Legislative Update
March 1, 2016
Vol. 33, No. 7

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


CONTENTS

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, March 1, 2016

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW

The House of Representatives approved and sent the Senate H.4936, a bill designating EDUCATIONAL GOALS FOR ALL SOUTH CAROLINA HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES and the standards and areas of learning by which these goals are measured. Through this legislation, the General Assembly declares that the principles outlined in the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate, published by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators and approved by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, the Education Oversight Committee, the State Board of Education and Transform SC schools and districts, are the standards by which our stateís high school graduates should be measured and are this stateís achievement goals for all high school students. The state shall ensure that graduates have world class knowledge based on rigorous standards in language arts and math for college and career readiness. Students should have the opportunity to learn one of a number of foreign languages, and have offerings in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, arts, and social sciences that afford them the knowledge needed to be successful. Students also must be offered the ability to obtain world class skills such as: (1) creativity and innovation; (2) critical thinking and problem solving; (3) collaboration and teamwork; (4) communication, information, media, and technology; and (5) knowing how to learn. Students finally also must be offered the ability to learn life and career characteristics such as: (1) integrity; (2) self-direction; (3) global perspective; (4) perseverance; (5) work ethic; and (6) interpersonal skills.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4937, a bill reestablishing the SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COORDINATING COUNCIL to review the progress, results, and compliance with the Education and Economic Development Act and to make recommendations for better achieving the actís goals of implementing career pathways in the stateís public schools and fostering a better prepared workforce and student success in postsecondary education. The council is comprised of the following members representing the geographic regions of the state and must be representative of the ethnic, gender, rural, and urban diversity of the state: (1) State Superintendent of Education or his designee; (2) Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce or his designee; (3) Executive Director of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education or his designee; (4) Secretary of the Department of Commerce or his designee; (5) Executive Director of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce or his designee; (6) Chief Executive Officer of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance or his designee; (7) Executive Director of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education or his designee; (8) the following members who must be appointed by the State Superintendent of Education: (a) a school district superintendent; (b) a principal; (c) a school guidance counselor; (d) a teacher; and (e) the director of a career and technology center; (9) the following members who must be appointed by the Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education: (a) the president or provost of a research university; (b) the president or provost of a four-year college or university; and (c) the president of a technical college; (10) ten representatives of business appointed by the Governor, at least one of which must represent small business. Of the representatives appointed by the Governor, five must be recommended by state-wide organizations representing business and industry. The chair is to be selected by the Governor from one of his appointees; (11) Chairman of the Education Oversight Committee or his designee; (12) a member from the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House; and (13) a member from the Senate appointed by the President Pro Tempore.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4938, a joint resolution providing for a SURVEY OF THE STATEíS COLLEGE STUDENTS ON TEACHING IN RURAL AND ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGED SCHOOL DISTRICTS. The legislation directs the State Department of Education (SDE) and the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA) to collaborate with the Commission of Higher Education in surveying students enrolled in the South Carolina colleges and universities. At a minimum, the survey must include the following questions: whether students have considered teaching in a rural and economically challenged districts; what incentives, if any, would cause them to move to, and work in, such a district and any additional questions SDE and CERRA consider useful. The survey results must be reported to the General Assembly by December 1, 2016.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4939, a bill to provide for EDUCATION REFORM INITIATIVES. Through this legislation, the General Assembly directs the State Superintendent of Education, the executive director of the Education Oversight Committee, the chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, and the chairman of the Senate Education Committee to each appoint one representative to a committee to be chaired by the appointee of the State Superintendent of Education to review the stateís education laws found in Title 59 of the South Carolina Code and report to the General Assembly on all statutes that are found to be obsolete or no longer applicable. This report must be submitted by December 31, 2016, and updated at least every five years thereafter. The State Department of Education is required to develop a system for providing services and technical assistance to school districts that must include academic assistance and assistance with finances. The State Superintendent of Education must report the initial design of the system to the General Assembly by December 31, 2016, and then provide an annual progress report on the system that includes data documenting the impact of the assistance to the local school districts on student academic achievement and on high school graduation rates. Additionally, the State Department of Education is charged with monitoring the professional development of teachers, staff, and administrators in districts it determines are underperforming to ascertain what improvements and changes are necessary in accordance with the provisions of the Education Accountability Act. The department also shall monitor the operations of school boards in underperforming districts in order to determine if they are operating efficiently and effectively. These improvements and changes must be communicated to the school districts and other involved parties.

