South Carolina General Assembly
116th Session, 2005-2006
Journal of the Senate

Thursday, January 26, 2006
(Statewide Session)


Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

The Senate assembled at 11:00 A.M., the hour to which it stood adjourned, and was called to order by the PRESIDENT.

A quorum being present, the proceedings were opened with a devotion by the Chaplain as follows:

Beloved, hear the Psalmist:

"My God, every day I will bless You and I   will praise Your name forever and ever."

Let us pray.

Father, we thank You for every day You give us to live. We thank You for gloomy days and bright days, for days of striving and earnest contest, for days of pressure, for days of reflection and days of prayer when we are aware of Your presence.

Thank you for today! May we live it to Your glory - and the good of our fellowman!
Amen!

The PRESIDENT called for Petitions, Memorials, Presentments of Grand Juries and such like papers.

Doctor of the Day

Senator O'DELL introduced Dr. Gregory Tarasideis of Greenwood, S.C., Doctor of the Day.

S. 980--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 980 (Word version) -- Senator Ford: A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 17, ARTICLE I OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT, SO AS TO DELETE PARAGRAPHS 2 AND 3 WHICH AUTHORIZE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO PROVIDE THAT MUNICIPALITIES AND HOUSING OR REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES IN SUMTER AND CHEROKEE COUNTIES HAVE THE POWER TO CARRY OUT SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT; AND PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 5, ARTICLE XIV, RELATING TO SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT, SO AS TO DELETE SECTION 5 WHICH AUTHORIZES THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO PROVIDE THAT MUNICIPALITIES AND HOUSING OR REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES IN SPARTANBURG, YORK, GREENVILLE, CHARLESTON, RICHLAND, AND LAURENS COUNTIES HAVE THE POWER TO CARRY OUT SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT AND WHICH PROVIDES THAT SPARTANBURG, GREENVILLE, AND LAURENS COUNTIES HAVE AUTHORITY TO ACQUIRE AIR RIGHTS.

On motion of Senator CAMPSEN, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator CAMPSEN was added as a co-sponsor of S. 980.

S. 1045--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 1045 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie and Bryant: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 20-1-230, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF A MARRIAGE LICENSE, SO AS TO REDUCE THE MARRIAGE LICENSE FEE FOR COUPLES THAT COMPLETE A QUALIFYING PREMARITAL PREPARATION COURSE.

On motion of Senator CAMPSEN, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator CAMPSEN was added as a co-sponsor of S. 1045.

S. 1049--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 1049 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie, Ford, Mescher, Knotts and Bryant: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 16-17-420, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE OFFENSE OF DISTURBING SCHOOLS, SO AS TO PROVIDE GREATER SPECIFICITY FOR THE TYPES OF CONDUCT WHICH CONSTITUTE THE OFFENSE AND TO PROVIDE FOR INTERVENTION BY SCHOOL OFFICIALS PRIOR TO REFERRING SOME CASES TO COURT.

On motion of Senator CAMPSEN, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator CAMPSEN was added as a co-sponsor of S. 1049.

S. 1050--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 1050 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie, Ford, Mescher, Knotts, Bryant and Setzler: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, SO AS TO ENACT THE "FAMILY COURT REFORM ACT OF 2006", BY AMENDING SECTION 15-36-10, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO LIABILITY FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS OF FRIVOLOUS SUITS, SO AS TO CLARIFY THAT AN ACTION IN FAMILY COURT IS SUBJECT TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA FRIVOLOUS CIVIL PROCEEDINGS SANCTIONS ACT AND MANDATE SANCTIONS FOR MULTIPLE FINDINGS OF FRIVOLOUS SUITS; TO AMEND SECTION 20-3-130, RELATING TO THE AWARD OF ALIMONY AND OTHER ALLOWANCES IN DIVORCE CASES, SO AS TO ELIMINATE ADULTERY AS A PROHIBITION TO AN AWARD OF ALIMONY, TO CREATE A CATEGORY OF "LIMITED ALIMONY", TO CREATE A REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTION OF FINITE ALIMONY FOR SHORT-TERM MARRIAGES AND DEFINE SHORT-TERM MARRIAGES, TO MODIFY THE TIME PERIOD FOR MARITAL MISCONDUCT AS AN ALIMONY FACTOR TO THE DATE OF FILING AN ACTION FOR DIVORCE OR SEPARATE SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE AND RELATING TO THE PAYMENT OF ALIMONY AND SEPARATE MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT IN DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS, TO REQUIRE THAT ALL PAYMENTS MADE BY THE PAYOR MUST BE MADE THROUGH THE CLERK OF COURT UNLESS THE PAYOR SPOUSE DEMONSTRATES THAT HE WILL NOT DEFAULT ON THE OBLIGATION OR PROVIDE ADEQUATE SECURITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE SUPPORT, AND TO REQUIRE THAT IF THE PAYOR SPOUSE IS EVER TEN DAYS OR MORE LATE IN PAYING HIS OBLIGATION, THEN, UPON THE FILING OF AN AFFIDAVIT BY THE PAYEE SPOUSE, ALL FUTURE PAYMENTS, ALONG WITH A SERVICE FEE, MUST BE MADE THROUGH THE CLERK OF COURT; TO AMEND TITLE 20, RELATING TO THE CHILDREN'S CODE, BY ADDING CHAPTER 6, ENTITLED THE "SOUTH CAROLINA FAMILY COURT HEARING OFFICER ACT", SO AS TO ESTABLISH FAMILY COURT HEARING OFFICERS; TO AMEND CHAPTER 7 OF TITLE 20, RELATING TO THE PAYMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT, BY ADDING SECTION 20-7-93, SO AS TO REQUIRE THAT IN CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS, THE PAYMENT MUST BE MADE THROUGH THE CLERK OF COURT UNLESS THE PAYOR SPOUSE DEMONSTRATES THAT HE WILL NOT DEFAULT ON THE OBLIGATION OR PROVIDES ADEQUATE SECURITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE SUPPORT; TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-420, RELATING TO THE JURISDICTION OF FAMILY COURT IN DOMESTIC MATTERS, SO AS TO ADD A SUBSECTION CONCERNING FAMILY COURT JURISDICTION IN FRIVOLOUS MATTERS AND TO MANDATE THAT JUDGES SANCTION PARTIES WITH TWO OR MORE PRIOR DETERMINATIONS OF FILING A FRIVOLOUS CLAIM OR MOTION; TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-472, RELATING TO THE EQUITABLE APPORTIONMENT AND CRITERIA OF MARITAL PROPERTY, SO AS TO MODIFY THE TIME PERIOD FOR MARITAL MISCONDUCT AS AN EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION FACTOR TO THE DATE OF FILING AN ACTION FOR DIVORCE OR SEPARATE SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE; TO AMEND SECTION 20-7-570, RELATING TO A FALSE REPORT OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT MADE MALICIOUSLY OR IN BAD FAITH, SO AS TO MANDATE THAT JUDGES SANCTION THE REPORTING PARTY UPON A SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT DETERMINATION OF MAKING A FALSE REPORT MALICIOUSLY OR IN BAD FAITH; AND TO AMEND TITLE 20, BY ADDING CHAPTER 8, ENTITLED THE "SOUTH CAROLINA FAMILY LAW MEDIATION ACT", SO AS TO MANDATE MEDIATION IN ALL DOMESTIC RELATIONS ACTIONS IN FAMILY COURT, TO PROVIDE FOR EXCEPTIONS WHERE MEDIATION IS NOT REQUIRED AND EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE MEDIATION MAY BE WAIVED, TO PROVIDE A TIMEFRAME WITHIN WHICH MEDIATION MUST BE ACCOMPLISHED, AND TO PROVIDE THAT NO FINAL HEARING IN A DOMESTIC RELATIONS ACTION SHALL BE SCHEDULED UNTIL MEDIATION IS COMPLETED IN THE MATTER, UNLESS IT IS EXEMPTED OR EXCEPTED FROM MEDIATION.

On motion of Senator CAMPSEN, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator CAMPSEN was added as a co-sponsor of S. 1050.

S. 1029--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 1029 (Word version) -- Senators Campsen, McConnell, Martin, Peeler, Bryant, Mescher, Grooms, Hayes, Ryberg, Richardson, Fair, Leatherman, Alexander, Scott, Gregory, Thomas, Courson, O'Dell, Ritchie, Verdin, Leventis and Anderson: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO CREATE AN EMINENT DOMAIN STUDY COMMITTEE TO REVIEW THE CONDEMNATION AUTHORITY OF ALL ENTITIES THAT POSSESS THE POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND TO RECOMMEND LEGISLATIVE CHANGES, IF APPROPRIATE.

On motion of Senator FORD, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator FORD was added as a co-sponsor of S.1029.

1030--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 1030 (Word version) -- Senators Campsen, McConnell, Martin, Peeler, Bryant, Mescher, Grooms, Hayes, Ryberg, Richardson, Fair, Leatherman, Alexander, Scott, Gregory, Thomas, Courson, O'Dell, Ritchie, Verdin and Leventis: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 1 TO TITLE 28 SO AS TO ENACT THE SOUTH CAROLINA PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT; TO AMEND SECTIONS 28-2-60, AND 28-2-210, RELATING TO EMINENT DOMAIN BY SUBSTITUTING "PUBLIC USE" FOR "PUBLIC PURPOSE"; TO AMEND SECTION 28-11-30, RELATING TO ACQUISITIONS OF REAL PROPERTY BY STATES AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS, SO AS TO SUBSTITUTE "PUBLIC BODY" FOR "ENTITY"; TO AMEND SECTION 4-9-30, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO A COUNTY'S POWERS UNDER THE ALTERNATE FORMS OF GOVERNMENT, SO AS TO REQUIRE A COUNTY TO ADHERE TO STATEWIDE STANDARDS OF EXERCISING EMINENT DOMAIN AND DELETE PROVISIONS CONCERNING THE USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN TO UNDERTAKE AND CARRY OUT CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT OF BLIGHTED OR SLUM PROPERTY; AND TO AMEND SECTION 5-7-50, RELATING TO A MUNICIPALITY'S POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN, SO AS TO REQUIRE A MUNICIPALITY TO ADHERE TO STATEWIDE STANDARDS OF EXERCISING EMINENT DOMAIN AND DELETE PROVISIONS CONCERNING USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN TO UNDERTAKE AND CARRY OUT CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT OF BLIGHTED OR SLUM PROPERTY.

On motion of Senator FORD, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator FORD was added as a co-sponsor of S.1030.

