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.
The full Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs committee met on Thursday, March 23, 2017, and reported out the following bills. The full committee gave a favorable report to S.181, a bill which provides RECYCLING COMPANIES with the same protection given to companies under the Hazardous Waste Cleanup Act. H.3601, legislation which creates a BEAR HUNTING SEASON in Game Zone 4 (Horry County), was given a favorable with an amendment recommendation. Currently, Game Zone 4 uses a lottery system for bear tags; this bill creates the season from October 17 through October 23. H.3559, legislation relating to the cultivation of INDUSTRIAL HEMP, was given a favorable with an amendment recommendation by the committee. The bill creates the South Carolina Industrial Hemp Program, a three-year pilot program, which recognizes industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, subject to regulations by the Department of Agriculture. Industrial hemp is defined as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dried weight basis.
Research Universities may conduct research on industrial hemp as an agriculture commodity and shall work in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture to identify solutions for applications, applicants and new market opportunities for industrial hemp growers.
The Department of Agriculture shall issue fifteen permits under this program. Each permit is allowed to grow industrial hemp on up to 20 acres of land. To grow industrial hemp, a person must be registered with the Department as a grower. Applicants, at a minimum, must submit any and all information requested, including but not limited to state and national background fingerprint criminal checks. The legislation also outlines in the application process that before the Department issues a permit, an applicant must have proof of a buyer for the product. The Department may charge fees to administer this pilot program, not to exceed two hundred and fifty dollars annually per applicant.
The legislation also outlines that no person who has been convicted of any felony, or any person convicted of any drug related misdemeanor or violation in the previous ten years from the date of the application, shall be eligible to obtain a permit.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person engaged in cultivating, processing, selling, transporting, possessing, or otherwise distributing industrial hemp, or selling industrial hemp products from industrial hemp, is not subject to any civil or criminal actions under South Carolina law for engaging in these activities. Nothing in this provision limits or precludes the importation or exportation of industrial hemp or industrial hemp products. The full committee gave a favorable with an amendment recommendation to H.4003, a bill enacting the "SOUTH CAROLINA PRODUCE SAFETY ACT". The legislation allows and gives authority to the Department of Agriculture to oversee the new safety standards program applicable to certain farm produce. The program ensures that large farmers are handling and packaging produce in accordance with these national food safety standards. This legislation affects farms with an average annual monetary value of produce sold during the previous three-year period of more than twenty-five thousand dollars on a continuing basis. There is no impact to the state as the program is federally funded. As a result, the program would discontinue if Federal funds were to terminate.
The House Judiciary Committee met Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and passed out thirteen bills. The full committee gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3548 PROHIBITION OF DISMEMBERMENT ABORTIONS that would enact the "South Carolina Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act." It prohibits dismemberment abortions. Violations are felony offenses with up to $10,000 in fines and up to two years in prison. Any medical professional accused of violating this provision may request a hearing before the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners. They also gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3930 CONSTITUTIONAL HANDGUN CARRYING. Prohibits anyone from carrying a handgun certain places without the permission of its owner, or a person in control of the premises. Revises sections relating to unlawful and lawful handgun possession, including on public school property. Also revises the issuance of concealable weapon permits [CWP’s]. CWP’s would not be required in order for residents to carry weapons, whether concealed or openly, in South Carolina. Carrying handguns with an unlawful intent would remain illegal. Out-of-state visitors to South Carolina, who have a valid concealed weapons permit from their state, could carry in South Carolina as well, so long as they do so in compliance with our state laws. It voted for a favorable recommendation of H.3804 FIFTH WHEEL TOWING RESTRICTIONS. Pick-up trucks, with features commonly referred to as ‘fifth wheels,’ would be limited to towing one trailing vehicle. Their maximum combined overall length is set at 75 feet. The full committee gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3019 CORONER QUALIFICATIONS. Anyone elected coroner must meet minimum education and experience requirements, complete necessary training, and then would be deemed qualified to serve as coroner. Requires a medical examiner to be on staff if a particular, elected coroner has not met minimum standards precedent to serving as coroner. They also voted for a favorable recommendation to H.3116 ABANDONED BABY SAFE HAVENS which would allow leaving an infant not more than one year old [current law only covers infants up to 60 days old] at a safe haven, free of any criminal implications after doing so. The full committee gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3125 SCDSS SC SAFE FAMILIES ACT. This proposed comprehensive legislation, allows, among other things, temporary placement of children with relatives or other persons pursuant to a DSS-generated safety plan. Lists requirements for safety, treatment, and placement plans. Establishes the responsibilities each DSS county director, and specifies them, not the caseworker, to be the clients of each county DSS legal counsel. They gave a favorable recommendation to H.3538 PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RIGHT TO PARENT ACT. Anyone with disabilities could not be denied access to SCDSS, and any related agency, services under this proposed bill. SCDSS would further be charged with protecting the parenting rights of anyone with a disability. Services