The House gave second reading approval to H.4717, a bill that responds to the unprecedented damage of the October 2015 floods by creating the "SOUTH CAROLINA FARM AID FUND" to assist farmers in order to prevent the economic collapse of many of the stateís farms which could cause a severe disruption in the stateís economy and food supply chain. Established with a $40 million appropriation from the 2014-2015 Contingency Reserve Fund and authorized to accept private funds, grants, and property, the South Carolina Farm Aid Fund is created for making financial awards to farmers who have experienced a verifiable loss of agricultural commodities of at least forty percent as a result of certain declared natural disasters, excluding drought. Grant awards must be used for agricultural production expenses and losses due to the declared disaster which demonstrate an intent to continue the agricultural operation, such as purchases of seed and fertilizer. Awards may not be used to purchase new equipment. Grant awards that are falsely obtained or misspent must be refunded. The legislation makes provisions for each grant to equal twenty percent of the personís verifiable loss of agricultural commodities, and establishes limitations so that grants may not exceed one hundred thousand dollars and may not, when combined with losses covered by insurance, exceed one hundred percent of the actual loss. The grant application process and other duties relating to fund administration and oversight are to be conducted by a Farm Aid Board composed of: the Commissioner of Agriculture, ex officio, or his designee, who serves as chairman; one member representing the South Carolina Farm Bureau Federation appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; one member representing a Farm Credit Association appointed by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee; one member of the crop insurance industry appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee; one agricultural commodities producer appointed by the Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee; the Vice President for Public Service and Agriculture of Clemson Public Service Activities, or his designee; and the Vice President for Land Grant Services of South Carolina State Public Service Activities, or his designee.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4548, a bill addressing CLOSING FEES CHARGED BY MOTOR VEHICLE DEALERS. Responding to a 2015 ruling from the South Carolina Supreme Court, the legislation provides for clarification in the provisions authorizing motor vehicle dealers to charge closing fees in motor vehicle sales for all administrative and financial work needed to transfer a motor vehicle to the consumer.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4857, a bill establishing LANDFILL REQUIREMENTS FOR COAL ASH FROM ELECTRICAL POWER PLANTS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation provides that coal combustion residuals that result from an electrical utility, an electric cooperative, a governmental entity, a corporation, or an individual producing electricity for sale or distribution by burning coal must be placed in a Class 3 solid waste management landfill, unless the coal combustion residuals are: (1) located contiguous with the electric generating unit; (2) intended to be beneficially reused; (3) placed into beneficial reuse; or (4) placed in an appropriate landfill meeting the standards of the Department of Health and Environmental Control that is owned or operated by the entity that produced the electricity which resulted in the coal combustion residuals. The legislation establishes a five-year sunset date for these requirements, unless they are reenacted or otherwise extended by the General Assembly.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4151, a bill providing for CIGARETTE TAX STAMPS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation establishes requirements for affixing stamps on cigarette packs as an indication of taxes paid. A distributor is afforded a tax credit of up to $175,000 against the tobacco tax for costs incurred in the purchase of a stamping machine and equipment. An agent who is charged with affixing and accounting for the taxes represented by the stamps retains a discount of 4.25% of the face value of the stamps as compensation.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4443 and adopted this concurrent resolution declaring June 17, 2016, as MOTHER EMANUEL NINE DAY and encouraging all state agencies to reflect on the progress made in improving race relations and economic equality for minorities as well as the efforts to help the homeless in South Carolina.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4092, a bill making provisions for a RETENTION OF THE OWNER-OCCUPIED SPECIAL PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT RATE FOR A DECEASED INDIVIDUALíS ESTATE. The legislation provides that when a homeowner receiving the four percent property tax assessment ratio dies, the property shall continue to receive the special owner-occupied assessment rate until the deceasedís estate is closed, or upon recording of a deed or deed of distribution out of the estate, whichever occurs first. This extension of the special assessment rate only applies if the property is not rented.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4328, a bill SYNCHRONIZING CERTAIN FILING DEADLINES REGARDING INCOME TAX WITHHOLDINGS to eliminate a lag time that presents an opportunity for fraud. The legislation revises two requirements for filing income tax withholdings information with the Department of Revenue that relate to fourth quarter returns and final annual statements so that they both have due dates of the last day of January rather than the last day of February.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4712, a bill making clarifications regarding the CLASSIFICATION OF OFF-PREMISES OUTDOOR ADVERTISING SIGNS AS PERSONAL PROPERTY FOR TAX PURPOSES. The legislation classifies off-premises outdoor advertising signs as tangible personal property for tax purposes, and provides that the value of a lease or lease income on such billboards may not be used in the assessment of the tax value of the real property on which the advertising sign is erected.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4577, a bill that provides for AIRCRAFT PROPERTY TAX PROCEEDS TO BE CREDITED TO THE STATE AVIATION FUND to support the maintenance and upkeep of airports.


HOUSE COMMITTEE ACTION

AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES AND
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS

The Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Committee met on Thursday, February 25, 2016, and reported out the following bills:

H.4743, a bill regarding LAKE CONESTEE NATURE PARK, was given a favorable recommendation by the full committee. This bill declares Lake Conestee Nature Park to be a Wildlife Sanctuary for the protection and conservation of game, songbirds, waterfowl, fish, amphibians, other animals, and plant life. Lake Conestee is owned and operated by Conestee Foundation, a private nonprofit conservation organization, located in Greenville County.

The legislation outlines that it is unlawful to hunt, trap, take, gather, harvest, or molest any plants, animals, or artifacts on the lands of Lake Conestee Nature Park, except for purposes of habitat management or research. The Conestee Foundation may, at its discretion, issue permits for research and site management activities related to wildlife and habitat management.

The legislation also states that any person convicted of violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

Designation as a wildlife sanctuary does not alter existing rights held or conveyed under the conservation easement agreement applying to Lake Conestee Nature Park.

The full committee gave a favorable with amendment report to H.4876, legislation regarding the taking and size limits of STRIPED BASS. It is unlawful to take, attempt to take or to possess striped bass from June 16 through September 30 in the Intracoastal Waterway. It is also unlawful to take or possess more than three striped bass a day from October first through June 15 in these same waters. In addition, it is unlawful to take or possess a striped bass less than twenty-three inches or greater than twenty-five inches in the Santee River system from October first through June 15, provided that one striped bass taken or possessed may be greater than thirty-six inches.

The full committee gave a favorable recommendation to H.4943, legislation dealing with the issuance of DEER HUNTING TAGS for in-state residents and non-residents. This new tagging system does not change game zones or seasons. However, it does attempt to require every deer be tagged in the state.

The legislation outlines that the Department of Natural Resources will issue eight doe day specific tags and three buck tags with the purchase of a South Carolina hunting license and big game permit for in-state residents. Hunters (including youth and gratis licensees) will have the option to purchase two additional buck (with four points on one side or a minimum 12-inch antler spread) tags at $5 each and/or four additional doe tags at $5 each. All funds collected from the two additional buck tags sales will go into a Coyote Management Program.

With the purchase of a hunting license and big game permit, non-residents hunters will pay $50 for the first purchased antlered tag and $20 for each additional antlered tag (with a maximum purchase of four tags of which two must have size restriction). There is a $10 charge for each antlerless tag purchased. It is projected that the non-residents hunting license sales could generate up to $150 per out of state hunter for the state of South Carolina.

The legislation provides for antlerless and antlered deer limits to be two doe taken per day and two bucks taken per day. Antlerless bag limits are set in regulations.

