May 2, 2023
Vol. 40, No. 15
South Carolina House of Representatives
G. Murrell Smith, Jr., Speaker of the House
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND CONSTITUENT SERVICES
Room 212, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230
House Floor Actions
Vol. 40 May 2, 2023No. 15
(April 25 - 27, 2023)
Written and compiled by
Andy Allen, Don Hottel, Dir., Sherry Moore, Richard Pearce, Esq.
D. Hottel, editor
(April 25 - 27, 2023)
Education Scholarship Trust Fund," "ESTF," or "fund" means the individual account that is administered by the Department to which funds are allocated to the parent of an eligible student to pay for qualifying expenses. Senate S.39 passed the House and was enrolled for ratification. The bill establishes the "Education Scholarship Trust Fund (ESTF)." Eligible elementary and secondary students may be awarded scholarships in the amount of $6,000 to pay for education expenses. The scholarship amount may not be altered unless directed by the appropriations act. Expenses may include, among other items, tuition and fees, instructional materials, tutoring, computer hardware, assessments, and transportation (not to exceed $750 per year). The department shall create an individual online ESTF account for each scholarship student.
Public and independent schools may accept scholarship funds, but charter schools and home-schooled students are excluded. Eligible students must reside in the state and have attended a public school in the state during the previous school year or received a scholarship the previous school year. Families must meet a specified percentage of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify:
The bill establishes a cap on the number of students who may participate in the ESTF:
The State Department of Education (SDE) must create an application process for the Fund, determine student eligibility, and inform students and parents about eligibility and providers. Before receiving funds, parents or guardians must agree to provide instruction in at least English/language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science.
SDE may deduct no more than two percent of the ESTF to administer the program and may contract with vendors to manage accounts and provide services. Providers may be banned if they do not comply with accountability standards or provide educational services. Participating independent schools must meet curricula, diploma, and attendance requirements, comply with health and safety codes, and not unlawfully discriminate based on race, color, or national origin.
Scholarship recipients attending an online Education Service Provider must visit their resident public school at least once per semester for a wellness check and SDE is to keep data about the visit. If a student's academic program is ended before the end of a school year or semester, the parent must notify SDE, and remaining funds revert to the ESTF.
Education Service Providers providing full-time instruction must provide the following assessments:
The Education Oversight Committee must report on learning gains and graduation rates of scholarship recipients to include delineated, aggregated data. An ESTF Review Panel is established to provide advice to the Department.
H.3583, legislation to abate Sexual Extortion in South Carolina was unanimously passed in the House and is in the Senate now for its consideration. This offense typically involves someone obtaining nude images of someone else via text messaging, or 'sexting.' Once the recipients have these images, they then blackmail the senders by threatening to publish their images on the Internet, or otherwise distribute it, with often fatal outcomes. It proposes abating these schemes by adding sexual extortion and aggravated sexual extortion definitions to the criminal code and proposing penalties for violators, and aggravated violations, of this new crime.
The House reviewed Senate amendments to H.3532, committing crimes while out on bond, amended it, and returned it to the Senate for consideration and debate in light of the House amendment made to its bill.
This measure would impose a mandatory five-year jail term for anyone out on a pretrial bond, or other pretrial release, for committing a statutorily listed violent crime who is then found, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have committed another, unrelated, and statutorily-listed, violent crime. These crimes include rape, domestic violence, offenses involving preying on minors, strong arm robbery, weapons offenses, or using weapons to commit these types of crimes while out of jail on bond. This sentence could run consecutively or concurrently, in the discretion of the trial judge.
This jail time could be imposed only after the conclusion of a separate sentencing hearing, to be conducted as soon as possible after a defendant is convicted of the second, unrelated violent crime. If a defendant is found guilty of the second violent crime through a jury verdict, that jury would hear all evidence related to this offense. If a conviction results after a non-jury hearing or guilty plea, the trial judge would hear the entire, relevant evidence as defined in this proposal.