must include adaptive parenting equipment for appropriate cases. Parental rights could not be terminated based solely on a parent’s disability. The full committee gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3137 MICRO-DISTILLERY TASTINGS. Increases the amount of alcoholic liquors that can be dispensed at licensed distillery premises to any one person in any one day. The maximum distribution allowed per individual per day would now be three ounces. Would permit retail sales at these licensed premises and the use of non-alcoholic mixers, but only during tastings. They also gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3885 LEWIS BLACKMAN HOSPITAL PATIENT SAFETY ACT UPDATES. New definitions for ‘health care practitioner’ and ‘health care facility’ would be added by this law. It also would require health care practitioners to display identification badges while treating patients. These badges must contain practitioners’ names, titles, and levels of training. The full committee gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3055 STOP THE SCHOOL HOUSE TO JAILHOUSE PIPELINE STUDY COMMITTEE. Would create a Restorative Justice Study Committee to review state juvenile justice laws. They will then make recommendations concerning proposed changes to facilitate and encourage diversion of juveniles from the juvenile justice system to restorative justice practices. Their report deadline is March 1, 2018. They favorably recommended H.3215 IMPERSONATING A LAWYER. Creates the offense of impersonating a lawyer, and provides graduated penalties, from misdemeanors for initial violations to felonies for subsequent violations. The full committee gave a favorable recommendation, with amendments, to H.3685 PRIMARIES AND SPECIAL ELECTIONS DATES. Proposes changes to the primary, runoff primary, and special election dates in order to comply with the requirements of the South Carolina Uniform Military and Overseas Voters Act. Last, they favorably reported out H.3150 MUNICIPAL GENERAL ELECTIONS. Removes municipality authority to forego conducting general elections when only one person has filed for an elected office, and no one has officially declared they will run as a write-in candidate.
The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee met on Thursday, March 23, and reported out three bills. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3968, a bill providing for ENHANCED SCREENING FOR THOSE SEEKING PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING AND CERTIFICATION. This bill makes revisions to add to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s broad authority to revoke professional and occupational authorization enhanced authority to deny initial authorization so the department can deny the authorization to engage in a profession or occupation for any reason that it can revoke such authorization. The committee gave a report of favorable with amendments on H.3041, a bill ENHANCING CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS FOR REAL ESTATE LICENSURE. The legislation expands criminal background check requirements for Real Estate Commission licensure, by requiring fingerprint-based screening and require these background checks not only for initial licensures but also for licensure renewals under a six-year cycle that requires screening with every third renewal. The committee gave a report of favorable with amendments on H.3038, a bill making provisions for the LICENSURE AND REGULATION OF LOCKSMITHS. The legislation creates the Board of Locksmiths and provides for its composition, function, and duties. The legislation requires applicants for licensure to satisfy certain criteria, complete testing requirements, and submit to state and national criminal background records checks.
The full Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs met on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and reported out the following bills. H.3064, legislation dealing with CONTRACEPTIVE DRUGS, was given a favorable with an amendment recommendation by the full committee. The legislation allows a practitioner to prescribe up to a three-year supply of any drug approved by the US FDA that is used to prevent pregnancy including, but not limited to, hormonal drugs administered orally, transdermally, and intravaginally. The committee gave a favorable recommendation to H.3428, legislation dealing with the "DO NOT RESUSCITATE ORDERS (DNR)". The bill revises the statute to allow a parent or legal guardian to request a do not resuscitate order for emergency services for a child under 18 years old who has a terminal condition. The bill also allows the parent or legal guardian of a patient under 18 years old to revoke the DNR order by destroying the document, by an oral statement or by removing the DNR bracelet. H.3809, a bill relating to the DISPENSING OF CONTRACEPTIVE DRUGS, was given a favorable report by the committee. Beginning next year, this bill will require private health insurance policies that provide contraceptive drug coverage and Medicaid to provide reimbursement for dispensing a 12-month refill of all FDA approved contraceptive drugs after the insured has completed the initial supply of these drugs. The patient may request a smaller supply to be dispensed at one time and the prescriber may direct a smaller supply to be dispensed. Insured patients must be allowed to receive the drugs on-site at a health care provider’s office, if available. Dispensing practices for these contraceptive drugs must follow all clinical guidelines for appropriate prescribing and dispensing. The committee gave a favorable with an amendment report to H.3417, legislation authorizing the Board of Barber Examiners to issue MOBILE BARBERSHOP PERMITS, establish permit requirements and provide for regulation of mobile barbershops. Mobile barbershop means a self-contained unit in which the practice of barbering is conducted, which may be moved, towed or transported from one location to another. A mobile barbershop includes a portable barber operation. A portable barber operation means equipment used in the practice of barbering that is in a mobile barbershop or transported from a barbershop and used on temporary bases at a location including, but not limited to: a) a client’s home; b) a nursing home; or c) another institution or location as may be authorized by the Board. H.3450, legislation enacting the "ELECTROLOGY PRACTICE ACT", was given a favorable with an amendment report by the committee. Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from the face or body. Electrolysis devices destroy the growth center of the hair with chemical or heat energy or a combination of the two.
