South Carolina General Assembly
122nd Session, 2017-2018

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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

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
   4/20/2017  Senate  Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary 
                        (Senate Journal-page 9)
   4/21/2017          Scrivener's error corrected

View the latest legislative information at the website

VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

12/13/2016
4/20/2017
4/21/2017

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

Indicates Matter Stricken

Indicates New Matter

COMMITTEE REPORT

April 20, 2017

S. 148

Introduced by Senators Hutto, Johnson and Cromer

S. Printed 4/20/17--S.    [SEC 4/21/17 12:45 PM]

Read the first time January 10, 2017.

            

THE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

To whom was referred a Bill (S. 148) to amend Section 22-8-40, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to full-time and part-time magistrates and their salaries, etc., respectfully

REPORT:

That they have duly and carefully considered the same and recommend that the same do pass with amendment:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, by striking the bill in its entirety and inserting therein the following:

/        A BILL

TO AMEND SECTION 22-3-10, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE CIVIL JURISDICTION OF THE MAGISTRATES COURT, SO AS TO INCREASE THE CIVIL JURISDICTION FROM SEVEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS TO TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS; TO AMEND SECTION 22-8-40, 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 TEN 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 22-3-10 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"Section 22-3-10.    Magistrates have concurrent civil jurisdiction in the following cases:

(1)    in actions arising on contracts for the recovery of money only, if the sum claimed does not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(2)    in actions for damages for injury to rights pertaining to the person or personal or real property, if the damages claimed do not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(3)    in actions for a penalty, fine, or forfeiture, when the amount claimed or forfeited does not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(4)    in actions commenced by attachment of property, as provided by statute, if the debt or damages claimed do not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(5)    in actions upon a bond conditioned for the payment of money, not exceeding seven ten thousand five hundred dollars, though the penalty exceeds that sum, the judgment to be given for the sum actually due, and when the payments are to be made by installments an action may be brought for each installment as it becomes due;

(6)    in any action upon a surety bond taken by them, when the penalty or amount claimed does not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(7)    in any action upon a judgment rendered in a court of a magistrate or an inferior court when it is not prohibited by the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure;

(8)    to take and enter judgment on the confession of a defendant in the manner prescribed by law when the amount confessed does not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(9)    in any action for damages or for fraud in the sale, purchase, or exchange of personal property, if the damages claimed do not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(10)    in all matters between landlord and tenant and the possession of land as provided in Chapters 33 through 41 of, Title 27;

(11)    in any action to recover the possession of personal property claimed, the value of which, as stated in the affidavit of the plaintiff, his agent, or attorney, does not exceed the sum of seven ten thousand five hundred dollars;

(12)    in all actions provided for in this section when a filed counterclaim involves a sum not to exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars, except that this limitation does not apply to counterclaims filed in matters between landlord and tenant and the possession of land;

(13)    in interpleader actions arising from real estate contracts for the recovery of earnest money, only if the sum claimed does not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars; and

(14)    in actions for damages arising from a person's failure to return leased or rented personal property within seventy-two hours after the expiration of the lease or rental agreement, such damages to be based on the loss of revenue or replacement value of the property, whichever is less, if the damages claimed do not exceed seven ten thousand five hundred dollars; however, the lease or rental agreement must set forth the manner in which the amount of the loss of revenue or replacement value of the item leased or rented is calculated."

SECTION    2.    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 base salary for his county's population category 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 base salary for his county's population category 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 base salary for his county's population category as provided in item (2).

(2)    There is established a base salary for each population category as follows:

(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 2016-2017 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 fifty percent of a circuit judge's salary for the state's previous 2016-2017 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 forty percent of a circuit court judge's salary for the state's previous 2016-2017 fiscal year.

(3)    The provisions of this subsection are effective July 1, 2000 salary increases provided in subitems (2)(b) and (2)(c) must not be implemented until on and after January 1, 2018. The provisions of this subsection have no effect on the salary of any magistrate whose salary exceeds fifty-five percent of a circuit judge's salary.

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

(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 in 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. Chief magistrates must report actual magistrate salaries annually by no later than June thirtieth to the South Carolina Court Administration. 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    3.    Article 3, Chapter 3, Title 22 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section 22-3-315.    (A)    For purposes of this section:

(1)    'donor county' means a county with a population of one hundred fifty thousand and above, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census; and

(2)    'qualifying county' means a county with a population of not more than one hundred forty-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine, according to the latest official United States Decennial Census, which pays its magistrates less than the base salary provided in Section 22-8-40(B)(2)(b) and (c).

(B)    An assessment equal to ten 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. The State Treasurer's office shall report annually to the General Assembly by January twentieth the amount of fees collected as provided by this section and the allocation of those fees.

(C)    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 the base salary as provided in Section 22-8-40(B)(2), including the increase in mandatory employer contributions to State Pension, Social Security, and Medicare. 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 donor county proportionately, based upon the amount each donor county collected in assessments, 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 for the donor county."

