June 9, 2015
Vol. 32, No. 20
South Carolina House of Representatives
James H. "Jay" Lucas, 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.
Legislative Update, June 9, 2015
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
This week the General Assembly concluded work on the regular legislative session, but lawmakers are scheduled to return later in the month under the terms of H.4274, a resolution EXTENDING THE SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY beyond this year’s June 4 deadline for final adjournment. The resolution allows the House of Representatives and Senate to convene, beginning on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, to take up a limited list of matters including budget legislation, the Governor's vetoes, and the reports of conference committees that have been formed to address the differences between the House and Senate on particular pieces of legislation.
The House and Senate adopted the conference committee report on S.47 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation makes provisions for EQUIPPING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WITH BODY-WORN CAMERAS that make audio and video recordings. The legislation requires state and local law enforcement agencies to implement the use of body-worn cameras according to guidelines established by the Law Enforcement Training Council. Within one hundred eighty days, the Law Enforcement Training Council must conduct a study of jurisdictions where body-worn cameras are in use and produce guidelines that address such issues as which law enforcement officers must wear cameras, when they must be worn and activated, how recordings should be retained and released, and how consent should be obtained from victims and witnesses for recording their interviews. The General Assembly may terminate all or part of the guidelines by resolution. Using these guidelines, state and local law enforcement agencies must develop policies and procedures for the use of body-worn cameras and submit them to the Law Enforcement Training Council for approval within two hundred seventy days. Within three hundred sixty days, the Law Enforcement Training Council must report to the General Assembly on such matters as program costs and recommended law changes. A "Body-Worn Cameras Fund" is established within the Department of Public Safety for the purpose of assisting state and local law enforcement agencies, the Attorney General’s office, solicitors’ offices, and public defenders’ offices with implementation by addressing costs associated with such matters as the initial purchase of cameras, equipment maintenance and replacement, and data storage for recordings. A state or local law enforcement agency is not required to implement the use of body-worn cameras until it has received full funding. The legislation does not preclude a law enforcement agency from making its own provisions for body-worn cameras while awaiting statewide guidelines and such agencies are eligible to apply to the Department of Public Safety to have their costs reimbursed. The legislation specifies that data recorded by a body-worn camera is not a public record subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Provisions are made for the recorded data to be handled as evidence that is released and shared according to the state’s rules of criminal and civil legal procedure. The legislation includes requirements that data recorded by a body-worn camera must be supplied to further a law enforcement agency’s internal investigation regarding officer misconduct or disciplinary action as well as to fulfill requests made by the State Law Enforcement Division, the Attorney General, or a circuit solicitor for any legitimate criminal justice purpose. State and local agencies are authorized to release body-worn camera data at their discretion.
The House and Senate adopted the conference committee report on S.183 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation incorporates Uniform Law Commission recommendations regarding HUMAN TRAFFICKING by: defining who is considered a trafficker; providing for expungement of prostitution convictions for victims of human trafficking; establishing a safe harbor for minors who are victims of human trafficking; excluding evidence of a victim’s sexual history or history of commercial sexual activity, the specific instances of a victim’s sexual conduct, opinion evidence of a victim’s sexual conduct, and reputation evidence of a victim’s sexual conduct; allowing a court to disgorge profits and disbar from state or local government contracts any business that aids or participates in a human trafficking offenses; and providing that an offender can be ordered to pay attorney’s fees and an amount representing the value of the victim’s labor or services as a part of restitution. The SC Attorney General Interagency Task Force for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons is authorized to make grants to, or contract with, agencies or victim’s services organizations to develop or expand victim services.
