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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
(Statewide Session)

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

The Senate assembled at 11:45 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:

In the Book of Joel we read on this Ash Wednesday:

"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near-a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness!"       (Joel 2:1-2a)

Join me in prayer, friends:

On this Ash Wednesday-this day of repentance-we recognize that in various ways every one of us, Lord, is less than we ought to be, even less than we want to be. By Your Spirit's grace, Lord, lift us above the darkness and gloom of our days. Renew us by Your redeeming love to be Your worthy servants. And, as always, to You, Lord, be the glory. In Your name we pray.
Amen.

Committee to Escort

The PRESIDENT appointed Senators LEATHERMAN, VAUGHN, MESCHER and MALLOY to escort the Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, and members of her party to the House of Representatives for the Joint Assembly.

RECESS

At 11:55 A.M., the Senate receded from business for the purpose of attending the Joint Assembly.

JOINT ASSEMBLY
Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court

At 12:00 Noon, the Senate appeared in the Hall of the House.

The PRESIDENT of the Senate called the Joint Assembly to order and announced that it had convened under the terms of H. 3338, a Concurrent Resolution adopted by both Houses.

The Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court, and members of her party, were escorted to the rostrum by Senators LEATHERMAN, VAUGHN, MESCHER and MALLOY and Representatives Harrison, Delleney, Coleman, Ceips and Jennings.

The PRESIDENT introduced the Honorable Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Toal addressed the Joint Assembly as follows:

State of the Judiciary

Lieutenant Governor Bauer, President Pro Tempore McCONNELL, Speaker Harrell, Speaker Pro Tempore Smith, Members of the Joint Assembly, my brothers and sisters of the South Carolina Judiciary, ladies and gentlemen:

Your generosity in extending to me the privilege of this podium is a mark of respect for the judicial branch and a recognition of our partnership which sends a needed encouragement to the men and women in South Carolina who labor as filing clerks, court reporters, baliffs, clerks of court, magistrates, and judges. Most notably, it assures us all that the rule of law works and is at work in our beloved State.

Your Supreme Court has served together since March of 2000. Seven years represents the longest tenure of our court without change in modern times.

E. C. Burnett

At the time of his retirement, Justice E. C. Burnett will have served as a South Carolina judge for 30 years. No member of the judiciary in South Carolina has served in a broader range of judicial responsibilities than Justice Burnett. E. C. began his judicial career as a Probate Judge, and has also served as a Family Court Judge, Circuit Court Judge, and Justice of the Supreme Court. His additional public service includes positions as the Clerk of Court for Spartanburg County and as a Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. This proud Wofford Terrier, U.S. Army Major and Vietnam War veteran, devoted churchman and family man has been a voice of integrity representing the highest caliber of legal scholarship. Much more importantly, he is our dear brother. So whether he is golfing with his grandson, working in the Franklin Graham ministry, or just enjoying a walk on the beach with his sweetheart of 40+ years, Jami, he will be missed.

Bert Goolsby

The Court of Appeals loses its last remaining founding member with the retirement of Judge Bert Goolsby. This proud Citadel graduate and Phi Beta Kappa at USC Law was a dominant influence as a top Deputy Attorney General for South Carolina before his ascension to the newly created Court of Appeals 23 years ago. An early user of technology, Bert is an amazing legal scholar and an accomplished published author. We are delighted that he will join Judge Jasper Cureton as an active retired judge at the Court of Appeals.

Sam Stilwell

Sam Stilwell also retires this year after 10 years of service on the Court of Appeals. Sam came to judicial service after a highly successful career as a practicing lawyer, staffer to Strom Thurmond, and State Senator. His distinguished academic record in law school served him well as he devoted his scholarship to the work of the Court of Appeals. He will be sorely missed as he resumes private practice with his son. You, the general assembly, have a host of outstanding candidates for these soon to be vacant seats. Godspeed your endeavors.

Court Crisis

The signature of my administration as your Chief Justice has been to develop a new way of doing business for our State Court System. I have used technology in years of lean state financial resources to engineer more efficiency in our system. But it is now absolutely critical that we address the spiraling case load in our State by providing new resources for the trial bench.

Court Statistics

South Carolina has fewer judges and a heavier case load per judge than any other court system in the nation. At the trial level, South Carolina has the highest number of case filings per judge in the country. Our 4,167 filings per judge is more than 1,000 cases per judge higher than the next closest state, North Carolina. At 1.1 circuit judges per 100,000 of population, we have the fewest number of judges per capita of any state in the union. The national average of filings per judge is 1,754, and South Carolina's filings are more than double this figure. The civil caseload alone has increased 76% in the last 10 years.

Circuit Court

The real crisis is in the Circuit Court, Criminal and in the Family Court dockets. South Carolina has one of the highest criminal domestic violence rankings in the country. Violent crimes such as murder, armed robbery, drug related crimes, and gang violence are causing increasing backlogs in our courts. For many years, the National and South Carolina benchmark or standard for case disposition has been 180 days. A three year snapshot of our performance demonstrates that we are falling further behind this benchmark each year.

In Circuit Court, General Sessions handles the criminal part of the docket. In 2004, we had 110,000 cases filed in general sessions and we disposed of 83,608 cases. In 2005, we had a 6,000 case increase in filings, a 10,000 case increase in dispositions, and we fell further behind in our goal to meet the federal and state 180 day benchmark. In 2006, we had another 6,000 case increase in filings, we jumped our disposition rate by 15,000 cases, and despite this improvement, we still fell further behind in our quest to meet these benchmarks.

These same Circuit Court Judges also handle the Common Pleas Court civil docket, where although filings have fallen 2,000 cases in three years, our disposition rate has also fallen behind 4,000 cases over the same period. The gap between filings and dispositions is 13,000 cases a year. Why? Because I am using these judges more and more on the criminal docket. This has been damaging to the court's ability to control the civil docket, where, since the year 2000, filings have increased over 17%, with the largest increase coming in the 2001-2002 fiscal year. This large increase formed the basis for my prior statements to you that civil filings have grown considerably over this time. More telling is the fact that civil filings in South Carolina have increased over 70% over the last decade, a numeric increase of 31,000 cases per year. In the last three years, no circuit has met the 180 day benchmark for criminal cases, and only three circuits beat this average in civil cases.

Family Court

When the South Carolina Statewide Family Court was created in 1977, it was a model for the nation - a court specialized in divorce, alimony, equitable division of marital property, child custody and visitation, and adjudication of criminal offenses committed by juveniles. Today, Family Court is so inundated with cases that judges have on average 20 minutes per case to make decisions which have permanent impact on a child, on a parent, on a family. The child support enforcement cases alone take up a day of every five available for court hearings.

New Judges

To help address this crisis, I have again requested that this General Assembly create, elect, and fund three additional Circuit Court Judge positions and three additional Family Court positions. Every circuit in the State could use additional judges. If you create these positions at large, I can utilize the constitutional mandate to rotate judges and place these judges where they are most needed from week to week.

Differentiated Case Management

Additional judicial resources are part of the solution for our court crisis, but there are other initiatives we can and must take. Within the past two years, special study committees of the House and Senate have looked at our great court system. The House will shortly consider the New Judges Bill, one product of the House Judiciary Committee's efforts.

The Senate is considering, in its Judiciary Committee, the report of its Criminal Justice Task Force. Each of its recommendations is crucial. I want to emphasize one - differentiated case management for our criminal case docket.

