South Carolina General Assembly
117th Session, 2007-2008
Journal of the Senate

Wednesday, May 7, 2008
(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:

"Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace-in peace because they trust in you.

Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock."     (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Let us pray:
Gracious God, may it ever be so: that we recognize You as our foundation, our own 'everlasting rock.' Upon that very foundation may these Senators and their staff members strive always to work for the general good of the people of this State we love. Guide these leaders; give them courage and intelligence; grant them compassion and understanding. And, as always, bless and keep safe all of the women and men in our Armed Services as they defend the causes of freedom and liberty around the globe. In Your holy name we pray, Lord.
Amen.

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

MESSAGE FROM THE GOVERNOR

The following appointments were transmitted by the Honorable Mark C. Sanford:

Statewide Appointments

Reappointment, Scenic Highways Committee, with the term to commence July 14, 2008, and to expire July 14, 2010
Public:
Joseph H. McGee, 72 Anson Street, Charleston, SC 29401

Referred to the Committee on Transportation.

Initial Appointment, Scenic Highways Committee, with the term to commence July 14, 2006, and to expire July 14, 2008
Public:
Joseph H. McGee, 72 Anson Street, Charleston, SC 29401 VICE Karen J. Settana

Referred to the Committee on Transportation.

Initial Appointment, South Carolina Advisory Council on Aging, with the term to commence June 30, 2006, and to expire June 30, 2010
Area 8:
Mary B. Henry, 1210 - E Benna Drive, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 VICE Edna B. David

Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

Initial Appointment, South Carolina Advisory Council on Aging, with the term to commence June 30, 2007, and to expire June 30, 2011
At-Large:
Thomas E. Sweeny, 715 Knotty Pine Road, Charleston, SC 29412 VICE Lykes S. Henderson, Jr.

Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

Reappointment, South Carolina Advisory Council on Aging, with the term to commence June 30, 2006, and to expire June 30, 2010
Area 4:
Margaret H. Brackett, 2804 Fair Avenue, Newberry, SC 29108

Referred to the Committee on Medical Affairs.

Initial Appointment, West Drought Response Committee, with the term to commence March 1, 2008, and to expire March 1, 2012
Municipalities:
Warren J. Harris, 211 Oak Hollow Court, Salem, SC 29672 VICE George K. Milam

Referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Doctor of the Day

Senator KNOTTS introduced Dr. Susan Keeshan of Columbia, S.C., Doctor of the Day.

Expression of Personal Interest

Senator MARTIN rose for an Expression of Personal Interest.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

The following were introduced:

S. 1360 (Word version) -- Senator Rankin: A BILL TO AMEND ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 11, TITLE 6, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 6-11-175, SO AS TO REQUIRE A SPECIAL PURPOSE OR SERVICE DISTRICT TO PROVIDE NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC PRIOR TO BEGINNING A PROJECT TO CONSTRUCT, EXPAND, OR MATERIALLY ALTER A DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM FOR THE DISTRIBUTION OF WATER OR A SYSTEM FOR THE COLLECTION OF SEWAGE.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 1361 (Word version) -- Senator Matthews: A SENATE RESOLUTION TO HONOR AND RECOGNIZE HIS EXCELLENCY AMANI ABEID KARUME, PRESIDENT OF ZANZIBAR, FOR HIS PROGRESSIVE AND INSPIRED WORK IN HIS NATION, AND TO WELCOME HIM TO SOUTH CAROLINA AS HE SPEAKS AT THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONIES AT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY ON MAY 9, 2008.
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S. 1362 (Word version) -- Senators Jackson, Alexander, Bryant, Campsen, Cleary, Drummond, Elliott, Fair, Gregory, Grooms, Hayes, Hutto, Knotts, Land, Leatherman, Lourie, Malloy, Martin, Massey, Matthews, McGill, Patterson, Peeler, Pinckney, Rankin, Reese, Ritchie, Ryberg, Sheheen, Short, Thomas, Vaughn and Verdin: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE AND COMMEND LOURIE'S, ONE OF THE MIDLANDS' OLDEST AND MOST RESPECTED MEN'S CLOTHIERS, FOR ITS NEARLY ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE CITIZENS OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
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The Concurrent Resolution was adopted, ordered sent to the House.

S. 1363 (Word version) -- Senator Cromer: A SENATE RESOLUTION TO HONOR AND CONGRATULATE MR. AND MRS. FURMAN RAYMOND YOUNGINER OF LEXINGTON COUNTY UPON THE OCCASION OF THEIR SIXTIETH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY AND TO EXTEND BEST WISHES FOR MANY MORE YEARS OF BLESSING AND FULFILLMENT TOGETHER.
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S. 1364 (Word version) -- Senators Leventis and Land: A SENATE RESOLUTION TO CONGRATULATE HOST ROWLAND ALSTON, JR. AND THE STAFF OF SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION'S EMMY AWARD WINNING MAKING IT GROW! ON THE AIRING OF THE PROGRAM'S FOUR HUNDREDTH SHOW ON MAY 13, 2008.
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H. 5116 (Word version) -- Reps. Scott, Agnew, Alexander, Allen, Anderson, Anthony, Bales, Ballentine, Bannister, Barfield, Battle, Bedingfield, Bingham, Bowen, Bowers, Brady, Branham, Brantley, Breeland, G. Brown, R. Brown, Cato, Chalk, Clemmons, Clyburn, Cobb-Hunter, Coleman, Cooper, Cotty, Crawford, Daning, Dantzler, Davenport, Delleney, Duncan, Edge, Erickson, Frye, Funderburk, Gambrell, Govan, Gullick, Hagood, Haley, Hamilton, Hardwick, Harrell, Harrison, Hart, Harvin, Haskins, Hayes, Herbkersman, Hiott, Hodges, Hosey, Howard, Huggins, Hutson, Jefferson, Jennings, Kelly, Kennedy, Kirsh, Knight, Leach, Limehouse, Littlejohn, Loftis, Lowe, Lucas, Mack, Mahaffey, McLeod, Merrill, Miller, Mitchell, Moody-Lawrence, Moss, Mulvaney, J. H. Neal, J. M. Neal, Neilson, Ott, Owens, Parks, Perry, Phillips, Pinson, E. H. Pitts, M. A. Pitts, Rice, Rutherford, Sandifer, Scarborough, Sellers, Shoopman, Simrill, Skelton, D. C. Smith, F. N. Smith, G. M. Smith, G. R. Smith, J. E. Smith, J. R. Smith, W. D. Smith, Spires, Stavrinakis, Stewart, Talley, Taylor, Thompson, Toole, Umphlett, Vick, Viers, Walker, Weeks, Whipper, White, Whitmire, Williams, Witherspoon and Young: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE AND HONOR SPIRAX SARCO, INCORPORATED IN RICHLAND COUNTY FOR TEN YEARS OF OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE, AND TO CONGRATULATE ITS MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES FOR RECEIVING THE 2007 TOP PLANT AWARD FROM PLANT ENGINEERING MAGAZINE.

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

H. 5118 (Word version) -- Rep. Agnew: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE AND HONOR SALLY WILSON HUGHES OF ABBEVILLE COUNTY UPON THE OCCASION OF HER RETIREMENT AFTER MORE THAN FORTY-THREE YEARS OF PUBLIC SERVICE AND TO WISH HER HAPPINESS AND SUCCESS IN ALL HER FUTURE ENDEAVORS.

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

H. 5122 (Word version) -- Rep. Clyburn: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO HONOR MRS. MAMIE J. REARDEN OF EDGEFIELD COUNTY A MUCH-LOVED MATRIARCH OF SPRINGFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH AT NEARLY ONE HUNDRED TEN YEARS OF AGE, AND TO WISH HER CONTINUED HEALTH AND HAPPINESS.

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

H. 5123 (Word version) -- Reps. Barfield and Witherspoon: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE THE CONWAY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM OF HORRY COUNTY FOR A SUCCESSFUL SEASON, AND TO CONGRATULATE THE PLAYERS AND THEIR COACH FOR CAPTURING THIRD PLACE IN THE 2008 SOUTH CAROLINA ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS STATE TOURNAMENT.

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

H. 5132 (Word version) -- Reps. Huggins and Ballentine: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO HONOR AND CONGRATULATE MR. AND MRS. FURMAN RAYMOND YOUNGINER OF LEXINGTON COUNTY UPON THE OCCASION OF THEIR SIXTIETH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, AND TO EXTEND BEST WISHES FOR MANY MORE YEARS OF BLESSING AND FULFILLMENT TOGETHER.

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

REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEES

Senator MARTIN from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable with amendment report on:

H. 3030 (Word version) -- Reps. J.R. Smith, Clyburn, Perry, D.C. Smith, Spires and Stewart: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 6-13-15 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE A RURAL COMMUNITY WATER DISTRICT TO PROVIDE A SEWAGE COLLECTION SYSTEM WITHIN THE DISTRICT.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator SHEHEEN from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable with amendment report on:

H. 3058 (Word version) -- Reps. W.D. Smith, Haskins, Young, G.R. Smith, Cobb-Hunter, Kirsh, Mahaffey, Sandifer, Brady, Bedingfield, Funderburk, Mitchell, M.A. Pitts, Whipper and R. Brown: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 16-25-20, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE OFFENSE OF CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SO AS TO ADD THAT CRIMINAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONVICTIONS IN OTHER STATES ARE TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN DETERMINING A PREVIOUS CONVICTION FOR PURPOSES OF ENHANCING THE PENALTY.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator HAWKINS from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a majority favorable with amendment and Senator HUTTO a minority unfavorable report on:

H. 3094 (Word version) -- Reps. Brady, Haskins, Cotty, Mahaffey, Funderburk, Viers, Erickson, Hutson, Clemmons, Mulvaney, Harvin and Bedingfield: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 23-3-535 SO AS TO LIMIT THE LOCATIONS IN WHICH A SEX OFFENDER MAY RESIDE AND TO PROVIDE A PENALTY FOR A PERSON WHO VIOLATES THIS PROVISION.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator MARTIN from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a majority favorable with amendment and Senator HUTTO a minority unfavorable report on:

H. 3159 (Word version) -- Reps. Toole, Umphlett, Littlejohn, Huggins, Sandifer, Viers, Hamilton, G.R. Smith, Leach, Haskins, Cato, Shoopman, Bedingfield, Loftis and Lowe: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 10-1-210 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT RELIGIOUS REFERENCES TO GOD, A DEITY, OR A HIGHER POWER OF ANY DENOMINATION OR RELIGION MAY BE USED IN APPROVED DISPLAYS, MONUMENTS, PLAQUES, OR SIMILAR FIXTURES IN STATE OR LOCAL PUBLIC AREAS, BUILDINGS, OR PLACES.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator HUTTO from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable with amendment report on:

H. 3326 (Word version) -- Reps. Harrison and Cotty: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 23-23-120 SO AS TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE WHEREBY A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY WHICH HAS ASSUMED THE COST OF TRAINING A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THESE COSTS BY A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY THAT SUBSEQUENTLY HIRES THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator MARTIN from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable with amendment report on:

H. 4328 (Word version) -- Reps. Harrison, Delleney, Haskins, G.M. Smith, Cotty, McLeod and Hart: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 1-23-505 SO AS TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; BY ADDING SECTION 1-23-535 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT SHALL HAVE AN OFFICIAL SEAL; TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-310, RELATING TO DEFINITIONS FOR PURPOSES OF ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES, SO AS TO CHANGE A REFERENCE TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE DIVISION TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-320, RELATING TO CONTESTED CASE HEARINGS, SO AS TO DELETE A PROVISION REGARDING THE HANDLING OF ATTENDANCE AND TESTIMONY OF WITNESSES, PRODUCTION OF BOOKS, PAPERS, AND RECORDS, AND OTHER PROCEDURAL MATTERS AND TO PROVIDE FOR ENFORCEMENT OR RELIEF FROM AN AGENCY SUBPOENA BEFORE THE COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-380, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO JUDICIAL REVIEW AFTER EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES, SO AS TO DELETE REFERENCES TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT AND TO REVIEW BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE OF A FINAL DECISION IN A CONTESTED CASE TO CONFORM THE PROCEDURES TO OTHER PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS REGARDING THE COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-560, RELATING TO THE APPLICATION OF THE CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT SERVES AS THE SOLE GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINE OF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES AND TO ALLOW ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGES AND SPOUSES TO ACCEPT INVITATIONS TO CERTAIN JUDICIAL-RELATED FUNCTIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-600, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO HEARINGS AND PROCEEDINGS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT, SO AS TO CONFORM THE PROCEDURES TO OTHER PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS REGARDING THE COURT AND TO PROHIBIT THE HEARING OF CERTAIN INMATE APPEALS BY THE COURT; TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-610, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO REVIEW OF DECISIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT, SO AS TO CONFORM THE PROCEDURES TO OTHER PROCEDURAL PROVISIONS REGARDING THE COURT AND TO DELETE THE PROVISION REQUIRING APPROPRIATED MONIES TO BE USED FOR THE SAME PURPOSE INDEFINITELY; AND TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-640, RELATING TO THE VENUE WHERE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT CASES ARE HEARD, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CONTESTED CASES WILL BE HEARD AT THE PRINCIPAL OFFICES OR AT ANOTHER SUITABLE LOCATION UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator MARTIN from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable with amendment report on:

H. 4363 (Word version) -- Reps. Harrison, G.M. Smith, Delleney, Bales, McLeod, Hart and Weeks: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 1-23-660, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLE HEARINGS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES, DELETE THE PROVISION THAT REQUIRES THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT TO HIRE AND SUPERVISE A LAW CLERK TO ASSIST THE JUDGES WHO HEAR DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE HEARING APPEALS WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THOSE APPEALS, TO PROVIDE THAT IF THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES ELECTS TO NOT APPEAR AT CERTAIN HEARINGS, IT WAIVES ITS RIGHT TO APPEAL A FINAL DECISION OF A HEARING OFFICER, TO DELETE THE PROVISION THAT REQUIRES THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES TO PROVIDE FACILITIES FOR CERTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS, TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE ETHICS COMMISSION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENFORCEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION OF CERTAIN APPELLATE COURT RULES AND FOR THE ISSUANCE OF CERTAIN ADVISORY OPINIONS, TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN PERSONS MAY ATTEND CERTAIN JUDICIAL-RELATED OR BAR-RELATED FUNCTIONS, AND TO DELETE THE PROVISION THAT ALLOWS THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE TO ADJUDICATE CASES UNDER SECTION 1-23-600; TO AMEND SECTION 56-1-10, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE DEFINITION OF TERMS RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-1-170, RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF RESTRICTED DRIVER'S LICENSE, SO AS TO DELETE THE PROVISION THAT PROVIDES THAT A HOLDER OF A RESTRICTED DRIVER'S LICENSE IS ENTITLED TO A HEARING UPON A SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF HIS LICENSE, AND TO PROVIDE THAT A HOLDER OF THE LICENSE MAY REQUEST A HEARING BEFORE THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLE HEARINGS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-1-820, RELATING TO A DRIVER'S LICENSE HOLDER'S REQUEST FOR A HEARING AFTER HAVING RECEIVED A NOTICE OF SUSPENSION, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-1-1030, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE REVOCATION OF THE LICENSE OF A HABITUAL OFFENDER, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE OFFICE OF MOTOR VEHICLE HEARINGS HAS EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION TO CONDUCT A HABITUAL OFFENDER DRIVER'S LICENSE REVOCATION HEARING; TO AMEND SECTION 56-1-1090, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF A DRIVER'S LICENSE TO A HABITUAL OFFENDER, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-2942, RELATING TO THE IMMOBILIZATION OF A VEHICLE OWNED BY A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF CERTAIN DRIVING OFFENSES, SO AS TO REVISE THE PROCEDURE WHEREBY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES PERMITS OR DENIES THE RELEASE OF AN IMMOBILIZED VEHICLE, AND WHEREBY AN OWNER OF A VEHICLE MAY SEEK RELIEF FROM A DECISION TO HAVE A VEHICLE IMMOBILIZED; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-2951, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE SUSPENSION OF THE DRIVER'S LICENSE OF A PERSON WHO REFUSES TO SUBMIT TO TESTING TO DETERMINE HIS LEVEL OF ALCOHOL CONCENTRATION, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-2952, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE FILING FEE TO REQUEST AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-9-60, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO SELF-INSURER'S FOR MOTOR VEHICLES, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES RELATING TO THE CANCELLATION OF A SELF-INSURER'S STATUS; TO AMEND SECTION 56-9-363, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO CERTAIN FORMS PRESCRIBED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-10-510, RELATING TO THE REGISTRATION OF AN UNINSURED MOTOR VEHICLE, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-10-530, RELATING TO AN UNINSURED VEHICLE INVOLVED IN CERTAIN ACCIDENTS, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-15-350 AND SECTION 56-16-180, BOTH AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE DENIAL OF, THE ISSUANCE OF, SUSPENSION, AND REVOCATION OF A DRIVER'S LICENSE, SO AS TO MAKE TECHNICAL CHANGES.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator HAWKINS from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable with amendment report on:

H. 4601 (Word version) -- Reps. W.D. Smith, Cobb-Hunter, Talley, Hagood, Scott, Viers, Mitchell, Clemmons and Whipper: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 16-3-1180, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO VICTIMS' COMPENSATION AWARDS, SO AS TO ALLOW THE CRIME VICTIM'S ADVISORY BOARD TO AUTHORIZE ADDITIONAL COUNSELING FOR VICTIMS BASED ON DOCUMENTED NEED; TO AMEND SECTION 16-3-1230, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO CRIME VICTIMS' COMPENSATION CLAIMS, SO AS TO ALLOW CLAIM SUBMISSION VIA FACSIMILE OR OTHER ELECTRONIC MEANS; TO AMEND ARTICLE 14, CHAPTER 3 OF TITLE 16, RELATING TO THE VICTIM/WITNESS ASSISTANCE PROGRAM, SO AS TO RESTRUCTURE THE PROGRAM SO AS TO EMPOWER THE STATE OFFICE OF VICTIM ASSISTANCE TO PROVIDE CERTAIN SERVICES CURRENTLY PROVIDED BY THE VICTIM COMPENSATION FUND, TO RESTRUCTURE THE VICTIMS' SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED, TO CREATE THE VICTIM SERVICES COORDINATING COUNCIL AND PROVIDE FOR ITS MEMBERSHIP, AND TO CREATE THE OFFICE OF VICTIM SERVICES EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATION WITHIN THE OFFICE OF THE CRIME VICTIMS' OMSBUDSMAN AND ESTABLISH CERTIFICATION AND CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS FOR VICTIM SERVICE PROVIDERS; AND BY ADDING SECTION 16-3-1680 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE THE CRIME VICTIMS' OMSBUDSMAN TO PROMULGATE NECESSARY REGULATIONS.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator HAWKINS from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable with amendment report on:

H. 4930 (Word version) -- Reps. G.M. Smith, Cato and Bannister: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 16-17-680, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO UNLAWFUL PURCHASE OF COPPER, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE PURCHASER OF CERTAIN METALS FROM A PERSON WHO IS NOT AN AUTHORIZED RETAILER OR WHOLESALER MUST PAY BY CHECK OR MONEY ORDER, OBTAIN THE SELLER'S IDENTIFICATION NUMBER AND LICENSE PLATE, AND MAINTAIN THE RECORD FOR FIVE YEARS; AND BY ADDING SECTION 16-11-523, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO WILFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY CUT, MUTILATE, OR DEFACE REAL PROPERTY FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING CERTAIN METALS, TO PROVIDE PENALTIES, AND TO PROVIDE CIVIL LIABILITY FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTEMPTED THEFT OF CERTAIN METALS.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

HOUSE CONCURRENCES

S. 1183 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie, Ford and Knotts: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO FIX 12:00 NOON ON WEDNESDAY, MAY 21, 2008, AS THE TIME TO ELECT A SUCCESSOR TO A CERTAIN JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, SEAT 3, TO FILL THE UNEXPIRED TERM WHICH EXPIRES JUNE 30, 2013; TO ELECT A SUCCESSOR TO A CERTAIN JUDGE OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, SEAT 9, TO FILL THE UNEXPIRED TERM OF WHICH EXPIRES JUNE 30, 2010, AND THE SUBSEQUENT FULL TERM WHICH EXPIRES JUNE 30, 2016; AND TO ELECT A SUCCESSOR TO A CERTAIN JUDGE OF THE FAMILY COURT, THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, SEAT 3, TO FILL THE UNEXPIRED TERM WHICH EXPIRES JUNE 30, 2010, AND THE SUBSEQUENT FULL TERM WHICH EXPIRES JUNE 30, 2016.