The House and Senate adopted the free conference report on S.11, a bill ENHANCING PUBLIC NOTICE REQUIREMENTS FOR GOVERNMENT MEETINGS under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation clarifies that an agenda is required for all meetings of a public body and provides that this agenda must be publicly accessible and posted online if the public body maintains a website. This requirement for posting agendas does not, however, apply to emergency meetings. Once an agenda for a regular, called, special, or rescheduled meeting is posted, no items may be added to the agenda without providing an additional twenty-four hours’ notice to the public. After the meeting begins, an item upon which action can be taken only may be added to the agenda by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting. If, however, the item is one upon which final action can be taken at the meeting or if the item is one in which there has not been and will not be an opportunity for public comment with proper prior public notice given, it only may be added to the agenda by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting and upon a finding by the body that an emergency or an exigent circumstance exists if the item is not added to the agenda.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3583, a bill PROHIBITING STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING WITH BUSINESSES THAT IMPOSE DISCRIMINATORY BOYCOTTS AGAINST SOUTH CAROLINA’S TRADING PARTNERS, including Israel, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation establishes conditions that prohibit the state government, local governments, school districts, or any other political subdivisions or public bodies from entering into contracts for goods or services with businesses that unfairly discriminate against South Carolina’s free trading partners through boycotts. The legislation establishes requirements that, in order to enter into a government contract with a value of at least ten thousand dollars, a business must certify that it does not, and will not, engage in boycotts against South Carolina’s trading partners that are based upon race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Boycotts specifically do not include such matters as decisions based upon business or economic reasons, or the specific conduct of a targeted person or firm. The legislation also revises provisions of the Iran Divestment Act which the General Assembly approved last year to prohibit financial connections with those who have significant investments in Iran’s energy sector by providing that the act’s restrictions on state and local government contracting only apply to contracts and procurements that are over ten thousand dollars, rather than one thousand dollars, in value.
The House and Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.3154, the "SOUTH CAROLINA UNIFORM MILITARY AND OVERSEAS VOTERS ACT", and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation better facilitates the casting of absentee ballots in elections by deployed military and other overseas voters.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3568 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes a SALES TAX EXEMPTION FOR CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS USED IN HOMES FOR THE NEEDY BY NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. This bill provides a state sales tax exemption for construction materials used by a nonprofit organization to build, rehabilitate, or repair a home for the benefit of an individual or family in need whose income is less than or equal to eighty percent of the county median income. The legislation also revises the sales tax exemption provided for aviation parts and supplies. Additionally, the legislation establishes a SALES TAX EXEMPTION FOR CLOTHING DONATED TO NEEDY CHILDREN. The legislation establishes a sales tax exemption for children’s clothing sold to a private charitable organization for the sole purpose of distribution, at no cost, to needy children who are eligible for free meals under the National School Lunch Program of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The House returned S.341 to the Senate with amendments. The Senate subsequently concurred in the House amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation requires every hospital and birth center in the state to provide the parents of each newborn baby who is at high risk for SICKLE CELL DISEASE OR SICKLE CELL TRAIT delivered in the hospital or birth center, educational information on sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait and associated complications.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to S.250, a bill addressing ACCESS TO MEDICAL RECORDS IN CASES OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation establishes provisions that afford medical providers access to children’s medical records in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect without the necessity of obtaining a court order or parental signature. The legislation provides that, with a written request, and without parental consent, any primary care physician must release records, images, photos, and all other health information only to the consulting care physician and the hospital facility. The consulting care physician and the hospital facility only may release the records to law enforcement in accordance with the provisions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The South Carolina Department of Social Services is authorized to grant any South Carolina Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System child abuse health care provider access to indicated abuse case records in order to evaluate a child for suspected abuse or neglect. These system child abuse health care providers are allowed to receive referral summaries and case outcomes for suspected child abuse or neglect that were sent to any contracted service agency or program. SCDSS must share any information gathered in an indicated investigation with children’s primary or specialty health care providers. SCDSS is allowed to release allegation summaries and investigation outcomes for unfounded cases of child abuse to a South Carolina Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System child abuse health care provider for evaluation of the child for suspected abuse or neglect.
The House approved S.179, a bill PROHIBITING CRYSTALLINE ALCOHOL AND POWDERED ALCOHOL, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation prohibits the possession, use, sale, or purchase of crystalline alcohol along with powdered alcohol. Violations are misdemeanor criminal offenses.
The House returned S.176 to the Senate with amendments. The Senate subsequently concurred in the House amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation requires DEATH CERTIFICATES to be electronically filed with the Bureau of Vital Statistics within three days after death. The legislation also provides that medical certifications of cause of death must be completed by the patient’s physician and returned to the funeral home director within forty-eight hours after death. The bill provides for exceptions and penalties for failure to meet deadlines.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3266, the "TRESPASSER RESPONSIBILITY ACT", and enrolled the bill for ratification. This legislation codifies common law provisions relating to trespassers under which a possessor of land owes no duty to a trespasser except to refrain from causing a wilful or wanton injury. These limitations on a landowner’s legal liability include certain exceptions and conditions that relate only to trespassers who are children or individuals with an intellectual disability. The legislation does not affect any immunities from or defenses to civil liability established by another section of the South Carolina Code of Laws or available at common law to which a possessor of land may be entitled.