S.545, legislation dealing with the issuance of DEER HUNTING TAGS for in-state residents and non-residents, was given a favorable with amendment from the full committee. The amendment strikes the entire legislation and replaces it with the entire legislation in H.4943.

This new tagging system does not change game zones or seasons. However, it does attempt to require every deer be tagged in the state.

The legislation outlines that the Department of Natural Resources will issue eight doe day specific tags and three buck tags with the purchase of a South Carolina hunting license and big game permit for in-state residents. Hunters (including youth and gratis licensees) will have the option to purchase two additional buck (with four points on one side or a minimum 12-inch antler spread) tags at $5 each and/or four additional doe tags at $5 each. All funds collected from the two additional buck tags sales will go into a Coyote Management Program.

With the purchase of a hunting license and big game permit, non-residents hunters will pay $50 for the first purchased antlered tag and $20 for each additional antlered tag (with a maximum purchase of four tags of which two must have size restriction). There is a $10 charge for each antlerless tag purchased. It is projected that the non-residents hunting license sales could generate up to $150 per out of state hunter for the state of South Carolina.

The legislation provides for antlerless and antlered deer limits to be two doe taken per day and two bucks taken per day. Antlerless bag limits are set in regulations.

JUDICIARY

The House Judiciary Committee met on February 23, 2016, and favorably reported out three bills:

H. 4413 SAFE HAVENS FOR INFANTS, was reported out with two amendments, to set out safe havens for individuals to leave infants aged 180 days or less. By doing so, these individual would not be subject to any criminal penalties. Safe havens have to post prominently displayed notices, as prepared by the Department of Social Services, in view of the public to identify their location as a safe haven. Safe havens will offer any person leaving these infants information concerning the legal effect of leaving the infant at the safe haven. They will also ask individuals leaving these infants for family medical histories and background information. This information will include any use of controlled substances by the birth mother.

H. 4701 SECOND AMENDMENT PRESERVATION ACT that provides the state will not enforce any federal limitations that came into effect after January 1, 2016 that apply to individuals owning, possessing, or using firearms. No specified federal funds will be used to require registration or confiscation of firearms. Prohibits using state funds to enforce federal laws or regulations that require registration, or confiscation, of firearms.

H. 4846 OCONEE AND ANDERSON COUNTY MASTER-IN-EQUITY COURT REORGANIZATION establishes a separate Master-In-Equity for Anderson County and for Oconee County. Dissolves the current sharing arrangement between these two counties, which has been in existence for thirty-two years. It also establishes a Master-In-Equity court in each county. These changes are based on population increases for both counties.

MEDICAL, MILITARY, PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS

The Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee met on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, and gave favorable reports to three bills.

The full committee gave a favorable with amendment report to H.4542, legislation regarding EXPERIMENTAL HEALTH CARE TREATMENT. This bill sets up a process to allow terminally ill patients who have considered all FDA approved treatment options and received a recommendation from the treating physician to try an investigational drug, biological product, or device ("drug"). The term "drug" referred to in this legislation means to have completed at least phase one of a three phase Food and Drug Administration clinical trial but not yet been approved for general use. Phase one of FDA clinical trials test for safety but not efficacy of drugs. The legislation also provides that the drug must be legal in South Carolina.
The legislation requires a written consent provided from a patient, parent or guardian of a minor patient, court appoint guardian or person designated to make health care decisions to try the drug. The consent must include information about currently approved treatments, the specific drug to be used, and acknowledgement of potential outcomes. In addition, the patientís health plan is not obligated to pay for any treatment related to the drug.

The legislation allows, but does not require, an investigative drug manufacturer to make the drug available with or without compensation to an eligible patient. It also makes clear that it does not expand health insurance coverage or require government agencies or health care facilities to pay additional costs or provide additional services. In addition, the bill states that it does not affect any mandatory health care coverage for participation in clinical trials.

The legislation prohibits a licensing board from taking action against a health care provider based on the providerís recommendations for an investigative drug for an eligible patient. Similarly, the providerís Medicare certification is protected for this purpose. The legislation also outlines that state officials would be prohibited from denying an eligible patient access to an investigative drug.

The committee gave a favorable with amendment recommendation to H.4165, legislation creating the "HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION (HOA) REGIME FEE FAIRNESS TO DEPLOYED SERVICE MEMBERS ACT". The legislation states that a service member who belongs to a homeowners' association must notify the homeowners' association of orders of deployment upon receipt of deployment notification and pay any regime fees currently due before being deployed. However, for regime fees that become due while the homeowner is deployed, a homeowners' association may not enforce a lien for homeowners' association regime fees that accrue and are not paid during the time period that the homeowner is deployed or mobilized outside of this state; or assess or impose penalties for homeowners' association regime fees not paid during the time period that the homeowner is deployed or mobilized outside of this state. The legislation also applies to dependents residing with the service member. These provisions do not waive the deployed service member from continuing to maintain the property as defined in declaration or otherwise by law.

The committee also gave a favorable with amendment report to H.4262, legislation dealing with TRAINING FOR FAMILY CHILDCARE HOME OPERATORS AND EMPLOYEES. Beginning July 1, 2017, the legislation increases hours of training from two to ten for operators of family childcare homes, employees or contractors with operators of family childcare homes. The bill also gives the Department of Social Services (DSS) the authority to deny a family childcare home application for registration or registration renewal if a child in the facility is at risk; the facility previously or currently has enrolled more than the maximum number of children; the operator does not comply with registration procedures; or the operator does not comply with training requirements.

In addition, DSS can consider the circumstances of previous applications and prior inspections or withdrawals of registration as factors in the application process. However, a prior concern does not prohibit DSS from granting the family childcare home a statement or renewal of registration if DSS is satisfied that the concern was resolved.

WAYS AND MEANS

The Ways and Means Committee reported out the proposed FISCAL YEAR 2016-2017 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET which includes $8.2 billion in recurring general fund revenue of which $767 million is new recurring revenue, $501 million in nonrecurring revenue, $419 million in Education Lottery Funds, and $131 million in Capital Reserve Funds.