Returned with concurrence.

S. 1358 (Word version) -- Senator Anderson: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO EXPRESS THE PROFOUND SORROW OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY UPON THE DEATH OF WILLIAM RANDALL "WILLIE" PARKER OF AIKEN COUNTY AND TO EXTEND THEIR DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO HIS FAMILY AND MANY FRIENDS.

Returned with concurrence.

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. 3803 (Word version) -- Reps. Haley and Kirsh: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 40-13-20, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE DEFINITION OF THE PROFESSION OF COSMETOLOGY, SO AS TO DELETE REFERENCES TO CERTAIN PRACTICES THAT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF COSMETOLOGY.

Senator RYBERG explained the Bill.

H. 4534 (Word version) -- Reps. M.A. Pitts, Owens, Simrill, Davenport, Hosey, Leach, McLeod, Moss, Phillips, Thompson and Loftis: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 50-3-410, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO PROCEDURES FOR MAKING ARRESTS, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THESE PROCEDURES, THE USE OF SUMMONS, AND THE RECEIPT OF MONETARY BONDS.

H. 5021 (Word version) -- Rep. Duncan: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 50-11-1920, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE SALE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS OF EXOTIC FARM-RAISED VENISON AND PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE PROHIBITIONS OF THIS SECTION DO NOT APPLY TO THE SALE OR PURCHASE OF PROCESSED PET FOODS OR PET TREATS CONTAINING EXOTIC FARM-RAISED VENISON, AND TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN REGISTRATION AND LABELING REQUIREMENTS OF THIS EXCEPTION.

HOUSE BILL RETURNED

The following House Bill was read the third time and ordered returned to the House with amendments:

H. 4952 (Word version) -- Rep. M.A. Pitts: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 50-11-96 SO AS TO PROHIBIT THE INTRODUCTION OF A FERTILITY CONTROL AGENT OR CHEMICAL SUBSTANCE INTO WILDLIFE, TO AUTHORIZE EXCEPTIONS INCLUDING THOSE MADE FOR SPECIFIED PURPOSES UPON PERMIT OF THE DEPARTMENT, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS.

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

S. 530 (Word version) -- Senator Leatherman: A BILL TO ENACT THE PROVISO CODIFICATION ACT OF 2007, TO PROVIDE FOR THE CODIFICATION IN THE SOUTH CAROLINA CODE OF LAWS OF CERTAIN PROVISOS CONTAINED IN THE ANNUAL GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, AND TO PROVIDE FOR OTHER PROVISIONS RELATED TO THE ANNUAL GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT EFFECTIVE FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-2008 ONLY.

S. 862 (Word version) -- Senators Thomas, Leventis, McGill and Knotts: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 47-3-630, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE PENALTIES FOR INJURING A POLICE DOG OR HORSE, SO AS TO INCREASE THE PENALTY FOR TORTURING, MUTILATING, INJURING, DISABLING, POISONING, OR KILLING A POLICE DOG OR HORSE.

S. 1095 (Word version) -- Senator Hayes: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 25-1-380, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO AN ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL FOR THE ARMY, SO AS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERALS TO TWO.

S. 1115 (Word version) -- Senators Leventis, Land, Ford, Anderson, Hutto, Malloy, Matthews, Williams, Peeler, Short, Sheheen, Drummond, Jackson, Ceips and Lourie: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 59-112-50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO IN-STATE TUITION AT PUBLIC COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, SO AS TO FURTHER PROVIDE FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH AND CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THESE PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE AND RETAIN IN-STATE TUITION RATES.

S. 1351 (Word version) -- Judiciary Committee: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, RELATING TO DRIVER SCHOOLS AND TRUCK DRIVER TRAINING SCHOOLS, DESIGNATED AS REGULATION DOCUMENT NUMBER 3125, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 23, TITLE 1 OF THE 1976 CODE.

S. 1352 (Word version) -- Judiciary Committee: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, RELATING TO ELIGIBLE TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIER, DESIGNATED AS REGULATION DOCUMENT NUMBER 3124, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 23, TITLE 1 OF THE 1976 CODE.

S. 1353 (Word version) -- Judiciary Committee: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, RELATING TO ELECTRIC SYSTEMS AND GAS SYSTEMS, DESIGNATED AS REGULATION DOCUMENT NUMBER 3128, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 23, TITLE 1 OF THE 1976 CODE.

The following Bill and Joint Resolution, having been read the second time, were ordered placed on the Third Reading Calendar:

H. 4980 (Word version) -- Reps. Herbkersman, Merrill, E.H. Pitts, Cato, Bedingfield, Haskins, Walker, D.C. Smith, J.R. Smith, Barfield, Crawford, Davenport, Lowe, Rice, Simrill, G.R. Smith, Young, Edge and Mulvaney: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 59-40-110, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE APPROVAL, RENEWAL, REVOCATION, AND TERMINATION OF CHARTERS FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS, SO AS TO INCREASE THE CHARTER PERIOD FROM FIVE TO TEN YEARS.

S. 1357 (Word version) -- Fish, Game and Forestry Committee: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL, RELATING TO SHELLFISH, DESIGNATED AS REGULATION DOCUMENT NUMBER 3160, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 23, TITLE 1 OF THE 1976 CODE.

H. 5018 (Word version) -- Reps. Huggins, Agnew, Alexander, Allen, Anderson, Anthony, Bales, Ballentine, Bannister, Barfield, Battle, Bedingfield, Bingham, Bowen, Bowers, Brady, Branham, Brantley, Breeland, G. Brown, R. Brown, Cato, Chalk, Clemmons, Clyburn, Cobb-Hunter, Coleman, Cooper, Cotty, Crawford, Daning, Dantzler, Davenport, Delleney, Duncan, Edge, Erickson, Frye, Funderburk, Gambrell, Govan, Gullick, Hagood, Haley, Hamilton, Hardwick, Harrell, Harrison, Hart, Harvin, Haskins, Hayes, Herbkersman, Hiott, Hodges, Hosey, Howard, Hutson, Jefferson, Jennings, Kelly, Kennedy, Kirsh, Knight, Leach, Limehouse, Littlejohn, Loftis, Lowe, Lucas, Mack, Mahaffey, McLeod, Merrill, Miller, Mitchell, Moody-Lawrence, Moss, Mulvaney, J.H. Neal, J.M. Neal, Neilson, Ott, Owens, Parks, Perry, Phillips, Pinson, E.H. Pitts, M.A. Pitts, Rice, Rutherford, Sandifer, Scarborough, Scott, Sellers, Shoopman, Simrill, Skelton, D.C. Smith, F.N. Smith, G.M. Smith, G.R. Smith, J.E. Smith, J.R. Smith, W.D. Smith, Spires, Stavrinakis, Stewart, Talley, Taylor, Thompson, Toole, Umphlett, Vick, Viers, Walker, Weeks, Whipper, White, Whitmire, Williams, Witherspoon and Young: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO DECLARE APRIL 2008 AS "FAIR HOUSING MONTH" IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND TO RECOGNIZE AND SUPPORT "FAIR HOUSING MONTH" IN OUR STATE.

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

CARRIED OVER

H. 4408 (Word version) -- Reps. Skelton, Harrell, Walker and Bedingfield: A BILL TO AMEND SECTIONS 59-104-25 AND 59-149-15, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE PALMETTO FELLOWS SCHOLARSHIP STIPEND FOR STUDENTS MAJORING IN MATHEMATICS OR SCIENCES AND THE LIFE SCHOLARSHIP STIPEND FOR STUDENTS MAJORING IN MATHEMATICS OR SCIENCES, RESPECTIVELY, BOTH SO AS TO REVISE THE COURSE REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY TO RECEIVE THE STIPEND DURING A STUDENT'S FRESHMAN YEAR.

On motion of Senator LEATHERMAN, the Bill was carried over.

S. 658 (Word version) -- Senator Bryant: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 59-21-420(b) OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO FUNDS FOR RENOVATION, CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT, OR REPAIR OF CLASSROOMS, OR REDUCTION OF MILLAGE AS TO BONDS, TO ELIMINATE THE WAIVER THAT A SCHOOL MAY APPLY FOR UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES.

On motion of Senator LEATHERMAN, the Bill was carried over.

H. 4713 (Word version) -- Rep. White: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 25-11-80, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO STATE VETERANS' CEMETERIES AND QUALIFICATIONS TO RECEIVE A PLOT IN A STATE VETERANS' CEMETERY, SO AS TO REDUCE FROM TWENTY YEARS TO EIGHT YEARS THE TIME A VETERAN MUST HAVE BEEN A RESIDENT OF THIS STATE IN ORDER TO MEET ONE OF THE QUALIFICATIONS.

Senator ALEXANDER explained the Bill.

On motion of Senator ALEXANDER, the Bill was carried over.

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

RECALLED

Senator McCONNELL moved to recall the Bill from the Committee on Judiciary.

The Bill was recalled from the Committee on Judiciary and ordered placed on the Calendar for consideration tomorrow.

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

At 11:35 A.M., Senator MARTIN asked unanimous consent to make a motion to invite the House of Representatives to attend the Senate Chamber for the purpose of ratifying Acts on Thursday, May 8, 2008, at 11:30 A.M.

There was no objection and a message was sent to the House accordingly.

On motion of Senator LEVENTIS, with unanimous consent, Senators LAND and LEVENTIS were granted leave to attend a meeting, be counted in any quorum calls and be granted leave to vote from the balcony.

HAVING DISPENSED WITH THE MOTION PERIOD, THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO A CONSIDERATION OF BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS RETURNED FROM THE HOUSE.

CONCURRENCE

H. 3853 (Word version) -- Reps. Witherspoon, Walker, Bales, Harvin, Littlejohn, Lowe, Mahaffey, Miller, M.A. Pitts, Spires and Bowers: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-4630, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE PLACEMENT OF A RED LIGHT, LANTERN, OR FLAG UPON A LOAD THAT EXTENDS FOUR FEET OR MORE BEYOND THE BED OR BODY OF A VEHICLE, SO AS TO REVISE THE CIRCUMSTANCES UPON WHICH THE RED LIGHT, LANTERN, OR FLAG MUST BE PLACED UPON THE LOAD, AND TO PROVIDE THAT UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES AN AMBER STROBE LIGHT MUST BE AFFIXED TO THE LOAD.

The House returned the Bill with amendments.