The House approved S.526, a bill allowing for a TAX PENALTY AMNESTY PERIOD in order to encourage the voluntary disclosure and payment of taxes owed to the state, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation establishes authority for the Department of Revenue to periodically designate and administer an amnesty period during which the department may waive delinquent tax penalties and interest and not initiate a criminal investigation when delinquent returns are voluntarily filed and payment is made on all taxes owed.
The House returned S.379 to the Senate with amendments. The Senate subsequently concurred in the House amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation makes numerous updates and revisions to PROPERTY TAX PROVISIONS.
The House returned S.407 to the Senate with amendments. The Senate subsequently concurred in the House amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes a protocol ALLOWING BUSINESS OWNERS THE OPTION OF EXEMPTING THEMSELVES FROM UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION COVERAGE. The legislation also revises penalties for employment and workforce offenses.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3882, a bill revising SCHOOL BUS DRIVER CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation expands eligibility for those who are authorized to perform the physical examinations required of school bus drivers so that exams might be more readily available.
The House approved S.211 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes AUTHORITY FOR POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS TO CREATE SEPARATE GOLF CART PATHS ON STREETS AND ROADS within their jurisdiction.
A conference committee was appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on H.3701, the GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.
A conference committee was appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on H.3114, the "SOUTH CAROLINA PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT" which establishes a prohibition on the performance of abortions beginning at twenty weeks following fertilization.
A conference committee was appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on H.3525, the "TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANY ACT" which provides for the regulation of businesses, such as Uber, that make use of digital networks and mobile device applications to connect a passenger to a transportation network driver for the purpose of providing transportation for compensation.
A conference committee was appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on S.255, a bill relating to the EXPUNGEMENT OF CRIMINAL RECORDS.
A conference committee was appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on H.3545, a bill making revisions to ARSON OFFENSES.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3008, a bill relating to RESTRICTIONS ON LOCAL TRAFFIC REGULATIONS. The legislation provides that local traffic regulations adopted by municipalities and other political subdivisions may not impose fines exceeding two hundred dollars. All such fines imposed are subject to the required set-aside distributions and the governing body of the political subdivision must ensure that these distributions are properly remitted to the state. Where an audit report confirms that on at least three or more occasions the set-aside distributions were not properly remitted during the audit period, the political subdivision concerned may not continue to send its officers to the Criminal Justice Academy for training and certification until a subsequent audit report confirms that there are not three or more set-aside distribution violations during that audit period.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4151, a bill providing for CIGARETTE TAX STAMPS. The legislation establishes requirements for affixing stamps on cigarette packs as an indication of taxes paid. The legislation provides distributors a maximum $125,000 tax credit against the tobacco tax for costs incurred in the purchase of a stamping machine and equipment. A 4.25% credit is provided to wholesalers as compensation for affixing the stamp.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3450, a bill relating to WHOLESALER BEER, WINE AND LIQUOR DELIVERIES. The legislation requires beer, wine, and liquor wholesalers to receive and unload their alcohol at a wholesaler’s licensed premises in South Carolina and, in the case of wine and liquor, store the alcohol for at least twenty-four hours before delivering it to retailers. Penalties are established for violations.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3881, a bill to provide that EACH LICENSED MANUFACTURING HOUSING RETAIL DEALER LOCATION MUST HAVE ONE LICENSED AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL representing the dealership. The legislation requires an authorized official who is not the dealer to hold a manufactured home retail salesperson or retail dealer license. The legislation provides that the Manufactured Housing Board must be notified in writing within twenty days if the authorized official changes.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ACTION
WAYS AND MEANS
The Ways and Means Committee met on Monday, June 1, and gave a report of favorable with amendments on H.4230, the SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT which provides for the allocation of certain additional revenue that has been certified for appropriation.
The legislation devotes all nonrecurring supplemental funds to transportation infrastructure needs, distributing $150 million among the County Transportation Committees to use for resurfacing, reconstructing, and repairing roads and bridges in the state-owned secondary road system.
The legislation provides for the allocation of $152 million in recurring supplemental funds: $70 million is devoted to a new interchange on Interstate 26 that will facilitate the construction of Volvo’s new motor vehicle manufacturing facility in Berkeley County; $49.82 million is allocated to various health care initiatives at the Department of Health and Human Services; $23.5 million is used to provide a one-time $800 bonus for state employees with annual salaries of less than $100,000; $6.08 million is allocated for indigent defense; and, $2.6 million is appropriated for the child support enforcement computer system at the Department of Social Services.