South Carolina is the only State in the Country where the prosecuting attorneys have the day to day responsibility for managing the docket. In the old days, those dockets used to be managed by having a roll call at the beginning of each week of court and then deciding which cases to call for trial. When I became Chief, I began to work with the solicitors to develop a plan for managing the criminal caseload which would put each case on a schedule with deadlines for assignment of a lawyer, exchange of discovery, offer and acceptance of a plea agreement, setting a trial date, and disposition. Our county jails are overflowing with defendants awaiting trial. The county cost of housing these individuals is yet another cost of crowded dockets. I will meet with the solicitors next Tuesday to develop a proposal for inclusion in the Senate's proposed Bill which will establish differentiated case management in each circuit.

Many Circuits already have such a system. Solicitor Giese piloted the system in the 5th Circuit. Solicitor Ariail of Greenville-Pickens, the 13th Circuit, handles the largest caseload in the State using our system. York County developed a model under Solicitor Pope. Though these systems have characteristics that are unique to each circuit, they are based on the same model, which tracks cases from the time they are brought for indictment and sets benchmarks for the completion of pre-trial matters all the way through disposition. Implementing differentiated case management in each circuit is not a case of micro-managing each circuit's business from Columbia but is instead an installation of a high-tech tool to aid in the management of court business. This technology is necessary to control the current filing and docket problems South Carolina Courts are facing.

Hearing Officers in Family Court

Returning to issues facing the Family Court, the vast majority of child support cases involve actions brought by DSS. The support ordered goes to DSS to offset its TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) payments to custodial parents on public assistance. Federal funding requirements mandate that DSS bring these collection actions or lose federal dollars.

Our Family Court system is drowning in these cases and in DSS abuse and neglect cases. Some of the biggest complaints about Family Court come from individuals involved in divorce, child custody and visitation, and alimony cases who cannot get an adequate or timely hearing.

The Family Court study which was made two years ago recommended the use of Family Court volunteer hearing officers and mandatory mediation in Family Court for custody, visitation, and equitable division. These suggestions would free up Family Court Judges to give more hearing time to contested cases.

Looking specifically at the proposed hearing officers program, these volunteer lawyers would work pro bono, for free. They would be assigned the more routine matters - such as DSS child support enforcement cases. I would like to be authorized to experiment with this idea for two years. If it works, you can consider a more permanent solution.

Civil Appointments

In the vast majority of criminal cases, post conviction relief cases, abuse and neglect cases, and termination of parental rights cases in South Carolina, we are required by state law or federal court decision to appoint lawyers to represent the defendant. We are making progress in indigent defense which is much enhanced by the reform legislation you passed reorganizing trial and appellate indigent defense.

We have not yet addressed adequately the funding of appointments in the so called civil cases - Family Court or Circuit Court. This issue is of paramount importance to both the Members of the Bar in South Carolina and to South Carolina's population who relies on the State to provide them with meaningful and competent representation in their times of need in court.

Salary Commission

The three branch Salary Study Commission was created by you last year.

The Hay Group is conducting this review of compensation for Constitutional Officers, the General Assembly, and the Judiciary. This is the first time such a study has been conducted since the 1970's. The commission will be making its report shortly. I urge you to give this report your careful and expeditious attention.

Technology Journey

The cornerstone of my management plan for our court system has been to utilize high-speed, internet-based connectivity to improve court operations and enhance public access. The basic building block was to develop web sites for each county's clerk of court and get all judges from magistrate through the Supreme Court on reliable, high-speed internet access. This goal has been achieved. The system is now used for court docket management, distribution of forms and law research access. But efforts now go far beyond the courts.

For the past 20 years, technology for courts has been inward looking, concentrating on caseflow and docket management. South Carolina has led the way in using an internet based system to move data to many other agencies and private entities which interact with the courts. We have developed a system which is served by an enterprise architecture that interacts with our justice agency partners and the public and private sectors. We can no longer develop automation systems in state government in isolation. Duplication of costs is not a tab our State can afford.

What does it mean to have automated court operations in rural South Carolina? It levels the playing field, but it also provides very practical cost savings. To borrow an example from the private business world, financial institutions estimate that each time an individual conducts his banking in person, the cost to the bank (and ultimately the customer) is $11 per transaction. When the same banking business is conducted online, the cost is less than$1 per transaction.

Think of the implication this type of automated process will have for costs in clerks of court operations.

Case Management System

Our entire state court system now has access to high speed internet service. On this platform, we are now deploying our case management system. We are complete in Greenville, Pickens, Richland, York, Sumter, Beaufort, Jasper, Georgetown, and Horry. Deployment has just begun in Lexington. In the spring we will begin in Oconee and Anderson. By the year's end almost half the state caseload will be managed on the new system. We own the system ourselves and last fall our system was successfully benchmarked and tested in Microsoft's performance labs. This system is funded almost entirely by a series of federal grants secured through the sponsorship of former Senator Ernest Hollings and the continuing support of Senators Lindsey Graham, Jim DeMint, and our Congressional Delegation.

The counties received this system at no cost other than a maintenance fee which goes, not to a private vendor, but back to the judicial department to reduce the state's costs.

Solicitor Case Management

As I briefly described earlier, to assist the solicitors in managing the docket, the judicial department and solicitor's staff designed a Solicitors Case Management System which is compatible with the court's system. The judicial department obtained grants to fund this system which is now deployed in 5 circuits, and is underway in 4 more. By the end of this year 60% of the general sessions cases in solicitors offices will be managed by this system.

This system is deployed and installed without cost to the solicitor. The first years of support are also paid for by the grants. The solicitors' costs are to purchase the laptops needed to operate the system.

Report Card

So how does our report card look for this year? We have task force initiatives developing recommendations for access to justice for the working poor and privacy issues in access to public records. We have begun an initiative to develop business courts for South Carolina.

Our public outreach includes our very successful law school for new legislators, law school for journalists, high school and middle school educational programs at the Supreme Court, and a recent summit on children and the courts. Overall, I'd grade us satisfactory as to initiatives, public outreach, and technology. On the "needs attention" part of the report card are: new judges, criminal justice reform legislation, family court, lawyer appointments, and the salary study.

Introductions

I have the honor to present the Members of the Supreme Court: Justice James E. Moore, Justice E.C. Burnett, and Justice Costa Pleicones. Justice Waller is having minor hand surgery today - too many years of signing orders and writing opinions - and sends his best wishes.

I also have the honor to present the Members of the Court of Appeals: Chief Judge Kaye Hearn, Judge Bert Goolsby, Judge Ralph Anderson, Judge Tommy Huff, Judge Sam Stilwell, Judge John Kittredge, Judge Don Beatty, Judge Paul Short, and Judge Bruce Williams.

Conclusion

On behalf of these judges and on behalf of the men and women who wear the robe, I want to thank you for your unwavering support. The demands on you are constant. We know you will do what you reasonably believe you can do to help the judicial branch and that's all we can ask as we look to the future.

Well, finally, this is the face of the future of our beloved South Carolina. Patrick and his Big Mama are building sand castles and front end loaders on the beach at the Isle of Palms. If you look closely at the ocean, you'll see Senator CHIP CAMPSEN "catching a wave" at his favorite surfing spot. God bless the decency of our people and the beauty of the earth He has provided for us in the great State of South Carolina.