Solicitors would be required to file a written 30-Day Notice with defendants of their intent to pursue this charge. They also would have to prove the elements of it beyond a reasonable doubt.
Once the first pretrial bond or other pretrial release is revoked, and a written order has been issued with findings of fact and conclusions of law, a hearing on setting any subsequent bond would have to be held within 14 days of the first bond being revoked. Any subsequent bond in these circumstances would have to be paid in full in US currency, to the exclusion of all other forms of bond, but could be posted either by a defendant or with a bondsman. Motions for revocation or modification of any bond would have to be in writing, heard, and a ruling made within 30 days after notice was filed.
While serving this five-year sentence, offenders would not be eligible for good-time credits, parole, work release, or extended work release. Defendants or prosecutors would still be able to file speedy trial motions for disposition of this offense.
The House was also sent to the Senate H.3734, Municipal Election Reforms. This legislative effort would require municipal elections to be conducted only in odd-numbered years on the third Tuesday in March, the first Tuesday of July, or the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November using voting systems adopted by the State Election Commission. Municipal elections authority could be transferred to county boards of voter registration and elections. As amended by the full committee, the terms for municipal mayors and council members would commence at the next regular city council meeting in the month after the election results were certified. This proposal also prohibits the extension of terms for any mayor or council member elected in an even-numbered year when existing election dates are changed. As amended, if they were elected in an odd numbered year, that term would be extended. Officers would continue to serve until their successors are elected and qualified.
The Senate has received H.3883, a bill that would allow circuit court trial judges discretion to retain alternate jurors through deliberations. Trial judges would determine the appropriate time to release these alternates from jury duty.
House members have overwhelmingly voted in favor of S.341, a bill that would allow guardianship appointment revisions to include petitions being filed 180 days prior to a youth turning 18 years old. It must be shown to the court that this youth would benefit from a guardianship being in place even after they obtain adulthood. This bill has been enrolled for ratification.
They also amended and sent to the Senate S.342 adding homeless children and youths definitions. This bill would add definitions of 'unaccompanied homeless youth,' 'homeless child or youth,' and 'youth at risk of homelessness' to the South Carolina Children's Code. Significantly, all of these definitions would include anyone from their birth to 24 years of age who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.
The House has sent the Senate H.3217, the "Uniform Unregulated Child Custody Transfer Act." This proposed legislation arises from work performed by the national Uniform Law Commission. It sets out criteria for adoption and transfer of custody of children by a custodial parent, or parents, to the other parent, stepparents, blood kin, or fictive kin, without state agency involvement or the issuance of a court order. It would prohibit the transfer of their children to anyone else not on this list, with an intent to abandon their parental rights. It also has a specific prohibition against soliciting or advertising services to facilitate permitted transfers. Additional proposed provisions incorporate these placements into existing preplacement state laws for the adoption of these children by their custodians. It exempts transfers of custody of Native American children in violation of any applicable tribal law provisions.
