Legislative Update

May 2-6

State Budget

The Senate discussed and passed the state budget last week. The Senate version of the budget:

· Sets aside $487 million in reserves

· Provides nearly $150 million in disaster relief from last year’s flooding

· Sends $240 million to local governments, nearly $28 million more than the House budget

· Provides a 4% pay increase for state employees and fully funds health insurance increases

· Spends $203 million on road and bridge improvements. The money will be bonded to allow SCDOT to access more than $2 billion over ten years.


· Increases Base Student Cost by $130 per student

· $28 Million for purchase of new school buses

· 4% pay increase for teachers

· $16.8 million for technology technical assistance and upgrades

· $29.3 million for K-12 technology initiatives

· Additional $13 million for Public Charter School District

· Provides $1.3 billion in state funds for Medicaid, a 4% increase from last year

· Teachers receive a supply reimbursement at $275.

Capital Reserve Fund

After passing the budget, the Senate adopted the Capital Reserve Fund bill, spending just over $131 million on capital projects across the state. For a list of the capital projects, clicker here.

Foster Children

The Senate passed H. 4510, a bill that would limit a foster parent to no more than 5 foster children unless certain, special circumstances are met, e.g. to keep siblings together. The House of Representatives will now consider the bill.

Child Fatality Review

The Senate passed S. 1182, a bill that would require coroners to establish Child Fatality Review Teams to review the causes of child deaths.

Agriculture Disaster Relief

The Senate passed H. 4717, a bill that would provide $40 million for relief to farms that were devastated by last year’s floods. Agriculture is a huge part of South Carolina’s economy. The 2015 floods caused more than $500 million in damages and crop losses to the industry. This bill is designed to help some of the most severely impacted farms across the state.

Other News

AMI Kids Beaufort Croquet Tournament

I was honored to be the Grand Marshall and keynote speaker during the AMI KIDS Beaufort Croquet Tournament, their annual fundraiser, last weekend. AMI Kids, which is contracted through the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping youth develop into responsible and productive citizens. AMI Kids Beaufort was founded in January 1985 to provide rehabilitative services for young male juvenile offenders sentenced by Family Court. Academics are the focal point of the kids daily lives at the ‘wilderness camp.’ Their usual stay is three to six months, during which time many students earn a GED and certificates in welding. Upon graduation, the primary goal is their placement in a school, a job or even the military. AMI Kids Beaufort boasts a 75% success rate: 3 out of every 4 graduates do not get into again. There are eight AMI Kids facilities throughout the state and I had the pleasure of visiting each ‘wilderness camp’ last summer and talking with the kids. I am very supportive of this program and I was pleased to be able to direct funding to DJJ to be dispersed to each of the AMI Kids facilities throughout the state. AMI Kids is changing lives and strengthening our communities and is a true success story in South Carolina.

Hillcrest High School C.A.N. Town Hall

It was my pleasure to be the keynote speaker during a Town Hall meeting this week sponsored by the Hillcrest High School C.A.N. (Change Attitudes Now) Club that focuses, to a large extent, on alcohol and drug prevention in our schools. As Chairman of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children, one of my priorities is to look into the unmet needs of children who have mental health needs since these are often co-occurring with substance abuse problems. In many cases, substance abuse is an indicator of other issues such as physical abuse or neglect. The Children’s Committee is looking holistically at the needs of children so that as they come into state systems of care they are not re-traumatized which can be a big issue when there is substance abuse. Are kids safe at home? In the community? When they need help, is it delivered efficiently and in a trauma informed way? These are the big picture questions the Children’s Committee is charged with answering. I will keep you updated on our progress.

Scott's Law

Last week on the Senate floor, I introduced a bill called "Scott's Law" which establishes that a person is guilty of drug-induced homicide when he delivers certain controlled substances to another person and that controlled substance is the proximate cause of another person's death. The bill also provides severe penalties for those convicted under this law

Summary Of This Week In Review: May 9-13, 2016

Senate Session

The Senate had Third Readings on the following and they were sent to the House of Representatives:

S923 Police Dog or Horse: A bill to provide that a person who tortures, mutilates, injuries, disables, poisons or kills a police dog or horse may be fined up to thirty thousand dollars and imprisoned up to ten years and pay restitution.

S1243 License Plate: A bill to provide that the DMV may issue “Chase Away Childhood Cancer” special license plates.

The Senate had Third Readings on the following and they were returned to the House of Representatives with amendment:

H3927 License Plates: A bill to provide that the DMV may issue special personalized motor vehicle license plates.

