South Carolina House of Representatives
Robert W. Harrell, Jr., Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND CONSTITUENT SERVICES
Room 212, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230
NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES 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. THEY 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 Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Affairs Committee did not meet this week.
The Education and Public Works Committee did not meet this week.
The Judiciary Committee met on Tuesday, March 3, 2009. H.3161 received a favorable report from the Judiciary Committee. This bill requires the OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLE HEARINGS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT to employ at least five hearing officers, an attorney to advise the hearing officers and support staff in the performance of their duties, and other support and supervisory staff as deemed necessary by the chief judge. Relating to the filing fee to request an administrative hearing, the bill increases the filing fee from $150 to $200 dollars and provides these funds first must be used to meet the expenses of the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings, including the salaries of its employees, as directed by the chief judge of the Administrative Law Court. The committee gave a favorable with amendment recommendation to H.3442. This bill establishes the DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE under the executive branch of government. The South Carolina Department of Workforce must be managed and operated by a director appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the Senate. The bill also creates the WORKFORCE DEPARTMENT APPELLATE PANEL WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE, which is separate and distinct from the department's divisions. The sole purpose of the panel is to hear and decide appeals from decisions of the department's divisions. The panel consists of the three members of the South Carolina Employment Security Commission serving at the effective date of this legislation. They may serve until their terms expire in 2012, at which time the Workforce Department Appellate Panel shall dissolve. A vacancy must be filled by the Governor through a temporary appointment until the next session of the General Assembly, at which time a joint session of the General Assembly shall elect a panel member to fill the unexpired term. A panel member must receive an annual salary determined by the General Assembly and payable in monthly installments. Until the panel dissolves, a party only may appeal from a decision of the department directly to the panel. A party only may appeal a decision of the panel to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court pursuant to Appellate Court rules for administrative appeals. After the panel dissolves, a party only may appeal a decision of the department directly to the Administrative Law Court. A party only may appeal a decision of the Administrative Law Court to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court pursuant to Appellate Court rules for administrative appeals. This bill provides that a filing fee is not required for a notice of appeal or hearing request resulting from a decision of the Department of Workforce. The Workforce Investment Act program created by the Workforce Investment Act of 1988 and transferred to the Department of Commerce by Executive Order 2005-09 is transferred to the Department of Workforce. Numerous other code sections are amended to conform to these changes.
H.3442 was also amended to include provisions providing for LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS. In order to determine whether laws and programs addressing subjects within the jurisdiction of a legislative committee are being implemented and carried out in accordance with the intent of the General Assembly and whether they should be continued, curtailed, or eliminated, this legislation provides that each standing committee shall review and study on a continuing basis: (1) the application, administration, execution, and effectiveness of laws and programs addressing subjects within its jurisdiction; (2) the organization and operation of state agencies and entities having responsibilities for the administration and execution of laws and programs addressing subjects within its jurisdiction; and (3) any conditions or circumstances that may indicate the necessity or desirability of enacting new or additional legislation addressing subjects within its jurisdiction. Each committee must conduct oversight studies and investigations at least once every five years on all agencies within the committee's jurisdiction. Also a standing committee may by a one third vote initiate a study or an investigation of an agency within its jurisdiction. An investigating committee may vest its investigative authority in a subcommittee. The legislation includes provisions detailing how an investigating committee may acquire evidence or information, including requiring an agency to prepare and submit a program evaluation report. The chairman of the investigating committee may direct the Legislative Audit Council to perform a study of the program evaluation report or to perform its own audit of the program or operations being studied or investigated by the investigating committee. All testimony given to the investigating committee must be under oath. All witnesses are entitled to counsel, and a witness shall be given the benefit of any privilege which he may have claimed in court as a party in a civil action. The committee gave a favorable with amendment recommendation to H.3314 relating to the DEPARTMENT OF DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS. Beginning July 1, 2009, this bill provides that the department must be headed and governed by a director appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The director serves at the pleasure of the Governor and may be removed pursuant to section 1-3-240(b). The director may appoint and remove other officers and employees of the department in his discretion. The bill further provides that on this date the South Carolina Commission on Disabilities and Special Needs shall become an advisory board to the department. Numerous other code sections are amended to conform to these changes. The bill was also amended to include provisions for LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS as was also included in H.3442. S.289, providing for the CONTINUATION OF THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STUDY COMMITTEE, received a favorable report from the Judiciary Committee. This joint resolution allows the Criminal Domestic Violence Study Committee, as established by Act 402 of 2008, additional time to review the criminal domestic violence laws of the State and make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning any proposed changes. The committee shall make a report of its recommendations to the General Assembly no later than January 31, 2011, at which time the committee must be dissolved. The Judiciary Committee gave a favorable with amendment report to H.3022, the "UNIFORM EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS ACT". This legislation provides a uniform procedure for how applications for expungement of all criminal records must be administered by the solicitorís office in each circuit of the State. The applicant is responsible for payment to the solicitorís office of a nonrefundable, administrative fee of $250 dollars per individual order. The solicitor's office prosecuting the case in a court of general sessions, at no cost to the accused person, shall cause an order for expungement to be issued for a person who is found not guilty or who has his charges dismissed or nolle prossed unless the: (1) accused person has other charges pending; (2) solicitor believes that the evidence in the case needs to be preserved and notifies the accused person in writing at the address listed on his bond form, or through his attorney, no later than 30 days after the person is found not guilty or his charges are dismissed or nolle prossed; or (3) accused person's charges were dismissed as a part of a plea agreement. The solicitorís office shall implement policies and procedures to ensure