S. 1031--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 1031 (Word version) -- Senators Campsen, McConnell, Martin, Peeler, Bryant, Mescher, Grooms, Hayes, Ryberg, Richardson, Fair, Leatherman, Alexander, Scott, Gregory, Thomas, Courson, O'Dell, Ritchie, Verdin and Leventis: A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 13, ARTICLE I OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY, SO AS TO PROVIDE A DEFINITION OF PUBLIC USE AND REQUIRE THAT AN ENTITY PROVE BY A PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE THAT IT IS CONDEMNING PROPERTY FOR A PUBLIC USE AND WILL OWN, OPERATE, AND RETAIN CONTROL OVER THE CONDEMNED PROPERTY; PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 17, ARTICLE I, RELATING TO TREASON AND SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT, SO AS TO DELETE THE SECOND AND THIRD UNDESIGNATED PARAGRAPHS, WHICH PROVIDE MUNICIPALITIES AND HOUSING OR REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES IN SUMTER AND CHEROKEE COUNTIES THE POWER TO CARRY OUT SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT; AND PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 5, ARTICLE XIV, RELATING TO SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT, SO AS TO DELETE SECTION 5, WHICH PROVIDES MUNICIPALITIES AND HOUSING OR REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES IN SPARTANBURG, YORK, FLORENCE, GREENVILLE, CHARLESTON, RICHLAND, AND LAURENS COUNTIES THE POWER TO CARRY OUT SLUM CLEARANCE AND REDEVELOPMENT.

On motion of Senator FORD, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator FORD was added as a co-sponsor of S.1031.

S. 958--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 958 (Word version) -- Senators Cleary, Elliott, Lourie, Leventis, Scott, Anderson, Reese, Land, Sheheen, Rankin and Hutto: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 38-71-280 SO AS TO REQUIRE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR TREATMENT OF PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS AND TO DEFINE "PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER" AS A NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION, INCLUDING AUTISM AND ASPERGER'S SYNDROME.

On motion of Senator GROOMS, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator GROOMS was added as a co-sponsor of S.958.

S. 473--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 473 (Word version) -- Senators Lourie, J. Verne Smith, Short, Bryant, Reese, Rankin, Ford, Matthews, Verdin, Malloy, Leventis, Pinckney, O'Dell, Setzler, Cleary, Jackson, Anderson, Mescher, Hutto, Sheheen, McGill, Alexander, Thomas, Ryberg, Patterson, Leatherman, Elliott, Land and Hayes: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 12-37-220, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS PROVIDED TO VETERANS MUST BE EXTENDED TO A VETERAN'S SURVIVING SPOUSE WHO ESTABLISHES RESIDENCY IN THIS STATE SUBSEQUENT TO THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN, IF THE VETERAN, BUT FOR RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS, COULD HAVE QUALIFIED FOR THE EXEMPTION.

On motion of Senator KNOTTS, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator KNOTTS was added as a co-sponsor of S. 473.

S. 258--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 258 (Word version) -- Senators Fair, Martin, Bryant, Cromer and Campsen: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 24-1-285 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE MATERIALS MANAGEMENT OFFICE OF THE BUDGET AND CONTROL BOARD SHALL DEVELOP, MAINTAIN, AND IMPLEMENT A MARKETING PLAN TO ATTRACT PRIVATE SECTOR BUSINESSES FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF INMATES THROUGH THE PRISON INDUSTRIES PROGRAM; AND BY ADDING SECTION 24-1-290 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS MAY ENTER INTO CONTRACTS WITH PRIVATE SECTOR ENTITIES THAT ALLOW INMATE LABOR TO BE PROVIDED FOR PRISON INDUSTRY SERVICE WORK.

On motion of Senator KNOTTS, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator KNOTTS was added as a co-sponsor of S. 258.

S. 821--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 821 (Word version) -- Senator Rankin: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO PROVIDE FOR A STATEWIDE ADVISORY REFERENDUM TO BE HELD AT THE SAME TIME AS THE 2006 GENERAL ELECTION TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THE QUALIFIED ELECTORS OF THIS STATE FAVOR CHANGING THE STARTING DATE FOR ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF THIS STATE.

On motion of Senator KNOTTS, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator KNOTTS was added as a co-sponsor of S. 821.

S. 960--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 960 (Word version) -- Senators McConnell, Leatherman, Thomas, Hayes, Martin, Short, Alexander, Richardson, Ritchie, Sheheen, Campsen, Williams, Ford and O'Dell: A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 29, ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT TAXES UPON REAL PROPERTY MUST BE ASSESSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE METHODS AS PROVIDED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ARTICLE X OF THE STATE CONSTITUTION; TO AMEND SECTIONS 1 AND 3 OF ARTICLE X, RELATING TO FINANCE AND TAXATION, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE REQUIREMENT THAT TAXATION OF REAL PROPERTY MUST BE UNIFORM APPLIES TO PROPERTY WITHIN A TAXING JURISDICTION RATHER THAN STATEWIDE; AND BY AMENDING SECTION 6 OF ARTICLE X, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE BASE TAX VALUE FOR REAL PROPERTY IS ROLLED BACK TO THE TAXABLE VALUE OF THE 2004 TAX YEAR OR THE TAX YEAR IN WHICH THE MOST RECENT REASSESSMENT OCCURRED PRIOR TO 2004, TO REQUIRE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ESTABLISH A STATEWIDE SYSTEM FOR ASSESSMENT OF REAL PROPERTY BASED ON REASSESSMENTS AT THE TIME OF ASSESSABLE TRANSFERS OF INTEREST, TO PROVIDE FOR COUNTIES TO SELECT FROM SEVERAL METHODS OF ASSESSMENT AS ESTABLISHED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BY LAW SHALL PROVIDE FOR THE TERMS, CONDITIONS, AND PROCEDURES TO IMPLEMENT THE ABOVE PROVISIONS.

On motion of Senator KNOTTS, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator KNOTTS was added as a co-sponsor of S. 960.

S. 969--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 969 (Word version) -- Senators McConnell, Leatherman, Thomas, Martin, Short, Alexander, Richardson, Ritchie, Sheheen, Campsen, Williams, Ford and Anderson: A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 7, ARTICLE X OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO ANNUAL BUDGETS AND EXPENSES OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IF A TAX MUST BE LEVIED TO PAY FOR A DEFICIENCY OF THE PRECEDING YEAR, ANY CATASTROPHIC EVENT OUTSIDE THE CONTROL OF THE GOVERNING BODY, OR COMPLIANCE WITH A COURT ORDER OR DECREE, THE AMOUNT OF TAX PAID BY A TAXPAYER MUST BE LISTED ON THE TAX STATEMENT AS A SEPARATE SURCHARGE AND NOT INCLUDED WITH A GENERAL MILLAGE INCREASE; AND PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE X OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS STATE, RELATING TO FINANCE AND TAXATION, BY ADDING SECTION 17, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT, EXCEPT IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, A SCHOOL DISTRICT, COUNTY, MUNICIPALITY, SPECIAL PURPOSE DISTRICT, PUBLIC SERVICE DISTRICT, OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE MUST LIMIT AN INCREASE IN ITS MILLAGE RATE TO NO MORE THAN THE AVERAGE OF THE PERCENTAGE INCREASES IN THE TOTAL PERSONAL INCOME GROWTH IN THE STATE FOR EACH OF THE THREE PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED CALENDAR YEARS FOR WHICH FIGURES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

On motion of Senator KNOTTS, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator KNOTTS was added as a co-sponsor of S. 969.

S. 1047--CO-SPONSOR ADDED

S. 1047 (Word version) -- Senators Ryberg and Knotts: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 56-3-5400 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MAY ISSUE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES ONLY TO ACTIVE MEMBERS IN GOOD STANDING, TO PROVIDE A PERSON ISSUED A LICENSE PLATE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION WHO CEASES TO BE A MEMBER MUST SURRENDER HIS LICENSE PLATE, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR KNOWINGLY FAILING TO SURRENDER THE LICENSE PLATE.

On motion of Senator LOURIE, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator LOURIE was added as a co-sponsor of S. 1047.

RECALLED AND ADOPTED

H. 4484 (Word version) -- Reps. Harrell, Umphlett, Leach, Rice, Brady, Vaughn, Coates, Hagood, Sinclair, Haley, Talley, Stewart, Toole, Duncan, Clark, Bailey, Hinson, Mahaffey, Merrill, G.R. Smith, J.R. Smith, Walker and Witherspoon: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO REQUEST THE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO INVENTORY AND STUDY ALL FOUR-YEAR-OLD KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS IN THIS STATE FUNDED IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITH FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL PUBLIC FUNDS; TO REQUEST THE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO DETERMINE THE NECESSARY REQUIREMENTS TO IMPLEMENT A FULL DAY FOUR-YEAR-OLD KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM IN EACH OF THE EIGHT PLAINTIFF SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE CASE OF ABBEVILLE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET AL., V. STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, ET AL. FOR ALL CHILDREN WHO QUALIFY FOR FREE OR REDUCED PRICED LUNCH AND IN ADDITION TO IMPLEMENT A STATEWIDE FULL DAY FOUR-YEAR-OLD KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM FOR ALL CHILDREN WHO QUALIFY FOR A FREE OR REDUCED PRICE LUNCH; TO REQUEST THE EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE TO COLLABORATE WITH THE OFFICE OF FIRST STEPS TO SCHOOL READINESS IN PERFORMING THESE STUDIES; AND TO SUBMIT THESE REQUESTED STUDIES TO EACH HOUSE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BY MARCH 15, 2006.

Senator COURSON asked unanimous consent to make a motion to recall the Resolution from the Committee on Education.

There was no objection.

The Resolution was recalled from the Committee on Education.

Senator COURSON asked unanimous consent to take the Resolution up for immediate consideration.

There was no objection.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Resolution, the question being the adoption of the Resolution.

On motion of Senator COURSON, with unanimous consent, the Resolution was adopted and ordered returned to the House.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

The following were introduced:

S. 1087 (Word version) -- Senator Pinckney: A SENATE RESOLUTION TO HONOR AND EXTEND SINCERE BEST WISHES TO MRS. JANIE L. BROWN SEABROOK, AS SHE CELEBRATES HER NINETIETH BIRTHDAY.
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The Senate Resolution was adopted.