$185 million in nonrecurring funds is distributed among the County Transportation Committees to use for resurfacing, reconstructing, and repairing roads and bridges in the state-owned secondary road system.

The budget legislation authorizes $65.68 million in motor vehicle sales tax revenues to be transferred from the general fund to the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank to be utilized to leverage bonds to finance bridge replacement, resurfacing and rehabilitation projects, and expansion and improvements to existing mainline interstates.

$37.3 million in nonrecurring funds is provided to the Department of Transportation to address road repair costs from the October 2015 flood damage.

$130 million in recurring revenue is devoted to tax relief initiatives in proposed legislation that has been passed by the House of Representatives during the current General Assembly and sent to the Senate such as the adjustment of individual income tax brackets included in H.3579, the "South Carolina Infrastructure Finance Reform and Tax Relief Act", and the income tax exemption for military retirement benefits proposed in H.3147, the "South Carolina Giving Back to Our Veterans Act".

For K-12 public education, $218 million is used to increase the base student cost to arrive at an estimated $2,350 per pupil.

The budget legislation makes provisions for a 2% teacher salary increase, utilizing $23.2 million in Education Improvement Act funds, and one year step increase for teacher salaries which must be applied uniformly for all eligible certified teachers.

$750 thousand in Education Improvement Act funds is included for teacher supplies.

$19.2 million in recurring funds is allocated for bus driver salary enhancements.

$10 million is provided from the Capital Reserve Fund for purchasing or leasing new school buses along with $6.5 million in Education Lottery funds and $3.5 million in unclaimed lottery prize money.

The K-12 technology initiative is afforded $29.3 million in Education Lottery proceeds.

The State Department of Education is provided $18 million in Education Lottery proceeds for instructional materials.

Education and Economic Development Act initiatives are afforded $10 million in recurring funds.

The State Department of Education is provided $3 million in Education Lottery proceeds for college and career readiness.

$12.987 million in Education Improvement Act funds is included to address S.C. Public Charter School District growth.

Virtual SC is afforded $1.2 million in recurring funds.

The Governorís School for Science and Mathematics is provided $1.2 million in recurring funds for its statewide Accelerate Engineering program.

$2.5 million in Education Improvement Act funds is allocated for AdvancED technical assistance.

$1.1 million in recurring funds is provided for full-day four-year-old kindergarten instructional costs.

$1.5 million from the Capital Reserve Fund is provided to the State Department of Education for a statewide facilities assessment.

$16.8 million in nonrecurring funds is included for technical assistance to the Abbeville education lawsuit plaintiff districts and other rural school districts to facilitate online test taking.

Provisions are included for a system of tiers of technical assistance that the State Department of Education provides for low-performing schools which are failing to meet state standards or which have the lowest high school graduation rates.

New provisions are included that authorize the State Superintendent of Education to declare a state of emergency in a school district if the accreditation status is probation or denied, if a majority of the schools fail to show improvement on the state accountability system, if the district is classified as being in "high risk" status financially, or for financial mismanagement resulting in a deficit. A state of emergency may be declared by the State Superintendent for an individual school if the accreditation status is probation or denied or if the school fails to show improvement on the state accountability system. Upon declaration of a state of emergency, the State Superintendent of Education may take over management of the school or district, which may include direct management, consolidation with another district, charter management, public/private management, or contracting with an educational management organization or another school district.

$8.25 million in Education Improvement Act funds is included for the rural teacher initiative.

$8.26 million in Education Lottery proceeds is provided for higher education tuition grants available to those who agree to teach in rural and economically challenged school districts.

Authorization is provided for Clemson University to form a charter school to assume management of the John de la Howe School for at-risk youth and offer educational services in keeping with the purposes specified in Dr. John de la Howeís will.

Full funding is provided for the LIFE, HOPE, and Palmetto Fellows higher education scholarship programs.

In higher education, the budget emphasizes an increase in the recurring funding that is directed to the stateís colleges, universities, and technical schools with a goal of encouraging such systemic changes as no increases in tuition rates.

Provisions are included for the forgiveness of loans disbursed to South Carolina State University if the university meets specified benchmarks such as maintaining academic accreditation, maintaining a balanced budget, and meeting enrollment growth goals. The budget includes a provisions that it is the intent of the General Assembly that the SC State Interim Board of Trustees conduct a national search to hire a permanent President for the university by December 31, 2016.

Provisions are included for the transfer of the Felton Lab from S.C. State University to the S.C. Public Charter School District.

$13.6 million in nonrecurring funds is devoted to worker training through the Ready SC Program at the stateís technical colleges. $8 million in recurring funds is provided for manufacturing, healthcare, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) training. $20 million in nonrecurring funds is provided to the Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education for critical training equipment. $16 million from the Capital Reserve Fund is provided for the Trident Technical College Aeronautical Training Center.

$7 million in recurring funds and $10 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the Deal Closing Fund that the Department of Commerce uses to recruit new business to the state. The Department of Commerce is afforded appropriations of $5.4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Locate SC Site Inventory, $3 million in nonrecurring funds for research initiatives, $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for the Office of Innovation, $500,000 in recurring funds for the SC Manufacturing Extension Partnership, $400,000 in nonrecurring funds for IT-ology Coursepower, $350,000 in recurring funds for the SC Council on Economic Competitiveness, and $300,000 in nonrecurring funds for the US Department of Defense Business Diversification grant match.

$1.495 million in recurring funds is allocated to the Rural Infrastructure Fund that is used to facilitate economic development in rural areas.

The Department of Employment and Workforce is allocated $1.799 million in recurring funds for the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative.

A 1% state employee pay increase is provided with $16.2 million in recurring funds.

$25.4 million is included to cover the increased costs of operating the state's health insurance plan and $1.5 million is included to cover increased dental plan costs with no increases in the premiums paid by employees and no reductions in coverage.

$18.4 million is allocated for retirement contributions increases in the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System.

The Local Government Fund is maintained at its $212 million level and a $12.5 million component of the fund which has been comprised of nonrecurring dollars is replaced with recurring dollars.