The legislation provides for the allocation of $20.425 million in homestead exemption funds: $16.425 million is devoted to debt service for the state’s economic development bonds; and, $4 million is appropriated for the initiative that allows tax credits for tuition scholarships granted to exceptional needs children.
The legislation provides for the allocation of $21.15 million in Education Improvement Act funds: $10 million is devoted to Education and Economic Development Act initiatives; $6.538 million is appropriated to modernize vocational training equipment; and, $4.961 million is used for reading coaches.
BILLS INTRODUCED IN THE
HOUSE THIS WEEK
AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES AND
H. 4302 SHELLFISH Rep. Bowers
This bill provides that a person may sell shellfish for consumption within the State at all times during the year under certain authorizations.
EDUCATION AND PUBLIC WORKS
H.4330 PARENTAL RIGHT TO REFUSE ASSESSMENTS ACT Rep. Hill
This bill provides that the parent of a student may excuse the student from participating in standardized assessments that are part of a certain system of statewide academic assessments without penalty to the parent, student, and student’s teacher, the principal of the school, the public school that the student attends, or the local education provider that enrolls the student.
H.4298 ELECTED DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR Rep. Putnam
This Joint Resolution proposes a ballot question for voters to approve an amendment to Section 7, Article VI of the South Carolina Constitution to add a Secretary of Transportation. This person would be elected by voters to serve a term of four years that will match the term served by our Governor. In addition, the duties and compensation for the elected Secretary of Transportation will be set by law.
H.4326 PIPELINE COMPANIES EMINENT DOMAIN AUTHORITY Rep. Hixon
This bill amends the state code of laws to add procedures for the exercise of eminent domain by private pipeline companies. It also contains necessary definitions as well as permitting and certification of proposed projects by the Public Service Commission and the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Property owners along proposed pipeline routes are given certain rights and a cause of action for damages to property condemned for pipeline construction. It also revises the title of this section "Gas and Water Companies."
H.4339 STATE GRAND JURY INSURANCE FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS Rep. Kennedy
This bill expands State Grand Jury authority to include crimes involving insurance fraud. Violators can have their drivers licenses suspended when the court finds violators have carelessly or recklessly operated a motor vehicle in the commission of violations. Their motor vehicles are also subject to forfeiture. Other SC Code Sections, 38-55-540 and 56-1-146 are also amended to include suspension of driving privileges for persons and forfeiture of their vehicles as well as including the crime of insurance fraud as an additional reason for suspending drivers’ licenses.
S.221 SENTENCING REFORM OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE Sen. Malloy
This Joint Resolution would extend the operations of the "Sentencing Reform Oversight Committee" to December 31, 2020.
S.505 CIVIL COMMITMENTS TOLLING Sen. Martin
This bill amends SC Code Sections 24-21-440, 24-21-560, and 24-21-670 regarding serving probation, community service, or parole sentences to toll probation, community service, or parole service time during time spent serving civil commitments.
LABOR, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
S.652 SAVINGS PROMOTION CONTESTS Sen. L. Martin
This bill provides authority for financial institutions that do business in South Carolina to conduct savings promotion contests for members and customers.
S.693 INSURERS’ REHABILITATION AND LIQUIDATION ACT REVISIONS Sen. Hayes
This bill revises the Insurers’ Rehabilitation and Liquidation Act to make provisions that are specific to federal home loan banks and insurer-members of those banks in delinquency proceedings.
H.4307 TERMINATION OF HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS AND HOME MEDICAL DEVICES CONTRACTS BY OLDER CUSTOMERS Rep. Bowers
This bill provides for a one-hundred-twenty-day period during which a resident over seventy may terminate his contract with a seller of home security systems or home medical devices.
H.4308 USE OF A CONSUMER’S CREDIT SCORE TO DETERMINE THE PRICE OF SERVICES Rep. Bowers
This bill provides that a seller of services that uses a consumer’s credit score to determine the price of the services must report the score to the consumer on the consumer’s invoice.