The purposes of the Joint Assembly having been accomplished, the PRESIDENT declared it adjourned, whereupon the Senate returned to its Chamber and was called to order by the PRESIDENT.

At 12:40 P.M., the Senate resumed.

At 12:41 P.M., by prior motion of Senator McCONNELL, the Senate receded until 2:00 P.M.

AFTERNOON SESSION

The Senate reassembled at 2:00 P.M. and was called to order by the PRESIDENT.

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

Doctor of the Day

Senator LEVENTIS introduced Dr. Gene Dickerson of Sumter, S.C., Doctor of the Day.

S. 20 (Word version) -- Senators Elliott, Mescher, Cleary, Hutto, Lourie, Moore, Sheheen, Reese, Knotts, Leventis, Land, McGill, Rankin, Campsen and Grooms: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 38-71-280 SO AS TO REQUIRE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR TREATMENT OF PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS AND TO DEFINE "PERVASIVE DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER" AS A NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION, INCLUDING AUTISM AND ASPERGER'S SYNDROME.

On motion of Senator HAWKINS, with unanimous consent, the names of Senators HAWKINS, SHORT and SCOTT were added as co-sponsors of S. 20.

S. 431 (Word version) -- Senators McConnell, Moore, Drummond, Setzler, Matthews, Thomas, O'Dell, Gregory, Jackson, Mescher, Rankin, Alexander, Anderson, Grooms, Scott, Williams and Cromer: A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 33 OF TITLE 58, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 4 SO AS TO ENHANCE THE CERTAINTY OF INVESTMENTS IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF ELECTRIC UTILITIES SERVING CONSUMERS IN THIS STATE AND TO PROVIDE FOR REGULATORY OVERSIGHT OF THE DEVELOPMENT AND CONSTRUCTION OF BASE LOAD GENERATING PLANTS; TO AMEND SECTION 58-27-610, RELATING TO DEFINITIONS, SO AS TO DEFINE THE TERM "CORRIDOR RIGHTS"; TO AMEND SECTION 58-27-620, RELATING TO SERVICE RIGHTS OF AND RESTRICTIONS ON ELECTRIC SUPPLIERS, SO AS TO PROVIDE PARAMETERS TO DETERMINE WHICH SUPPLIER MAY SERVE PREMISES THAT CONSIST OF MULTIPLE BUILDINGS, STRUCTURES, OR FACILITIES; TO AMEND SECTION 58-27-660, RELATING TO SERVICE RIGHTS OF AND RESTRICTIONS ON ELECTRIC SUPPLIERS, SO AS TO RECOGNIZE THE AUTHORITY OF THE COMMISSION TO ACT WHEN IT FINDS THAT AN ELECTRIC SUPPLIER IS NOT PROVIDING ADEQUATE AND DEPENDABLE SERVICE; TO AMEND SECTION 58-27-865, RELATING TO FUEL COST RECOVERY, SO AS TO INCLUDE IN THE DEFINITION OF "FUEL COST" CERTAIN ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS AND EMISSIONS ALLOWANCE COSTS INCURRED IN THE PRODUCTION OF ELECTRIC POWER AND TO ALLOW THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION BY ORDER TO ALLOW ADDITIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS TO BE INCLUDED IN THE DEFINITION; AND TO AMEND SECTION 58-27-1210, RELATING TO EXTENSIONS OF SERVICE BY ELECTRIC UTILITIES, DISTRIBUTION ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES AND CONSOLIDATED POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS, TO DEFINE THOSE SITUATIONS IN WHICH SUCH ENTITIES MUST SEEK COMMISSION APPROVAL BEFORE CONSTRUCTION OF FACILITIES.

On motion of Senator VAUGHN, with unanimous consent, the names of Senators VAUGHN and RITCHIE were added as co-sponsors of S. 431.

S. 464 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie, Malloy, Cromer, Fair, Leventis, Martin, Alexander, Campsen, Knotts, Ford, Anderson, Sheheen, Patterson, Setzler, Williams and McConnell: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 58-9-200, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO DEFINITIONS IN REGARD TO COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES, SO AS TO INCLUDE DEFINITIONS FOR COMMERCIAL MOBILE RADIO SERVICE AND END-USER SUBSCRIBER LINE; AND TO AMEND SECTION 58-9-280, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATE UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND, SO AS TO MODIFY THE PURPOSES OF THE FUND AND EXPAND THE CONTRIBUTORS TO THE FUND TO INCLUDE WIRELESS PROVIDERS.

On motion of Senator SETZLER, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator SETZLER was removed as a co-sponsor of S. 464.

S. 465 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie, Fair, Leventis, Martin, Alexander, Campsen, Setzler, Knotts, Ford, Anderson, Sheheen, Patterson, Williams and McConnell: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO CREATE THE SOUTH CAROLINA WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION FOR THE PURPOSE OF IMPLEMENTING A STATEWIDE WIRELESS BROADBAND NETWORK AND TO PROVIDE FOR ITS MEMBERSHIP, POWERS, AND DUTIES.

On motion of Senator SETZLER, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator SETZLER was removed as a co-sponsor of S. 465.

S. 465 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie, Fair, Leventis, Martin, Alexander, Campsen, Setzler, Knotts, Ford, Anderson, Sheheen, Patterson, Williams and McConnell: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO CREATE THE SOUTH CAROLINA WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION FOR THE PURPOSE OF IMPLEMENTING A STATEWIDE WIRELESS BROADBAND NETWORK AND TO PROVIDE FOR ITS MEMBERSHIP, POWERS, AND DUTIES.

On motion of Senator BRYANT, with unanimous consent, the names of Senators BRYANT and CROMER were added as co-sponsors of S. 465.

S. 457 (Word version) -- Senators Grooms, Thomas, Vaughn, McConnell, Bryant, Fair, Hawkins, Mescher, Ryberg and Verdin: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ENACTING THE "SOUTH CAROLINA EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP ACT" BY ADDING CHAPTER 18 TO TITLE 12 SO AS TO PROVIDE A CREDIT FOR CERTAIN TAXES FOR TUITION PAID TO PUBLIC OR INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS AND FOR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE RURAL SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE FUND, TO PROVIDE FOR THE CREATION OF THE RURAL SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AUTHORITY AND ITS GOVERNANCE AND PROVIDE HOW CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE AUTHORITY MUST BE USED, TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS, TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS CHAPTER, TO AUTHORIZE THE AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE LOANS AND OTHER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO FINANCE CAPITAL PROJECTS, TO ALLOW STATE APPROPRIATIONS, GRANTS, LOAN REPAYMENTS, AND OTHER AVAILABLE AMOUNTS TO BE CREDITED TO THE FUND OF THE AUTHORITY, TO AUTHORIZE LENDING TO AND BORROWING BY SCHOOL DISTRICTS THROUGH THE AUTHORITY, AND TO AUTHORIZE THE ISSUANCE OF GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS BY THE AUTHORITY TO BE USED FOR ITS STATED PURPOSES; BY ADDING ARTICLE 6 TO CHAPTER 63, TITLE 59 SO AS TO ALLOW CERTAIN STUDENTS TO USE AN EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIP EQUAL TO A PORTION OF THE AVERAGE STATE PER PUPIL EXPENDITURE TO TRANSFER FROM A FAILING PUBLIC SCHOOL TO ANOTHER PUBLIC SCHOOL OR TO AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL, TO PROVIDE FOR AN ADDITIONAL AWARD FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE TRANSFERRING STUDENT, TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS, TO PROVIDE THE DUTIES OF A FAILING PUBLIC SCHOOL AND THE DUTIES AND RIGHTS OF THE PARENT AND STUDENT WHO WISHES TO TRANSFER, AND TO PROVIDE FOR REPORTING, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND CONDUCTING OF EXAMINATIONS AND INVESTIGATIONS.