The budget legislation authorizes the withholding of funds in Local Government Fund distributions to counties and municipalities equal in amount to any fines that a political subdivision has collected to enforce local ordinances that conflict with state traffic laws.

The Department of Health and Human Services is afforded $149.4 million in recurring funds to accommodate part of the growth in the stateís Medicaid Program with recurring funding rather than funding from reserve accounts.

$8.5 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for an updated Medicaid Management and Information System.

$2 million in recurring funds is provided for the stateís telemedicine network.

The budget provides for the continuation of Medicaid Program accountability and quality improvement programs as: the Healthy Outcomes Initiative for meeting the needs of chronically ill uninsured patients through home visits and care in other settings outside the emergency room; enhanced cost reimbursement for rural hospitals; a Primary Care Safety Net utilizing such resources as Federally Qualified Health Centers and free clinics; and efforts to enhance provider capacity in rural and underserved areas.

$2 million in recurring funds and $2 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for a Rural Health Initiative partnership between DHHS and the USC School of Medicine to improve access to life-saving emergency room care in the wake of rural hospital closures. Provisions include an exemption from Certificate of Need requirements for the construction of a facility in a medically underserved area that can provide emergency care and stabilization beds twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and is designed to utilize the Statewide Telemedicine Network.

The budget legislation includes a provision that sets priorities in the awarding of family planning funds to contractors with top priority given to state, county and other public entities that provide family planning services and local community health clinics and federally qualified health centers; middle priority assigned to nonpublic entities that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health services in addition to abortion and other family planning services; and lowest priority given to nonpublic entities that provide family planning services but do not provide comprehensive primary and preventive health services. Those who award family planning funds must submit an annual report to the General Assembly that details funds awarded to the lowest priority contractors and includes an explanation of how it was determined that there was an insufficient number of preferred service providers available to be awarded family planning funds.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control receives $661,500 in recurring funds to enhance its dam safety inspection and permitting program, $8 million in recurring funds along with $2 million in nonrecurring funds for its data center infrastructure, $2 million in recurring funds for electronic medical records, $1.75 million in recurring funds to enhance its infectious disease tuberculosis program, $2.75 million in nonrecurring funds for water quality infrastructure, $945,00 in recurring funds for ambient water quality monitoring, and $100,000 in nonrecurring funds for Donate Lifeís Organ Donor Registry.

The budget allocates nonrecurring funds derived from the sale of DHECís home health services by providing $3.6 million for data center infrastructure, $5.2 million for Pinewood Custodial Site capital improvements and repairs, $5.8 million for electronic medical records, and $2.5 million for flood recovery operations.

The Department of Mental Health is allocated $4.2 million in recurring funds for the Sexually Violent Predator Program, $2.5 million in recurring funds for inpatient clinical and medical services, $2.5 million in recurring funds for forensics, $500,000 in recurring funds for school based services, and $1 million in recurring funds for a crisis stabilization unit.

The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs receives $6.6 million in recurring funds to reduce its waiting lists, $1.2 million in recurring funds for the transition to community-based services, $1 million in recurring funds for crisis intervention and stabilization, $500,000 in recurring funds for expansion of non-emergency respite care beds, and $500,000 in recurring funds for post-acute rehab for traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries.

The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation is provided $635,287 in recurring funds for School-to-Work Transition Services.

The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services receives $1.75 million in recurring funds for prescription drug abuse medication assisted treatment and $3 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for infrastructure improvements in the substance abuse provider system.

At the Department of Social Services, $5.6 million in recurring funds is devoted to child and adult protective services recruitment and retention. $6.2 million in recurring funds and $1 million in nonrecurring funds is allocated for the development of the child support system. Utilizing $3.4 million in recurring funds, the budget provides for an increase in monthly family foster care and kinship care payment rates. $800,000 in nonrecurring funds is provided for criminal domestic violence initiatives with the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

The State Law Enforcement Division is provided $364,000 in recurring funds for law enforcement officer rank change, $3.195 million in recurring funds for vehicle rotation, and $500,000 in recurring funds and $10.1 million in nonrecurring funds for the forensics lab expansion.

The budget legislation provides for a transfer of the Illegal Immigration Unit from the Department of Public Safety to SLED.

The Attorney Generalís Office receives $1.056 million in recurring dollars for retention funding, $200,000 in recurring funds for prosecutors and $81,200 in recurring funds for a forensic examiner in the Internet Crimes Against Children division, $600,600 in recurring funds for violent crimes and sex crimes prosecutors.

The Commission on Minority Affairs receives $200,000 in recurring funds for a human trafficking hotline.

The Prosecution Coordination Commission is afforded $7.8 million in recurring dollars for caseload equalization funding and $800,000 in recurring funds for the SC Center for Fathers and Families.

The Commission on Indigent Defense is afforded $6.261 million in recurring dollars for per capita funding of indigent defense and $2 million in recurring funds for the Rule 608 Appointment Fund.

The budget legislation provides for the reauthorization of the Sentencing Reform Oversight Committee to examine the need for criminal justice reform initiatives.

The Department of Corrections receives $8 million in recurring dollars for its correctional officer hiring rate adjustment and retention plan to reduce turnover rate at the agency, $2.75 million in recurring funds for the middle phase its mental health remediation plan, and $722,328 in recurring funds for the middle phase its medical remediation plan.

The Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services is provided $1.98 million in recurring funds for officer retention and $6.4 million in recurring funds to offset revenue loss due to sentencing reform.

The Department of Juvenile Justice receives $1 million in recurring funds for its correctional officer hiring rate adjustment and retention plan to reduce turnover rate at the agency and $100,000 in nonrecurring funds for AMI Kids.

The Department of Natural Resources is allocated $326,930 in recurring funds for law enforcement officer step increases and $261,312 in recurring funds for vehicle rotation.

$72 million in nonrecurring funds is allocated to the Adjutant Generalís Emergency Management Division as the state and local match for Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) funds for the 2015 catastrophic flood response. The Adjutant Generalís Office receives $5 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for armory revitalization.