The bill establishes a licensure requirement to practice for electrologists and electrology instructors in South Carolina. The bill creates an advisory committee under the Board of Medical Examiners composed of three experienced electrologists, one physician, and one lay member. The advisory committee will make recommendations to the board regarding practice standards, continuing education requirements, disciplinary measures, education programs, fees, and regulations.
The bill allows the exam to be waived for an applicant who is licensed in another state with substantially the same licensure requirements or for an applicant who has passed the American Electrology Association Certified Professional Electrology exam. The bill provides a grandfather clause for electrologists who currently are practicing in SC. The committee gave a favorable report to H.3428, legislation requiring the SC Division of Veterans’ Affairs Director to receive and respond to COMPLAINTS REGARDING COUNTY VETERANS’ AFFAIRS OFFICERS. The bill also directs the director to forward the complaint along with his recommendation for discipline, including the possible removal of the county veterans’ affairs officer in question, to the appropriate legislative delegation for its consideration and final determination. H.3440, a bill which revises the QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA COMMISSION FOR THE BLIND, was given a favorable with an amendment recommendation by the committee. As a result of a recommendation by the Legislative Oversight Committee, the bill outlines that three of the seven members must meet the legal definition of blindness. "Blindness" is defined as that level of central visual acuity, 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting glasses, or a disqualifying field defect in which the peripheral field has contracted to such an extent that the widest diameter of visual field subtends an angular distance no greater than twenty degrees and which is sufficient to incapacitate him for self-support, or an eighty per cent loss of visual efficiency resulting from visual impairment in more than one function of the eye, including visual acuity for distance and near, visual fields, ocular, mobility, and other ocular functions and disturbances.
The Ways and Means Committee met on Tuesday, March 21, and reported out several bills. The committee gave a report of favorable with amendments on H.3311, a bill enacting a comprehensive WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PATHWAYS INITIATIVE. The legislation revises the membership of the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development within the Department of Commerce, which provides centralized oversight and comprehensive planning for the numerous job training initiatives housed in various state agencies, so that the Education and Economic Development Act experts appointed by the State Superintendent of Education include a school district superintendent, a school counselor, and a career and technology education director. The legislation charges the member agencies of the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development with developing and implementing a statewide Career Pathways Initiative, in alignment with the South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act, to improve employment outcomes and address critical workforce needs. The initiative encompasses a Career Pathways program to facilitate a student’s transition from education to employment and a Pathways to New Opportunities Initiative to provide career services, including education, training, and job search assistance to adults. A Career Pathways Grant Fund is created for the purpose of awarding competitive grants to technical colleges to fund Pathways-specific expenses, including program administration, career and technical equipment, facilities, instructional materials, transportation, and tuition grants. Funds must be used to establish new pathways or enhance existing pathways that confer the necessary skills and training to prepare students for careers in high-demand fields in industry sectors with critical workforce needs. The Department of Employment and Workforce, in coordination with the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education and the Department of Commerce, shall develop, coordinate, and implement a Pathways to New Opportunities Initiative, which must leverage existing services and new resources to provide subsidized career training and certification and job placement assistance to adults throughout the state pursuing careers in high-demand occupations in industry sectors with critical workforce needs. A Workforce Scholarship and Grant Fund is created to provide financial assistance to assist individuals with the costs of attending eligible technical college or professional certification programs such as tuition, fees, textbooks, and school related transportation. The Department of Employment and Workforce, in consultation with the Department of Commerce, must develop and implement a plan to facilitate the job placement of qualifying individuals who have completed the necessary training and certification, to ensure that they are matched with available employment opportunities in industry sectors with critical workforce needs throughout the state. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3927, a bill providing that BONDS ISSUED BY THE JOBS-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (JEDA) to provide funds for its programs must be approved by the Coordinating Council for Economic Development rather than the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. The bill also eliminates provisions requiring approval of interest rates on bonds JEDA issues for its programs and on behalf of local government projects. The committee gave a favorable report on S.250, the ANNUAL TAX CONFORMITY BILL. The legislation makes provisions for updating references to the federal Internal Revenue Code in state tax law. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3318, a bill TRANSFERRING THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT UNIT from the Department of Public Safety to the State Law Enforcement Division. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3742, a bill providing authorization for the employment of OFFENDER SUPERVISION SPECIALISTS at the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services to oversee the supervision of standard and low-risk offenders. The department shall promulgate regulations for the qualifications of these offender supervision specialists and procedures for classifying offenders as standard and low-risk offenders based on criminal risk factors. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3666, a bill making provisions for DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS STABILIZATION UNIT FACILITIES where individuals entering hospital emergency rooms suffering from mental illness or substance abuse issues may be transferred to begin receiving appropriate care. This bill makes provisions for a crisis stabilization unit facility operated or authorized by the Department of Mental Health which provides a short-term residential program offering psychiatric stabilization services, detoxification services, and brief, intensive crisis services twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The legislation exempts a crisis stabilization unit facility from the Certificate of Need process and requires a crisis stabilization unit facility to obtain a license from the Department of Health and Environmental Control. The committee gave a report of favorable with amendments on H.3343, the "SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATION SCHOOL FACILITIES ACT". The legislation makes provisions for state financial assistance to school districts, through such means as the issuance of state general obligation bonds and the awarding of grants, that must be used for permanent school instructional facilities, health and safety upgrades, technology access inside the school, and fixed building assets including the costs for construction, improvement, enlargement, or renovation of school facilities. The legislation does not provide financial assistance for unimproved real property, centralized school district administration facilities, or facilities normally identified with interscholastic sports activities. Under the legislation, the State Department of Education is charged with conducting a comprehensive study of all school districts’ facilities and physical assets and is assigned the responsibility of producing an annual prioritization report, with a total project cost that must not exceed two hundred million dollars, that ranks the qualified school projects. The department’s prioritization report must also provide a recommendation of whether financial assistance for a specific school project should be in the form of grants, loans or a combination of both. The legislation makes provisions for financial assistance to be allocated using the priorities established by the Office of School Facilities of the Department of Education as approved by the State Board of Education. Upon review of the information, the General Assembly may, through budget proviso or joint resolution, set the principal amount of the State School Facilities General Obligation Bonds to be considered. Upon approval of the Joint Bond Review Committee, the project prioritization report, with certification from the State Board of Education, must be submitted to the State Fiscal Accountability Authority in order for bonds to be issued. The legislation makes provisions for the State Board of Education to establish a revolving fund with such monies as may be appropriated by the General Assembly to operate a grant program that provides nonrecurring aid to school districts for facility maintenance expenses to include fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler or suppression systems, roof and heating and air conditioning repairs or replacements. The committee gave a favorable report on H.3463, a bill allowing for the RETENTION OF AN AGRICULTURAL PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT RATE. The legislation provides that if property was assessed as agricultural property or as farm machinery, buildings, and equipment in 2016, the property must continue to be assessed with the same assessment ratio unless a change of use occurs.
This bill provides a textbook policy for public institutions of higher education that is intended to help minimize college textbook costs. H.4032 LIFE SCHOLARSHIP ELIGIBILITY Rep. McKnight
This bill relates to criteria for life scholarship eligibility, so as to revise the criteria only to include students in the top thirty percent of their graduating classes, and to make the provisions applicable beginning with freshmen entering four-year institutions in the 2018-2019 school year. H.4033 ENDANGERMENT OF A HIGHWAY WORKER Rep. Hixon
This bill relates to speeding in work zones and penalties associated with speeding in work zones, so as to provide a definition for the terms "highway work zone" and "highway worker", to create the offense of "endangerment of a highway worker", and to provide a penalty for this offense. In connection with this subject, the bill also amends the point system established for the evaluation of the driving record of persons operating motor vehicles. H.4039 COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE Rep. Govan
This bill relates to the compulsory attendance requirement in schools, so as to increase from seventeen to eighteen the age of the child at which a parent or guardian no longer has responsibility to cause the child to attend school. H.4040 "SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETERS ACT" Rep. Allison
This bill enacts the "Sign Language Interpreters Act" so as to require a specified level of competence for sign language interpreters used by certain entities of state government, public schools, and hospital systems, to provide sign language interpretation services to members of the public who have certain hearing and speech impairments, and amends the SC Code relating to the appointment of sign language interpreters by the Judicial department for parties or witnesses who have certain hearing impairments.
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