On motion of Senator CAMPSEN, with unanimous consent, the names of Senators CAMPSEN and KNOTTS were added as co-sponsors of S. 457.

S. 462 (Word version) -- Senators Leatherman, Alexander, Verdin, Short and Setzler: A BILL TO RETITLE ARTICLE 5, CHAPTER 11, TITLE 1, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO EMPLOYEES AND RETIREMENT INSURANCE AS "EMPLOYEES AND RETIREES INSURANCE-ACCOUNTING FOR POST-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS", TO MAKE FINDINGS WITH RESPECT TO THE STATE'S COMPLIANCE WITH NEW REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENTAL ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD FOR POST-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS; BY ADDING SECTIONS 1-11-703, 1-11-705, AND 1-11-707 SO AS TO ESTABLISH THE SOUTH CAROLINA RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE TRUST FUND (SCRHI TRUST FUND) AND THE SOUTH CAROLINA LONG TERM DISABILITY INSURANCE TRUST FUND AS THE METHOD OF PAYING AND ACCOUNTING FOR RETIREE HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND BASIC LONG TERM DISABILITY INCOME BENEFIT PLAN PREMIUMS IN COMPLIANCE WITH NEW ACCOUNTING STANDARDS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ACTUARIAL FUNDING AND INVESTMENT OF THE ASSETS OF THESE TRUST FUNDS, AND TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 1-11-710, RELATING TO THE STATE HEALTH AND DENTAL PLANS, SO AS TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR THE SCRHI TRUST FUND BY MEANS OF INCREASED EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTION RATES; AND TO AMEND SECTION 1-11-730, RELATING TO PERSONS ELIGIBLE FOR POST-EMPLOYMENT PARTICIPATION IN THE STATE HEALTH AND DENTAL PLANS AND ELIGIBILITY FOR EMPLOYER PAID PREMIUMS FOR RETIREES, SO AS TO CONFORM THE PAYMENT OF EMPLOYER PREMIUMS FOR RETIREES TO THE REVISED METHOD PROVIDED IN THIS ACT, PROSPECTIVELY TO REVISE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR EMPLOYER PAID PREMIUMS FOR RETIREES; AND TO DELETE AN OBSOLETE PROVISION.

On motion of Senator SETZLER, with unanimous consent, the name of Senator SETZLER was removed as a co-sponsor of S. 462.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

The following were introduced:

S. 469 (Word version) -- Senators Scott and Matthews: A SENATE RESOLUTION HONORING MRS. HAZEL S. PARSON-STARKES FOR HER DEVOTION AND DEDICATION TO THE TOWN OF RIDGEVILLE, SC, THANKING HER FOR HER EIGHTEEN YEARS AS MAYOR, AND RECOGNIZING THE GREAT STRIDES IN LEADERSHIP MADE BY HERSELF AND OTHERS IN THE COMMEMORATION OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH.
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S. 470 (Word version) -- Senator Sheheen: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 40-3-290 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO ARCHITECTURE, TO ADD AN EXEMPTION PROVIDING THAT CERTAIN BUILDINGS ARE EXEMPT FROM THE PROVISION REQUIRING THAT AN ARCHITECT DESIGN THE BUILDING.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

S. 471 (Word version) -- Senators Short, Leatherman, Setzler, Courson, Matthews, Hayes, Land, Knotts, McGill, Sheheen, Cleary, Williams, Martin, O'Dell, Rankin, Cromer, Malloy, Verdin, Moore, Hutto, McConnell, Leventis, Patterson, Bryant, Drummond, Lourie, Ryberg, Jackson and Ford: A BILL TO AMEND TITLE 59, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 62 SO AS TO ESTABLISH A PROGRAM OF SCHOOL DISTRICT CHOICE AND OPEN ENROLLMENT UNDER WHICH THE OFFICE OF SCHOOL CHOICE AND INNOVATION WITHIN THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FIRST COORDINATES AND IMPLEMENTS A VOLUNTARY PILOT PROGRAM OF SCHOOL CHOICE AND OPEN ENROLLMENT IN THIS STATE AND THEREAFTER SUBJECT TO FUNDING A STATEWIDE PROGRAM, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROCEDURES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND REQUIREMENTS OF SCHOOLS, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, PARENTS, AND STUDENTS IN REGARD TO THIS PROGRAM.
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Senator SHORT spoke on the Bill.

Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Education.

S. 472 (Word version) -- Senators Lourie, Courson, Vaughn, Alexander, Sheheen, Ryberg, Williams, Leventis, Cleary, Drummond, Mescher, Cromer, Hayes, Verdin and Grooms: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-2941 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO THE INSTALLATION OF IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES, TO PROVIDE THAT IN ADDITION TO OTHER PENALTIES IMPOSED ON A PERSON VIOLATING IMPAIRED DRIVING LAWS, THE COURT MUST REQUIRE THE PERSON TO HAVE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE INSTALLED ON ANY VEHICLE REGISTERED AND LICENSED IN HIS NAME OR IN THE NAME OF A MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, TO PROVIDE THAT THE COURT MAY WAIVE THE INSTALLATION REQUIREMENT FOR AN OFFENDER WHO HAS A MEDICAL CONDITION THAT MAKES HIM INCAPABLE OF PROPERLY OPERATING THE DEVICE, TO PROVIDE FOR THE LENGTH OF TIME THAT AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE MUST BE INSTALLED, TO PROVIDE THAT THE OFFENDER MUST HAVE HIS IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE INSPECTED EVERY SIXTY DAYS TO VERIFY THAT IT IS AFFIXED TO THE VEHICLE AND OPERATING PROPERLY, TO PROVIDE THAT THE COURT MUST GIVE THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES NOTICE OF AN ORDER IMPOSING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS ACT, TO PROVIDE A PROCESS BY WHICH A FOURTH OFFENDER MAY HAVE THE DEVICE REMOVED, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON REQUIRED TO HAVE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE ENDORSEMENT ON HIS LICENSE TO OPERATE A VEHICLE NOT EQUIPPED WITH AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE, TO PROVIDE THAT AN OFFENDER WHOSE JOB REQUIRES HIM TO DRIVE A VEHICLE OWNED BY HIS EMPLOYER MAY OPERATE THE EMPLOYER'S VEHICLE WITHOUT AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE INSTALLED, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON TO TAMPER WITH OR DISABLE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE, OR TO ATTEMPT TO TAMPER WITH OR DISABLE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR AN OFFENDER OR ANOTHER PERSON TO SOLICIT OR REQUEST SOMEONE TO ENGAGE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE TO START A MOTOR VEHICLE, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR A PERSON TO ENGAGE AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE TO START A MOTOR VEHICLE FOR AN OFFENDER, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES IS REQUIRED TO DEVELOP REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE CERTIFICATION, USE, MAINTENANCE, AND OPERATIONS OF INTERLOCK IGNITION DEVICES, TO PROVIDE THAT ONLY CERTIFIED DEVICES MAY BE USED, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT MUST CERTIFY ALL BREATH TESTING IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES THAT MEET FEDERAL STANDARDS, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT MUST MAINTAIN A LIST OF CERTIFIED DEVICES AND MANUFACTURERS, TO REQUIRE THAT DECERTIFIED DEVICES MUST BE REPLACED, TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT MUST MAKE AVAILABLE ON ITS INTERNET WEB SITE ITS POLICIES, PROCEDURES, AND REGULATIONS CONCERNING IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES; TO AMEND SECTION 56-1-400, TO PROVIDE THAT WHEN THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES RETURNS OR ISSUES A NEW LICENSE TO AN OFFENDER WHOSE LICENSE WAS SUSPENDED FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF INTOXICANTS, THE LICENSE MUST CONTAIN A CONSPICUOUS ENDORSEMENT IDENTIFYING THE LICENSEE AS A PERSON WHO MAY ONLY DRIVE A VEHICLE WITH AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE INSTALLED; AND TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-2959, TO PROVIDE THAT SLED NO LONGER HAS TO POST CERTAIN INFORMATION CONCERNING IGNITION INTERLOCK SYSTEMS ON ITS INTERNET WEB SITE.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Transportation.