S. 1088 (Word version) -- Senators Moore, Ryberg and Setzler: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 7-7-40, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE DESIGNATION OF VOTING PRECINCTS IN AIKEN COUNTY, SO AS TO REVISE AND RENAME CERTAIN PRECINCTS AND REDESIGNATE A MAP NUMBER ON WHICH LINES OF THESE PRECINCTS ARE DELINEATED AND MAINTAINED BY THE OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND STATISTICS OF THE STATE BUDGET AND CONTROL BOARD.
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Read the first time and ordered placed on the calendar without reference.

S. 1089 (Word version) -- Senator Verdin: A BILL TO AMEND SECTIONS 56-23-10, 56-23-40, 56-23-60, 56-23-70, 56-23-80, AND 56-23-85, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE LICENSING OF DRIVER TRAINING SCHOOLS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A LICENSEE MUST HAVE A PERMANENT LOCATION IN THIS STATE, TO INCREASE THE LICENSE FEE, TO REQUIRE A DRIVER TRAINING SCHOOL TO OBTAIN A SURETY BOND, TO REQUIRE A DRIVER TRAINING SCHOOL'S RECORDS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES FOR REVIEW, TO REQUIRE DRIVER INSTRUCTOR QUALIFYING COURSES TO BE OFFERED AT LEAST ONCE INSTEAD OF TWICE A YEAR, TO INCREASE THE FEE FOR A TEMPORARY INSTRUCTOR PERMIT AND REQUIRE THE FEE TO BE PLACED IN THE STATE GENERAL FUND, TO SUBJECT A TEMPORARY DRIVER INSTRUCTOR'S ACTIVITIES AND INSTRUCTION TO AN AUDIT OF DRIVING SKILLS AND CLASSROOM TEACHING BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON ENGAGED IN CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION OR BEHIND THE WHEEL INSTRUCTION MUST HOLD AN INSTRUCTION PERMIT OR TEMPORARY DRIVER INSTRUCTOR PERMIT, TO PROVIDE THAT A PRIVATE HIGH SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY A FEE FOR A PERMIT, AND TO PROVIDE THE FEES FROM THE SALE OF INSTRUCTOR PERMITS MUST BE DEPOSITED IN THE STATE GENERAL FUND.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Transportation.

S. 1090 (Word version) -- Senators Bryant, Grooms, Verdin, Cleary, Peeler, Ryberg, Fair, Hawkins, Campsen, Cromer, Gregory and Scott: A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 36, ARTICLE III OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO THE GENERAL RESERVE FUND AND THE CAPITAL RESERVE FUND, SO AS TO REQUIRE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ESTABLISH A TAXPAYER RELIEF FUND (RELIEF FUND) TO WHICH MUST BE APPROPRIATED ALL ESTIMATED STATE GENERAL FUND SURPLUS REVENUE FOR A FISCAL YEAR IN EXCESS OF THE STATE CONSTITUTIONAL SPENDING LIMIT AND SUCH OTHER REVENUES AS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAY PROVIDE BY LAW, TO PROVIDE THAT REVENUES CREDITED TO THE RELIEF FUND MAY BE WITHDRAWN ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF RESTORING THE GENERAL RESERVE FUND OR COVERING OPERATING DEFICITS OF STATE GOVERNMENT, AND TO PROVIDE THAT AFTER MARCH FIRST OF EACH FISCAL YEAR, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ANNUALLY BY LAW SHALL REFUND TO THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS STATE ALL RELIEF FUND REVENUES NOT NEEDED FOR GENERAL RESERVE FUND RESTORATION OR DEFICIT REDUCTION; PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 7, ARTICLE X, RELATING TO THE SPENDING LIMIT AND BUDGET PROCESS FOR THE STATE AND POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF THE STATE AND THE LIMIT ON STATE EMPLOYEES, SO AS TO LIMIT SPENDING BY A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE STATE TO ITS PRIOR YEAR SPENDING ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION AND POPULATION GROWTH WITH A REFUND TO TAXPAYERS OF SURPLUS REVENUE GENERATED IN THE MANNER AS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PROVIDES BY LAW, TO PROVIDE THAT IN THE CASE OF A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION EXCEEDING THE LIMIT, THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL SHALL FILE A CERTIFICATE OF VIOLATION WITH THE STATE TREASURER SPECIFYING THE AMOUNT OF THE VIOLATION WHICH THE STATE TREASURER THEN SHALL WITHHOLD FROM STATE FUNDS OTHERWISE DUE THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION WITH THE AMOUNT WITHHELD REFUNDED TO TAXPAYERS IN THE MANNER THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL PROVIDE BY LAW, TO REQUIRE A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION TO FURNISH THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL THE INFORMATION AND RECORDS REQUESTED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WITH RESPECT TO THE REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES OF THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, AND TO REQUIRE THAT THE QUESTION OF SUSPENDING THIS SPENDING LIMIT FOR NOT MORE THAN TWO YEARS BE PLACED ON THE BALLOT AT THE TIME OF EACH GENERAL ELECTION FOR REPRESENTATIVES AS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PROVIDES BY LAW WITH THE SPENDING LIMIT APPLICABLE FOR THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION SUSPENDED IF A MAJORITY VOTING IN THE REFERENDUM FAVORS THE SUSPENSION; AND TO PROVIDE THAT ANNUAL STATE GENERAL FUNDS APPROPRIATIONS MUST NOT EXCEED THE TOTAL OF SUCH APPROPRIATIONS IN THE PRIOR YEAR ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION AND POPULATION GROWTH, TO PROVIDE THOSE APPROPRIATIONS AND REVENUES NOT SUBJECT TO THIS LIMIT, TO PROVIDE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BY LAW SHALL ESTABLISH THE METHOD OF CALCULATING THE ADJUSTMENTS FOR INFLATION AND POPULATION GROWTH, TO REQUIRE THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL TO NOTIFY THE GOVERNOR, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE IF THE SPENDING LIMIT IS EXCEEDED AND PROVIDE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL THEN TAKE CORRECTIVE ACTION AT ITS NEXT REGULAR SESSION OR IN EXTRA SESSION, AND TO REQUIRE THAT THE QUESTION OF SUSPENDING THIS SPENDING LIMIT FOR NOT MORE THAN TWO YEARS BE PLACED ON THE BALLOT AT THE TIME OF EACH GENERAL ELECTION FOR REPRESENTATIVES AS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY PROVIDES BY LAW WITH THE SPENDING LIMIT SUSPENDED IF A MAJORITY VOTING IN THE REFERENDUM FAVORS THE SUSPENSION.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

H. 4528 (Word version) -- Rep. Huggins: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO CONGRATULATE THE CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL CHEERLEADING TEAM OF LEXINGTON COUNTY ON ITS IMPRESSIVE 2005-2006 STATE CLASS AAA CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE AND TO HONOR THE CHEERLEADERS AND THEIR COACH VICKI WILLIAMS ON AN EXCEPTIONAL SEASON.

The Concurrent Resolution was adopted, ordered returned to the House.

THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO A CALL OF THE UNCONTESTED LOCAL AND STATEWIDE CALENDAR.

ORDERED ENROLLED FOR RATIFICATION

The following Bills were read the third time and, having received three readings in both Houses, it was ordered that the titles be changed to that of Acts and enrolled for Ratification:

H. 4422 (Word version) -- Reps. Jennings, Witherspoon, Battle, Hayes, Branham, Clemmons, J. Hines, M. Hines, Lucas, Miller, Neilson, Viers, Coates, McGee, Anderson, Vick, McLeod, Kennedy, Hodges, Ott, Jefferson and Clyburn: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 57-3-618 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION MAY IMPOSE AND COLLECT A TOLL ALONG THE PROPOSED INTERSTATE 73 UPON COMPLETION OF THIS HIGHWAY PROJECT TO BE USED TO PAY FOR THE COST OF PLANNING, RIGHT-OF-WAY ACQUISITIONS, FINANCING, CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION, AND OTHER EXPENSES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS PROJECT, AND FOR THE REMOVAL OF THE TOLLS UPON PAYMENT OF ALL SUCH COSTS.

By prior motion of Senator RYBERG, with unanimous consent

H. 4188 (Word version) -- Reps. Townsend, Agnew, Cooper, Martin, Thompson and White: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 7-7-80, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE DESIGNATION OF VOTING PRECINCTS IN ANDERSON COUNTY, SO AS TO ADD AND REVISE CERTAIN VOTING PRECINCTS IN ANDERSON COUNTY, TO REDESIGNATE A MAP NUMBER FOR THE MAP ON WHICH LINES OF THESE PRECINCTS ARE DELINEATED AND MAINTAINED BY THE OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND STATISTICS OF THE STATE BUDGET AND CONTROL BOARD, AND TO CORRECT ARCHAIC LANGUAGE.

THIRD READING BILLS

The following Bills were read the third time and ordered sent to the House of Representatives:

S. 1074 (Word version) -- Senator O'Dell: A BILL TO AMEND SECTIONS 59-53-210 AND 59-53-240, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE CREATION OF THE TRI-COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE DISTRICT AND THE TRI-COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE COMMISSION AND THE EDUCATION INSTITUTION CREATED AND OPERATED BY THE COMMISSION, SO AS TO CHANGE THE NAME OF THE DISTRICT TO THE TRI-COUNTY TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT, TO CHANGE THE NAME OF THE COMMISSION TO THE TRI-COUNTY TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE COMMISSION, AND TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMISSION TO NAME THE EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION CREATED AND OPERATED BY IT AS THE TRI-COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE.

S. 1078 (Word version) -- Senators Cleary, Rankin and McGill: A BILL TO AMEND JOINT RESOLUTION 272 OF 1985, RELATING TO THE MURRELL'S INLET-GARDEN CITY FIRE DISTRICT IN GEORGETOWN AND HORRY COUNTIES, SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE BOARD OF FIRE CONTROL FOR THE DISTRICT TO USE A PORTION OF THE IMPACT FEES TO CONSTRUCT A FACILITY OR BUILDING IN WHICH TO HOUSE OR STORE FIRE FIGHTING EQUIPMENT.

THE CALL OF THE UNCONTESTED CALENDAR HAVING BEEN COMPLETED, THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO THE MOTION PERIOD.

MOTION ADOPTED

On motion of Senator MARTIN, the Senate agreed to dispense with the Motion Period.

THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO THE INTERRUPTED DEBATE.

