive branches.
The bill moves the Division on Aging from the Governor's Office to the Lieutenant Governor's Office and provides that the Division on Aging, rather than the Department of Mental Health, is responsible for Veterans Administration nursing home oversight. The Committee reported favorable with amendment on H.3152, a bill which AMENDS THE MOTION PICTURE INCENTIVE ACT. Revisions include, but are not limited to: extending the exemption from sales and use tax to include an exemption from local, as well as state sales and use taxes; allowing up to seven percent of the general fund portion of admissions tax collected and funded to the State Film Commission to be used by the Department of Commerce exclusively for marketing and special events; and deleting a rebate to a motion picture company for sales tax paid on accommodations. The bill also authorizes the Department of Commerce to carry-forward their portion of the admissions tax for rebates and grants. The Committee reported favorable with amendment on H.3007. As reported by the Committee, beginning with the 2006 taxable year, this bill REDUCES THE SEVEN PERCENT TOP MARGINAL RATE OF STATE INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX in equal annual increments of .225 percent until a permanent top marginal rate of 4.75 percent is attained. The bill further provides that beginning with taxable year 2007, such reductions are postponed if general fund revenue growth for the applicable fiscal year is less than two percent. The bill also strikes a current provision which limits adjustment of income brackets to one half the adjustment determined by the IRS.
The bill provides that a sex offender whose name is contained on the sex offender registry, and who has been granted a pardon, must remain on the registry and must continue to register annually.
The bill provides that an offender's photograph must be provided to SLED before the offender is released from prison.
Current law requires a convicted sex offender to register in the county where the offender resides. The bill requires that the offender must also register with the sheriff of the county or counties where the offender owns real property. The bill also provides that a registered sex offender who acquires real property within this State must provide notice of the address to the sheriff in the county where the real property is located. The bill further provides that a person who is required to register as a sex offender who moves to this State, acquires real property in this State, and is not under the jurisdiction of certain correctional agencies, must register within 10 days of acquiring property within this State.
H.3339 NONECONOMIC DAMAGES IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ACTIONS Rep. Davenport
This bill adds Chapter 32 entitled 'Noneconomic Damages in Medical Malpractice Actions' to Title 15 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
Among other things, the bill provides that the amount of noneconomic damages awarded in a medical malpractice action against a health care provider must not exceed $250,000 per plaintiff. The bill defines 'noneconomic damages' as damages to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, and other nonpecuniary, compensatory damage; the term noneconomic damages does not include punitive damages.
The bill authorizes the periodic payment of future damages in lieu of a lump-sum payment when the award equals or exceeds $50,000 in future damages. The term 'future damages' includes compensatory damages for future medical treatment, care, or custody; loss of future earnings; loss of bodily function in the future; or future pain and suffering of the judgment creditor.
The bill also establishes maximum limits for attorney's fees that are to be paid on a contingency fee.
The bill establishes a separate and distinct fund in the State Treasury entitled the Spending Limit Reserve Fund, and requires that all general fund revenues accumulated in a fiscal year in excess of the appropriation limit must be credited to this fund. Revenues in this fund may be appropriated (as provided in the bill) by the General Assembly in the year following the close of the applicable fiscal year. The bill provides that if the balance in the general fund reserve is less than the required balance, all amounts in the Spending Limit Reserve Fund must be appropriated to the general fund, up to the total necessary to replenish the general fund reserve, and this amount does not replace or supplant the minimum replenishment amount otherwise required to be made to the general fund reserve. The bill provides that to the extent these concurrent replenishments of the general reserve fund exceed the amount necessary for its full funding, the general reserve fund as provided in the South Carolina Constitution, that fund is deemed to require an annual minimum balance equal to this increased amount not to exceed a total balance equal to four percent of general fund revenue in the latest completed fiscal year. After appropriation of amounts required pursuant to this provision, any remaining balance may be appropriated for or used to offset revenue reductions for infrastructure improvements, temporary tax reductions, school buildings, school buses, and state expenses incurred as a result of natural or other disasters declared by the President of the United States.
The provisions of the bill take effect upon ratification of relevant amendments to the South Carolina Constitution.
H.3338 UNBORN CHILDREN'S MONUMENT ON STATEHOUSE GROUNDS Rep. Davenport
This joint resolution creates and provides for the South Carolina Unborn Children's Monument Commission, charged to direct that a monument be erected on the State House grounds as a memorial to South Carolina children whose lives ended before their birth. The bill authorizes the Commission to raise private funds for this monument, and directs the staff of the State Budget and Control Board to assist the Commission with its financial recordkeeping.
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