Florence County would be added to the list of counties with a Register of Deeds in the event the favorable report issued by the committee on H.3313 is adopted and this bill is enacted. This list specifies the South Carolina counties who have a Register of Deeds to handle all real estate-related matters. In the past, county Clerks of Courts handled these documents.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3605, a bill addressing the screening of applicants for professional and occupational licenses and the investigation of complaints filed against those who hold such licenses and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation provides that a professional or occupational board under the authority of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation may not solely or in part deny a license to an applicant because of a prior criminal conviction, unless the criminal conviction directly relates to the duties, responsibilities, or fitness of the occupation or profession for which the applicant is seeking a license. Boards are prohibited from using vague or generic terms, such as "moral turpitude" or "good character," nor may they consider charges that have been dismissed or dropped or that have resulted in a finding of not guilty as a justification for denying an applicant a license. An applicant who has submitted a completed application may not be denied a license because of a prior criminal conviction unless the licensing board has given the applicant an opportunity to appear at a hearing to determine the applicant's fitness for the occupation or profession. When a license is solely or in part denied because of the applicant's prior criminal history, the board must, within thirty days of the hearing, issue a written final order that includes the grounds for denial and notification that appeals are to be made to the Administrative Law Court. The legislation revises provisions governing the investigation of professional and occupational licensees when complaints have been filed against them. Within thirty days after an investigation is initiated, the LLR Director is responsible for sending: (1) a letter advising the licensee that a complaint has been filed, an investigation has been initiated, and the licensee is requested to respond in writing within fourteen days; (2) a copy of the complaint; (3) the name of the complainant, unless the board believes good cause exists to withhold the name; and (4) all materials filed with the complaint. In any case, where an investigation prompts a licensing board to recommend a formal complaint, the legislation requires a procedural review in which the LLR Director is charged with verifying that notification requirements have been fulfilled and that any response from the licensee has been included and considered in the investigative file. Any procedural defects that the Director finds during the review must be rectified before a formal complaint can be issued. The legislation includes the "Earn and Learn Act of 2023" which makes provisions for paid professional and occupational apprenticeship programs as a means of expanding economic opportunities and building a skilled workforce according to industry standards by allowing a worker to earn a paycheck while fulfilling licensing requirements.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3953, legislation restructuring the Department of Consumer Affairs as a cabinet agency accountable to the Governor in the executive branch of state government. The bill dissolves the department's nine-member governing board, the Commission on Consumer Affairs, and provides for the head of the department to be an administrator appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the Senate, who is subject to removal from office by the Governor.
S.581 names the Venus Flytrap (Dionaea Muscipula) as the official carnivorous plant of South Carolina. It passed the House and was enrolled for ratification.
S.299, pertaining to the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children, passed the House and was enrolled for ratification. The bill provides for the inclusion of the State Child Advocate to the Committee.
H.3168, regarding Antique Vehicles, was read a third time and sent to the Senate. This bill clarifies that antique motor vehicles and motorcycles may be used at night for particular purposes if equipped with working headlights and rear lights.
H.3732 XE "H. 3732 (passed by the House)" , Classic and Antique Motor Vehicles, was read a third time and sent to the Senate. This bill designates the restoration, exhibition, showing, and enjoyment of classic and antique motor vehicles as the official family-friendly pastime of South Carolina.
H.4291 XE "H. 4291 (passed by the House)" , Clog Dancing Day, designates the eighth day of August of each year as "Clog Dancing Day" in South Carolina. The bill was read a third time and sent to the senate.
H.4352 XE "H. 4352 (passed by the House)" , Middle Level Education Month, designates the month of March of each year as "Middle Level Education Month." "Middle Level" refers to middle school, also known as intermediate school or junior high school. It was read a third time and sent to the Senate.
Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee
The Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee met on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, and reported out seven bills.
The committee gave a favorable recommendation to S. 603, a bill dealing with the South Carolina Grain and Cotton Producers Guaranty Fund. Current law states that if there is an insufficient amount of money in the fund to cover all claims, payments must be made on a pro rata basis. This bill adds that the pro rata determination shall be based upon the producer's total loss amount as well as the total number of exemptions granted to the producer. The more exemptions granted to a producer, the lower the share the producer will receive. This bill also adds cotton producers to the producers who may receive an exemption from participating in the fund.
Currently, the law allows disabled residents three-year disability combination license or a three- year disability fishing license at no cost. The committee gave a favorable report to S.101, a bill that adds that a disabled resident who is certified legally blind may be issued a lifetime hunting and fishing license at no cost. In addition, this license requires no disability recertification or renewal.
The committee gave a favorable report to S.449, legislation that repeals the January 2024 sunset date for the ban on the transportation of live swine without identification. As a result, the law becomes permanent.
The committee gave a favorable report to H.3960, legislation that designates the South Carolina Poultry Festival in Lexington County as the official State Poultry Festival.
The committee gave a favorable with amendment report to H.3075, a cleanup bill that updates and clarifies the role and responsibilities of the SC Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). As a result of the 2019 Legislative Oversight Review, the bill removes references to an obsolete funding program that was under the SC Budget and Control Board now transferred to RIA along with its duties and responsibilities. In addition, the bill updates the definition of a rural infrastructure project as well as updates terminology and removes outdated accounting requirements language. These updates reflect what is currently being implemented under the RIA.