The budget legislation accommodates the $40 million appropriation from the 2014-2015 Contingency Reserve Fund for the "South Carolina Farm Aid Fund" that is created to assist farmers who suffered extensive damage in the October 2015 floods through H.4717 which has been passed by the House of Representatives during the current General Assembly and sent to the Senate.

The Department of Agriculture is afforded $1 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for consumer protection equipment and $500,000 in recurring funds expand "Certified SC" marketing of the stateís produce.

Clemson PSA receives $1 million in recurring funds for its agriculture and natural resources program and $1 million in nonrecurring funds for program facilities, and $750,000 in recurring funds for the animal industry infectious disease program to address such issues as the avian flu.

The Forestry Commission receives $320,000 in recurring funds for four additional full-time firefighters, $1 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for firefighting equipment, and $200,000 in recurring funds for implementing a forest inventory system.

The Division of Aeronautics receives $1 million in nonrecurring funds for the State Aviation Fund and $100,000 in nonrecurring funds airport facilities security system replacement.

$1.5 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated to the State Ports Authority for Jasper Ocean Terminal permitting.

$40 million in nonrecurring funds is provided to the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism for coastal beach renourishment.

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism receives $1.2 million in nonrecurring funds for the Sports Development Marketing Program, $3 million in nonrecurring funds for the Medal of Honor Museum, and $4.3 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for facilities revitalization.

A proviso directs the Department of Administration to conduct an analysis of moving the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum from Columbia to the Charleston area.

The Department of Archives and History receives $2.1 million in nonrecurring funds for its architectural heritage preservation initiative.

The State Library is afforded $222,000 in recurring funds for electronic resources and $1 million in recurring funds for aid to county libraries.

The Arts Commission receives $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for the SC Artisans Center.

The Department of Revenue is afforded $1 million in nonrecurring funds for identity and credit protection services and receives $1.145 million in nonrecurring funds and $1.855 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for implementing an updated tax processing system.

The State Ethics Commission receives $150,000 in recurring funds and $10,000 in nonrecurring funds for auditors.

The State Election Commission receives $254,000 in recurring funds for county compliance auditors and supervisors.

The Lieutenant Governorís Office on Aging receives $824,650 from the Capital Reserve Fund for software and technology system upgrades, $1 million in recurring funds for family caregiver services, and $1.5 million in recurring funds for home and community based services.


BILLS INTRODUCED IN THE
HOUSE THIS WEEK

AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES AND
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS

S.1076 PERMIT MAINTENANCE DREDGING Sen. Hembree
The Department of Health and Environmental Control permit is not required for maintenance dredging in existing navigational canal community developments by individuals of manmade, predominately armored, recreational use canals and essential access canals conveyed to the State or dedicated to the public for that purpose between 1965 and the effective date of this provision, if the maintenance dredging is authorized by a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act, as amended, or the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899. All other Department of Health and Environmental Control administered certifications for such dredging are deemed waived.

H.4985 PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS REQUIREMENTS FOR TRESPASSING Rep. Neal
The legislation outlines that an applicant who applies for a permit, license, or other action from the Department of Health and Environmental Control which may give rise to a contested case shall provide personal notice to all adjacent, adjoining, and affected landowners. No applicant may trespass on private property for surveying or any other purpose without the express consent of the property owner. The consent must be for a specific time and place and the applicant must be under the supervision of the department.

EDUCATION AND PUBLIC WORKS

S.72 RELEASED TIME CLASSES Sen. Campsen
This bill relates to elective credit for released time classes in religious instruction for high school students to provide that a school district board of trustees may accept time released credits as transfer credits from an accredited private school.

H.49 FARTHEST RIGHT LANE Rep. R. L. Brown
This bill provides that the Department of Transportation shall erect signs along the stateís interstate highways that inform motorists that certain vehicles must travel in the farthest right lane.

H.4980 YIELDING THE RIGHT OF WAY Rep. Thayer
This bill provides that a driver of a motor vehicle approaching a vehicle collecting solid waste or recovered materials must proceed with caution and, if possible, yield the right of way by making a lane change into a lane that is not adjacent to the vehicle collecting solid waste or recovered materials.

H.4998 GOLF CART PERMITS Rep. Herbkersman
This bill relates to the Department of Motor Vehiclesí issuance of golf cart permits and the operation of golf carts along the stateís highways, so as to provide that a municipality or county may adopt an ordinance that allows for the operation of golf carts that are equipped with working headlights and rear lights during non-daylight hours.

H.5005 DRIVERíS LICENSE DESIGNATION Rep. Putnam
This bill relates to the issuance of a driverís license so as to provide that a holder of a concealed weapon permit may have a designation placed on his driverís license that identifies him as a holder of a permit.

JUDICIARY

S.524 INDECENT EXPOSURE AT CORRECTIONS FACILITIES Sen. Hembree
Creates the offense of indecent exposure inside a corrections or detention facility, which will be considered a public place. Breastfeeding mothers are exempt from this law. Offenders must have their sentence for exposing themselves run consecutively to any other sentences they are serving.

S.1090 JUDGE WILLIAM R. BYARS YOUTHFUL OFFENDER ACT Sen. Fair
SC Code Chapter 19, of Title 24, would be referred to as the Judge William R. Byars Youthful Offender Act.

H.4962 WAR BETWEEN THE STATES FLAGS AT COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES Rep. Whipper
Allows removal and relocation of War Between the States flags from chapels, or other religious buildings, on public property, of a public institution of higher learning. This removal may only occur by the institution board of directorsí approval.

H.4968 WARRANTS OF EJECTMENT Rep. Herbkersman
Changes the time before a court may issue a warrant of ejectment, for tenants who fail to appear and show cause why they have not paid their rent, from 10 days to 10 business days.

H.4971 NONDISPARAGEMENT CLAUSES Rep. J. E. Smith
Establishes that the attempted, or actual, use, or enforcement, of nondisparagement clauses in contracts [that prevent consumers from talking about the sellers of the goods they have purchased] constitutes an unfair trade practice. Provides penalties for sellersí violations.