DEBATE INTERRUPTED

H. 3010 (Word version) -- Reps. W.D. Smith, Wilkins, G.R. Smith, Vaughn, Harrison, Davenport, Sandifer, Coates, Young, Leach, Viers, Littlejohn, Rice, Hinson, Clark, Walker, Mahaffey, Duncan, Hagood and Clemmons: A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 40, TITLE 59, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE CREATION OF A CAROLINA PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL DISTRICT, ITS GOVERNANCE, AND ITS POWERS AND DUTIES; AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH A CHARTER SCHOOL SPONSORED BY THE CAROLINA PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL DISTRICT MUST BE FORMED, FUNDED, REGULATED, AND GOVERNED.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the second reading of the Bill.

RECESS

At 11:14 A.M., on motion of Senator MARTIN, the Senate receded from business not to exceed thirty minutes, but subject to the Call of the Chair.

At 11:58 A.M., the Senate resumed.

ACTING PRESIDENT PRESIDES

At 11:58 A.M., Senator MARTIN assumed the Chair.

On motion of Senator McCONNELL, with unanimous consent, debate was interrupted by the recess.

RECESS

At 11:59 A.M., on motion of Senator McCONNELL, the Senate receded from business until 1:00 P.M.

AMENDED, COMMITTEE AMENDMENT TABLED
READ THE SECOND TIME

H. 3010 (Word version) -- Reps. W.D. Smith, Wilkins, G.R. Smith, Vaughn, Harrison, Davenport, Sandifer, Coates, Young, Leach, Viers, Littlejohn, Rice, Hinson, Clark, Walker, Mahaffey, Duncan, Hagood and Clemmons: A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 40, TITLE 59, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO CHARTER SCHOOLS, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE CREATION OF A CAROLINA PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL DISTRICT, ITS GOVERNANCE, AND ITS POWERS AND DUTIES; AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH A CHARTER SCHOOL SPONSORED BY THE CAROLINA PUBLIC CHARTER SCHOOL DISTRICT MUST BE FORMED, FUNDED, REGULATED, AND GOVERNED.

The Senate resumed consideration of the Bill, the question being the second reading of the Bill.

ACTING PRESIDENT PRESIDES

At 1:05 P.M., Senator MARTIN assumed the Chair.

RECESS

At 1:06 P.M., on motion of Senator McCONNELL, the Senate receded from business not to exceed five minutes.

At 1:16 P.M., the Senate resumed.

PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE PRESIDES

At 1:17 P.M., Senator McCONNELL assumed the Chair.

Senator HAYES was recognized to speak on the Bill.

PRESIDENT PRESIDES

At 1:20 P.M., the PRESIDENT assumed the Chair.

Amendment No. 20A

Senators HAYES, MATTHEWS, COURSON, SETZLER and SHORT proposed the following Amendment No. 20A (GGS\22384SJ06), which was adopted:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, by striking all after the enacting words and inserting:

/   SECTION   1.   Chapter 40, Title 59 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

  "CHAPTER 40

Charter Schools

Section 59-40-10.   This chapter may be cited as the 'South Carolina Charter Schools Act of 1996'.

Section 59-40-20.   This chapter is enacted to:

(1)   improve student learning;

(2)   increase learning opportunities for students;

(3)   encourage the use of a variety of productive teaching methods;

(4)   establish new forms of accountability for schools;

(5)   create new professional opportunities for teachers, including the opportunity to be responsible for the learning program at the school site; and

(6)   assist South Carolina in reaching academic excellence.

Section 59-40-30.   (A)   In authorizing charter schools, it is the intent of the General Assembly to create a legitimate avenue for parents, teachers, and community members to take responsible risks and create new, innovative, and more flexible ways of educating all children within the public school system. The General Assembly seeks to create an atmosphere in South Carolina's public school systems where research and development in producing different learning opportunities is actively pursued and where classroom teachers are given the flexibility to innovate and the responsibility to be accountable. As such, the provisions of this chapter should be interpreted liberally to support the findings and goals of this chapter and to advance a renewed commitment by the State of South Carolina to the mission, goals, and diversity of public education.

(B)   It is the intent of the General Assembly that creation of this chapter encourages cultural diversity, educational improvement, and academic excellence. Further, it is not the intent of the General Assembly to create a segregated school system but to continue to promote educational improvement and excellence in South Carolina.

Section 59-40-40.   As used in this chapter:

(1)   A 'charter school' means a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious, nonhome-based, nonprofit corporation forming a school which operates within a public school district, but is accountable to the local school board of trustees of that district, which grants its charter. A 'charter school' may include a virtual charter school that meets all of the requirements of this item except the nonhome-based requirement.

(2)   A charter school:

(a)   is considered a public school and part of the South Carolina Public Charter School District or local school district in which it is located for the purposes of state law and the state constitution;

(b)   is subject to all federal and state laws and constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services;

(c)   must be administered and governed by a governing body in a manner agreed to by the charter school applicant and the sponsor, the governing body to be selected, as provided in Section 59-40-50(B)(9);

(d)   shall may not charge tuition or other charges of any kind pursuant to Section 59-19-90(8) except as may be allowed by the sponsor and is comparable to the charges of the local school district in which the charter school is located.

(3)   'Applicant' means the person who or nonprofit corporate entity that desires to form a charter school and files the necessary application with the South Carolina Charter School Committee or the local school board of trustees in which the charter school is to be located. The applicant also must be the person who applies to the Secretary of State to organize the charter school as a nonprofit corporation.

(4)   'Sponsor' means the South Carolina Charter School Committee or the local school board of trustees in which the charter school is to be located established, as provided by law, from which the charter school applicant requested its charter and which granted approval for the charter school's existence.

(5)   'Certified teacher' means a person currently certified by the State of South Carolina to teach in a public elementary or secondary school or who currently meets the qualification qualifications outlined in Sections 59-27-10 and 59-25-115.

(6)   'Noncertified teacher' means an individual considered appropriately qualified for the subject matter taught and who has completed at least one year of study at an accredited college or university and meets the qualifications outlined in Section 59-25-115.

(7)   'Charter committee' means the governing body of a charter school formed by the applicant to govern through the application process and until the election of a board of directors is held. After the election, the board of directors of the corporation must be organized as the governing body and the charter committee is dissolved.

(8)   'Local school district' means any school district in the State except the South Carolina Public Charter School District and does not include special school districts.

(9)   'Committee' means the South Carolina Charter School Committee.

Section 59-40-50.   (A)   Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, a charter school is exempt from all provisions of law and regulations applicable to a public school, a school board, or a district, although a charter school may elect to comply with one or more of these provisions of law or regulations.

(B)   A charter school must:

(1)   adhere to the same health, safety, civil rights, and disability rights requirements as are applied to public schools operating in the same school district or, in the case of the South Carolina Public Charter School District, the local school district in which the charter school is located;

(2)   meet, but may exceed, the same minimum student attendance requirements as are applied to public schools operating in the same district;

(3)   adhere to the same financial audits, audit procedures, and audit requirements as are applied to public schools operating in the same school district;

(4)   be considered a school district for purposes of tort liability under South Carolina law, except that the tort immunity does not include acts of intentional or wilful racial discrimination by the governing body or employees of the charter school. Employees of charter schools must be relieved of personal liability for any tort or contract related to their school to the same extent that employees of traditional public schools in their school district or, in the case of the South Carolina Public Charter School District, the local school district in which the charter school is located are relieved;

(5)   in its discretion hire noncertified teachers in a ratio of up to twenty-five percent of its entire teacher staff; however, if it is a converted charter school, it shall hire in its discretion noncertified teachers in a ratio of up to ten percent of its entire teacher staff. However, in either a new or converted charter school, a teacher teaching in the core academic areas of English/language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies as defined by the federal No Child Left Behind law must be certified in those areas or possess a baccalaureate or graduate degree in the subject he or she is hired to teach. Part-time noncertified teachers are considered pro rata in calculating this percentage based on the hours which they are expected to teach;

(6)   hire in its discretion administrative staff to oversee the daily operation of the school. At least one of the administrative staff must be certified or experienced in the field of school administration;

(7)   admit all children eligible to attend public school in a school district to a charter school operating in that school district, subject to space limitations. However, it is required that the racial composition of the charter school enrollment reflect that of the local school district in which the charter school is located or that of the targeted student population which of the local school district that the charter school proposes to serve, to be defined for the purposes of this chapter as differing by no more than twenty percent from that population. This requirement is also subject to the provisions of Section 59-40-70(D). If the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building, students must be accepted by lot, and there is no appeal to the sponsor;

(8)   not limit or deny admission or show preference in admission decisions to any individual or group of individuals; provided, however, that a charter school may give enrollment priority to a sibling of a pupil already enrolled, children of a charter school employee, and children of the charter committee, provided their enrollment does not constitute more than twenty percent of the enrollment of the charter school;

(9)   elect its board of directors annually. All employees of the charter school and all parents or guardians of students enrolled in the charter school are eligible to participate in the election. Parents or guardians of a student shall have one vote for each student enrolled in the charter school. A person who has been convicted of a felony must not be elected to a board of directors;

(10)   be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, including the charter school and its governing body.

(C)(1)   If a charter school denies admission to a student, the student may appeal the denial to the school board of trustees sponsor. The decision is binding on the student and the charter school.

(2)   If a charter school suspends or expels a student, other charter schools or the local school district in which the charter school is located has the authority but not the obligation to refuse admission to the student.

(3)   The sponsor has no obligation to provide extracurricular activities or access to facilities of the school district for students enrolled in the charter school; however, the charter contract may include participation in agreed upon interscholastic activities at a designated school within the sponsor district. Notwithstanding another provision of law, the local school district has no obligation to provide charter schools, sponsored by the committee, extracurricular activities or access to facilities of the school district for students enrolled in charter schools unless the school district, by contract, has agreed to provide activities or access. Students participating under this agreement shall be considered eligible to participate in league events if all other eligibility requirements are met.

(D)   The State is not responsible for student transportation to a charter school unless the charter school is designated by the local school district as the only school selected within the local school district's attendance area.

(E)   The South Carolina Charter School Committee may not use program funding for transportation.

Section 59-40-60.   (A)   An approved charter application constitutes an agreement, and the terms must be the terms of a contract between the charter school and the sponsor.

(B)   The contract between the charter school and the sponsor shall reflect all agreements regarding the release of the charter school from local school district policies.

(C)   A material revision of the terms of the contract between the charter school and the approving board or committee may be made only with the approval of both parties.

(D)   Except as provided in subsection (F), an applicant who wishes to form a charter school shall:

(1)   organize the charter school as a nonprofit corporation pursuant to the laws of this State;

(2)   form a charter committee for the charter school which includes one or more teachers;

(3)   submit a written charter school application to the local South Carolina Charter School Committee or the school board of trustees for the school district in which the charter school is to be located from which the committee is seeking sponsorship.