On motion of Senator GROOMS, the Senate concurred in the House amendments and a message was sent to the House accordingly. Ordered that the title be changed to that of an Act and the Act enrolled for Ratification.

THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO THE INTERRUPTED DEBATE.

COMMITTEE AMENDMENT AMENDED
DEBATE INTERRUPTED

H. 3567 (Word version) -- Reps. Rice, Gullick, Cotty and Agnew: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 12-21-620, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO TAXATION ON CIGARETTES, SO AS TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF TAX ON EACH CIGARETTE FROM THREE AND ONE-HALF MILLS TO TWO CENTS; TO ADD SECTION 44-6-157 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE REVENUE GENERATED FROM THE TAXATION ON CIGARETTES MUST BE USED TO EXPAND MEDICAID COVERAGE TO CHILDREN EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND YOUNGER WHOSE FAMILY INCOME DOES NOT EXCEED TWO HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL; AND TO CREATE THE HEALTH CARE TRUST FUND TO PROVIDE MEDICAID BENEFITS TO INDIVIDUALS WHOSE FAMILY INCOME DOES NOT EXCEED ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL AND WHO ARE UNINSURED AND TO PROVIDE THAT REVENUE IN EXCESS OF THE CHILDREN'S MEDICAID COVERAGE FROM THE CIGARETTE TAX MUST BE CREDITED TO THE HEALTH CARE TRUST FUND; AND TO AMEND SECTION 12-36-910, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO SALES TAXES GENERALLY, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT AS OF JULY 1, 2009, THE THREE PERCENT SALES TAX IS ELIMINATED ON UNPREPARED FOOD WHICH LAWFULLY MAY BE PURCHASED WITH UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOOD COUPONS, TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN GENERAL FUND TRANSFERS TO THE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT ACT FUND FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR TO OFFSET EIA REVENUES LOST AS A RESULT OF THE LOSS OF SALES TAX ON THE SALE OF UNPREPARED FOOD, AND TO REDUCE THE SALES TAX ON UNPREPARED FOOD TO TWO PERCENT AS OF JULY 1, 2007, AND ONE PERCENT AS OF JULY 1, 2008.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the adoption of the amendment of April 3, 2008, proposed by the Committee on Finance.

Amendment No. P-3C

Senator GROOMS proposed the following Amendment No. P-3C (3567R045.LKG), which was tabled:

Amend the committee amendment, as and if amended, by striking the amendment in its entirety and inserting:

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

/   SECTION   1.   Article 5, Chapter 21, Title 12 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 12-21-625.   (A)   Effective July 1, 2008, there is imposed a surtax on cigarettes subject to the tax imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620(1) in an amount equal to two and one-half cents on each cigarette.

(B)   Notwithstanding another provision of law providing for the crediting of the revenues of license or other taxes, the revenue from the surtax imposed pursuant to this section must be credited to the Health Care Trust Fund established by Section 11-11-220.

(C)   For all purposes of reporting, payment, collection, and enforcement, the surtax imposed by this section is deemed to be imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620.

(D)   For purposes of this section, 'cigarette' means:

(1)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance other than a tobacco leaf; or

(2)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco, wrapped in any substance, weighing three pounds per thousand or less, however labeled or named, which because of its appearance, size, type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging, pricing, marketing, or labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in item (1)."

SECTION   2.   Section 12-21-620 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 12-21-620.   (A)   There shall be levied, assessed, collected, and paid in respect to the articles containing tobacco enumerated in this section the following amounts:

(1)   upon all cigarettes made of tobacco or any substitute for tobacco, three and one-half mills on each cigarette;

(2)   upon all tobacco products, as defined in Section 12-21-800, five percent of the manufacturer's price.

Manufacturer's price as used in this section is the established price at which a manufacturer sells to a wholesaler.

(B)   As used in this section, 'cigarette' means:

(1)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance other than a tobacco leaf; or

(2)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco, wrapped in any substance, weighing three pounds per thousand or less, however labeled or named, which because of its appearance, size, type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging, pricing, marketing, or labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in item (1) of this subsection."

SECTION   3.   Article 1, Chapter 11, Title 11 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 11-11-220.   (A)   There is created in the State Treasury the Health Care Trust Fund. This fund is separate and distinct from the general fund of the State and all other funds. Earnings on this fund must be credited to it and any balance in this fund at the end of a fiscal year carries forward in the fund in the succeeding fiscal year. The amounts credited to the fund shall be used as follows:

(1)   seventy percent to fund the credit provided in Section 38-71-1485(A), and

(2)   thirty percent to fund the credit provided in Section 38-71-1485(D)."

SECTION   4.   Chapter 71, Title 38 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"ARTICLE 15

Section 38-71-1460.   This article may be cited as the 'South Carolina Health Insurance Empowerment Plan'.

Section 38-71-1465.   The purpose of this article is to facilitate the delivery of health insurance to low income individuals and families who would not otherwise be able to afford coverage.

(1)   'Department' means the Department of Revenue.

(2)   'Dependent' means a spouse, an unmarried child under the age of nineteen years, an unmarried child who is a full-time student between the ages of nineteen and twenty-two and who is financially dependent upon the parent, and an unmarried child of any age who is medically certified as disabled and dependent upon the parent.

(3)   'Eligible person' means a person:

(a)   between the ages of nineteen and sixty-four and their dependents,

(b)   who is a United State's citizen and a resident of this State for the previous twelve months,

(c)   whose individual or family annual income, as applicable, does not exceed two hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level,

(d)   who has not been covered by a health insurance plan for the previous twelve months, and

(e)   who is ineligible for Medicaid or Medicare coverage.

(4)   'Health insurance plan' or 'plan' means any hospital or medical policy or certificate, major medical expense insurance, hospital or medical service plan contract, or health maintenance organization subscriber contract which provides benefits consisting of medical care provided directly through insurance or reimbursement, or otherwise and including items and services paid for medical care, and includes a community health plan approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. It includes the entire contract between the insurer and the insured, including the policy, riders, endorsements, and the application, if attached. "Health insurance plan" does not include: accident-only; blanket accident and sickness; specified disease or hospital indemnity or other fixed indemnity insurance if offered as independent noncoordinated benefits; credit; limited scope dental or vision if offered separately; Medicare supplement if offered as a separate policy; long-term care if offered separately; disability income insurance; coverage issued as a supplement to liability or other liability insurance, including general liability insurance and automobile liability insurance; coverage designed solely to provide payments on a per diem, fixed indemnity, or nonexpense incurred basis; coverage for Medicare or Medicaid services pursuant to a contract with state or federal government; workers' compensation or similar insurance; automobile medical payment insurance; coverage for on-site medical clinics; or other similar coverage specified in regulations under which benefits for medical care are secondary or incidental to other insurance benefits.

(5)   'Insurer' means any entity that provides health insurance in this State. For the purposes of this article, insurer includes an insurance company, a health maintenance organization, and any other entity providing a plan of health insurance or health benefits subject to state insurance regulation.

(6)   'Qualifying income' means the individual eligible person's income in the case of an eligible person obtaining individual health insurance coverage, and the individual eligible person's and each adult dependent's income in the case of a person obtaining individual and dependent health insurance coverage.

Section 38-71-1485.   (A)   Each eligible person is entitled to a refundable state tax credit for health insurance premiums paid to obtain coverage under a health insurance plan.

(B)   The General Assembly shall annually set the amount of the credit in the general appropriations act. The Department of Insurance, with the assistance of the Board of Economic Advisors, must annually estimate the average health insurance premium for persons eligible for the credit and report the information to the General Assembly by February fifteenth of each year. In addition to all other information required by Section 11-9-880, the Board of Economic Advisors must include in its forecast of economic conditions an estimate of revenue available in the State Treasury the Health Care Trust Fund to fund the credit provided by this section in the tax year to which the forecast applies. The maximum amount of the credit available to each individual must be based on this revenue forecast and the total amount of credit must not exceed the amount of revenue forecast to be available in the Health Care Trust Fund. A separate credit amount must be established for persons purchasing individual coverage and persons purchasing individual with dependent coverage. Only the person actually purchasing the coverage may claim the credit, unless the person assigns the credit pursuant to subsection (F).

(C)   Credits are awarded on a sliding scale as follows:

(1)   An eligible person whose qualifying income is up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level is entitled to a credit that equals one hundred percent of the amount determined in subsection (B).

(2)   An eligible person whose qualifying income is 150 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level is entitled to a credit that equals eighty percent of the amount determined in subsection (B).

(3)   An eligible person whose qualifying income is 200 to 250 percent of the federal poverty level is entitled to a credit that equals sixty percent of the amount determined in subsection (B).

(D)   Each person who meets the income eligibility requirements of this article but is not able to obtain coverage because of a pre-existing or uninsurable condition is eligible for a credit for coverage obtained through the High-Risk Pool established in Chapter 74, Title 38. The credit must be established in the manner provided in subsection (B) and must be awarded on the sliding scale established in subsection (C).

(E)   Any credit awarded pursuant to this section must be claimed on a form determined by the department.

(F)   The credits provided by this section are assignable by the individual to the insurer to defray out-of-pocket premium costs."

SECTION   5.   In April, May, and June of 2008, neither a wholesaler, distributor, or a retailer of cigarettes may purchase more cigarettes in any one month in an amount that exceeds one hundred ten percent of the average monthly amount of cigarettes purchased in the same three months of the previous calendar year. In examining aggregate business license tax revenue data, if the Department of Revenue determines that the revenue collected in April, May, and June of 2008 exceeds one hundred ten percent of the amount collected during the same three months of the previous calendar year, the business license tax audit division of the department shall conduct an audit of random wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section. Any violation of this section shall result in a civil fine equal to five times the amount of tax owed on the purchased cigarettes that caused the wholesaler, distributor, or retailer to exceed one hundred ten percent of the amount purchased in the same three months of the previous calendar year.

SECTION   6.   Except where otherwise provided, this act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.   //   /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator GROOMS explained the amendment.

PRESIDENT Pro Tempore PRESIDES

At 12:01 P.M., Senator McCONNELL assumed the Chair.

Senator ALEXANDER spoke on the amendment.

Senator ALEXANDER moved to lay the amendment on the table.