that the expungement process is properly conducted. The legislation includes similar provisions when criminal provisions are brought in a summary court and the accused person is found not guilty or the charges are dismissed or nolle prossed; however, the presiding judge of summary court has responsibility for the process. The legislation requires the solicitor to prove a copy of the completed expungement order to the applicant or his attorney. The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) shall verify and document that the criminal charges in all cases are appropriate for expungement, and SLED shall receive a $25 dollar fee for each verification request from the solicitor on behalf of the applicant. However, in the case of juvenile expungements, verification and documentation that the charge is statutorily appropriate for expungment must first be accomplished by the Department of Juvenile Justice and then SLED. The applicant is also responsible to the clerk of court for the filing fee per individual order; however, if the charge is determined to be statutorily ineligible for expungement this prepaid clerk of court filing fee must be refunded to the applicant by the solicitor. Also, a filing fee may not be charged by the clerkís office to an applicant when the charge was discharged, dismissed, nolle prossed, or the applicant was acquitted. Each expungement order may contain only one charge sought to be expunged, except in those circumstances when expungment is sought for multiple charges occurring out of a single incident. An applicant may seek relief in circuit court when a solicitor, in his discretion, does not consent to expungement. The solicitor may waive the fee when it is determined that a person has been falsely accused of a crime as a result of identify theft. Under this bill, a person who intentionally retains the arrest and booking record, files, mugshots, fingerprints, or any evidence of the record pertaining to a charge discharged or dismissed is guilty of contempt of court. This bill reduces the timeframe following a first offense conviction as a youthful offender the defendant may apply for an expungement order from fifteen years from the date of conviction to five years from the date of completion of the sentence, including probation and parole. Relating to conditional discharge of certain first time drug offenses, this bill removes the current requirement that the person not be over twenty-five years of age at the time of the offense. The Judiciary Committee adjourned debate on H.3030, which makes REVISIONS TO THE YOUTHFUL OFFENDER ACT. H.3311 received a favorable with amendment report from the committee. The bill establishes the RESPONSIBLE FATHER REGISTRY WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES. The purpose of this registry is to provide notice of adoption or petition for termination of parental rights proceedings to unmarried biological fathers who affirmatively assume responsibility for children they may have fathered by registering. No unmarried biological father who fails to file a claim of paternity with the registry is entitled to notification of any adoption proceeding or any termination of parental rights proceeding concerning the unmarried biological fatherís child. The registry is not available for public inspection and is not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act; however, under certain circumstances outlined in the legislation the information may be disclosed. Any unauthorized use, or attempted unauthorized use, of the registry is expressly prohibited, and any person or organization seeking, receiving, using, or publishing, or attempting to do so, of any information contained in the registry in violation of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $500 dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both. A person who knowingly, maliciously, or in bad faith files a false claim of paternity with the registry is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than $500 dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both. This bill requires a TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS action to be heard within 120 days of the date the petition is filed, and it outlines conditions under which a continuance may be granted. Relating to persons or entities entitled to be served with a petition for termination of parental rights, this bill further specifies the age as fourteen for serving a child and provides for service on the guardian ad litem of a child under fourteen years of age. The bill also specifies the notice provisions applicable to an unmarried biological father of a child whose parental rights are being terminated.
The full Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee met on Tuesday, March 3, and reported out two bills. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3438, a bill that revises INSURANCE PROVISIONS to bring them into compliance with the accreditation standards of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners which allow South Carolinaís insurance provisions to enjoy reciprocity with those of other states. The bill enacts provisions requiring certain insurers to file a statement of actuarial opinion and actuarial opinion summary annually and provide for the confidentiality of these documents. The legislation revises provisions relating to the revocation or suspension of license of an insurer and its officers and agents for the publication of the notice, so as to provide a procedure for an aggrieved insurer to request a hearing before the director or his designee and provide recourse through judicial review. The legislation redefines the term "company action level event". The legislation revises provisions relating to approval for acquisition of a domestic insurer by a controlling producer in another state, so as to eliminate the applicability to foreign producers and correct certain references. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3562, a bill that revises INSURANCE PRODUCER PROVISIONS to bring them into compliance with the National Association of Insurance Commissionersí Producers Licensing Model Act which allows South Carolinaís insurance provisions to enjoy reciprocity with those of other states. The bill revises insurance provisions. The legislation adds definitions of "general appointment", "local appointment", "special appointment", "crop insurance", and "travel insurance", corrects archaic language, and makes conforming amendments. The legislation revises provisions relating to premium service companies, so as to provide that the fee for licensure to engage in servicing insurance premiums in this state is due on a biennial rather than on an annual basis. The legislation revises provisions for license fees for insurance producers and agencies, so as to provide for a biennial producer license renewal fee of twenty-five dollars, increase the initial producer license renewal fee from twenty dollars to twenty-five dollars, and provide for the requirements relating to the payment of appointment fees. The legislation revises continuing education requirements for insurance producers, so as to provide that the biennial compliance period is based on the licenseeís month and year of birth. The legislation insurance producerís license provisions, so as to provide that individual licenses must be renewed biennially based on the licenseeís month and year of birth and provide for the requirements relating to renewal. The legislation eliminates existing provisions relating to the prohibition on splitting commissions with an unlicensed person by an insurance producer, and provides for requirements relating to the splitting and sharing of commissions. The legislation revises provisions relating to the definitions of an insurance broker, so as to provide for the qualifying duties and provide for exceptions. The legislation revises provisions relating to the requirements for licensure as an insurance broker, so as to eliminate the requirements that a broker hold at least one appointment.
The full committee did not meet this week.
On Tuesday, March 3, the committee briefed the Members of the House on the details of the state government budget proposed for fiscal year 2009-2010.
This legislation allows for single sex charter schools.
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