(E)   A charter committee is responsible for and has the power to:

(1)   submit an application to operate as a charter school, sign a charter school contract, and ensure compliance with all of the requirements for charter schools provided by law;

(2)   perform acts of a nonprofit organization including, but not limited to, employ employing and contract contracting with teachers and nonteaching employees, contract contracting for other services, and develop developing pay scales, performance criteria, and discharge policies for its employees. All teachers whether certified or noncertified must undergo the background checks and other investigations required for certified teachers, as provided by law, before they may teach in the charter school; and

(3)   decide all other matters related to the operation of the charter school, including budgeting, curriculum, and operating procedures.

(F)   The charter school application shall be a proposed contract and must include:

(1)   the mission statement of the charter school, which must be consistent with the principles of the General Assembly's purposes pursuant to Section 59-40-20;

(2)   the goals, objectives, and pupil achievement standards to be achieved by the charter school, and a description of the charter school's admission policies and procedures;

(3)   evidence that an adequate number of parents, teachers, pupils, or any combination of them support the formation of a charter school;

(4)   a description of the charter school's educational program, pupil achievement standards, and curriculum which must meet or exceed any content standards adopted by the school district in which the charter school is located State Board of Education and the chartering district and must be designed to enable each pupil to achieve these standards;

(5)   a description of the charter school's plan for evaluating pupil achievement and progress toward accomplishment of the school's achievement standards in addition to state assessments, the timeline for meeting these standards, and the procedures for taking corrective action if that pupil achievement falls below the standards;

(6)   evidence that the plan for the charter school is economically sound, a proposed budget for the term of the charter, a description of the manner in which an annual audit of the financial and administrative operations of the charter school, including any services provided by the school district, is to be conducted;

(7)   a description of the governance and operation of the charter school, including the nature and extent of parental, professional educator, and community involvement in the governance and operation of the charter school;

(8)   a description of how the charter school plans to ensure that the enrollment of the school is similar to the racial composition of the local school district in which the charter school is to be located or the targeted student population of the local school district that the charter school proposes to serve and provide assurance that the school does not conflict with any school district desegregation plan or order in effect for the school district in which the charter school is to be located;

(9)   a description of how the charter school plans to meet the transportation needs of its pupils;

(10)   a description of the building, facilities, and equipment and how they shall be obtained;

(11)   an explanation of the relationship that shall exist between the proposed charter school and its employees, including descriptions of evaluation procedures and evidence that the terms and conditions of employment have been addressed with affected employees;

(12)   a description of a reasonable grievance and termination procedure, as required by this chapter, including notice and a hearing before the governing body of the charter school. The application must state whether or not the provisions of Article 5, Chapter 25 of Title 59 apply to the employment and dismissal of teachers at the charter school;

(13)   a description of student rights and responsibilities, including behavior and discipline standards, and a reasonable hearing procedure, including notice and a hearing before the board of directors of the charter school before expulsion;

(14)   an assumption of liability by the charter school for the activities of the charter school and an agreement that the charter school must indemnify and hold harmless the school district, its servants, agents, and employees, from any and all liability, damage, expense, causes of action, suits, claims, or judgments arising from injury to persons or property or otherwise which arises out of the act, failure to act, or negligence of the charter school, its agents and employees, in connection with or arising out of the activity of the charter school; and

(15)   a description of the types and amounts of insurance coverage to be obtained by the charter school.

(G)   Nothing in this section shall require a charter school applicant to provide a list of prospective or tentatively enrolled students or prospective employees with the application.

Section 59-40-70.   (A)   The Charter School Advisory Committee shall be established by the State Board of Education to review charter school applications for compliance with established standards that reflect the requirements and intent of this chapter. Members shall be appointed by the State Board of Education unless otherwise indicated.

(1)   The advisory committee shall consist of eleven members as follows:

(a)   South Carolina Association of Public Charter Schools--the president or his designee and one additional representative from the association;

(b)   South Carolina Association of School Administrators--the executive director or his designee;

(c)   South Carolina Chamber of Commerce--the executive director or his designee and one additional representative from the chamber;

(d)   South Carolina Education Oversight Committee--the chair or a business designee;

(e)   South Carolina Commission on Higher Education--the chair or his designee;

(f)   South Carolina School Boards Association--the executive director or his designee;

(g)   South Carolina Alliance of Black Educators--the president or his designee; and

(h)   One teacher and one parent to be appointed by the State Superintendent of Education.

(2)   As an application is reviewed, a representative from the local school board of trustees of the affected school district and a representative of the charter committee shall serve on the advisory Committee as ex officio nonvoting members.

(3)   Appointing authorities shall give consideration to the appointment of minorities and women as representatives on the committee.

(4)   The committee shall be convened by the State Superintendent of Education on or before July 1, 2002, who shall serve as interim chair. At the first meeting the membership shall elect a chairman and any other officers it deems necessary.

(5)   The committee shall establish by-laws for its operation which shall include terms of office for its membership.

(6)   An applicant shall submit the application to the advisory committee and a copy to the affected school district. The advisory committee shall receive input from the school district and shall request clarifying information from the applicant. Within sixty days, the advisory committee shall determine whether the application is in compliance. An application that is in compliance must be forwarded to the school district with a letter stating the application is in compliance. If the application is in noncompliance, it must be returned to the applicant with deficiencies noted. The applicant may appeal the decision to the State Board of Education.

(B)   The local school board shall rule on the application for a charter school in a public hearing, upon reasonable public notice, within thirty days after receiving the application. If there is no ruling within thirty days, the application is considered approved.

(C)   A school board of trustees shall only deny an application if the application does not meet the requirements specified in Section 59-40-50 or 59-40-60, fails to meet the spirit and intent of this chapter, or adversely affects, as defined in regulation, the other students in the district. It shall provide, within ten days, a written explanation of the reasons for denial, citing specific standards related to provisions of Section 59-40-50 or 59-40-60 that the application violates. This written explanation immediately shall be sent to the charter committee and filed with the State Board of Education and the Charter School Advisory Committee.

(D)   In the event that the racial composition of an applicant's or charter school's enrollment differs from the enrollment of the local school district or the targeted student population by more than twenty percent, despite its best efforts, the local school district board shall consider the applicant's or the charter school's recruitment efforts and racial composition of the applicant pool in determining whether the applicant or charter school is operating in a nondiscriminatory manner. A finding by the local school district board that the applicant or charter school is operating in a racially discriminatory manner may justify the denial of a charter school application or the revocation of a charter as provided herein or in Section 59-40-110, as may be applicable. A finding by the local school district board that the applicant is not operating in a racially discriminatory manner shall justify approval of the charter without regard to the racial percentage requirement if the application is acceptable in all other aspects.

(E)   If the local school board of trustees denies a charter school application, the charter applicant may appeal the denial to the State Board of Education pursuant to Section 59-40-90.

(F)   If the local school board approves the application, it becomes the charter school's sponsor and shall sign the approved application which constitutes a contract with the charter committee of the charter school. A copy of the charter must be filed with the State Board of Education. [RESERVED]

Section 59-40-75.   (A)   A member of the South Carolina Charter School Committee or of the governing board or sponsor of the charter school who is indicted in any court for any crime may, in the discretion of the Governor, be suspended by the Governor, who in event of suspension shall appoint another in his stead until he is acquitted. In case of conviction, the office must be declared vacant by the Governor and the vacancy filled as provided by law.

(B)   A member of the South Carolina Charter School Committee or of the governing board of the charter school who is guilty of malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetency, absenteeism, conflicts of interest, misconduct, persistent neglect of duty in office, or incapacity is subject to removal by the Governor upon any of the foregoing causes being made to appear to the satisfaction of the Governor. But before removing the officer, the Governor shall inform him in writing of the specific charges brought against him and give him an opportunity on reasonable notice to be heard.

(C)   Whenever it appears to the satisfaction of the Governor that probable cause exists to charge a member of the South Carolina Charter School Committee or of the governing board of the charter school who has the custody of public or trust funds with embezzlement or the appropriation of public or trust funds to private use, then the Governor shall direct his immediate prosecution by the proper officer, and upon indictment by a grand jury or, upon the waiver of the indictment if permitted by law, the Governor shall suspend the officer and appoint one in his stead, until he is acquitted. In case of conviction, the position must be declared vacant and the vacancy filled as provided by law.

(D)   A member of the South Carolina Charter School Committee or of the governing board of the charter school who has been indicted by a grand jury for a crime involving moral turpitude or who has waived the indictment if permitted by law may be suspended by the Governor until he is acquitted. In case of conviction the office must be declared vacant and the vacancy filled as provided by law.

Section 59-40-80.   A local school board sponsor may conditionally authorize a charter school before the applicant has secured its space, equipment, facilities, and personnel if the applicant indicates such authority is necessary for it to meet the requirements of this chapter. Conditional authorization does not give rise to any equitable or other claims based on reliance, notwithstanding any promise, parole, written, or otherwise, contained in the authorization or acceptance of it, whether preceding or following the conditional authorization.

Section 59-40-90.   (A)   The State Board of Education, upon receipt of a notice of appeal or upon its own motion, shall review a decision of any local school board of trustees or the committee concerning charter schools in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(B)   A charter applicant who wishes to appeal an adverse decision shall provide the State Board of Education and the local school board of trustees or committee issuing the decision with a notice of appeal within ten days of the local board's or committee's decision.

(C)   If the notice of appeal or the motion to review by the State Board of Education relates to a local board's or committee's decision to deny, refuse to renew, or revoke a charter, the appeal and review process must be as contained in this section. Within thirty forty-five days after receipt of the notice of appeal or the making of a motion to review by the State Board of Education and after reasonable public notice, the State Board of Education, at a public hearing which may be held in the district where the proposed charter school is located, shall review the decision of the local school board of trustees or committee and make its findings known. The state board may affirm or reverse the application for action by the local board or committee in accordance with an order of the state board.

(D)   A final decision of the state board may be appealed by any party to the circuit court for the county in which the proposed charter school is or was to have located.