H3193 Campaign Contributions: A bill to revise the manner in which campaign contributions are attributed to a primary election and to a primary election runoff.

H3685 Electronic Tickets: A bill to require that the DMV shall electronically receive dispositional information and license surrender information, to require time frames for certain traffic tickets to be electronically transmitted between issuance by the law enforcement officer to DMV and the court.

H3848 South Carolina Founding Principles Act: A bill to require the completion of a separate, full semester course consisting only of instruction in certain founding principles of the United States of America, to require a passing grade in the course and on the naturalization test for United States citizenship as a condition for graduation from High School.

H4936 High School: A bill to provide for educational goals for all South Carolina high school graduates and the standards and areas of learning by which these goals are measured.

The Senate had Second Readings on the following and they were ordered for third reading:

H3653 Multijurisdictional Agreements (with amendment): A bill to provide a framework for agreements between different law enforcement agencies for law enforcement services in specified circumstances.

H4932 Vehicle Length: A bill to provide a maximum length for trailers or semitrailers used to transport vehicles used in connection with motorsports competition events.

S936 Driver’s Licenses: A bill to provide for minors to be able to apply for a beginner’s permit, instruction permit, or driver’s license under the authorization of a responsible adult willing to assume the obligation imposed.

H3560 Teachers Dismissal: A bill to provide that the Board of Education may designate a hearing officer to conduct a dismissal hearing and issue a report with recommendations, to further provide related requirements of a hearing officer and that a notice of dismissal must be given by the superintendent or his designee instead of the school board.

H3891 Rental or Private Passenger Motor Vehicles: A bill to provide rental companies engaged in the business of renting vehicles for periods of ninety days or less may charge separately stated fees which may include certain fees and taxes, that the charge must represent the good faith estimate by the motor vehicle rental company of its daily charge calculated to recover its actual total annual recoverable costs and to provide certain descriptions of vehicle license fees in the vehicle rental agreements.

H4817 Bondsman and Runner License: A bill to require an individual who applies for a bondsman or runner license to provide certain information.

H3710 Multiple Lot Discount: A bill to provide additional years of eligibility for multiple lot discounts in certain circumstances.

H4138 Contractor’s Licenses and License Classifications: A bill to provide that each person holding a license in the mechanical contractor subclass of HVAC shall display the mechanical contractor license in a conspicuous manner at his principal place of business, commercial vehicle, advertisements proposals and invoices.

H4939 Education and Public Works Committee: A bill to establish a committee composed of specified members to review all existing state education statutes and report to general assembly, to provide that the DOE shall develop the system for providing services and technical assistance for school districts on a regional basis to include academic assistance and assistance with finances and that the superintendent of education shall report the design of the system to the General Assembly yearly.

H4999 Immunity from Liability for Providers: A bill to provide that the services of a health care provider treating a patient free of charge are deemed to be within the scope of the good Samaritan statute.

Enrolled for Ratification:

H4743 Lake Conestee Nature Park: A bill to provide that the land owned and managed by the Conestee foundation and known as Lake Conestee nature park is declared to be a wildlife sanctuary.

H4876 Striped Bass: A bill to provide the geographic boundaries for the portion of the Intracoastal Waterway in Horry County, to further provide and revise the periods of time when striped bass may be taken in various bodies of water.

H3343 Euthanasia: A bill to provide that the use of barbituric acid derivatives, and carbon monoxide gas are not allowable methods of euthanasia for animals and to provide that the use of sodium pentobarbital and other substances or procedures that are humane may be used.

H4940 SC Department of Education: A bill to provide for the duties, functions and responsibilities of the Office of Transformation within the SC Department of Education.

H5009 Tax Credit: A bill to delete a provision that limits the credit relating to the textiles communities revitalization income tax credit to fifty percent of certain liability.

H5218 Water Safety: A bill to establish May as “Water Safety Awareness Month” and to promote an understanding of water safety practices and the critical importance of water safety in an effort to reduce drowning deaths among children, to create the ‘water safety awareness in schools study committee’.

Special Order:

H4548 Motor Vehicle Dealer Fees: A bill to provide a motor vehicle dealer who meets certain statutory requirements may charge a closing fee, to establish defenses for a motor vehicle dealer, and to authorize the Department of Consumer Affairs to administer and enforce motor vehicle dealer closing fees.