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

Ayes 27; Nays 14

AYES

Alexander                 Anderson                  Cleary
Drummond                  Elliott                   Gregory
Hayes                     Hutto                     Jackson
Land                      Leatherman                Leventis
Lourie                    Malloy                    Martin
Matthews                  McGill                    Patterson
Peeler                    Pinckney                  Rankin
Reese                     Scott *                   Sheheen
Short                     Thomas                    Williams

Total--27

NAYS

Bryant                    Campsen                   Cromer *
Fair                      Grooms                    Hawkins
Knotts                    Massey                    McConnell
Ritchie                   Ryberg                    Setzler
Vaughn                    Verdin

Total--14

*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 laid on the table.

Statement by Senator THOMAS

I voted in opposition to Amendment No. P-3C because the tax revenue generated by the proposed tax did not match the amount which would benefit recipients. This is the same problem we saw in committee. For instance, if 200,000 people would be eligible to receive benefits, as asserted, then if the tax brought in is $150,000,000, the average "credit" would only be$800, and not the $4,000 asserted by proponents. That amount is not enough considering the three to one federal match of$250,000,000 would be lost. This issue is difficult for a fiscal conservative, but a unit price for 30 years without modification is actually a tax decrease (.07 per pack since the mid-70's).

I voted against the inflation factor because it does not allow for legislative scrutiny.

Amendment No. P-4A

Senators SETZLER, MARTIN and KNOTTS proposed the following Amendment No. P-4A (3567R044.NGS), which was adopted:

Amend the committee amendment, as and if amended, Section 12-21-625, by deleting subsection (E).

Amend the committee amendment further, as and if amended, Section 12-21-620, by deleting subsection (B).

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator SETZLER explained the amendment.

Senator MARTIN argued in favor of the adoption of the amendment.

Senator LAND argued contra to the adoption of the amendment.

Senator LAND moved to lay the amendment on the table.

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

Ayes 18; Nays 24

AYES

Alexander                 Anderson                  Cromer *
Drummond                  Ford                      Gregory
Hutto                     Land                      Leatherman
Leventis                  Lourie                    Malloy
Matthews                  McGill                    Patterson
Pinckney                  Short                     Williams

Total--18

NAYS

Bryant                    Campsen                   Ceips
Cleary                    Elliott                   Fair
Grooms                    Hawkins                   Hayes
Knotts                    Martin                    Massey
McConnell                 Peeler                    Rankin
Reese                     Ritchie                   Ryberg
Scott *                   Setzler                   Sheheen
Thomas                    Vaughn                    Verdin

Total--24

*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 Senate refused to table the amendment. The question then was the adoption of the amendment.

On motion of Senator MARTIN, debate was interrupted by the recess.

RECESS

At 1:17 P.M., on motion of Senator MARTIN, the Senate receded from business until 2:15 P.M.

AFTERNOON SESSION

The Senate reassembled at 2:31 P.M. and was called to order by the PRESIDENT Pro Tempore.

RETURNED TO THE STATUS OF SPECIAL ORDER

H. 3567 (Word version) -- Reps. Rice, Gullick, Cotty and Agnew: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 12-21-620, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO TAXATION ON CIGARETTES, SO AS TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF TAX ON EACH CIGARETTE FROM THREE AND ONE-HALF MILLS TO TWO CENTS; TO ADD SECTION 44-6-157 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE REVENUE GENERATED FROM THE TAXATION ON CIGARETTES MUST BE USED TO EXPAND MEDICAID COVERAGE TO CHILDREN EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND YOUNGER WHOSE FAMILY INCOME DOES NOT EXCEED TWO HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL; AND TO CREATE THE HEALTH CARE TRUST FUND TO PROVIDE MEDICAID BENEFITS TO INDIVIDUALS WHOSE FAMILY INCOME DOES NOT EXCEED ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL AND WHO ARE UNINSURED AND TO PROVIDE THAT REVENUE IN EXCESS OF THE CHILDREN'S MEDICAID COVERAGE FROM THE CIGARETTE TAX MUST BE CREDITED TO THE HEALTH CARE TRUST FUND; AND TO AMEND SECTION 12-36-910, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO SALES TAXES GENERALLY, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT AS OF JULY 1, 2009, THE THREE PERCENT SALES TAX IS ELIMINATED ON UNPREPARED FOOD WHICH LAWFULLY MAY BE PURCHASED WITH UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOOD COUPONS, TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN GENERAL FUND TRANSFERS TO THE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT ACT FUND FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR TO OFFSET EIA REVENUES LOST AS A RESULT OF THE LOSS OF SALES TAX ON THE SALE OF UNPREPARED FOOD, AND TO REDUCE THE SALES TAX ON UNPREPARED FOOD TO TWO PERCENT AS OF JULY 1, 2007, AND ONE PERCENT AS OF JULY 1, 2008.

The Senate resumed consideration of the Bill, the question being the adoption of the amendment of April 3, 2008, proposed by the Committee on Finance.

Amendment No. P-5A

Senator HUTTO proposed the following Amendment P-5A (3567R039.CBH), which was tabled:

Amend the committee amendment, as and if amended, by striking SECTION 1 and inserting:

/     SECTION   1.   Article 5, Chapter 21, Title 12 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 12-21-625.   (A)   Effective July 1, 2008, there is imposed a surtax on cigarettes subject to the tax imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620(1) in an amount equal to four and sixty-five hundredths cents on each cigarette.

(B)   Notwithstanding another provision of law providing for the crediting of the revenues of license or other taxes, the revenue of the surtax imposed pursuant to this section must be credited as follows:

(1)   each year, five million dollars to the Smoking Prevention and Cessation Trust Fund created pursuant to Section 11-11-220(A); and

(2)   of the remaining annual revenue, one-half to the Medicaid Trust Fund created pursuant to Section 11-11-220(B) and one-half to the Healthcare Trust Fund created pursuant to Section 11-11-220(C).

(C)   For all purposes of reporting, payment, collection, and enforcement, the surtax imposed by this section is deemed to be imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620.

(D)   For purposes of this section, 'cigarette' means:

(1)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance other than a tobacco leaf; or

(2)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco, wrapped in any substance, weighing three pounds per thousand or less, however labeled or named, which because of its appearance, size, type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging, pricing, marketing, or labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in item (1)."     /

Amend the committee amendment further, by striking SECTION 4 and inserting:

/     SECTION   4.   (A)   Beginning no later than March 1, 2009, and with appropriate federal approvals, the Department of Health and Human Services shall use the transfers from the Medicaid Trust Fund to provide Medicaid services to low income families with incomes above fifty percent but no more than one hundred percent of the prevailing federal poverty level. If a balance of funds remains in the Medicaid Trust Fund once the Department of Health and Human Services has offered Medicaid services to low income families up to one hundred percent of the prevailing federal poverty level, then the balance of funds may be used to set the State Children's Health Insurance Program at three hundred percent of the federal poverty level. If a balance of funds remains in the Medicaid Trust Fund once the State Children's Health Insurance Program is set at three hundred percent of the federal poverty level, then the department shall expend the remaining funds on low income families with incomes above fifty percent up to the highest percentage of the federal poverty level as funds allow. The Department of Health and Human Services may charge the Medicaid Trust Fund a quarterly administrative fee equal to an amount not to exceed one percent of the amount credited to the Medicaid Trust Fund in the previous quarter.

(B)   The Department of Health and Human Services must provide an annual report on the Medicaid Trust Fund to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Study Committee on Healthcare Access and Affordability. The report shall provide, at a minimum, a general description of the services provided and populations served, the number of people served, the average cost per person, the additional administrative costs of the programs funded by Medicaid Trust Fund, and a three-year forecast of the utilization of the fund.       /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator HUTTO explained the amendment.

Point of Quorum

At 2:34 P.M., Senator THOMAS made the point that a quorum was not present. It was ascertained that a quorum was not present.

Call of the Senate

Senator ALEXANDER moved that a Call of the Senate be made. The following Senators answered the Call:

Alexander                 Anderson                  Bryant
Campsen                   Ceips                     Cleary
Courson                   Cromer                    Drummond
Elliott                   Fair                      Ford
Gregory                   Grooms                    Hawkins
Hayes                     Hutto                     Jackson
Knotts                    Land                      Leatherman
Leventis                  Lourie                    Malloy
Martin                    Massey                    Matthews
McConnell                 McGill                    O'Dell
Patterson                 Peeler                    Pinckney
Rankin                    Reese                     Ritchie
Ryberg                    Scott                     Setzler
Sheheen                   Short                     Thomas
Vaughn                    Verdin                    Williams

A quorum being present, the Senate resumed.

Senator HUTTO resumed explaining the amendment.

Senator HUTTO moved that the amendment be adopted.

Senator ALEXANDER spoke on the amendment.

Senator ALEXANDER moved to lay Amendment P-5A on the table.

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

Ayes 31; Nays 8; Abstain 1

AYES

Alexander                 Anderson                  Campsen
Ceips                     Cleary                    Courson
Cromer                    Elliott                   Fair
Grooms                    Hayes                     Knotts
Leatherman                Malloy                    Martin
Massey                    McConnell                 McGill
O'Dell                    Peeler                    Rankin
Reese                     Ritchie                   Ryberg
Scott*                    Setzler                   Sheheen
Thomas                    Vaughn*                   Verdin
Williams

Total--31

NAYS

Gregory                   Hutto                     Land
Leventis                  Lourie                    Matthews
Patterson                 Short

Total--8

ABSTAIN

Bryant

Total--1

*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 laid on the table.

Amendment No. P-10

Senator KNOTTS proposed the following Amendment No. P-10 (3567R047.JMK), which was adopted:

Amend the committee amendment, as and if amended, SECTION 5, by adding a new section at the end to read:

/   Section 38-62-120.   The Department of Insurance shall develop and implement a public awareness program for the Palmetto Healthcare Premium Assistance Program."   /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator KNOTTS explained the amendment.

PRESIDENT PRESIDES

At 2:51 P.M., the PRESIDENT assumed the Chair.

Amendment No. P-11

Senator GROOMS proposed the following Amendment No. P-11 (3567R048.LKG), which was tabled:

Amend the committee amendment, as and if amended, by striking the amendment in its entirety and inserting:

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

/   SECTION   1.   Article 5, Chapter 21, Title 12 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 12-21-625.   (A)   Effective July 1, 2008, there is imposed a surtax on cigarettes subject to the tax imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620(1) in an amount equal to two and one-half cents on each cigarette.

(B)   Notwithstanding another provision of law providing for the crediting of the revenues of license or other taxes, the revenue from the surtax imposed pursuant to this section must be credited to the Health Care Trust Fund established by Section 11-11-220.