The committee gave a favorable recommendation to H.3993. Currently it is illegal to sell animal parts. As a result, the bill provides for an exemption for the retail sale of white-tailed deer organ meat, packaged as pet treats, by official establishments certified by the State Livestock-Poultry Health Division, Clemson University, or USDA. The product must be registered by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.
The committee gave a favorable report to H.4047, a bill that outlines that the Department of Natural Resources cannot release records of landowners addresses when the occurrence of a rare, threatened, endangered plant or animal species is located on such property.
S 549, an omnibus bill relating the DMV and licenses, passed the committee. The bill proposes several amendments related to driver's license reinstatement fees and vehicle insurance requirements. The bill suggests extending the validity of driver's licenses issued under the reinstatement fee payment program by an additional six months. It also aims to revise the amount of reinstatement fees owed by persons to become eligible for these licenses, as well as the distribution of administrative fees collected.
Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles would be authorized to provide fee schedules and online payment options for persons participating in the program. The types of driver's license suspensions covered by this section would be revised, as well as the frequency and conditions for future participation. The bill also proposes changes to the requirements for vehicle insurance. It suggests revising the period of time for surrendering motor vehicle license plates and registration certificates for certain uninsured motor vehicles. The provision giving the Department of Motor Vehicles discretion to authorize insurers to utilize alternate methods of providing certain notices to the department would be deleted. Certain persons would be allowed to provide certain documents to show the suspension was issued in error rather than appealing certain suspensions to the Department of Insurance. Regarding fines for lapses in required motor vehicle insurance coverage: the proposed amendment limits the fines to a maximum of two hundred dollars per vehicle for a first offense.
Regarding Title 56, Chapter 10, Article 5: this article had currently established the uninsured motorist fund and provides for the collection of fees from uninsured drivers. The proposed amendment deletes these provisions and instead regulates the operation of uninsured motor vehicles. It also makes technical changes and revises the amount of the motor vehicle reinstatement fee, which will increase annually. Additionally, it allows for suspended licenses, registration certificates, license plates, and decals to be returned to the department of motor vehicles by electronic means or in person. Finally, it eliminates the requirement for the department of motor vehicles to collect statistics regarding various motor vehicle registration, insurance, and uninsured motorist fund issues.
Amendment to Section 56-9-20: This section provides definitions for the motor vehicle financial responsibility act. The proposed amendment revises a reference in the definition of "uninsured motor vehicle." Amendment to Section 56-3-210: This section establishes the time period for procuring motor vehicle registration and license, temporary license plates, and transfer of license plates. The proposed amendment revises the requirement for a temporary license plate and specifies who may distribute temporary license plates.
There are other changes relate to motor vehicles and dealers. These changes address issues such as temporary license plates, special permits for certain vehicles, the issuance of dealer licenses, bond amounts required, penalties for unauthorized sales, and grounds for denial, suspension, or revocation of licenses. Additionally, the text proposes the establishment of a motor vehicle performance evaluation system and a quality assurance program to ensure the integrity of the electronic registration and titling program. The changes also include provisions for vendor fees, convenience fees, and transaction fees when receiving payment by credit card. Other proposed amendments seek to provide a cure period for certain complaints from consumers and to allow business operations on property adjacent to or within sight of the licensee's bona fide established place of business.
The amendments include changes to bond requirements, the recovery of back taxes and fees, and the continuation of business in the event of a licensee's death. Additionally, the amendments propose changes to the requirements for a dealer's maintenance of a bona fide established place of business, allowing for adjacent property use.
Further, the amendments propose revisions to the reasons the Department of Motor Vehicles may deny, suspend, or revoke a license. Finally, the amendments propose changes to the procedure for titling and registering a vehicle in relation to voluntary transfer and dealer purchasing vehicles for resale.