Section 59-40-100.   (A)   An existing public school may be converted into a charter school if two-thirds of the faculty and instructional staff employed at the school and two-thirds of all voting parents or legal guardians of students enrolled in the school agree to the filing of an application with the local school board of trustees for the conversion and formation of that school into a charter school. All parents Parents or legal guardians of students enrolled in the school must be given the opportunity to vote on the conversion. Parents or guardians of a student shall have one vote for each student enrolled in the school seeking conversion. The application must be submitted pursuant to Section 59-40-70(A)(6) by the principal of that school or his designee who must be considered the applicant. The application must include all information required of other applications pursuant to this chapter. The local school board of trustees shall approve or disapprove this application in the same manner it approves or disapproves other applications.

(B)   A converted charter school shall offer at least the same grades, or nongraded education appropriate for the same ages and education levels of pupils, as offered by the school immediately before conversion, and also may provide additional grades and further educational offerings.

(C)   All students enrolled in the school at the time of conversion must be given priority enrollment.

(D)   Teachers and other employees of a converted school who desire to teach or work at the converted school may do so but shall remain employees of the local school district with the same compensation and benefits including any future increases. The converted charter school quarterly shall reimburse the local school district for the compensation and employer contribution benefits paid to or on behalf of these teachers and employees. The provisions of Article 5, Chapter 25 of Title 59 apply to the employment and dismissal of teachers at a converted school.

(E)   The South Carolina Public Charter School District may not sponsor a public school to convert to a charter school.

Section 59-40-110.   (A)   A charter may be approved or renewed for a period of five school years; however, the charter may be revoked or not renewed under the provisions of subsection (C) of this section. The sponsor annually shall evaluate the conditions outlined in subsection (C). The annual evaluation results must be used in making a determination for non-renewal or revocation.

(B)   A charter renewal application must be submitted to the school's sponsor, and it must contain:

(1)   a report on the progress of the charter school in achieving the goals, objectives, pupil achievement standards, and other terms of the initially approved charter application; and

(2)   a financial statement that discloses the costs of administration, instruction, and other spending categories for the charter school that is understandable to the general public and that allows comparison of these costs to other schools or other comparable organizations, in a format required by the State Board of Education.

(C)   A charter must be revoked or not renewed by the sponsor if it determines that the charter school:

(1)   committed a material violation of the conditions, standards, or procedures provided for in the charter application;

(2)   failed to meet or make reasonable progress, as defined in the charter application, toward pupil achievement standards identified in the charter application;

(3)   failed to meet generally accepted standards of fiscal management; or

(4)   violated any provision of law from which the charter school was not specifically exempted.

(D)   At least sixty days before not renewing or terminating a charter school, the sponsor shall notify in writing the charter school's governing body of the proposed action. The notification shall state the grounds for the proposed action in reasonable detail. Termination must follow the procedure provided for in this section.

(E)   The charter school's governing body may request in writing a hearing before the sponsor within fourteen days of receiving notice of nonrenewal or termination of the charter. Failure by the school's governing body to make a written request for a hearing within fourteen days must be treated as acquiescence to the proposed action. Upon receiving a timely written request for a hearing, the sponsor shall give reasonable notice to the school's governing body of the hearing date. The sponsor shall conduct a hearing before taking final action. The sponsor shall take final action to renew or not renew a charter by the last day of classes in the last school year for which the charter school is authorized.

(F)   A decision to revoke or not to renew a charter school may be appealed to the state board pursuant to the provisions of Section 59-40-90.

Section 59-40-115.   A charter school may terminate its contract with a sponsor before the five-year term of contract if all parties under contract with the charter school agree to the dissolution. A charter school that terminates its contract with a sponsor directly may seek application for the length of time remaining on its original contract from another sponsor without review from the South Carolina Charter School Committee.

Section 59-40-120.   Upon dissolution of a charter school, its assets may not inure to the benefit of any private person. Any assets obtained through restricted agreements with a donor through awards, grants, or gifts must be returned to that entity. All other assets become property of the sponsor.

Section 59-40-130.   (A)   If an employee of a local school district makes a written request for a leave to be employed at a charter school, the school district shall grant the leave for up to five years as requested by the employee. The school district may require that the request for leave or extension of leave be made by the date provided for by state law for the return of teachers' contracts. Employees may return to employment with the local school district at its option with the same teaching or administrative contract status as when they left but without assurance as to the school or supplemental position to which they may be assigned.

(B)   During a leave, the employee may continue to accrue benefits and credits in the South Carolina Retirement System by paying the employee contributions based upon the annual salary of the employee, and the charter school shall pay the employer contribution. The South Carolina Retirement System may impose reasonable requirements to administer this section.

(C)   The provisions of this section do not apply to teachers and other employees of a converted school whose employment relation is governed by Section 59-40-100(C).

Section 59-40-140.   (A)   A local school board of trustees sponsor shall distribute state, county, and school district funds to a charter school as determined by the following formula: The previous year's audited total general fund expenditures, including capital outlay and maintenance, but not including expenditures from bonded indebtedness or debt repayment must be divided by the previous year's weighted students, then increased by the Education Finance Act inflation factor, pursuant to Section 59-20-40, for the years following the audited expenditures, then multiplied by the weighted students enrolled in the charter school, which will be subject to adjustment for student attendance and state budget allocations based on the same criteria as the local school district. These amounts must be verified by the State Department of Education before the first disbursement of funds. All state and local funding must be distributed by the local school district to the charter school monthly beginning July first following approval of the charter school application.

(B)   The South Carolina Public Charter School District shall receive and distribute state funds to the charter school as determined by the following formula: the current year's base student cost, as funded by the General Assembly, multiplied by the weighted students enrolled in the charter school, which must be subject to adjustment for student attendance and state budget allocations. However, the South Carolina Public Charter School District may not retain more than two percent of its gross revenue for its internal administrative and operating expenses.

(C)   During the year of the charter school's operation, as received, and to the extent allowed by federal law, a sponsor shall distribute to the charter school federal funds which are allocated to the local school district on the basis of the number of special characteristics of the students attending the charter school. These amounts must be verified by the State Department of Education before the first disbursement of funds.

(C)(D)   Notwithstanding subsection (B) (C), the proportionate share of state and federal resources generated by students with disabilities or staff serving them must be directed to charter schools. The proportionate share of funds generated under other federal or state categorical aid programs must be directed to charter schools serving students eligible for the aid pursuant to state and federal law.

(D)(E)   All services centrally or otherwise provided by the school district sponsor or local school district, if any, including, but not limited to, food services, custodial services, maintenance, curriculum, media services, libraries, and warehousing are subject to negotiation between a charter school and the school district sponsor or local school district.

(E)(F)   All awards, grants, or gifts collected by a charter school must be retained by the charter school.

(F)(G)   The governing body of a charter school is authorized to accept gifts, donations, or grants of any kind made to the charter school and to expend or use the gifts, donations, or grants in accordance with the conditions prescribed by the donor. No A gift or donation shall must not be required for admission. However, no a gift, donation, or grant may must not be accepted by the governing board if subject to any a condition contrary to law or contrary to the terms of the contract between the charter school and the governing body. All gifts, donations, or grants must be reported to the local school district sponsor in their annual audit report as required in Section 59-40-50(B)(3).

(G)(H)   A charter school shall report to its sponsor and the Department of Education any change to information provided under its application. In addition, a charter school shall report at least annually to its sponsor and the department all information required by the sponsor or the department and including, at a minimum, the number of students enrolled in the charter school, the success of students in achieving the specific educational goals for which the charter school was established, and the identity and certification status of the teaching staff.

(H)(I)   The sponsor shall provide technical assistance to persons and groups preparing or revising charter applications at no expense.

(I)(J)   Charter schools may acquire by gift, devise, purchase, lease, sublease, installment purchase agreement, land contract, option, or by any other means, and hold and own in its own name buildings or other property for school purposes, and interests in it which are necessary or convenient to fulfill its purposes.

(J)(K)   Charter schools are exempt from all state and local taxation, except the sales tax, on their earnings and property. Instruments of conveyance to or from a charter school are exempt from all types of taxation of local or state taxes and transfer fees.

(K)   For those charter schools established on and after July 1, 2003, during the first year of its operation and upon verification by the State Department of Education that the charter school is receiving funding consistent with this chapter, the local school district shall receive through a state reserve fund established by the General Assembly beginning with fiscal year 2003-2004 an amount equivalent to the base student cost times a 1.0 weighted pupil unit for each student enrolled in the charter school who was enrolled in another noncharter public school in the district on the one hundred thirty-fifth day of the previous school year. The reserve fund shall be available only when the charter school is not initiated or operated by the district. Upon the filing of a charter school application, the State Department of Education must verify to the Charter School Advisory Committee and the affected school district that adequate funds are in the state reserve fund to meet this requirement.

Section 59-40-145.   A child who resides in a school district other than the one where a charter school is located may attend a charter school outside his district of residence; however, the receiving charter school shall have authority to grant or deny permission for the student to attend pursuant to Sections 59-40-40(2)(b) and 59-40-50(B)(7) and (8) according to the terms of the charter after in-district children have been given priority in enrollment. However, the out-of-district enrollment shall not exceed twenty percent of the total enrollment of the charter school without the approval of the sponsoring district board of trustees or committee. The district sending children to the charter school under the terms of this section must be notified immediately of the transferring students. Out-of-district students must be considered based on the order in which their applications are received. If the twenty percent out-of-district enrollment is from one school district, then the sending district must concur with any additional students transferring from that district to attend the charter school. The charter school to which the child is transferring shall be eligible for state and federal funding according to the formula defined in Section 59-40-140(A), (B), and (C), as applicable. However, this section does not apply to a charter school sponsored by the South Carolina Charter School Committee.

Section 59-40-150.   (A)   The Department of Education shall disseminate information to the public, directly and through sponsors, on how to form and operate a charter school and how to utilize the offerings of a charter school.

(B)   At least annually, the department shall provide upon request a directory of all charter schools authorized under this chapter with information concerning the educational goals of each charter school, the success of each charter school in meeting its educational goals, and procedures to apply for admission to each charter school.

(C)   The department shall bear the cost of complying with this section.

Section 59-40-155.   (A)   Within one year of taking office, all persons elected or appointed as members of a charter school board of trustees after July 1, 2006, shall complete successfully an orientation program in the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a board member, including, but not limited to, topics on policy development, personnel, instructional programs, school finance, school law, ethics, and community relations. The orientation must be provided at no charge by the State Department of Education or an association approved by the department.

(B)   Within ninety days of employment, an administrator employed by the charter school, who is not certified, shall complete successfully an orientation program in the powers, duties, and responsibilities of a school administrator, including, but not limited to, topics on personnel, instructional programs, school finance, school law, ethics, and community relations. The orientation must be provided at no charge by the State Department of Education.