(C)   For all purposes of reporting, payment, collection, and enforcement, the surtax imposed by this section is deemed to be imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620.

(D)   For purposes of this section, 'cigarette' means:

(1)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance other than a tobacco leaf; or

(2)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco, wrapped in any substance, weighing three pounds per thousand or less, however labeled or named, which because of its appearance, size, type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging, pricing, marketing, or labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in item (1)."

SECTION   2.   Section 12-21-620 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 12-21-620.   (A)   There shall be levied, assessed, collected, and paid in respect to the articles containing tobacco enumerated in this section the following amounts:

(1)   upon all cigarettes made of tobacco or any substitute for tobacco, three and one-half mills on each cigarette;

(2)   upon all tobacco products, as defined in Section 12-21-800, five percent of the manufacturer's price.

Manufacturer's price as used in this section is the established price at which a manufacturer sells to a wholesaler.

(B)   As used in this section, 'cigarette' means:

(1)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance other than a tobacco leaf; or

(2)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco, wrapped in any substance, weighing three pounds per thousand or less, however labeled or named, which because of its appearance, size, type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging, pricing, marketing, or labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in item (1) of this subsection."

SECTION   3.   Article 1, Chapter 11, Title 11 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 11-11-220.   (A)   There is created in the State Treasury the Health Care Trust Fund. This fund is separate and distinct from the general fund of the State and all other funds. Earnings on this fund must be credited to it and any balance in this fund at the end of a fiscal year carries forward in the fund in the succeeding fiscal year. The amounts credited to the fund shall be used to fund the Palmetto Healthcare Premium Assistance Program."

SECTION   4.   Title 38 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"CHAPTER 62

Section 38-62-10.   This chapter may be cited as the 'Palmetto Healthcare Premium Assistance Program'.

Section 38-62-20.   For the purposes of this section:

(A)   'Department' means the South Carolina Department of Insurance.

(B)   'Federal poverty level' means the federal poverty level guidelines published annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

(C)   'Health insurer' means an insurance company, a health maintenance organization, a community health plan approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, and any other entity providing health insurance coverage, as defined in Section 38-71-670(6), which is licensed to engage in the business of insurance in this State and which is subject to state insurance regulation; and Medicaid managed care organizations qualified to offer services through the Department of Health and Human Service's Healthy Connections Program.

(D)   'Healthcare Trust Fund' means the Health Care Trust Fund created pursuant to Section 11-11-220.

(E)   'Participant' means an individual who has been issued a certificate of eligibility by the Department of Insurance and has purchased a qualifying health insurance plan within ninety days of the date of issue of the certificate.

(F)   'Program' means the Palmetto Healthcare Premium Assistance Program.

(G)   'Qualifying health plan' means any health insurance policy or health benefit plan offered as part of a health insurance policy or plan offered by a health insurer that provides health insurance coverage, as defined in Section 38-71-670(6), coverage through the high-risk pool established pursuant to Chapter 74, Title 38, or a community health plan approved by the Department of Health and Human Services, and has a minimum actuarial value of three thousand dollars adjusted for age and gender.

(H)   'Small employer' means, in connection with a health insurance plan with respect to a calendar year and a plan year, any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, or employer, as defined in Section 3(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, that is actively engaged in business that, on at least fifty percent of its working days during the preceding calendar year, employed no more than twenty-five eligible employees or employed an average of not more than twenty-five employees on business days during the preceding calendar year, and who employs at least two employees on the first day of the plan year.

Section 38-62-30.   Beginning on July 1, 2009, individuals meeting the eligibility requirements of this chapter may receive an average of four thousand dollars of premium assistance actuarially adjusted for age and gender for the purchase of a qualifying health insurance plan. In no case, shall the premium assistance exceed the actual cost of the individual's qualifying health plan.

Section 38-62-40.   In order to be entitled to the premium assistance, an individual must receive a certificate of eligibility from the Department of Insurance. The department shall develop the form and manner for a person to apply to the department for a certificate and shall make the form readily available to health insurance agents and other persons authorized to sell health insurance in this State. For purposes of determining the taxpayer's federal poverty level, the department, minimally, shall require a copy of the applicant's state income tax return for the prior year and the applicant's W-2 form. The department shall also require the applicant to sign a verification under oath, subject to penalties of perjury, that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for the program pursuant to Section 38-62-50. The department shall implement appropriate safeguards and use available existing resources to verify an applicant's uninsured status. The department shall pursue the recoupment of any premium assistance provided to an individual filing a false application.

Section 38-62-50.   (A)   The department shall issue an applicant a certificate, if the department determines that:

(1)   the person earns at or less than two hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level;

(2)   the person is a citizen of the United States and has been a resident of this State for the twelve-month period immediately preceding the application;

(3)   the person has not been covered under a health insurance policy for at least twelve consecutive months before the application;

(4)   the person is not eligible for or enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, or any other state or federal government health insurance program; and

(5)   the person has not been awarded premium assistance pursuant to this chapter more than twice; and

(6)   the person is between the ages of nineteen and sixty-four.

(B)   The department shall issue eligible individuals certificates in the order in which the application is received. The maximum number of eligible individuals receiving premium assistance is reached when the anticipated amount of claims for premium assistance payments reaches ninety percent of the amount of money allocated for premium assistance payments. The director of the department shall establish a waiting list for applicants that are otherwise qualified for registration but cannot be registered because the maximum number of individuals is reached. The director shall notify all persons who applied for a certificate and who were not issued a certificate the reason that they did not receive a certificate and whether they were placed on the waiting list.

(C)(1)   The certificate amount for an eligible person whose qualifying income is 150 to 200 percent of the federal poverty level must be reduced by twenty percent.

(2)   The certificate amount for an eligible person whose qualifying income is 200 to 250 percent must be reduced by forty percent.

Section 38-62-60.   The certificate is valid for the twelve months following the purchase of a qualifying health plan, if the plan is purchased within ninety days of the date the certificate was issued.

Section 38-62-70.   (A)   The department shall develop the form and manner for a person to apply for a renewal certificate and shall make the form readily available to health insurance agents and other persons authorized to sell health insurance in this State. Participants shall be responsible for obtaining and completing the form and forwarding it and any documentation required by the department. The department will process renewal applications along with new applications in accordance with Section 38-62-50. Priority shall be given to renewal applications.

(B)   In the case of individually sponsored insurance, sixty days before the expiration of the policy term, the insurer must send the insured a certificate renewal application promulgated by the department. The insured shall be responsible for completing the form and forwarding it and any documentation required by the department.

(C)   In the case of employer-sponsored insurance, sixty days before the expiration of the policy term, the employer must send the insured a certificate renewal application promulgated by the department. The insured shall be responsible for completing the form and forwarding it and any documentation required by the department.

(D)   The department may only issue a renewal certificate if the applicant remains eligible.

Section 38-62-80.   (A)   In the case of individually sponsored insurance, the department shall provide the premium assistance directly to the individual's choice of participating qualifying insurers. To obtain the premium assistance, an insurer must present a valid certificate to the department. The release of the premium assistance to the insurer is contingent upon the insurer submitting proof of the individual satisfying his share of the premium liability. In no case, shall the amount paid in premium assistance exceed the total cost of coverage for the individual. The department shall make quarterly premium assistance payments to insurers.

(B)(1)   In the case of employer-sponsored insurance, the department shall provide the premium assistance directly to the individual's participating employer. To obtain the premium assistance, an employer must present a valid certificate to the department. A participating small employer must share the premium assistance with the employee in proportion to the percentage of the cost of coverage paid by the employer and the employee. The amount paid in premium assistance to a small employer cannot exceed the total cost of coverage for the employee. The release of the premium assistance to the employer is contingent upon the employer submitting proof of the individual and the small employer satisfying his respective share of the premium liability. The department shall make quarterly premium assistance payments to small employers.

(2)   If the covered individual ceases to be employed, the employer must return the certificate to the individual and notify the department that the employer no longer covers the individual under a qualifying health plan. Any remaining value of the certificate may be used to obtain a qualifying health plan.

Section 38-62-90.   This chapter is not intended, nor shall it operate to guarantee health insurance coverage to any individual.

Section 38-62-100.   The department may charge the Healthcare Trust Fund a quarterly administrative fee of up to one percent of the amount credited to the Healthcare Trust Fund in the preceding quarter.

Section 38-62-110.   The department must provide an annual report on the Healthcare Trust Fund to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, the Chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, the Board of Economic Advisors, and the Study Committee on Healthcare Access and Affordability. The report shall provide, at a minimum, a general description of the services provided and populations served, the number of people served, the average cost per person, the additional administration costs of the programs funded by the Healthcare Trust Fund, and a three-year forecast of the utilization of the fund."

SECTION   5.   In April, May, and June of 2008, neither a wholesaler, distributor, or a retailer of cigarettes may purchase more cigarettes in any one month in an amount that exceeds one hundred ten percent of the average monthly amount of cigarettes purchased in the same three months of the previous calendar year. In examining aggregate business license tax revenue data, if the Department of Revenue determines that the revenue collected in April, May, and June of 2008 exceeds one hundred ten percent of the amount collected during the same three months of the previous calendar year, the business license tax audit division of the department shall conduct an audit of random wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section. Any violation of this section shall result in a civil fine equal to five times the amount of tax owed on the purchased cigarettes that caused the wholesaler, distributor, or retailer to exceed one hundred ten percent of the amount purchased in the same three months of the previous calendar year.

SECTION   6.   Except where otherwise provided, this act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.   //   /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator GROOMS explained the amendment.

Senator ALEXANDER spoke on the amendment.

Senator ALEXANDER moved to lay the amendment on the table.

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

Ayes 29; Nays 10

AYES

Alexander                 Anderson                  Campsen
Ceips                     Cleary                    Courson
Cromer                    Elliott                   Gregory
Hayes                     Hutto                     Knotts
Land                      Leatherman                Leventis
Lourie                    Malloy                    Martin
Matthews                  McGill                    O'Dell
Patterson                 Peeler                    Rankin
Reese                     Sheheen                   Short
Thomas                    Williams

Total--29

NAYS

Bryant                    Fair                      Grooms
Massey                    McConnell                 Ritchie
Ryberg                    Setzler                   Vaughn
Verdin

Total--10

The amendment was laid on the table.