Driver training schools are currently required to pay an annual licensing fee of $50 to DMV. The bill changes this to a licensing period of four years with a corresponding fee of $200. The Committee added that the term "defensive driving course" is changed to "driver training course." The classroom portion of driver training may be done in-person, virtually, or by remote online methods. There is to be final examination at the completion of the program. A passing score of at least eighty percent is required and students have three attempts at passing. Existing law provides that no one can receive a driver's license unless and until all other operator's licenses are surrendered to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The bill adds a deadline of forty-five days upon a person becoming a resident of the State, unless specifically exempted by law.
The vision screening required to obtain a driver's license can be waived if a driver has a certificate of vision examination dated within the previous twelve months. The bill changes this time period to thirty-six months. Additionally, active-duty members of the Armed Services are exempt from the requirements of this section as long as they provide DMV with a Leave and Earning Statement dated within thirty-one days of applying for, or renewing, their driver's license and a non-expired military identification card.
S.256 XE "S. 256" , regards sunscreen in schools. S.256 would allow public schools to permit students to possess and use certain types of sunscreens on school property and at school-sponsored events, provided they have written parental consent.
The Committee approved H.3355, a bill that would provide that a towing truck with a fifth wheel assembly may tow one additional vehicle (the bill also sets a maximum length for this combination of vehicles, provides the maximum weight for the final trailing vehicle, and provides a truck operating a towing combination must include a video system which allows the driver to monitor the final trailing vehicle as it is being towed and be equipped with certain safety devices).
H.3501 establishes "certified athlete agents." This bill relates to acts of athlete agents, so as to provide that certified athlete agents may pay certain expenses incurred before the signing of agency contracts by student athletes and others.
Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee
The Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee met on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, and gave a favorable with amendment report to S.164, a bill that ensures high quality services in health facilities under a Certificate of Need (CON) requirement. Among many things, the bill requires CON for nursing homes. The bill adds a sunset provision of January 1, 2027, for all hospitals and hospital expansions. The bill provides exemptions for CON, the relocation of hospital in the same county, the acquisition of a hospital, and the construction of a new hospital in a county currently without a hospital. The bill outlines that MUSC must go before the Joint Bond Review Committee.
In addition, the bill creates a Certificate of Need Study Committee to examine the effect of repeal of CON on quality and quantity of access to healthcare in rural areas. The bill reduces the timing of the appeals process and allows an appeal to the SC Supreme Court.
The Ways and Means Committee met on Thursday, April 27, and gave a favorable report on H.4299, a continuing resolution for funding state government operations. Should the upcoming 2023-2024 state fiscal year begin with no annual general appropriations act in effect, this joint resolution provides authority for continuing to pay the recurring expenses of state government at the current funding levels approved in Act 239 of 2022, the appropriation act for Fiscal Year 2022-2023.
Agriculture, Environmental, and Natural Resources
H.4386 Robust Redhorse Rep. Forrest
It is unlawful to take, harm, or kill the fish robust redhorse (moxostoma robustum) from public waters. The robust redhorse is a large, long-lived member of the redhorse sucker family. It is an important part of the native aquatic ecosystem. The bill further outlines that if caught the robust redhorse must be returned immediately to the water from which it was taken.
H.4387 Hybrid Striped Bass Rep. Forrest
The bill updates a statute to include references to hybrid bass.
H.4374 XE "H. 4374" State Social Studies Standards Rep. Landing
H.4374 relates to the cyclical review of state standards and assessments required in the Education Accountability Act to provide requirements for the review and revision process for state social studies standards (to ensure the standards take a traditional approach to history, to specify qualifications for parties responsible for reviewing and revising the standards, and to provide related responsibilities of the state Superintendent of Education).
H.4385 XE "H. 4385" Lights and Insignia On Authorized Emergency Vehicles Rep. O'neal
H.4385 relates to the use and display of certain lights and insignia on authorized emergency vehicles, so as to provide blue lights may be placed on the rear of fire department vehicles.