S. 473 (Word version) -- Senators Campsen, Sheheen, Courson, Setzler and Moore: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 22 TO TITLE 31 SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA LOCAL HOUSING TRUST FUND ENABLING ACT", TO AUTHORIZE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO CREATE AND OPERATE A LOCAL OR REGIONAL HOUSING TRUST FUND FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OR REHABILITATION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING, AND TO PROVIDE FOR SOURCES OF FINANCING OF THE TRUST FUND.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

S. 474 (Word version) -- Senators Pinckney, Hutto, Ford, Moore, Drummond, Land, Short, Matthews and Elliott: A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE II OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO THE RIGHT OF SUFFRAGE, BY ADDING SECTION 12 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE A PROCEDURE BY WHICH A CANDIDATE FOR ELECTIVE OFFICE MAY FINANCE HIS CAMPAIGN WITH PUBLIC FUNDS AS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY MAY DETERMINE.
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Senator PINCKNEY spoke on the Resolution.

Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 475 (Word version) -- Senators Ritchie, McConnell, Elliott, Martin, Verdin, Fair, Land, Mescher and Gregory: A JOINT RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO SECTION 3, ARTICLE XI OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO THE SYSTEM OF FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL PROVIDE FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF A SYSTEM OF EXEMPLARY FREE PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND SHALL ESTABLISH, ORGANIZE, AND SUPPORT OTHER PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING AT AN AMOUNT AS DETERMINED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 476 (Word version) -- Senators Cleary, Verdin, Ryberg, Fair, Mescher, Bryant, Ritchie, Scott and Martin: A SENATE RESOLUTION TO COMMEND TAIWAN ON ITS CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, SUCH AS THE PROMOTION OF WORLD PEACE, LIBERTY, AND HUMAN RIGHTS, AND TO SUPPORT TAIWAN'S EFFORTS TO JOIN THE UNITED NATIONS, THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, AND OTHER INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS.
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The Senate Resolution was introduced and referred to the Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

S. 477 (Word version) -- Senator Fair: A BILL TO AMEND ACT 745 OF 1967, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE GREATER GREENVILLE SEWER DISTRICT (CURRENTLY WESTERN CAROLINA SEWER AUTHORITY), SO AS TO INCREASE THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE AUTHORITY BY ADDING THE CHAIRMEN OF CERTAIN ENTITIES SERVICED BY THE AUTHORITY AS EX OFFICIO VOTING MEMBERS.
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Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

S. 478 (Word version) -- Senators Elliott, Williams, Malloy, McGill, Reese, Pinckney, Short, Drummond, Sheheen, Land, Moore, Patterson and Lourie: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 59-35-20 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF EACH SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL PROVIDE FOR A FOUR-YEAR-OLD KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THIS STATE; AND TO AMEND SECTION 59-19-90, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE SCHOOL BOARDS OF TRUSTEES, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT BOARDS SHALL PROVIDE PROGRAMS FOR FOUR-YEAR-OLDS; TO AMEND SECTION 59-19-125, RELATING TO LEASING OF SCHOOL PROPERTY, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT BOARDS OF TRUSTEES MAY LEASE PROPERTY TO PROVIDE PROGRAMS FOR FOUR-YEAR-OLDS; TO AMEND SECTION 59-19-340, RELATING TO CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT A BOARD OF TRUSTEES THAT PROVIDES CHILD DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS FOR THREE-YEAR-OLD CHILDREN MAY CONTINUE TO SERVE THOSE CHILDREN; TO AMEND SECTION 59-20-40, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO EDUCATION FINANCE ACT WEIGHTINGS, SO AS TO INCLUDE FOUR- AND FIVE-YEAR-OLDS IN THE KINDERGARTEN WEIGHTING; TO AMEND SECTION 59-63-20, RELATING TO A STUDENT'S AGE OF ATTENDANCE, SO AS TO INCLUDE FOUR-YEAR-OLDS; TO AMEND SECTION 59-63-31, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR ATTENDANCE AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL, SO AS TO INCLUDE FOUR-YEAR-OLDS; TO AMEND SECTION 59-65-10, RELATING TO THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A PARENT, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT PARENTS SHALL ENROLL THEIR CHILDREN IN A FOUR-YEAR-OLD KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM.
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Senator ELLIOTT spoke on the Bill.

Read the first time and referred to the Committee on Education.

S. 479 (Word version) -- Senators Knotts, Alexander, Anderson, Bryant, Campsen, Cleary, Courson, Cromer, Drummond, Elliott, Fair, Ford, Gregory, Grooms, Hawkins, Hayes, Hutto, Jackson, Land, Leatherman, Leventis, Lourie, Malloy, Martin, Matthews, McConnell, McGill, Mescher, Moore, O'Dell, Patterson, Peeler, Pinckney, Rankin, Reese, Ritchie, Ryberg, Scott, Setzler, Sheheen, Short, Thomas, Vaughn, Verdin and Williams: A SENATE RESOLUTION TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF THE SENATE CHAMBERS IN THE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE HOUSE ON FEBRUARY 22, 2007, AT 2:00 P.M. SO AS TO CONDUCT A CEREMONY HONORING THE LATE CONGRESSMAN FLOYD SPENCE AND TO UNVEIL HIS PORTRAIT TO HANG IN THE SENATE CHAMBERS.
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H. 3554 (Word version) -- Reps. Agnew and Gambrell: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO EXTEND CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. RODDEY STEVENSON ELLIS, JR., UPON THE OCCASION OF HIS EIGHTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY AND WISH HIM GOOD HEALTH AND HAPPINESS IN YEARS TO COME.