Amendment No. P-9

Senators McGILL, LAND, WILLIAMS, LEVENTIS, ELLIOTT, REESE, MATTHEWS, SHEHEEN, GROOMS, MALLOY and VERDIN proposed the following Amendment P-9 (3567R046.JYM), which was adopted, subsequently reconsidered and withdrawn:

Amend the committee amendment, as and if amended, Section 11-11-220, by adding an appropriately numbered subsection to read:

/   (__)   Prior to crediting revenues derived from the taxes imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620 and Section 12-21-625 in any other account, in each fiscal year, the first one million dollars must be transferred to the Department of Agriculture to promote and market the State's agricultural products.       /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator McGILL explained the amendment.

The question then was the adoption of the amendment proposed by the Committee on Finance, as amended.

Senator KNOTTS spoke on the Bill.

RECESS

At 3:22 P.M., on motion of Senator KNOTTS, the Senate receded from business not to exceed five minutes.

At 3:27 P.M., the Senate resumed.

Adoption of Amendment No. P-9 Reconsidered and Withdrawn

Having voted on the prevailing side, Senator KNOTTS moved to reconsider the vote whereby Amendment No. P-9 was adopted.

The question then was the adoption of Amendment No. P-9.

On motion of Senator McGILL, with unanimous consent, Amendment No. P-9 was withdrawn.

The Committee on Finance proposed the following amendment (3567R024.HKL), which was adopted, as amended:

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

/   SECTION   1.   Article 5, Chapter 21, Title 12 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 12-21-625.   (A)   Effective July 1, 2008, there is imposed a surtax on cigarettes subject to the tax imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620(1) in an amount equal to two and one-half cents on each cigarette.

(B)   Notwithstanding another provision of law providing for the crediting of the revenues of license or other taxes, the revenue of the surtax imposed pursuant to this section must be credited to the Medicaid Trust Fund.

(C)   For all purposes of reporting, payment, collection, and enforcement, the surtax imposed by this section is deemed to be imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620.

(D)   For purposes of this section, 'cigarette' means:

(1)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance other than a tobacco leaf; or

(2)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco, wrapped in any substance, weighing three pounds per thousand or less, however labeled or named, which because of its appearance, size, type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging, pricing, marketing, or labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in item (1).

(E)   On July 1, 2009, and every year thereafter, the Department of Revenue shall adjust the additional tax imposed pursuant to this section by the average percentage increase for the last three calendar years, if any, in the medical services component of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, as certified by the Board of Economic of Advisors."

SECTION   2.   Article 1, Chapter 11, Title 11 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 11-11-220.   (A)   There is created in the State Treasury the Medicaid Trust Fund. This fund is separate and distinct from the general fund of the State and all other funds. Earnings and interest on this fund must be credited to it and any balance in this fund at the end of a fiscal year carries forward in the fund in the succeeding fiscal year. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the State Treasurer shall transfer the funds to the Department of Health and Human Services quarterly.

(B)   There is created in the State Treasury the Smoking Prevention and Cessation Trust Fund. This fund is separate and distinct from the general fund of the State and all other funds. Earnings and interest on this fund must be credited to it and any balance in this fund at the end of a fiscal year carries forward in the fund in the succeeding fiscal year. In each fiscal year, the first five million dollars credited to the Medicaid Trust Fund must be transferred to the Smoking Prevention and Cessation Trust Fund. The funds shall be transferred to the Department of Health and Environmental Control to administer a statewide smoking prevention and cessation program."

SECTION   3.   Section 12-21-620 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 12-21-620.   (A)   There shall be levied, assessed, collected, and paid in respect to the articles containing tobacco enumerated in this section the following amounts:

(1)   upon all cigarettes made of tobacco or any substitute for tobacco, three and one-half mills on each cigarette;

(2)   upon all tobacco products, as defined in Section 12-21-800, five percent of the manufacturer's price.

Manufacturer's price as used in this section is the established price at which a manufacturer sells to a wholesaler.

(B)   On July 1, 2009, and every year thereafter, the Department of Revenue shall adjust the tax imposed pursuant to subsection (A)(1) by the average percentage increase for the last three completed calendar years, if any, in the medical services component of the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, as certified by the Board of Economic of Advisors.

(C)   As used in this section, 'cigarette' means:

(1)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco wrapped in paper or in any substance other than a tobacco leaf; or

(2)   any roll for smoking containing tobacco, wrapped in any substance, weighing three pounds per thousand or less, however labeled or named, which because of its appearance, size, type of tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging, pricing, marketing, or labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette described in item (1) of this subsection."

SECTION   4.   (A)   From the funds transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services from the Medicaid Trust Fund pursuant to Section 11-11-220, the department shall:

(1)   set the Low Income Family Program at one hundred percent of the federal poverty level;

(2)   set the Aged, Blind, and Disabled Program at one hundred thirty-five percent of the federal poverty level; and

(3)   set the State Children's Health Insurance Program at two hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level.

(B)   The programs set forth in subsection (A) are in order of priority. The department may not begin funding a lower prioritized program until the higher prioritized program is fully implemented.

(C)   For purposes of this section, 'federal poverty level' means the federal poverty level guidelines published annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

SECTION   5.   In April, May, and June of 2008, neither a wholesaler, distributor, or a retailer of cigarettes may purchase more cigarettes in any one month in an amount that exceeds one hundred ten percent of the average monthly amount of cigarettes purchased in the same three months of the previous calendar year. In examining aggregate business license tax revenue data, if the Department of Revenue determines that the revenue collected in April, May, and June of 2008 exceeds one hundred ten percent of the amount collected during the same three months of the previous calendar year, the business license tax audit division of the department shall conduct an audit of random wholesalers, distributors, and retailers to ensure compliance with the requirements of this section. Any violation of this section shall result in a civil fine equal to five times the amount of tax owed on the purchased cigarettes that caused the wholesaler, distributor, or retailer to exceed one hundred ten percent of the amount purchased in the same three months of the previous calendar year.

SECTION   6.   There is created the Study Committee on Healthcare Access and Affordability. The committee shall review and make recommendations regarding the state's overall health status, the price of healthcare, the use of Medicare and Medicaid, the promotion of public and private healthcare partnerships, preventative care, the establishment of a high risk healthcare pool, the necessity of a reinsurance program, how to maximize coverage while controlling costs and providing quality care, and how to improve the state's overall health and healthcare affordability.

(B)   The study committee shall be composed of nine members. The President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor shall each appoint three members, one of which must be upon the recommendation of the Health Sciences South Carolina collaborative. Each member must have a background of substantial duration or expertise in at least one of the following:

(1)   healthcare issues;

(3)   economic issues;

(4)   consumer issues;

(5)   insurance issues;

(7)   governmental issues.

(C)   The study committee shall make a report of its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2010, at which time the study committee must be dissolved.

SECTION   7.   Except where otherwise stated, this act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.     /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

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

Ayes 32; Nays 12; Abstain 1

AYES

Alexander                 Anderson                  Ceips
Cleary                    Cromer                    Drummond
Elliott                   Fair                      Ford*
Gregory                   Hayes                     Hutto
Jackson                   Knotts                    Land
Leatherman                Leventis                  Lourie
Malloy                    Martin                    Matthews
McGill                    O'Dell                    Patterson
Pinckney                  Rankin                    Reese
Setzler                   Sheheen                   Short
Thomas                    Williams

Total--32

NAYS

Campsen                   Courson                   Grooms
Hawkins                   Massey                    McConnell
Peeler                    Ritchie                   Ryberg
Scott*                    Vaughn                    Verdin

Total--12

ABSTAIN

Bryant

Total--1

The committee amendment was adopted, as amended.

Amendment No. 2

Senators MATTHEWS, PATTERSON and JACKSON proposed the following Amendment No. 2 (GGS\22100MM08), which was tabled:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, Section 12-21-625(D)(1) as found in SECTION 1, page 3567-1, line 41, by deleting

/   tobacco leaf / and inserting /   leaf that is two-thirds or more tobacco   /;

Amend the bill further, as and if amended, Section 12-21-620(C)(1) as found in SECTION 3, page 3567-3, line 11, by deleting /   tobacco leaf   / and inserting /   leaf that is two-thirds or more tobacco   /.

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator MATTHEWS explained the amendment.

Senator ALEXANDER spoke on the amendment.

Senator ALEXANDER moved to lay the amendment on the table.

The amendment was laid on the table.

Amendment No. 3

Senator GROOMS proposed the following Amendment No. 3 (3567R050.LKG), which was tabled:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, by adding an appropriately numbered new SECTION to read:

/   SECTION   ___.   A.   Article 25, Chapter 36, Title 12 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 12-36-2647.   (A)   Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 59-21-1010(A), in Fiscal Year 2008-2009, an amount equal to ten million dollars from all sales, use, and casual excise tax revenues derived from the sale, use, or titling of a vehicle required to be licensed and registered by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, otherwise required to be credited as provided pursuant to Section 59-21-1010(A) and Section 12-36-2640(1), instead must be credited to the State Highway Fund established pursuant to Section 57-11-20. In each succeeding fiscal year, an additional thirty million dollars must be added to the cumulative total amount credited as provided pursuant to this subsection, until and after which all of the specified revenues must be so credited. The Department of Transportation monthly shall transfer to the State Highway Account of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank a contribution from nonstate tax sources equal to the amount credited in that month to the State Highway Fund pursuant to this section. If the Department of Transportation has insufficient nonstate tax sources to make the contribution in any month, an amount of the tax revenues described in this section equal to the shortfall must be placed directly into the State Highway Account of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Revenues transferred to the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank pursuant to this section must be used exclusively for highway, road, and bridge construction and improvements with fifty percent to be expended by the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank for projects approved by the bank board and fifty percent to be expended for projects on the South Carolina Department of Transportation priority list pursuant to Section 57-1-370 (B)(8) as approved by the South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission.

(B)   Prior to any funds being transferred pursuant to this section, one million dollars must be transferred to the Department of Transportation to fund a campaign to publicize the danger of smoking in a vehicle if a child under the age of ten is a passenger. If smoking in a vehicle with a child present becomes unlawful, the department shall use the funds provided by this subsection to publicize that the act is unlawful and the corresponding penalty."

B.   Section 11-43-160(A)(1) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 100 of 1999, is further amended to read:

"(1)(a)   an annual contribution set by the board of an amount not to exceed revenues produced by one cent a gallon of the tax user fee on gasoline imposed pursuant to Section 12-28-310; and

(b)   an annual contribution as provided pursuant to Section 12-36-2647;"       /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator GROOMS explained the amendment.

Point of Order

Senator MARTIN raised a Point of Order that the amendment was out of order inasmuch as it was violative of Rule 24A.