H.4388 XE "H. 4388" Establishment of The Division Of Interscholastic Athletics Rep. Erickson
This proposed bill would establish the Division of Interscholastic Athletics within the State Department of Education to serve as the sole governing body of athletics for South Carolina public schools. The bill would provide for the management, powers, duties, and authority of the Division. The bill would make conforming changes to several existing laws: requirements for participation in interscholastic activities; allowance for charter school students to participate in interscholastic activities through traditional public schools, high school student participation in independent organized sports teams; and, concussion protocol for student athletes.
H.4363 Student Criminal Misconduct Rep. Tedder
H.4363 pertains to the requirement for public school administrators to report student criminal misconduct to law enforcement. The bill seeks to mandate that administrators immediately refer minor incidents of student fighting to a panel of school board members for review and potential referral to local law enforcement. The bill specifies that the panel of school board members shall conduct the review and make a determination on whether to refer the incident to law enforcement within forty-eight hours. Additionally, the bill stipulates that students involved in such incidents may not be charged or detained by law enforcement for any crime related to the incident until the panel makes its determination. As used in this bill "minor incident of student fighting" is fighting among students that does not result in serious injury to any person.
H.4364 Delivered or Drive-Through Alcoholic Products Rep. W. Newton
Under this comprehensive, detailed bill, among other things, retailers of beer, wine, porter, or distilled alcoholic spirits would be able to pay a $500 application fee, and if they are found to be qualified, could become licensed to deliver to customers, or deliver curbside, alcoholic products in their original, sealed containers. Notably, deliveries would not be able to be made to churches, schools, playgrounds, college or university campuses, dormitories, or any on-premises-consumption-licensed premises, excluding hotels.
H.4375 Staying Off of Public Water Utility Properties Rep. Burns
Under this proposal, and in addition to all existing laws covering illegally trespassing on lands of another owner, this bill would apply a graduated set of penalties for anyone trespassing on property owned by public water utilities, if enacted.
H.4376 Unclaimed Human Remains of a Deceased Veteran Rep. B. J. Cox
The bill outlines that if a coroner has possession of human remains that have been identified and the deceased person has been determined to be an unclaimed veteran, then the coroner must release the remains to a funeral home, funeral establishment, or mortuary for disposition.
H.4365 "Social Work Interstate Compact Act" Rep. Gilliam
This bill makes provisions for South Carolina's participation in the Social Work Interstate Compact to facilitate interstate practice of regulated social workers by improving public access to competent social work services.
H.4372 Maximum Unemployment Insurance Benefits Rep. G. M. Smith
This bill revises provisions establishing the maximum unemployment insurance benefits allowed, so as to set the duration of unemployment benefits based on seasonal adjusted statewide unemployment rates.
H.4373 Central Bank Digital Currency Prohibition Rep. Landing
This bill establishes provisions prohibiting a banking corporation from offering any service or approving of or conducting any transaction that involves central bank digital currency. The legislation requires the State Board of Financial Institutions to promulgate regulations to prohibit those within its jurisdiction from offering or providing any service or conducting any transaction that would utilize central bank digital currency.
H.4371 Active-Duty Military Income Tax Deduction Rep. Mitchell
This bill establishes an income tax deduction for taxable income received as the result of employment as active-duty service members of the United States Armed Forces, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, who are residents of South Carolina.
Tuesday, May 2, 2023
The House Research Office uses the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, with practical modifications [i.e., regarding numbers].
These summaries are prepared by the staff of the South Carolina House of Representatives and are not the expression of the legislation's sponsor(s) nor the House of Representatives. They are for the use of members of the House of Representatives and are not to be construed by a court of law as an expression of legislative intent. These Legislative Updates are on the South Carolina General Assembly home page (http://www.scstatehouse.gov). Go to Publications, then Legislative Updates. This lists all the Legislative Updates by date as a Word document and a document with hypertext links to the bills. Also available under Publications is a Bill Summary Index to the Legislative Updates (bills are listed in numeric order and provide the different summary versions at the various stages and dates in the process).