South Carolina General Assembly
122nd Session, 2017-2018

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Indicates New Matter

S. 148

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Senators Hutto, Johnson and Cromer
Document Path: l:\council\bills\bh\7027ahb17.docx
Companion/Similar bill(s): 3744

Introduced in the Senate on January 10, 2017
Currently residing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary

Summary: Salaries for magistrates

HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  12/13/2016  Senate  Prefiled
  12/13/2016  Senate  Referred to Committee on Judiciary
   1/10/2017  Senate  Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 83)
   1/10/2017  Senate  Referred to Committee on Judiciary 
                        (Senate Journal-page 83)
   1/20/2017  Senate  Referred to Subcommittee: Campsen (ch), Sabb, Talley

View the latest legislative information at the website

VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

12/13/2016

(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)

A BILL

TO AMEND SECTION 22-8-40, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME MAGISTRATES AND THEIR SALARIES, SO AS TO REVISE THE METHOD OF SETTING A BASE SALARY FOR MAGISTRATES AND PROVIDE ADDITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS TO FULL-TIME CHIEF AND ASSISTANT CHIEF MAGISTRATES; AND BY ADDING SECTION 22-3-315 SO AS TO ADD AN ASSESSMENT OF FIFTEEN DOLLARS TO ALL CIVIL FILINGS IN MAGISTRATES COURT AND PROVIDE FOR DISTRIBUTION OF THE PROCEEDS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION    1.    Section 22-8-40 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 22-8-40.    (A)    A county is not required to have a full-time magistrate and may have only part-time magistrates.

(B)    Each magistrate in this State must be paid as follows by the county which he serves:

(1)    The following salary schedule shall be used to determine a magistrate' s annual compensation prior to the completion of his fourth year in office:

(a)    upon being appointed a magistrate, a magistrate shall be paid seventy-five percent of the base salary for his county's population category as provided in item (2);

(b)    upon completing the requirements of Sections 22-1-10(C) and 22-1-16, a magistrate shall be paid eighty percent of the base salary for his county's population category as provided in item (2);

(c)    upon the magistrate's completion of his second year in office, a magistrate shall be paid eighty-five percent of the lowest salary rate for his county's population category base salary as provided in item (2);

(d)    upon the magistrate's completion of his third year in office, a magistrate shall be paid ninety percent of the lowest salary rate for his county's population category base salary as provided in item (2);

(e)    upon the magistrate's completion of his fourth year in office, a magistrate shall be paid one hundred percent of the lowest salary rate for his county's population category base salary as provided in item (2).

(2)    There is established a base salary for each population category as follows: of fifty-five percent of a circuit judge's salary for the state's previous fiscal year. The provisions of this section have no effect on the salary of any magistrate whose salary exceeds fifty-five percent of a circuit judge's salary.

(a)    for those counties with a population of one hundred fifty thousand and above, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census, the base salary is fifty-five percent of a circuit judge's salary for the state's previous fiscal year;

(b)    for those counties with a population of at least fifty thousand but not more than one hundred forty-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census, the base salary is forty-five percent of a circuit judge's salary for the state's previous fiscal year;

(c)    for those counties with a population of less than fifty thousand, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census, the base salary is thirty-five percent of a circuit court judge's salary for the state's previous fiscal year.

(3)    The provisions of this subsection are effective July 1, 2000.

(C)    The number of magistrates shall be determined using the following factors:

(1)    There is established a ratio of one magistrate for every twenty-eight thousand persons in each county of the State based on the latest official United States Decennial Census.

(2)    There is established a ratio of one magistrate for every one hundred fifty square miles of area in each county of the State as a factor to be used in determining the base salary as provided in this section.

(3)    Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (D), the maximum number of magistrates in each county is the greater of that number determined by taking one magistrate for every twenty-eight thousand persons in each county or that number determined by taking the average of the ratio of one magistrate for every twenty-eight thousand persons in each county as provided by item (1) of this subsection and the ratio of one magistrate for every one hundred fifty square miles of area in each county as provided in item (2) of this subsection. However, no county is required to have fewer than the equivalent of one full-time magistrate and one part-time magistrate. If a fraction of a magistrate results, the county must round off up the fraction, establishing an additional part-time magistrate as prescribed in subsection (E). No additional magistrates may be added until a county has less than the ratio.