Section 59-40-160.   (A)   The State Board of Education shall compile evaluations, to include, but not be limited to, school report cards, of charter schools received from local school boards of trustees sponsors. They shall review information regarding the regulations and policies from which charter schools were released to determine if the releases assisted or impeded the charter schools in meeting their stated goals and objectives.

(B)   The State Board of Education shall review the implementation and effectiveness of this chapter, review comprehensive reports issued by local school boards concerning successes or failures of charter schools, report to the Governor and General Assembly interim results by July 1, 1998, and issue a final report and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly during the fifth year after the effective date of this chapter.

(C)   In preparing the report required by this section, the State Board of Education shall compare the academic performance of charter school pupils with the performance of ethnically and economically comparable groups of pupils in other public schools who are enrolled in academically comparable courses.

(D)   An impact study shall be conducted by the State Board of Education two years after the implementation of the South Carolina Charter School Advisory Committee review process to determine the effectiveness of the application process.

Section 59-40-170.   The Department of Education shall make available, upon request, a list of vacant and unused buildings and vacant and unused portions of buildings that are owned by school districts in this State and that may be suitable for the operation of a charter school. The department shall make the list available to applicants for charter schools and to existing charter schools. The list must include the address of each building, a short description of the building, and the name of the owner of the building. Nothing in this section requires the owner of a building on the list to sell or lease the building or a portion of the building to a charter school or to any other school or to any other prospective buyer or tenant. However, if a school district declares a building surplus and chooses to sell or lease the building, a charter school's board of directors or a charter committee operating or applying within the district must be given the first refusal to purchase or lease the building under the same or better terms and conditions as it would be offered to the public.

Section 59-40-180.   The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations and develop guidelines necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter, including standards which the South Carolina Charter School Advisory Committee shall use to determine compliance with this chapter and an application process to include a timeline for submission of applications that will allow for final decisions, including state board appeal, by December first of the year preceding the charter school's opening.

Section 59-40-190.   (A)   The governing body of a charter school may sue and be sued. The governing body may not levy taxes or issue bonds.

(B)   A sponsor is not liable for any of the debts of the charter school.

(C)   A sponsor, members of the board or committee of a sponsor, and employees of a sponsor acting in their official capacity are immune from civil or criminal liability with respect to all activities related to a charter school they sponsor. The governing body of a charter school shall obtain at least the amount of and types of insurance required for this purpose.

(D)   A member of a school governing body may not receive pay as an employee in the same school.

Section 59-40-200.   Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, charter schools with conditional charters, with applications pending with local school district boards, or with planning-implementation grants supported by the Public Charter Schools Grant Program whose timelines stipulate having charter applications approved prior to December 1, 2003, shall apply directly to the local school district board of trustees without review by the charter school advisory committee. An application already on file with the advisory committee before the effective date of Section 59-40-220 is subject to the timeline in effect at the time the application was filed. An application filed after the effective date of Section 59-40-220 is subject to the new time lines established pursuant to this chapter.

Section 59-40-210.   A school established as a private school, on the effective date of this section, which desires to become a charter school must dissolve and may not be allowed to open as a charter school for a period of twelve months.

Section 59-40-220.   (A)   There is established the South Carolina Public Charter School District to be governed by the South Carolina Charter School Committee. The South Carolina Public Charter School District must be considered a local education agency and is eligible to receive state and federal funds and grants available for public charter and other schools to the same degree as other local education agencies. The South Carolina Public Charter School District must not have a local tax base and may not receive local property taxes.

(B)   The geographical boundaries of the South Carolina Public Charter School District are the same as the boundaries of the State of South Carolina.

(C)   The office of the South Carolina Public Charter School District must be housed in the office of the State Department of Education.

Section 59-40-230.   (A)   The South Carolina Charter School Committee is the governing body of the South Carolina Public Charter School District and serves as the review committee for charter school applications. The committee shall consist of not more than eleven members to be appointed as follows:

(1)   two to be appointed by the Governor;

(2)   one to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

(3)   one to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and

(4)   seven to be appointed by the Governor upon the recommendation of the:

(a)   South Carolina Association of Public Charter Schools and one additional representative from the association;

(b)   South Carolina Association of School Administrators;

(c)   South Carolina Chamber of Commerce;

(d)   South Carolina Education Oversight Committee;

(e)   South Carolina School Boards Association;

(f)   South Carolina Alliance of Black Educators.

The nine members appointed by the Governor pursuant to this subsection are subject to advice and consent of the Senate. Membership of the committee must reflect representatives from each of the entities in item (A)(4) or their designee as reflected in their recommendation.

Each member of the committee shall serve terms of three years, except that, for the initial members, two appointed by the Governor, one by the Speaker of the House, one by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, shall serve terms of one year and three appointed by the Governor, shall serve terms of two years. A member of the committee may be removed after appointment pursuant to Section 1-3-240. In making appointments, every effort must be made to ensure that all geographic areas of the State are represented and that the membership reflects urban and rural areas of the State as well as the ethnic diversity of the State.

(B)   The committee has the same powers, rights, and responsibilities with respect to charter schools as other school district boards of trustees of this State including, but not limited to, sponsoring charter schools and applying for federal charter school grants, except that the committee may not offer application for a charter school, issue bonds, or levy taxes.

(C)   The committee annually shall elect a chairman and other officers as it considers necessary from among its membership.

(D)   Members of the committee are not eligible to receive compensation but are eligible for per diem, mileage, and subsistence as provided by law for members of state boards, committees, and commissions.

(E)   The committee shall:

(1)   exercise general supervision over public charter schools sponsored by the district;

(2)   grant charter status to qualifying applicants for public charter schools pursuant to this chapter;

(3)   adopt and use an official seal in the authentication of its acts;

(4)   keep a record of its proceedings;

(5)   adopt rules of governance;

(6)   determine the policy of the district and the work undertaken by it;

(7)   prepare a budget for expenditures necessary for the proper maintenance of the committee and the accomplishment of its purpose;

(8)   keep financial records in accordance with state and federal accounting codes and procedures;

(9)   comply with and ensure compliance of applicable state and federal laws and regulations;

(10)   procure an outside annual certified financial audit on funds and submit to the State Department of Education as required by the State Department of Education;

(11)   be subject to the Freedom of Information Act;

(12)   review charter school applications for compliance with established standards that reflect the requirements and intent of this chapter;

(13)   have the power to hire and fire the superintendent of the district who may hire staff as needed.

(F)   The committee may contract, sue, and be sued.

(G)   As an application is reviewed by the committee pursuant to this section, a representative from the board of trustees from which the committee is seeking sponsorship and a representative of the applicant seeking approval shall serve on the South Carolina Charter School Committee as ex officio nonvoting members. If the applicant indicates a proposed contractual agreement with the local school district in which the charter school is located, a representative from the local school board of trustees of that district shall serve on the committee as an ex officio, nonvoting member.

Section 59-40-235.   (A)   An applicant shall submit the application to the committee and one copy to the school board of trustees of the district from which it is seeking sponsorship. In the case of the South Carolina Public Charter School District, the applicant shall provide notice of the application to the local school board of trustees in which the charter school will be located for informational purposes only. The committee shall receive input from the school district in which the applicant is seeking sponsorship and shall request clarifying information from the applicant. An applicant may submit an application to the committee at any time during the fiscal year and the committee, within sixty days, shall determine whether the application is in compliance. An application that is in compliance must be forwarded to the school district from which the applicant is seeking sponsorship with a letter stating the application is in compliance. The letter shall also include a recommendation from the South Carolina Charter School Committee to approve or deny the charter. The letter must specify the reasons for its recommendation. This recommendation is nonbinding on the school board of trustees. If the application is in noncompliance, it must be returned to the applicant with deficiencies noted. The applicant may appeal the decision to the State Board of Education.

(B)   The school board of trustees or committee from which the applicant is seeking sponsorship shall rule on the application for a charter school in a public hearing, upon reasonable public notice, within thirty days after receiving the application. If there is no ruling within forty-five days, the application is considered approved. Once the application has been approved by the school board of trustees or committee, the charter school may open at the beginning of the following year. However, before a charter school may open, the State Department of Education shall verify the accuracy of the financial data for the school within forty-five days after approval.

(C)   A school district board of trustees only shall deny an application if the application does not meet the requirements specified in Section 59-40-50 or 59-40-60, fails to meet the spirit and intent of this chapter, or adversely affects, as defined in regulation, the other students in the district in which the charter school is to be located. It shall provide, within ten days, a written explanation of the reasons for denial, citing specific standards related to provisions of Section 59-40-50 or 59-40-60 that the application violates. This written explanation immediately must be sent to the charter committee and filed with the State Board of Education and the South Carolina Charter School Committee.

(D)   In the event that the racial composition of an applicant's or charter school's enrollment differs from the enrollment of the local school district in which the charter school is to be located or the targeted student population of the local school district by more than twenty percent, despite its best efforts, the school district board of trustees or committee from which the applicant is seeking sponsorship shall consider the applicant's or the charter school's recruitment efforts and racial composition of the applicant pool in determining whether the applicant or charter school is operating in a nondiscriminatory manner. A finding by the school district board of trustees or committee that the applicant or charter school is operating in a racially discriminatory manner justifies the denial of a charter school application or the revocation of a charter as provided in this section or in Section 59-40-110, as may be applicable. A finding by the school district board of trustees or committee that the applicant is not operating in a racially discriminatory manner justifies approval of the charter without regard to the racial percentage requirement if the application is acceptable in all other aspects.

(E)   If the school district board of trustees or committee from which the applicant is seeking sponsorship denies a charter school application, the charter applicant may appeal the denial to the State Board of Education pursuant to Section 59-40-90.

(F)   If the school district board of trustees or committee approves the application, it becomes the charter school's sponsor and shall sign the approved application, which constitutes a contract with the charter committee of the charter school. A copy of the charter must be filed with the State Board of Education.

(G)   If a local school board of trustees has information that an approved application by the South Carolina Charter School Committee adversely affects the other students in its district, as defined in regulation, or that the approval of the application fails to meet the spirit and intent of this chapter, the local school board of trustees may appeal the granting of the charter to the State Board of Education. The state board, within forty-five days, may affirm or reverse the application for action by the South Carolina Charter School Committee in accordance with an order of the state board. The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations outlining procedures for this type of appeal.

Section 59-40-210 59-40-240.   If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this chapter is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this chapter, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this chapter, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words thereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective."

