South Carolina General Assembly
124th Session, 2021-2022

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H. 3696

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Reps. Lucas, G.M. Smith, Murphy, Simrill, Rutherford, Bannister, Bradley, Erickson, Gatch, Herbkersman, Kimmons, W. Newton, Rivers, Stavrinakis, Weeks, S. Williams, McGarry, Carter, Hart, Jefferson, R. Williams, Govan and Thigpen
Document Path: l:\council\bills\bh\7396ahb21.docx

Introduced in the House on January 14, 2021
Introduced in the Senate on February 25, 2021
Currently residing in the Senate

Summary: Increase number of family court judges in certain circuits

HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   1/14/2021  House   Introduced and read first time (House Journal-page 572)
   1/14/2021  House   Referred to Committee on Judiciary 
                        (House Journal-page 572)
   1/26/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: McGarry
   2/11/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Carter
   2/18/2021  House   Committee report: Favorable Judiciary 
                        (House Journal-page 50)
   2/23/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Hart, 
                        Jefferson, R.Williams
   2/23/2021  House   Debate adjourned until  Wed., 2-24-21 
                        (House Journal-page 30)
   2/24/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Govan, Thigpen
   2/24/2021  House   Read second time (House Journal-page 25)
   2/24/2021  House   Roll call Yeas-113  Nays-2 (House Journal-page 25)
   2/25/2021  House   Read third time and sent to Senate 
                        (House Journal-page 12)
   2/25/2021  Senate  Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 8)
   2/25/2021  Senate  Referred to Committee on Judiciary 
                        (Senate Journal-page 8)
   3/19/2021  Senate  Referred to Subcommittee:  Young (ch), Sabb, Matthews, 
                        Garrett, M.Johnson
    5/5/2021  Senate  Committee report: Favorable with amendment Judiciary 
                        (Senate Journal-page 10)
    5/6/2021          Scrivener's error corrected
   5/12/2021  Senate  Read second time (Senate Journal-page 41)

View the latest legislative information at the website

VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

1/14/2021
2/18/2021
5/5/2021
5/6/2021

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

Indicates Matter Stricken

Indicates New Matter

COMMITTEE REPORT

May 5, 2021

H. 3696

Introduced by Reps. Lucas, G.M. Smith, Murphy, Simrill, Rutherford, Bannister, Bradley, Erickson, Gatch, Herbkersman, Kimmons, W. Newton, Rivers, Stavrinakis, Weeks, S. Williams, McGarry, Carter, Hart, Jefferson, R. Williams, Govan and Thigpen

S. Printed 5/5/21--S.    [SEC 5/6/21 2:37 PM]

Read the first time February 25, 2021.

            

THE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY

To whom was referred a Bill (H. 3696) to amend Section 14-5-610, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to the division of the State into sixteen judicial circuits, so as to, etc., respectfully

REPORT:

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

Amend the bill, as and if amended, page 1, by striking lines 28 through 33, in Section 14-5-610(B), as contained in SECTION 1, and inserting the following:

/        "(B)    One judge must be elected from the second, sixth, and twelfth circuits. Two judges must be elected from the first, second, third, fourth, seventh, eighth, tenth, eleventh, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth circuits. Three judges must be elected from the fifth, and ninth fourteenth, and fifteenth circuits. Four judges must be elected from the ninth and thirteenth circuits."        /

Renumber sections to conform.

Amend title to conform.

LUKE A. RANKIN for Committee.

            

STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED FISCAL IMPACT

Explanation of Fiscal Impact

State Expenditure

This bill increases the number of circuit court judges and family court judges elected in South Carolina. Currently, there are a total of thirty-three circuit court judges and fifty-two family court judges elected from the state's existing sixteen judicial circuits. The bill would expand the number of circuit court judges by three to thirty-six by requiring one additional circuit court judge to be elected from the ninth (increasing from three to four), fourteenth (increasing from two to three), and fifteenth (increasing from two to three) judicial circuits. The bill would also expand the number of family court judges by two to fifty-four by requiring one additional family court judge to be elected from the first (increasing from three to four) and the sixteenth (increasing from two to three) judicial circuits.

Judicial Department. This bill, which increases both the number of circuit court and family court judges elected from the state's sixteen judicial circuits, would expand personnel and operating needs in the first, ninth, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth circuits. This would require the department to hire, in addition to the five new judges, three law clerks, five administrative assistants, and five court reporters, for a total of eighteen new FTEs. In addition, the department would need funding to cover expanded operating expenses. The department anticipates these needs will result in a recurring general fund expenditure impact of $2,491,339 $2,627,339 to cover the new positions and $136,000 to cover operating expenses. Additionally, the agency will incur a non-recurring general fund expenditure impact of $101,000 to cover one-time expenses for furniture, equipment, and automation. Therefore, the overall general fund expenditure impact of the bill would be $2,728,339 for the first year of implementation and $2,627,339 in the years thereafter.

Frank A. Rainwater, Executive Director

Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office

A BILL

TO AMEND SECTION 14-5-610, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE DIVISION OF THE STATE INTO SIXTEEN JUDICIAL CIRCUITS, SO AS TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES BY ONE IN THE NINTH, FOURTEENTH, AND FIFTEENTH CIRCUITS; AND TO AMEND SECTION 63-3-40, RELATING TO FAMILY COURT JUDGES ELECTED FROM EACH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, SO AS TO INCREASE BY ONE THE NUMBER OF FAMILY COURT JUDGES IN THE FIRST AND SIXTEENTH CIRCUITS.

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

SECTION    1.    Section 14-5-610(B) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"(B)    One judge must be elected from the second, sixth, and twelfth circuits. Two judges must be elected from the first, third, fourth, seventh, eighth, tenth, eleventh, fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth circuits. Three judges must be elected from the fifth, and ninth fourteenth, and fifteenth circuits. Four judges must be elected from the ninth and thirteenth circuit."

SECTION    2.    Section 63-3-40(A) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

"(A)    The General Assembly shall elect a number of family court judges from each judicial circuit as follows:

First Circuit                    Three Four Judges

Second Circuit            Two Judges

Third Circuit                Three Judges

Fourth Circuit                Three Judges

Fifth Circuit                Four Judges

Sixth Circuit                Two Judges

Seventh Circuit            Three Judges

Eighth Circuit                Three Judges

Ninth Circuit                Six Judges

Tenth Circuit                Three Judges

Eleventh Circuit            Three Judges

Twelfth Circuit            Three Judges

Thirteenth Circuit        Six Judges

Fourteenth Circuit        Three Judges

Fifteenth Circuit            Three Judges

Sixteenth Circuit            Two Three Judges."

SECTION    3.    The Judicial Merit Selection Commission shall begin the process of nominating candidates for the judicial offices authorized by the provisions of SECTIONS 1 and 2. The General Assembly then shall elect these judges from the nominees of the commission; except that, the nominating process may not begin until funding for the additional judges is provided in the general appropriations act.

SECTION    4.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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