H.4325 WIND ENERGY INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT Rep. Duckworth
This bill requires the South Carolina Public Service Commission to adopt regulations that enable and encourage electrical utilities subject to the commission’s jurisdiction to negotiate with offshore wind energy developers, for the purchase of power at fair rates comparable and similar to current new construction power production cost conditions, and these negotiations to result in provisional and conditional power purchase agreements in order to provide a path forward to creating a wind energy industry in South Carolina. The Public Service Commission is required to schedule biannual open progress report meetings for a period of two years.
MEDICAL, MILITARY, PUBLIC MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS
H. 4327 "QUALITY HOSPICE PROGRAMS ACT" Rep. G. M. Smith
Among many things, this bill further defines terms relating to hospice programs. The bill establishes certain requirements for licensing and or registering multiple hospice office locations.
H. 4340 INDUSTRIAL HEMP Rep. King
This bill requires the Department of Agriculture to create and manage an Industrial hemp Research Program to facilitate the growth of commercial markets for industrial hemp and hemp products. The bill also provides for the creation and operation of an industrial hemp registry to allow individuals to be permitted to grow, manufacture, process and sell industrial hemp.
WAYS AND MEANS
H.4303 OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT RATE ALLOWED FOR ADDITIONAL RESIDENCE OF A PARENT OR CHILD Rep. Bowers
This bill revises tax assessment ratios on residential property, so as to allow a taxpayer to claim the four percent assessment ratio on a residential property other than their legal residence if the additional residence is the legal residence of either a parent or child of the taxpayer.
H.4304 STATE UNIFORM MILLAGE FOR SCHOOLS Rep. Bowers
This bill provides for the imposition of a uniform statewide ad valorem tax to replace any other ad valorem tax imposed for school operating purposes.
H.4305 STATE UNIFORM MILLAGE ON PERSONAL MOTOR VEHICLES Rep. Bowers
This bill provides for the imposition of a uniform statewide ad valorem tax on personal motor vehicles to replace any other ad valorem tax imposed on personal motor vehicles for school operating purposes.
H.4306 PROMENADE PRIDE DISTRICTS Rep. Bowers
This bill provides authority for a county or municipality with a population of fifty thousand or less to create by resolution Promenade Pride Districts within the territorial boundaries of the political subdivision. The value of any addition or improvement to real property located within the district is exempt from any property tax levied by the political subdivision that created the district. The addition or improvement is exempt for the seven property tax years following the completion of the addition or improvement so long as the owner of the real property remains the same.
H.4309 OWNER-OCCUPIED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT RATE ELIGIBILITY Rep. Bowers
This bill revises eligibility criteria for the four percent real property tax assessment ratio, so as to eliminate the requirement that a taxpayer certifies that no member of the taxpayer’s household claims to be a resident of another state or claims the four percent assessment ratio on any other residence.
H.4312 LIMITS ON ANNUAL PROPERTY TAX MILLAGE INCREASES IMPOSED BY POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS Rep. W. J. McLeod
This bill revises provisions that place limits on annual property tax millage increases imposed by political subdivisions, so as to restore the former method of overriding the annual cap by a positive majority of the appropriate governing body and eliminating the super majority requirement for overriding the cap for specific circumstances.
H.4328 INCOME TAX DEADLINES Rep. White
This bill revises provisions relating to the quarterly income tax withholdings, so as to change the due date of the fourth quarter return from the last day of February to the last day of January. The legislation revises provisions relating to the due date for filing statements regarding income tax withholdings with the Department of Revenue, so as to change the due date from the last day of February to the last day of January.
H.4329 ACCOMMODATIONS TAX LIABILITY Rep. Clemmons
This bill local accommodations tax provisions, so as to provide that a third party who accepts an accommodation charge is liable for accommodations tax. The legislation provides that the local accommodations tax does not apply to certain residential real property. The legislation revises provisions relating to the tax on accommodations for transients, so as to clarify which party is responsible for the accommodations tax, and to provide that a third party who accepts an accommodation charge is liable for accommodations tax.
H.4331 SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY Rep. Dillard
This bill revises provisions relating to housing and redevelopment, so as to change the name of the "South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority" to the "South Carolina Housing Finance Agency" and to revise provisions relating to the Housing Trust Fund, so as to revise definitions and to define "project". The legislation: provides for the board to set policies for payment of reasonable fees and expenses for sponsors; removes the South Carolina Housing Partnership from the advisory committee; adds the South Carolina Municipal Association to the advisory committee; provides that grants may be made to certain housing trust funds; and, establishes a cap at fifteen percent of the amount of annual trust fund deposits awarded to units of state, regional, and local governments.
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