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COMMITTEE AMENDMENT ADOPTED AND AMENDED
April 13, 2000
S. Printed 4/13/00--S.
Read the first time April 15, 1999.
TO AMEND TITLE 40 OF THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS, BY ADDING CHAPTER 100 SO AS TO REQUIRE REGISTRATION OF FIREFIGTERS WITH THE OFFICE OF THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Title 40 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 40-100-10. For purposes of this chapter:
(1) `Employer' includes all fire departments or other entities which put individual firefighters to service or work or assign any firefighter to official duties, whether or not the firefighter receives financial compensation.
(2) `Fire chief' means the highest ranking officer or official in charge of a fire department, whether or not called by some other title.
(3) `Fire department' means any organization providing rescue, fire suppression, and related activities, including any public or governmental organization engaged in this type of activity.
(4) `Firefighter' includes any person, male or female, paid or unpaid, who engages in rescue, fire suppression, or related activities, under the supervision of a fire chief or fire department.
Section 40-100-20. (A) No later than ten working days before the date of his employment as a paid or volunteer firefighter, each firefighter shall be registered with the Office of the State Fire Marshal by their fire chief or other employer.
(B) The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall maintain a file on each registered firefighter in the State, including all information required to be kept by this chapter, and shall assign to each registered firefighter a firefighter identification number which corresponds to the firefighter's social security number.
(C) The information in the file of an individual firefighter may be released in its entirety to a potential fire department or other employer and may be used as a basis for employment. The requesting department or employer shall maintain this information in a confidential manner.
(D) Any registered firefighter may at any time request a copy of his or her file.
Section 40-100-30. (A) No person shall be allowed to perform firefighting duties in the State of South Carolina on or after July 1, 2000, with a public fire department, organization, or employer of a county, municipality, special purpose district, or other political subdivision, without first being registered as provided in Section 40-100-20.
(B) A firefighter employed by the United States Government and working in his official capacity is not required to be registered.
Section 40-100-40. (A) Upon recommendation of a fire chief or other employer, the Office of the State Fire Marshal shall register each firefighter subject to the provisions of Sections 40-100-20 and 40-100-30. The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall maintain as minimum information on each firefighter the complete name, the date of birth, the social security number, the South Carolina driver's license number, the department, and the date of employment or membership. The Office of the State Fire Marshal shall notify the chief of the employing department or other employer in writing of the registration.
(B) Prior to the initial recommendation for registration and employment of a firefighter, the fire chief or other employer shall ensure that each prospective firefighter undergoes a criminal records check conducted by a law enforcement agency. The cost of the criminal records check may not exceed five dollars. No person shall be eligible for registration as a firefighter if, within ten years prior to the date of application, he or she has been convicted of a felony or arson related crime.
(C) No criminal records check shall be required for any firefighter employed on or before July 1, 2000.
(D) A firefighter who works for or serves with more than one department or employer shall be registered by each department.
(E) A firefighter previously registered with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, but not actively engaged with a fire department or as a firefighter for a period of six months, shall be required to apply for reregistration and to submit a criminal record check as required by subsection (B).
Section 40-100-50. (A) Each fire department or other employer shall notify the Office of the State Fire Marshal at any time that a firefighter is separated from employment or membership.
(B) Notification shall be made within five working days after separation, except in an emergency situation, in which case the notification shall be made within ten working days."
SECTION 2. Title 40 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 40-200-10. (A) Prior to employment of any firefighter, paid or volunteer, the fire chief or other employer shall ensure that each prospective firefighter undergoes a criminal records check conducted by a law enforcement agency.
(B) The cost of the criminal records check shall not exceed five dollars.
(C) No person shall be allowed to perform firefighting duties in the State of South Carolina on or after July 1, 2000, who is convicted, pleads guilty, pleads no contest, or otherwise admits guilt, regardless of adjudication, to a felony, arson related crime, or use of a controlled substance with the last ten years.
(D) No criminal records check shall be required of any firefighter employed on or before June 30, 2000."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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