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

REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEES

Senator COURSON from the Committee on Education submitted a favorable report on:

S. 75 (Word version) -- Senators Ryberg, Bryant and Verdin: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 59-4-110 TO PROVIDE THAT THE SOUTH CAROLINA TUITION PREPAYMENT PROGRAM MAY NOT ACCEPT NEW PARTICIPANTS AND THE PROGRAM SHALL REMAIN IN OPERATION FOR EXISTING PARTICIPANTS.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

Senator ANDERSON from the Committee on Judiciary submitted a favorable report on:

S. 268 (Word version) -- Senators Alexander and Martin: A BILL TO AMEND SECTIONS 33-56-30 AND 33-56-50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO REGISTRATION AND ORGANIZATIONS EXEMPT FROM REGISTRATION PURSUANT TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA SOLICITATION OF CHARITABLE FUNDS ACT, SO AS TO ALLOW CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS TO FILE THEIR ANNUAL REGISTRATION ON THE SAME DATE THAT FINANCIAL REPORTS PURSUANT TO THE ACT MUST BE FILED AND TO EXEMPT FROM REGISTRATION PURSUANT TO THE ACT CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS THAT DO NOT INTEND TO SOLICIT OR RECEIVE IN EXCESS OF SEVEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS DURING A CALENDAR YEAR WHETHER OR NOT THE FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES ARE CONDUCTED BY PROFESSIONAL SOLICITORS, PROFESSIONAL FUNDRAISING COUNSEL, OR COMMERCIAL CO-VENTURERS.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

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

H. 3063 (Word version) -- Reps. Delleney, Harrison, Simrill, Taylor, Davenport, Sandifer, Barfield, Owens, E.H. Pitts, Rice, Walker, Toole, Viers, M.A. Pitts, Vick, Littlejohn, Mahaffey, Haskins, Young, G.R. Smith, Shoopman, Witherspoon, Umphlett, Bedingfield, Cotty, Bingham, Mulvaney and Ballentine: A BILL TO RATIFY AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE XVII OF THE CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1895, RELATING TO MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS, BY ADDING SECTION 15 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT MARRIAGE BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN IS THE ONLY LAWFUL DOMESTIC UNION THAT IS VALID OR RECOGNIZED IN THIS STATE AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE OR ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS MAY NOT CREATE ANY OTHER DOMESTIC UNION AND MAY NOT RECOGNIZE A DOMESTIC UNION CREATED BY ANOTHER JURISDICTION.

Ordered for consideration tomorrow.

HOUSE CONCURRENCES

S. 460 (Word version) -- Senator Verdin: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO COMMEND AND HONOR MAJOR SAMUEL TAYLOR OF PENDLETON DISTRICT FOR HIS MANY YEARS OF OUTSTANDING AND DEDICATED SERVICE TO THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AS A PIONEER, PATRIOT, AND STATESMAN WHOSE DEDICATION TO LIBERTY HELPED ACHIEVE AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE AND WHOSE DEDICATION TO SOUTH CAROLINA ENSURED ITS STABILITY AND PROSPERITY DURING ITS EARLY HISTORY.

Returned with concurrence.

S. 461 (Word version) -- Senator Verdin: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO COMMEND AND HONOR GENERAL ANDREW PICKENS OF PENDLETON DISTRICT FOR HIS MANY YEARS OF OUTSTANDING AND DEDICATED SERVICE TO THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AS A PIONEER, PATRIOT, AND STATESMAN WHOSE DEDICATION TO LIBERTY HELPED ACHIEVE AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE AND WHOSE DEDICATION TO SOUTH CAROLINA ENSURED HER STABILITY AND PROSPERITY DURING HER EARLY HISTORY.

Returned with concurrence.

S. 466 (Word version) -- Senators Hayes, Fair, Vaughn, Peeler, Ford, Cromer, Malloy, O'Dell, Drummond, Williams, Bryant, Moore, Leventis, Verdin, Patterson, Cleary, Grooms, Matthews, Setzler and Ryberg: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO DECLARE WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2007, "HOMETOWN, SOUTH CAROLINA DAY" TO RECOGNIZE AND HONOR THE VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS THAT SOUTH CAROLINA CITIES AND TOWNS MAKE TO OUR STATE'S ECONOMIC PROSPERITY.

Returned with concurrence.

S. 468 (Word version) -- Senator Lourie: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO CONGRATULATE AND COMMEND RICHLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TWO ON BEING SELECTED AS ONE OF THREE DISTRICTS IN THE STATE AS A NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARDS ASSOCIATION'S 2007 TECHNOLOGY LEADERSHIP NETWORK SITE VISIT DISTRICT.

Returned with concurrence.

THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO A CALL OF THE UNCONTESTED LOCAL AND STATEWIDE CALENDAR.

The following Joint Resolution was read the third time and ordered sent to the House of Representatives:

S. 437 (Word version) -- Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING AND REGULATION, BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY, RELATING TO LICENSURE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS, ACCOUNTING PRACTITIONERS AND REGISTRATION OF ACCOUNTING FIRMS, DESIGNATED AS REGULATION DOCUMENT NUMBER 3092, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 23, TITLE 1 OF THE 1976 CODE.

S. 322 (Word version) -- Senators Hayes, Hawkins, Vaughn, Peeler, Leatherman, Leventis, O'Dell, McConnell, Cromer, Patterson, Knotts, Land, Mescher, Martin and Alexander: A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 114, TITLE 59, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL GUARD TUITION ASSISTANCE ACT, SO AS TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL GUARD COLLEGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM ACT", TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS, TO PROVIDE FOR COLLEGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM GRANTS TO BE ADMINISTERED BY THE COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION, TO PROVIDE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO QUALIFY FOR THE GRANTS, TO PROVIDE FOR FUNDING TO BE APPROPRIATED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION SHALL PROMULGATE REGULATIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 59-111-75, RELATING TO THE LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM FOR MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL GUARD SERVING IN AREAS OF CRITICAL NEED, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM MAY NOT ACCEPT NEW PARTICIPANTS AND PROVIDE THAT MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL GUARD WHO HAVE RECEIVED LOANS BEFORE THE 2007-08 ACADEMIC YEAR MAY CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THEIR LOANS AND HAVE THEIR LOANS FORGIVEN PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS UNDER WHICH THE LOAN PROGRAM BEGAN; AND TO REPEAL ARTICLE 6, CHAPTER 111, TITLE 59, RELATING TO ONE-HALF TUITION FOR MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA NATIONAL GUARD.

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

The Committee on Finance proposed the following amendment (322R003.HKL), which was adopted:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, SECTION 2, page 6, by striking line 2 and inserting:

/     pursuant to the provisions under which the loan program began. Any funds remaining in the loan repayment program, provided for in subsection (A), shall be transferred to the College Assistance Program in accordance with regulations prescribed by the commission.     /

Amend the bill further, as and if amended, SECTION 1, page 2, by striking lines 22 through 27 and inserting:

/   (4)   'Eligible institution' shall mean means:

(a)   any institution of higher learning located in this State and any post-secondary business or technical education school located in this State a public institution of higher learning as defined in Section 59-103-5 and an independent institution of higher learning as defined in Section 59-113-50; and

(b)   any vocational or training school which shall have received the approval of the Adjutant General a public or independent bachelor's level institution chartered before 1962 whose major campus and headquarters are located within South Carolina; or an independent bachelor's level institution which was incorporated in its original charter in 1962, was granted a license to operate in 1997 by the Commission on Higher Education, has continued to maintain a campus in South Carolina, and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Institutions whose sole purpose is religious or theological training, or the granting of professional degrees do not meet the definition of 'public or independent institution' for purposes of this chapter. /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senators O'DELL and LEATHERMAN explained the committee amendment.