Senator MARTIN spoke on the Point of Order.

Senator LEATHERMAN spoke on the Point of Order.

Senator GROOMS spoke on the Point of Order.

The PRESIDENT overruled the Point of Order.

Senator GROOMS resumed explaining the amendment.

Senator LEATHERMAN argued contra to the adoption of the amendment.

Senator LEATHERMAN moved to lay the amendment on the table.

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

Ayes 30; Nays 13

AYES

Alexander                 Ceips                     Courson
Cromer                    Drummond                  Elliott
Gregory                   Hawkins                   Hayes
Hutto                     Jackson                   Knotts
Land                      Leatherman                Leventis
Lourie                    Malloy                    Martin
Matthews                  McGill                    O'Dell
Patterson                 Peeler                    Pinckney
Reese                     Setzler                   Sheheen
Short                     Thomas                    Williams

Total--30

NAYS

Bryant                    Campsen                   Cleary
Fair                      Grooms                    Massey
McConnell                 Rankin                    Ritchie
Ryberg                    Scott                     Vaughn
Verdin

Total--13

The amendment was laid on the table.

Amendment No. 4

Senator CAMPSEN proposed the following Amendment No. 4 (3567R053.GEC), which was tabled:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, by adding an appropriately numbered SECTION to read:

/     SECTION   ___.   A.   Section 12-6-520 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 12-6-520.   Each December 15, the department shall cumulatively adjust the brackets in Section 12-6-510 in the same manner that brackets are adjusted in Internal Revenue Code Section (1)(f). However, the adjustment is limited to one-half of the adjustment determined by Internal Revenue Code Section (1)(f), may not exceed four percent a year, and but the rounding amount provided in (1)(f)(6) is deemed to be ten dollars. The brackets, as adjusted, apply in lieu of those provided in Section 12-6-510 for taxable years beginning in the succeeding calendar year. Inflation adjustments must be made cumulatively to the income tax brackets."

B.   The Department of Revenue may retain up to $10,000 of the revenue collected pursuant to Section 12-21-625 to help defray the administrative costs associated with the requirements of this SECTION. C. This section applies to income tax brackets beginning with tax year 2009. / Renumber sections to conform. Amend title to conform. Senator CAMPSEN explained the amendment. Point of Order Senator HAYES raised a Point of Order that the amendment was out of order inasmuch as it was violative of Rule 24A. Senator MARTIN spoke on the Point of Order. Senator CAMPSEN spoke on the Point of Order. Senator LEATHERMAN spoke on the Point of Order. The PRESIDENT overruled the Point of Order. Senator CAMPSEN explained the amendment. Senator LEATHERMAN spoke on the amendment. Senator LEATHERMAN moved to lay the amendment on the table. The "ayes" and "nays" were demanded and taken, resulting as follows: Ayes 24; Nays 21 AYES Alexander Cleary * Drummond Fair Ford Gregory Hayes Hutto Jackson Land Leatherman Leventis Lourie Malloy Martin Matthews McGill O'Dell Patterson * Pinckney Rankin Short Thomas Williams Total--24 NAYS Anderson Bryant Campsen Ceips Courson Cromer Elliott Grooms Hawkins Knotts Massey McConnell Peeler Reese Ritchie Ryberg Scott Setzler Sheheen Vaughn Verdin Total--21 *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 laid on the table. Statement by Senator THOMAS I voted to table Amendment No. 4 although I would support an individual proposal to bracket inflation, as Senator CAMPSEN proposed. The attempt to do "add-ons" to the Bill can have the effect of "derailing" the legislation. I have to vote against all non-germane "add-ons". Another such "add-on" is Senator GROOMS' attempt to address the Infrastructure Bank which will transfer money from the Sales and Use Tax to fund two projects in Berkeley and Dorchester counties. Such an "add-on" is not related to this tobacco Bill and is an example of an extraneous amendment. Once that door is open, it is difficult to know how to shut it. ACTING PRESIDENT PRESIDES At 4:22 P.M., Senator MARTIN assumed the Chair. Amendment No. 5 Senator GROOMS proposed the following Amendment No. 5 (3567R054.LKG), which was not adopted: Amend the bill, as and if amended, by adding an appropriately numbered new SECTION to read: / SECTION ___. A. Article 25, Chapter 36, Title 12 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding: "Section 12-36-2647. (A) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 59-21-1010(A), in Fiscal Year 2008-2009, an amount equal to five million dollars from all sales, use, and casual excise tax revenues derived from the sale, use, or titling of a vehicle required to be licensed and registered by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, otherwise required to be credited as provided pursuant to Section 59-21-1010(A) and Section 12-36-2640(1), instead must be credited to the State Highway Fund established pursuant to Section 57-11-20. In each succeeding fiscal year, an additional thirty million dollars must be added to the cumulative total amount credited as provided pursuant to this subsection, until and after which all of the specified revenues must be so credited. The Department of Transportation monthly shall transfer to the State Highway Account of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank a contribution from nonstate tax sources equal to the amount credited in that month to the State Highway Fund pursuant to this section. If the Department of Transportation has insufficient nonstate tax sources to make the contribution in any month, an amount of the tax revenues described in this section equal to the shortfall must be placed directly into the State Highway Account of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Revenues transferred to the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank pursuant to this section must be used exclusively for highway, road, and bridge construction and improvements with fifty percent to be expended by the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank for projects approved by the bank board and fifty percent to be expended for projects on the South Carolina Department of Transportation priority list pursuant to Section 57-1-370 (B)(8) as approved by the South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission. (B) Prior to any funds being transferred pursuant to this section, one million dollars must be transferred to the Department of Transportation to fund a campaign to publicize the danger of smoking in a vehicle if a child under the age of ten is a passenger. If smoking in a vehicle with a child present becomes unlawful, the department shall use the funds provided by this subsection to publicize that the act is unlawful and the corresponding penalty." B. Section 11-43-160(A)(1) of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 100 of 1999, is further amended to read: "(1)(a) an annual contribution set by the board of an amount not to exceed revenues produced by one cent a gallon of the tax user fee on gasoline imposed pursuant to Section 12-28-310; and (b) an annual contribution as provided pursuant to Section 12-36-2647;" / Renumber sections to conform. Amend title to conform. Senator GROOMS explained the amendment. PRESIDENT Pro Tempore PRESIDES At 4:35 P.M., Senator McCONNELL assumed the chair. Senator GROOMS explained the amendment. RECESS At 5:18 P.M., with Senator GROOMS retaining the floor, on motion of Senator PEELER, with unanimous consent, the Senate receded from business not to exceed two minutes. At 5:26 P.M., the Senate resumed. Senator GROOMS resumed explaining the amendment. RECESS At 5:36 P.M., with Senator GROOMS retaining the floor, on motion of Senator MARTIN, with unanimous consent, the Senate receded from business not to exceed two minutes. At 5:46 P.M., the Senate resumed. Senator GROOMS resumed explaining the amendment. Senator GROOMS moved that the amendment be adopted. The "ayes" and "nays" were demanded and taken, resulting as follows: Ayes 8; Nays 34 AYES Bryant Campsen Grooms Massey McConnell Ryberg Scott Verdin Total--8 NAYS Alexander Anderson Ceips Cleary Courson Cromer Drummond Elliott Fair Gregory Hawkins Hayes Hutto Jackson Knotts Land * Leatherman Leventis Lourie Malloy Martin Matthews McGill O'Dell Peeler Pinckney Rankin Reese Setzler Sheheen * Short Thomas Vaughn Williams Total--34 *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. Having failed to receive the necessary vote, the amendment was not adopted. There being no further amendments, the question then was the second reading of the Bill. The "ayes" and "nays" were demanded and taken, resulting as follows: Ayes 33; Nays 11; Abstain 1 AYES Alexander Anderson Ceips Cleary Cromer Drummond Elliott Fair Ford Gregory Hayes Hutto Jackson Knotts Land * Leatherman Leventis Lourie Malloy Martin Matthews McGill O'Dell Patterson * Pinckney Rankin Reese Scott Setzler Sheheen * Short Thomas Williams Total--33 NAYS Campsen Courson Grooms Hawkins Massey McConnell Peeler Ritchie Ryberg Vaughn Verdin Total--11 ABSTAIN Bryant Total--1 *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. There being no further amendments, the Bill was read the second time, passed and ordered to a third reading. The Bill was returned to the status of Special Order. Statement by Senator McCONNELL I could not vote for this Bill as it is written. While I agree that reducing smoking is a good idea, I think the government using its power to tax is a slippery slope to using taxation to punish unpopular activities. Also the Bill as written is not revenue neutral. We are expanding a program that we cannot afford. We are also risking being not being able to provide the services to those who are currently receiving them. Statement by Senator BRYANT H. 3567 essentially supplements the Medicaid system with an additional$300 million in a budget shortfall year with across the board agency cuts. I am a registered pharmacist and am part owner in a pharmacy/HME business. This increase will have a personal financial impact; therefore, it was necessary to recuse myself from voting on H. 3567. Also, I refrained from voting on amendments relating to Medicaid during the debate on H. 3567.

Statement by Senator RYBERG

I voted against H. 3567 because it increases the overall tax burden on South Carolinians. Furthermore, H. 3567 perpetuates two other inherently unfair burdens on taxpayers. First, this Bill devotes half of the revenue raised to Medicaid, a program largely responsible, with its federal counterpart Medicare, for the rampant inflation in health care costs inasmuch as it directly contravenes the free market. Second, this Bill devotes half of the revenue raised to tax credits for employer health plans. The latter provision penalizes small businesses that already offer health care for their employees by subsidizing their competitors with a government handout.

This legislation pumps more money into the status quo healthcare system without any consideration of empowering the individual healthcare consumer by way of health savings accounts or, better yet, simply providing a tax refund so that citizens might make their own decisions with their own money. I cannot support an extension of the status quo, particularly on the backs of taxpayers.

Finally, this legislation sets up a trap for the taxpayers. The legislation adds people to the Medicaid rolls which means, of course, that the cost of Medicaid will rise. The increased cigarette tax promises, thankfully, to decrease the purchase of cigarettes. It also, therefore, means that the revenue from this new tax will decrease over time. Sooner rather than later the revenue from the cigarette tax will fall behind the cost of the new Medicaid enrollees. The only place to make up the difference will be the General Fund of the State. This reality means that this legislation actually represents a tax increase on everyone. I cannot support that.