SECTION    4.    The repeal or amendment by this act of any law, whether temporary or permanent or civil or criminal, does not affect pending actions, rights, duties, or liabilities founded thereon, or alter, discharge, release or extinguish any penalty, forfeiture, or liability incurred under the repealed or amended law, unless the repealed or amended provision shall so expressly provide. After the effective date of this act, all laws repealed or amended by this act must be taken and treated as remaining in full force and effect for the purpose of sustaining any pending or vested right, civil action, special proceeding, criminal prosecution, or appeal existing as of the effective date of this act, and for the enforcement of rights, duties, penalties, forfeitures, and liabilities as they stood under the repealed or amended laws.

SECTION    5.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor for planning and organizational purposes; however, the salary increases as provided in SECTION 1 must not be implemented until on and after January 1, 2018, and the assessments authorized in SECTION 2 must not be imposed except upon cases filed on and after July 1, 2017.    /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

GEORGE E. CAMPSEN III for Committee.

            

STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED FISCAL IMPACT

Explanation of Fiscal Impact

Introduced on January 10, 2017

State Expenditure

Judicial Department. The department reports that the bill, which requires South Carolina Court Administration to monitor counties compliance with statutory provisions governing magistrates' compensation and report annually to the Governor any noncompliance of the required magistrate base salary, will have no expenditure impact on the general fund. The department currently monitors compliance with existing compensation requirements, and any costs associated with the generation of an annual report on noncompliance can be managed within existing resources.

State Revenue

The bill adds a $15 assessment to all civil filings in magistrate court. In FY 2015-16, there were 211,308 civil cases filed in South Carolina magistrate courts. Should future fiscal years have a similar number of cases filed, the department expects approximately $3,170,000 in revenue to be generated. Pursuant to the bill, $15,000 of this revenue will be allocated to Court Administration to use for the operation of the mandatory magistrate school and for other educational requirements for summary court judges. In addition, the State Treasurer is authorized to retain $40,000 each fiscal year for actual costs of collecting and processing the assessment. The remaining $3,115,000 will be distributed to the counties as explained in the Local Revenue Section of this statement.

Local Expenditure

This bill makes changes to the salary structure for magistrates. Under the existing structure, a magistrate's base salary is dependent upon the magistrate's years in office and the population of the county the magistrates serves. The bill deletes the portion of the formula that bases the salary on county population and replaces it with a uniform, statewide amount. The uniform amount is 55 percent of a circuit court judge's salary for the state's previous fiscal year. Years in office continues to be a factor in determining a magistrate's salary. Further, the bill increases the yearly supplement of a full-time chief magistrate from $3,000 to $10,000 and $1,500 to $5,000 for a part-time chief magistrate. The bill also requires a yearly supplement of $5,000 for a full-time associate chief magistrate and $2,500 for a part-time associate chief magistrate.

Based upon data provided by Court Administration, changing the salary structure for magistrates will increase expenses of county governments by approximately $1,332,000. Additionally, adjusting the yearly supplement for full-time and part-time chief magistrates and adding a yearly supplement for full-time and part-time associate chief magistrates will increase expenses of county governments by $374,000. In total, this bill will increase expenses of county governments by $1,706,000. Although Section 22-8-10 defines a full-time magistrate as working 40 hours per week, for this analysis, we included magistrates working 38 or more hours per week as full-time. There are approximately 303 magistrates.

Local Revenue

This bill imposes an assessment of $15 on all civil filings in magistrates court. The fees must be collected by the magistrates court and forwarded to the county treasurer and remitted by the county treasurer to the State Treasurer for allocation to the various counties. The State Treasurer may retain the costs associated with the collection and processing of this assessment not to exceed $40,000. The remainder of the assessment must be allocated to each qualifying county based on the difference between the actual salary of each magistrate within the county as of the end of the FY 2016-17 and 55 percent of a circuit court judge's salary as of the end of FY 2016-17. However, no county may receive more than the difference between the base salary required for that county and 55 percent of a circuit court judge's salary as of the end of FY 2016-17. If the revenue collected pursuant to this new assessment is insufficient to cover the increased costs, each qualifying county must receive a prorated share of the revenue collected. Additionally, $15,000 must be allocated to Court Administration to cover the expenses associated with operating the mandatory magistrate school and any other educational requirements for summary court judges. Any remaining revenue generated from the new assessment must be allocated to each county equally to offset expenses associated with the operation of the magistrates court.

Based upon data provided by the South Carolina Court Administration, imposing a $15 assessment on all civil filings in magistrate court will generate approximately $3,170,000 in revenue. Assuming the State Treasurer's Office retains $40,000 and Court Administration receives $15,000, the remaining revenue of $3,115,000 will be allocated to county governments to offset expenses for adjusting the salary structure for magistrates and for expenses associated with the operation of the magistrate court.

Frank A. Rainwater, Executive Director

Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office

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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