H.4981 CLARIFICATION OF CIRCUIT SOLICITOR ROLES Rep. Pope
Clarifies the role served by Circuit Solicitors with General Sessions Court docket organization. Prevents Circuit Solicitors from interfering with any Defendantís constitutional rights while administering their General Session dockets. Allows motions related to the order of cases to be made. Also requires all plea offers to be made in writing.

H.4984 CITIZEN/LOCAL GOVERNMENT ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION REFERENDUM Rep. Neal
Schedules a statewide referendum for voters to approve their right--together with local governments--to conserve and protect the environment. If approved, this referendum would allow local governments the power to enact laws, regulations, ordinances, and charter provisions that are more environmentally protective than existing state law.

H.4999 FREE HEALTH CARE SERVICE VOLUNTEERS Rep. Goldfinch
Places free health care provider services within the scope of The Good Samaritan state statute. Requires written notice to patients that the voluntary care by a medical professional will not be compensated, in order for the immunity to apply.

H.5010 PAYMENTS ON BEHALF OF A MINOR OR INCAPACITATED PERSON Rep. Johnson
The probate court, if a minorís or incapacitated personís parents or legal guardian are deceased, may authorize reasonable payments, expenditure, or disbursement of funds necessary to satisfy specific needs of the minor or incapacitated person. This law applies to proposed payments that are not approved elsewhere in state law.

LABOR, COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

S.493 PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYER ORGANIZATIONS Sen. OíDell
This bill makes provisions for the determination of tax credits and economic incentives based on employment with respect to client companies of professional employer organizations. This bill revises provisions relating to the ability of the Department of Insurance to provide by regulation for the acceptance of affidavit or certification of approval of qualified assurance organizations, so as to eliminate the requirement that these functions be provided by regulation. The legislation revises the requirements of professional employment organization services agreements between professional employer organizations and assigned employees, so as to eliminate the requirement that terms must be established by written contract, and instead to provide organizations only shall provide assigned employees with written notice of how the agreement affects them. The legislation revises the requirements of professional employment organization services agreements between professional employer organizations and client companies, so as to clarify that the terms of the agreement must be established by written contract. The legislation provides that professional employer organizations shall not engage in the sale of insurance or act as third party administrators, and provides that the sponsoring and maintaining of employee benefit plans for the benefit of assigned employees does not constitute the sale of insurance. The legislation repeals certain provisions relating to continuing professional education.

S.978 RISK RETENTION GROUPS Sen. Hayes
This bill revises provisions for risk-based capital plans, so as to increase the multiplier for a company action level event for a life and health insurer from 2.5 to 3.0. The legislation revises provisions relating to the chartering of a risk retention group, so as to define terms, to provide that a majority of a risk retention groupsí directors must be independent directors, to establish the maximum term of any material service provider contract, to require the board of directors to adopt a written policy, to require the board of directors to adopt and disclose its governance standards, to require the board to adopt and disclose a code of business conduct and ethics, to require a risk retention group to comply with applicable regulations, to establish procedures for noncompliance, and to set established dates for compliance. The legislation revises provisions relating to out-of-state risk retention groups, so as to allow an out-of-state risk retention group to submit revisions to its plan of operation within thirty days of approval by the State Insurance Commission or within thirty days if no approval is required. The legislation extends certain provisions to a risk retention group licensed as a captive insurance company.

H.4969 PAYMENTS TO CONTRACTORS, SUBCONTRACTORS AND SUPPLIERS Rep. Jefferson
This bill revises provisions relating to the interest penalty on late payments to a contractor or subcontractor who is constructing or improving real property when the contractor or subcontractor has completed the agreed upon work, so as to increase the interest rate penalty which is owed for late payment. The legislation adds provisions so as to also subject an owner, contractor, or subcontractor who violates requirements to an additional monetary penalty which shall be paid to a contractor or subcontractor not timely paid where the contractor or subcontractor is a minority-owned or a female-owned business. The legislation eliminates certain exceptions to the provisions governing payments to contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, including exceptions for residential home builders and exceptions for improvements to real property intended for residential purposes which consists of sixteen or fewer residential units.

H.4993 INSURANCE PREMIUM REDUCTIONS FOLLOWING AN IMPROVED FIRE PROTECTION CLASSIFICATION Rep. Bowers
This bill provides that when a public protection classification by the Insurance Services Office rating is changed to reflect improved fire protection, an insurer accordingly shall reduce its premium for fire policies in a certain manner within sixty days from the effective date of the change in the public protection classification, whichever occurs first. The legislation establishes penalties for violations, and provides for record keeping and public availability requirements.

H.5004 PROTECTION FOR MILITARY SERVICE MEMBERS FROM TIMESHARE LIEN FORECLOSURE Rep. Williams
This bill provides that the nonjudicial foreclosure procedures contained in the "Timeshare Lien Foreclosure Act", do not apply to a mortgagor or an obligor who is a current member of the United States Armed Forces, regardless of the date when the mortgage in question originated, or to a person entitled to protection under the Service Members Civil Relief Act.

MEDICAL, MILITARY, PUBLIC AND MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS

S.849 GENERIC PRESCRIPTION DRUGS Sen. Cromer
This bill provides for a new section entitled, "Pharmacy Benefit Managers", which means an entity that contracts with pharmacists or pharmacies on behalf of an insurer, third party administrator or the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority to process claims for prescription drugs or medical supplies or provide retail network management for pharmacies or pharmacists; to pay pharmacies or pharmacists for prescription drugs or medical supplies; or to negotiate rebates with manufacturers for drugs paid for or procured.

In addition to providing for necessary definitions, the bill provides for procedures governing the maximum allowable cost reimbursements for generic prescription drugs and requirements for placing drugs on maximum allowable cost lists by pharmacy benefit managers. The bill outlines various requirements for contracts between pharmacies and pharmacy benefits managers that are entered into, renewed or extended on or after January 1, 2016.

The legislation also exempts the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services in the performances of its duties in administering Medicaid.