Senators O'DELL, HAYES and SHORT proposed the following amendment (322R007.WHO), which was adopted:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, SECTION 1, page 4, by striking lines 20 through 25 and inserting:

/     Section 59-114-65.   Grants provided pursuant to this chapter are subject to the availability of funds appropriated by the General Assembly. Up to five percent of the amount appropriated to the college assistance program may be used to defray administrative costs incurred by the commission associated with the implementation of this chapter. /

Amend the bill further, as and if amended, SECTION 1, page 4, by striking lines 35 through 37 and inserting:

/     this chapter after June 30, 2001. The commission shall disburse grants awarded pursuant to this chapter to the eligible institutions to be placed in an account established for each eligible student. In the event that a student who has received a grant withdraws, is suspended, or otherwise becomes ineligible, the institution must reimburse the college assistance program for the amount of the grant for the applicable term pursuant to the refund policies of the institution. The institution is responsible for collecting any amount due to the institution from the student. The commission shall administer the provisions of this chapter and shall promulgate regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter."       /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator O'DELL explained the amendment.

Senators SETZLER, O'DELL and HAYES proposed the following amendment (322-NGS), which was adopted:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, page 2, lines 36-43 and continuing on page 3, lines 1-5 by striking and inserting the following:

Section 59-114-30.   Qualifying members of the National Guard may receive tuition college assistance program grants, not to exceed one thousand dollars per twelve semester hours. No member may qualify for these grants for more than four separate academic years, and a up to an amount equal to one hundred percent of college tuition and fees, provided, however, the total of all grants received may not exceed eighteen thousand dollars. A member may not qualify for college assistance program grants for more than one hundred thirty semester hours or related quarter hours. Grants are not to be awarded for graduate degree courses. A new application must be submitted for each separate academic year for which tuition assistance is sought.

Amend the bill further, as and if amended, page 3, lines 32 -37 by striking and inserting the following:

(B)   Individuals joining the National Guard become eligible for college assistance program grants on the day of enlistment. Enlisted personnel shall continue their service in the National Guard during the term of the courses covered by the grant received. Officers shall continue their service with the National Guard for at least four years after completion of the most recent grant awarded or degree completion.

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator SETZLER explained the amendment.

There being no further amendments, the Bill was read the second time, passed and ordered to a third reading.

ACTING PRESIDENT PRESIDES

At 2:40 P.M., Senator MARTIN assumed the Chair.

S. 453 (Word version) -- Banking and Insurance Committee: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, SO AS TO ENACT THE "FINANCIAL IDENTITY FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION ACT", BY ADDING CHAPTER 20 TO TITLE 37 PROVIDING FOR PROTECTIONS IN CONNECTION WITH CONSUMER CREDIT-REPORTING AGENCIES AND WITH THE USE AND COMMUNICATION OF A CONSUMER'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, IMPOSITION OF A SECURITY FREEZE ON A CONSUMER'S CREDIT REPORT, PRESCRIPTION OF MEASURES FOR DISPOSAL OF PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION AND DISCLOSURE OF UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION, AND CIVIL DAMAGES, INCLUDING ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF; BY REDESIGNATING THE FAMILY PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT OF CHAPTER 2, TITLE 30, AS ARTICLE 1 AND BY ADDING ARTICLE 3 PROVIDING FOR PROTECTION OF PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION PRIVACY IN CONNECTION WITH A PUBLIC BODY AND ITS USE AND COMMUNICATION OF A RESIDENT'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, PRESCRIPTION FOR DISCLOSURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY INFORMATION AND IDENTIFYING INFORMATION BY AND TO CERTAIN PUBLIC BODIES, PROHIBITION OF REQUIRING THE USE OF PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION ON A MORTGAGE AND IN PREPARATION OF DOCUMENTS FOR PUBLIC FILING, AND PROCEDURE FOR REDACTING CERTAIN PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION FROM PUBLIC RECORDS; BY ADDING SECTION 1-11-490 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR DISCLOSURE BY AN AGENCY OF THIS STATE OF UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ACQUISITION OF THE PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION OF A RESIDENT WHOSE INFORMATION THE AGENCY OWNS OR LICENSES AND TO PROVIDE FOR CIVIL DAMAGES, ATTORNEY'S FEES, AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF; BY ADDING SECTION 16-11-725 SO AS TO MAKE IT UNLAWFUL TO USE ANOTHER PERSON'S HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMMITTING FINANCIAL OR IDENTITY FRAUD; BY ADDING SECTION 16-13-512 SO AS TO REGULATE THE USE OF A CARDHOLDER'S SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER ON A CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD RECEIPT; BY ADDING SECTION 39-1-90 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR DISCLOSURE BY A PERSON CONDUCTING BUSINESS IN THIS STATE OF UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO OR ACQUISITION OF THE PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION OF A RESIDENT WHOSE INFORMATION THE PERSON OWNS OF LICENSES AND TO PROVIDE FOR CIVIL DAMAGES, ATTORNEY'S FEES, AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF; BY AMENDING SECTION 16-13-510, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE OFFENSE OF FINANCIAL IDENTITY FRAUD, SO AS TO ADD THE ELEMENTS OF WILFULNESS AND KNOWLEDGE AND TO INCLUDE THE OFFENSE OF IDENTITY FRAUD AS THE USE OF ANOTHER'S INFORMATION TO AVOID LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OR TO OBTAIN EMPLOYMENT AND TO FURTHER DEFINE "IDENTIFYING INFORMATION"; AND TO REPEAL SECTION 16-13-515, RELATING TO IDENTITY FRAUD; AND TO PROVIDE VARIOUS EFFECTIVE DATES.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the second reading of the Bill.

Amendment No. 1

Senator PATTERSON proposed the following amendment (453-KP), which was adopted:

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

SECTION   __.   Section 37-1-201 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding an appropriately numbered paragraph to read:

"( )   An issuer of a credit card or similar loan advance access device may not issue a credit card or similar loan advance access device to a dependent under the age of twenty-one, residing in this State, without first obtaining consent to the issuance from the dependent's parent or legal guardian. An issuer of a credit card or similar loan advance access device that does not receive a parent's or legal guardian's consent before issuing the credit card or similar loan advance access device to a dependent under twenty-one may not collect in this State from the dependent or the dependent's parent or guardian any debt incurred by the minor through the use of the credit card or similar loan advance access device."

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator PATTERSON explained the amendment.

Amendment No. 2

Senator SHEHEEN proposed the following Amendment No. 2 (453R001.CLERK), which was adopted:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, page 12, by striking lines 33-38 and inserting:

/   Section 37-20-190.   (A)   A person conducting business in this State employing fifty or more persons and owning, licensing, maintaining, or otherwise possessing personal identifying information of a consumer resident of this State, in any form, must take reasonable measures to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the information in connection with or after its disposal.     /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator SHEHEEN explained the amendment.

Senator THOMAS spoke on the Bill.

There being no further amendments, the Bill was read the second time, passed and ordered to a third reading.