SECTION   2.   Section 59-18-920 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 49 of 2005, is further amended to read:

"Section 59-18-920.   A charter school established pursuant to Chapter 40, Title 59 shall receive a performance rating and shall issue a report card must report the data requested by the Department of Education necessary to generate a report card. The Department of Education shall utilize this data to issue a report card with performance ratings to parents and the public containing the rating ratings and explaining its significance and providing other information similar to that required of other schools in this section. The performance of students attending charter schools must be included in the performance ratings of the sponsoring school district. These ratings, however, will be reflected independently on the local school district report cards for charter schools sponsored by a local school district and not included in their overall performance rating. An alternative school is included in the requirements of this chapter; however, the purpose of an alternative school must be taken into consideration in determining its performance rating. The Education Oversight Committee, working with the State Board of Education and the School to Work Advisory Council, shall develop a report card for career and technology schools.

SECTION   3.   Section 59-18-900 of the 1976 Code as last amended by Act 88 of 2005, is further amended by adding a subsection at the end to read:

"(G)   The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations outlining the procedures for data collection, data accuracy, data reporting, and consequences for failure to provide data required in this section."

SECTION   4.   This act takes effect July 1, 2006, at which time the powers and duties of the Charter Schools Advisory Board must be devolved upon the South Carolina Charter School Committee. /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator HAYES explained the amendment.

The question then was the adoption of Amendment No. 20.

The "ayes" and "nays" were demanded and taken, resulting as follows:

Ayes 34; Nays 8

AYES

Alexander                 Bryant                    Campsen
Cleary                    Courson                   Cromer
Fair                      Gregory                   Grooms
Hawkins                   Hayes                     Hutto
Knotts                    Leatherman                Lourie
Malloy                    Martin                    Matthews
McConnell                 Mescher                   Moore *
O'Dell                    Patterson                 Peeler
Rankin *                  Richardson *              Ritchie
Ryberg                    Scott                     Setzler
Sheheen                   Short *                   Thomas
Verdin

Total--34

NAYS

Anderson                  Ford                      Jackson *
Land *                    Leventis                  McGill
Reese                     Williams *

Total--8

*These Senators were not present in the Chamber at the time the vote was taken and the votes were recorded by leave of the Senate, with unanimous consent.

The amendment was adopted.

Committee Amendment Tabled

Senator McCONNELL asked unanimous consent to make a motion to table the committee amendment.

There was no objection and the committee amendment was tabled.

The Committee on Education proposed the following amendment (PT\2681SJ05), which was tabled:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, Section 59-40-40(1) as contained in SECTION 1, page 2, beginning on line 28, by deleting item (1) in its entirety and inserting:

/   (1)   A 'charter school' means a public, nonsectarian, nonreligious, nonhome-based, nonprofit corporation forming a school which operates within a public school district, but is accountable to the local school board of trustees of that district, which grants its charter. A 'charter school' may include a virtual charter school that meets all of the requirements of this item except the nonhome-based requirement./

Amend the bill further, Section 59-40-60(E)(2) as contained in SECTION 1, page 6, beginning on line 25, by deleting item (2) in its entirety and inserting:

/     (2)   perform acts of a nonprofit organization including, but not limited to, employ employing and contract contracting with teachers and nonteaching employees, contract contracting for other services, and develop developing pay scales, performance criteria, and discharge policies for its employees. All teachers whether certified or noncertified must undergo the background checks and other investigations required for certified teachers, as provided by law, before they may teach in the charter school; and /

Amend the bill further, Section 59-40-70(B) as contained in SECTION 1, page 10, line 11 after /within/ by striking /thirty/ and inserting / thirty sixty /.

Amend the bill further, after Section 59-40-70 as contained in SECTION 1, page 11, after line 23, by inserting:

/   Section 59-40-75.   (A)   A member of the Charter School Advisory Committee or of the governing board of the charter school who is indicted in any court for any crime may, in the discretion of the Governor, be suspended by the Governor, who in event of suspension shall appoint another in his stead until he is acquitted. In case of conviction, the office must be declared vacant by the Governor and the vacancy filled as provided by law.

(B)   A member of the Charter School Advisory Committee or of the governing board of the charter school who is guilty of malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetency, absenteeism, conflicts of interest, misconduct, persistent neglect of duty in office, or incapacity is subject to removal by the Governor upon any of the foregoing causes being made to appear to the satisfaction of the Governor. But before removing the officer, the Governor shall inform him in writing of the specific charges brought against him and give him an opportunity on reasonable notice to be heard.

(C)   Whenever it appears to the satisfaction of the Governor that probable cause exists to charge a member of the Charter School Advisory Committee or of the governing board of the charter school who has the custody of public or trust funds with embezzlement or the appropriation of public or trust funds to private use, then the Governor shall direct his immediate prosecution by the proper officer, and upon indictment by a grand jury or, upon the waiver of the indictment if permitted by law, the Governor shall suspend the officer and appoint one in his stead, until he is acquitted. In case of conviction, the position must be declared vacant and the vacancy filled as provided by law.

(D)   A member of the Charter School Advisory Committee or of the governing board of the charter school who has been indicted by a grand jury for a crime involving moral turpitude or who has waived the indictment if permitted by law may be suspended by the Governor until he is acquitted. In case of conviction the office must be declared vacant and the vacancy filled as provided by law. /

Amend the bill further, Section 59-40-230(A) as contained in SECTION 1, page 20, beginning on line 26, by deleting subsection (A) in its entirety and inserting:

/ (A)   The Carolina Public Charter School District must be governed by a board of trustees consisting of not more than ten members:

(1)   three appointed by the Governor;

(2)   one appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;

(3)   one appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate;

(4)   one appointed by the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee;

(5)   one appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee; and

(6)   three appointed by the State Superintendent of Education;.

Each member of the board of trustees shall serve terms of three years, except that, for the initial members, one appointed by the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the State Superintendent of Education shall serve terms of one year and one appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the State Superintendent of Education shall serve terms of two years. A member of the board may be removed after appointment pursuant to Section 1-3-240. In making appointments, every effort must be made to ensure that all geographic areas of the State are represented and that the membership reflects urban and rural areas of the State as well as the ethnic diversity of the State. /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

The committee amendment was tabled.

Senator McCONNELL asked unanimous consent to make a motion to withdraw any remaining amendments on the Desk.

There was no objection and the amendments were withdrawn.

The question then was the second reading of the Bill.

Senator LEVENTIS spoke on the Bill.

Senator LEVENTIS moved to carry over the Bill.

Senator RITCHIE moved to table the motion to carry over.

The motion to carry over the Bill was tabled.

Senator COURSON was recognized to speak on the Bill.

Senator GROOMS was recognized to speak on the Bill.

Senator JACKSON was recognized to speak on the Bill.

Senator KNOTTS was recognized to speak on the Bill.

There being no further amendments, the Bill was read the second time, passed and ordered to a third reading.

Recorded Vote

Senators FORD, ANDERSON and JACKSON desired to be recorded as voting against the second reading of the Bill.

Statement by Senator LEVENTIS

Mr. PRESIDENT, I would like to register my opposition to H.3010. Today, we are adopting a measure that is ill-advised and ill-fated. There are hidden costs associated with this Bill that will cause us to regret hastily pushing this plan through our normally more deliberative body. Moreover, there are explicit costs that are projected to be unrealistically low. This Bill is a bad idea masquerading as a panacea.

H.3010 sets up a two-tiered system of funding public school districts. In an attempt to make up a portion of the local funding that will not follow charter school students into the new Carolina Public Charter School District (CPCSD), the drafters of this legislation have given these students a special, additional state appropriation of funds. In the coming year, it will be $865 per student. They accomplish this by legislating the 86th school district in our State and mandating that it have no tax base. Students in this special district are "entitled" to the funding, meaning it does not matter whether we have funds or not; if they are in the district, they receive the additional funding, thus necessitating cuts to critical programs in lean budget years.

It follows that the Bill's proponents who are overly optimistic that charter schools will abound as a result of this legislation are also curiously pessimistic when it comes to projecting exactly how many students will actually be in charter schools for the purpose of budget impact analysis. After all the laud and praise my colleagues have given this Bill, they will only predict that 1,500 students will be in the new district in the first year. Consequently, the budget impact of the entitlement part of this Bill is only $1,298,430. If this Bill is the success that they claim it will be, 10,000 students will be in the district in a few short years with a budget impact of $8,656,200. Remember H.3010 works as an entitlement program and every student that enrolls in the new school district is entitled by this law to receive the special, additional state allocation.

As if this weren't enough of an incentive to re-think this Bill, the drafters went on to lowball the costs associated with the bureaucracy of the new school district. To avoid answering some very difficult fiscal questions, they propose that the new district can operate on five employees and with $566,050. Further, they maintain that in the out-years, the total operating costs of the district can be run on 2% of the budget of the charter schools in the district. Not one of the existing 85 school districts in the State runs total operations on 2% of its schools operating costs, and the new district has a statewide boundary. It is na´ve at best, and disingenuous at worst, to mandate a school district that will not be able to serve the children in its schools. Even if we only wanted to give South Carolina students a minimally adequate education, we would have shot too low with this Bill.

I am not against charter schools - in fact, just the opposite. In the course of this debate, I have become associated with some very impressive charter schools' advocates and operators. Tellingly, almost half of the existing charter school operators in this State are steadfastly opposed to this Bill. They are opposed because they believe that the approach of H.3010 is wrong-headed. They believe the visions of success for charter schools under this Bill are fanciful because these school operators deal with the reality of these issues every day. Like me, they see the approach taken by H.3010 as an expensive waste of taxpayer money that will not advance South Carolina's education goals and could endanger many existing, successful charter schools.

Mr. PRESIDENT, before this Bill came to us, I would have said we would see a July snow in Sumter before this Governor and this Senate would fight hard for a new state bureaucracy, a new public school district, and a new entitlement program, and then go out of their way to avoid discussing its true fiscal impact. What we have passed today would make a defender of big government blush.

MOTION ADOPTED

On motion of Senators HAWKINS, RITCHIE, REESE and PEELER, with unanimous consent, the Senate stood adjourned out of respect to the memory of Mr. Roy McBee Smith, Sr. of Spartanburg, S.C. Mr. Smith's legal career spanned 49 years and included participation in the creation of the Greenville-Spartanburg Jetport in Spartanburg.

ADJOURNMENT

At 2:19 P.M., on motion of Senator McCONNELL, the Senate adjourned to meet tomorrow at 11:00 A.M. under the provisions of Rule 1 for the purpose of taking up local matters and uncontested matters which have previously received unanimous consent to be taken up.

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