S.853 "EMERGENCY ANAPHYLAXIS TREATMENT ACT" Sen. Clearly
The bill renames the chapter relating to the Emergency Treatment for Medical Hazards Caused by Insect Stings to the "Emergency Anaphylaxis Treatment Act". The legislation adds the definition ĎEpinephrine auto-injectorí which means a single-use device used for the automatic injection of a premeasured dose of epinephrine into the human body. The legislation requires the Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop a training and certification program for individuals who administer epinephrine auto-injectors. The legislation also allows certain entities to obtain a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector from physicians, pharmacists, and other authorized individuals, and to allow physicians, pharmacists, and other authorized individuals to prescribe or sell a prescription for an epinephrine auto-injector to certain entities.

S.929 "THE RIGHT TO TRY ACT" Sen. Campbell
The bill enacts "The Right to Try Act". The legislation provides for an eligible patientís right to try investigational drugs, biological products, or devices to combat a terminal illness.

S.1036 STATE BOARD OF DENTISTRY Sen. Clearly
The State Board of Dentistry may issue a restricted dental auxiliary instructorís license to a dentist who meets certain criteria. The legislation also provides that licensed dental auxiliary instructors may practice dentistry in limited circumstances associated with certain accredited dental auxiliary programs of technical colleges.

H.4977 DENTAL HYGIENISTS Rep. Mitchell
The bill revises the treatments that hygienists may provide in various settings and the degree of supervision. The bill also provides that dental hygienists are eligible for direct reimbursement for treatments provided in settings outside a private practice dental office. The bill repeals Section 40-15-102 relating to the supervision restrictions on dental treatment provided by dental hygienists in schools or nursing homes.

H.5000 INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR HEARING AIDS Rep. Duckworth
The bill requires all health insurance and group health benefit plans to cover hearing aids and replacement hearing aids for insureds with impaired hearing. Among many things, the bill provides for the scope of coverage.

WAYS AND MEANS

S.1049 REINSTATEMENT OF MARKETING COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS Sen. Massey
This bill establishes provisions that allow marketing cooperative associations within two years of expiration to seek reinstatement from the Secretary of State.

H.4967 "BUSINESS LICENSE COMPLIANCE REFORM ACT" Rep. Atwater
This bill enacts the "Business License Compliance Reform Act". The legislation revises provisions relating to the imposition of a business license tax, so as to provide that a local governing body shall hold a public hearing before adopting any business license tax ordinance. The legislation provides that a person is only subject to one business license tax. The Department of Revenue is required to collect the tax. The legislation provides that the tax is due on February first of each year and must be able to be paid online. A local governing body must use certain forms, dates, formulas, and penalties. The legislation provides for an appeals process. The legislation provides that a business is not liable for the business license tax of another business with which it contracts, and to provide exceptions.

H.4994 SPECIAL TAX DISTRICTS TO ADDRESS INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGED BY THE OCTOBER 2015 FLOODS Rep. Bernstein
This bill provides authorization for counties and municipalities to create special tax districts to address public and private infrastructure damaged by the flooding in October 2015.

H.4995 TAX INCREMENT FINANCING SYSTEM TO REDEVELOP INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGED BY THE OCTOBER 2015 FLOODS Rep. Bernstein
This bill provides authorization for counties and municipalities to create a tax increment financing system to redevelop public and private infrastructure damaged by the flooding in October 2015.

H.5006 RETIREMENT SYSTEM OVERSIGHT AND INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT Rep. Lucas
This bill makes comprehensive revisions regarding the governance of the stateís pension systems and the investment of retirement system funds. The legislation prohibits lobbyists and placement agents from contacting certain individuals connected with the Retirement System Investment Commission. The legislation clarifies that the Board of the Public Employee Benefit Authority is the sole governing body of the authority. The legislation provide for a five year term and staggered terms of PEBA Board Members. The legislation establishes meeting requirements, makes provisions for an executive director, and establishes certain fiduciary duties. The legislation provides for revisions to the Retirement System Investment Commission by adding a gubernatorial appointment to the commission, limiting a member to two terms, and establishing further qualifications for members. The legislation makes provisions for an executive director and allows the commission to engage attorneys on a fee basis. The legislation revises the required audit of the Retirement System Investment Commission by requiring that the audit firm be selected using the Procurement Code. The legislation makes revisions relating to the investment of retirement system funds, so as to: require a reduction in the total amount of fees paid; establish a Review and Oversight Commission on the Retirement System Investment Commission; provide for its membership, and provide for its screening duties. The legislation makes revisions relating to the assets of the retirement systems and investment of retirement system funds, so as to require the Public Employee Benefit Authority to hold the assets of the retirement systems in a group trust and to prohibit investments in certain money mortgages and real estate investment trusts. The legislation revised provisions for the removal of officers by the Governor, so as to add the members of the Retirement System Investment Commission to the list of officers or entities the governing board of which may be removed by the Governor only for certain reasons constituting cause.

H.5007 ASSUMED RATE OF RETURN FOR RETIREMENT SYSTEM FUNDS Rep. Lucas
This bill provides that the assumed rate of return for retirement system funds expires every four years unless action is taken by the General Assembly, and if not, the rate is set by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. The legislation revises retirement system employer and employee contribution rates for purposes of the retirement system, so as to reduce the amortization schedule from thirty years to twenty years.

H.5008 REVISED MECHANISM FOR MAKING RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE ADJUSTMENTS Rep. Lucas
This bill revises provisions for making retirement allowance adjustments, so as to base the adjustment on the assumed rate of return and the five-year average investment return, and to provide that the adjustment may not exceed two and one-half percent.

H.5009 LIMITATIONS ON TEXTILES COMMUNITIES REVITALIZATION INCOME TAX CREDITS Rep. Cole
This bill makes revisions to the Textiles Communities Revitalization Income Tax Credit, so as to eliminate a provision that limits the credit to fifty percent of certain liability.

H.5011 REIMPOSITION OF THE LOCAL OPTION TOURISM DEVELOPMENT FEE Rep. Clemmons
This bill makes provisions for the reimposition of the Local Option Tourism Development Fee.


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