S. 235 (Word version) -- Senators Hayes and Thomas: A BILL TO AMEND SECTIONS 34-26-110, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO DEFINITIONS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA CREDIT UNION ACT, SO AS TO REVISE THE DEFINITIONS OF "DEPOSIT ACCOUNT" AND "SHARE ACCOUNT"; 34-26-350, RELATING TO THE PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS OF A CREDIT UNION, SO AS TO CLARIFY THAT THE CREDIT UNION MAY ESTABLISH AND CLOSE BRANCHES WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BOARD OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS; 34-26-420, RELATING TO POWERS INCIDENTAL TO THE PURPOSE OF CREDIT UNIONS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE POWERS GRANTED BY STATE LAW OR REGULATION TO A STATE-CHARTERED CREDIT UNION NOT EXCEEDING THOSE FOR A FEDERALLY-INSURED FINANCIAL INSTITUTION; 34-26-500, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF MEMBERSHIP OF A CREDIT UNION, SO AS TO DELETE THE PROVISION THAT A CREDIT UNION PRESENTLY DOES NOT HAVE A CREDIT UNION SERVICE AVAILABLE, AND PROVIDE THAT THE BOARD APPROVAL IS NOT NECESSARY TO ADD GROUPS WITH NOT MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY POTENTIAL MEMBERS INSTEAD OF ONE HUNDRED; 34-26-605, RELATING TO THE BOARD OF A CREDIT UNION, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE BYLAWS MAY OFFER THE OPTION OF USING LOAN OFFICERS INSTEAD OF A CREDIT COMMITTEE; 34-26-750, RELATING TO THE OWNERSHIP INTERESTS IN SHARE ACCOUNTS, SO AS TO REQUIRE THAT CREDIT UNION BYLAWS MUST ESTABLISH MEMBERSHIP AND MEMBER'S RIGHT TO VOTE, OBTAIN LOANS, OR HOLD OFFICE; AND 34-26-860, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE LIMITATION ON THE SIZE OF LOAN SECURED BY REAL ESTATE, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT LOAN TERMS FOR RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS MAY NOT EXCEED FORTY INSTEAD OF THIRTY YEARS, AND TO PROVIDE THAT LOANS FOR CERTIFIED APPRAISALS MUST BE THE SAME AS FOR STATE-CHARTERED BANKS.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the adoption of the amendment proposed by the Committee on Banking and Insurance.

The Committee on Banking and Insurance proposed the following amendment (DKA\3181DW07), which was adopted:

Amend the bill, as and if amended, Section 34-26-110(6), SECTION 1, page 2, by inserting after / organization, / on line 15 / as defined in the Federal Credit Union Act, revised October 1998, Title 1, Section 1785-205(2), Paragraph (1), /.

Amend further, Section 34-26-420, SECTION 3, page 3, by deleting beginning on line 2: / for a federally-insured financial institution / and inserting / to a federally chartered credit union /.

Amend further, Section 34-26-860, SECTION 7, page 4, by deleting line 34 and inserting:

/ exceed thirty years the maximum allowed by FNMA or GNMA. /

Amend further, Section 34-26-860, SECTION 7, page 4, by deleting line 38 and inserting:

/ same as for a federally charted credit union. /

Amend further, Section 34-26-860, SECTION 7, page 4, by deleting lines 39, 40, and 41, and inserting:

/ Loans of fifty thousand dollars or more shall require a certified appraisal. Loans of less than fifty thousand dollars shall require A loan that does not require a certified appraisal requires an inspection by a credit /.

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

Senator HAYES explained the committee amendment.

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

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

PRESIDENT PRESIDES

At 2:54 P.M., the PRESIDENT assumed the Chair.

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

THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO A CALL OF THE CONTESTED STATEWIDE AND LOCAL CALENDAR.

CARRIED OVER

S. 426 (Word version) -- Fish, Game and Forestry Committee: A JOINT RESOLUTION TO APPROVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, RELATING TO HUNTING IN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS, DESIGNATED AS REGULATION DOCUMENT NUMBER 3086, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 23, TITLE 1 OF THE 1976 CODE.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Joint Resolution, the question being the third reading of the Joint Resolution.

On motion of Senator KNOTTS, the Joint Resolution was carried over.

READ THE THIRD TIME, SENT TO THE HOUSE

S. 66 (Word version) -- Senators Martin, Cromer, Vaughn, Knotts, Cleary, Leatherman, Verdin, Fair and Alexander: A BILL TO AMEND SECTIONS 61-4-90 AND 61-6-4070 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO THE TRANSFER OF AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE TO A MINOR, TO PROVIDE THAT IT IS UNLAWFUL TO TRANSFER AN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE TO A PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE YEARS REGARDLESS OF THE MINOR'S INTENT.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the third reading of the Bill.

There being no further amendments, the Bill was read the third time, passed and ordered sent to the House of Representatives.

CARRIED OVER

S. 283 (Word version) -- Senators Grooms and Campsen: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 50-11-2200, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES MAY PROMULGATE REGULATIONS FOR THE PROTECTION, PRESERVATION, OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, AND USE OF LAND LEASED OR ESTABLISHED AS WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the adoption of the amendment proposed by the Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry.

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

CARRIED OVER

H. 3226 (Word version) -- Reps. Clemmons, Mulvaney, Moss, Bedingfield and Lowe: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 8-13-740, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO REPRESENTATION OF A PERSON BY A PUBLIC OFFICIAL BEFORE A GOVERNMENTAL BODY, SO AS TO REQUIRE A STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL PUBLIC OFFICIAL INVOLVED IN A CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO COMPLY WITH RECUSAL REQUIREMENTS, TO ALLOW A PUBLIC OFFICIAL TO REMAIN IN OFFICE IF THE RECUSAL REQUIREMENTS ARE MET, AND TO PROHIBIT A GOVERNMENTAL BODY FROM REMOVING OR DISALLOWING A PERSON TO SERVE IN OFFICE OR EMPLOYMENT BASED ON RACE, COLOR, NATIONAL ORIGIN, RELIGION, SEX, FAMILIAL STATUS, DISABILITY, OR LEGAL OCCUPATION.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the adoption of the amendment (JUD3226.001) proposed by Senators MOORE and RANKIN and previously printed in the Journal of Thursday, February 15, 2007.

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

CARRIED OVER

S. 217 (Word version) -- Senators Courson, Hayes, Vaughn, Campsen, Knotts, Setzler and Verdin: A BILL TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING CHAPTER 16 TO TITLE 59 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SHALL ESTABLISH THE SOUTH CAROLINA VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM, PROVIDE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM, PROVIDE FOR COURSES OFFERED FOR CERTAIN CREDIT, PROVIDE FOR THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM'S TEACHERS, PROVIDE THAT THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION SHALL PROMULGATE REGULATIONS, PROVIDE FOR A STUDY TO DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF PROVIDING THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM TO STUDENTS ENROLLED IN ADULT EDUCATION PROGRAMS, PROVIDE FOR AN ANNUAL REPORT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND PROVIDE FOR AN ON-LINE PROGRAM IN A CHARTER SCHOOL; AND BY ADDING SECTION 59-40-65 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE CHARTER SCHOOL APPLICATION IF A CHARTER SCHOOL OFFERS A PROGRAM OF ON-LINE INSTRUCTION AND PROVIDE THAT CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS MAY ENROLL IN THE VIRTUAL SCHOOL PROGRAM PURSUANT TO PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS.

The Senate proceeded to a consideration of the Bill, the question being the adoption of the amendment proposed by the Committee on Education.

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

On motion of Senator LEATHERMAN, with unanimous consent, the Senate stood adjourned out of respect to the memory of Ms. Patricia Ann Tangney of Columbia, S.C., a long-time employee of the Budget and Control Board's Budget Office.

At 3:04 P.M., on motion of Senator McCONNELL, the Senate adjourned to meet tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.

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