(D)    In addition to the maximum number of magistrates prescribed in subsection (C), additional magistrates may be appointed as determined using the following formula:

(1)    for counties which collect accommodations tax revenues of five hundred thousand to nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine dollars, one additional magistrate may be appointed;

(2)    for counties which collect accommodations tax revenues of one million to two million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine dollars, two additional magistrates may be appointed;

(3)    for counties which collect accommodations tax revenues of three million to four million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine dollars, three additional magistrates may be appointed; and

(4)    for counties which collect accommodations tax revenues of five million dollars and above, four additional magistrates may be appointed.

(E)    Part-time magistrates are to be computed at a ratio of four part-time magistrates equals one full-time magistrate.

(F)    Part-time magistrates are entitled to a proportionate percentage of the salary provided for full-time magistrates. This percentage is computed by dividing by forty the number of hours a week the part-time magistrate spends in the performance of his duties. The number of hours a week that a part-time magistrate spends in the exercise of the judicial function, and scheduled to be spent on call, must be the average number of hours worked and is fixed by the county governing body upon the recommendation of the chief magistrate. However, a part-time magistrate must not work more than forty hours a week, unless directed to do so on a limited and intermittent basis by the chief magistrate.

(G)    Chief and Associate Chief Magistrates Supplement:

(1)    A full-time chief magistrate must be paid a yearly supplement of three ten thousand dollars and reimbursed for travel expenses as provided by law while in the actual performance of his duties. A part-time chief magistrate must be paid a yearly supplement of fifteen hundred five thousand dollars and reimbursed for travel expenses as provided by law while in the actual performance of his duties.

(2)    A full-time associate chief magistrate must be paid a yearly supplement of five thousand dollars and reimbursed for travel expenses as provided by law while in the actual performance of his duties. A part-time associate chief magistrate must be paid a yearly supplement of twenty-five hundred dollars and reimbursed for travel expenses as provided by law.

(H)    Magistrates in a county are entitled to the same perquisites as those employees of the county of similar position and salary.

(I)    A ministerial magistrate is entitled to the same compensation as a part-time magistrate.

(J)    A magistrate who is receiving a salary greater than provided for his position under the provisions of this chapter must not be reduced in salary during his tenure in office, and must be paid the same percentage annual increase in salary as other magistrates. Tenure in office continues at the expiration of a term if the incumbent magistrate is reappointed or on holdover status.

(K)    No county may pay a magistrate a salary lower than the base salary established for that county by the provisions of subsection (B) of this section.

(L)    Nothing in this section may be interpreted as prohibiting a county from paying a magistrate more than the base salary established for that county or from paying a magistrate a merit raise in addition to the salary established for that county.

(M)    The South Carolina Court Administration shall monitor compliance with this section and report to the Governor annually by January twentieth any noncompliance or deviation of less than the base magistrate salary required by law. Nothing contained in this section may be construed as prohibiting a county from paying salaries in excess of the minimum salaries provided for in this section.

(N)    For purposes of the salary phase-in provided in subsection (B)(1) of this section, a magistrate with prior service as a magistrate who after a break in service is again appointed magistrate, is allowed credit for the prior service."

SECTION    2.    Article 3, Chapter 3, Title 22 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 22-3-315.    (A)    An assessment equal to fifteen dollars is imposed on all civil filings in magistrates court. The fees must be collected by the magistrates court and forwarded monthly to the county treasurer and remitted in turn by the county treasurer to the State Treasurer for allocation to the various counties.

(B)    The State Treasurer may retain in a fiscal year the actual costs associated with the collection and processing of this assessment not to exceed forty thousand dollars. The State Treasurer shall allocate and transfer yearly the remaining revenue to each county based on the following schedule:

(1)    To each qualifying county, the difference between the actual salary of each magistrate within the county as of the end of the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year and fifty-five percent of a circuit court judges salary as of the end of the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year, including the increase in mandatory employer contributions to State Pension, Social Security, and Medicare. However, no county shall receive more than the difference between the base salary required for that county and fifty-five percent of a circuit court judge's salary as of the end of the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year. If in any given fiscal year, the revenue collected pursuant to this section is insufficient to cover the increased costs, each qualifying county shall receive a prorated share of the revenue collected.

(2)    To South Carolina Court Administration, fifteen thousand dollars for the cost associated with operating the Mandatory Magistrate School required by the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court and any other educational requirements for summary court judges.

(3)    To each county equally, the remaining revenue after the allocation of funds required by items (1) and (2) to offset costs associated with the operation of the magistrates court."

SECTION    3.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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