H3799 Concealed Weapon Permits: A bill to provide that South Carolina shall recognize concealed weapon permits issued by Georgia and North Carolina under certain circumstances.

Committee Reports

Education Committee

Favorable Reports

S1204 Physical Education (with amendment): A bill to provide that marching band instruction based on the SC academic standards for the visual and performing arts must be considered the equivalent of physical education instruction.

H3151 High School (with amendment): A bill to provide that publicly-supported colleges and universities may satisfy the instructional component of the United States Constitution requisite by providing and assigning certain related reading, to further require that these subjects be given for at least one year.

H4774 First Steps: A bill to provide the SC First Steps to School Readiness is reauthorized until July 1, 2021.

H5024 Literacy Coaches and Teachers: A bill to require the State Department of Education provide all reading/literacy coaches and teachers with training on Dyslexia, including evidence-based dyslexia screening, instructional methods and interventions.

Judiciary Committee

Favorable Reports

S1052 Fingerprints: A bill to provide that the SLED is authorized to submit fingerprints collected by certain agencies to the FBI next generation identification program under certain circumstances.

H3450 At Rest (with minority unfavorable): A bill to prohibit a beer, wine or liquor wholesaler from delivering to a retail permit holder unless the shipment has been received, unloaded and stored or warehoused at its licensed premises for a period of time.

H4262 Childcare (with amendment): A bill to require additional training and regulation for family childcare homes.

H4413 Save Havens (with amendment): A bill to require safe havens to post a notice stating that the location is a safe haven where a person may leave an infant under certain circumstances without criminal penalty.

H4492 Child Abuse and Neglect (with amendment): A bill to require the DSS to provide ten day notice of a hearing to certain individuals and to require the notice to inform foster parents of the right to submit a report to the Court, to require the DSS to provide notice of a permanency planning hearing to foster parents and other persons providing care for a child and to require the Foster Care Review Board to advice foster parents about the right to submit a report to and be heard by the Court at a hearing concerning the child.

H4546 Foster Care (with amendment): A bill to amend certain definitions used in the children’s code, to provide for Court consideration of local Foster Care Review Board recommendations, to require the Court to take into consideration recommendations of the DSS, Foster Care Review Board and the GAL before approving a placement plan.

H4701 Second Amendment Preservation Act (with minority unfavorable): A bill to provide that the State shall not enforce certain laws that limit the right of a person to own, possess, or use a firearm, ammunitions or firearm accessories, accept certain federal funds that require firearms to be registered or confiscated or expend any state funds toward the enforcement of certain federal laws.

Coming This Week:

Judiciary Committee:

H4339 State Grand Jury System: A bill to provide additional findings concerning certain crimes involving insurance fraud, to include certain crimes involving insurance fraud in the subject matter jurisdiction of the state grand jury, to further provide for the suspension of the driving privileges of a person found on the record by the Court of having carelessly or recklessly operated a motor vehicle in the commission of such a violation and to forfeit related property used in the commission of said violation.

H4398 Exempt Property: A bill to exempt three firearms of any value and one thousand rounds of ammunition for each firearm owned by the debtor from bankruptcy proceedings or attachment.

H4763 Internet Crime: A bill to create the internet crimes against children fund to investigate, prosecute and prevent internet crimes against children.

H5245 Coupons and Rebates: A bill to provide that a manufacturer, brewer, importer or retailer may offer or sponsor certain coupons and rebates to a consumer for the purchase of beer, to provide that a wholesaler is prohibited from participating in the procurement, redemption or other costs associated for any coupon or rebate for Beer.

H4579 Lieutenant Governor: A bill to provide that the Governor shall appoint with the advice and consent of the Senate, a successor to fill the unexpired term in case of a vacancy in the office of Lt. Governor, to further provide that beginning with the 2018 general election the Lt. Governor and Governor must be jointly elected and to delineate joint candidacy procedures, to delete the preference to the President of the Senate pro tempore as a successor.

H4878 Confidentiality: A bill to provide that communications between a client and any member of a peer-support team shall be confidential and privileged under certain circumstances.

Finance Committee:

H.4577 State Aviation Fund

H.4762 Limitation on Millage Rate Increases & Exemptions

H.4765 Income Tax Check Off for Habitat for Humanity

H.5270 Payroll Deduction for State Employees’ Association dues

H.5119 SC State Guard

H.4661 Piping materials in State Procurement Code

H.5034 Bingo Tax Revenue

H.5078 Capital Project Sales Tax Imposition

The information contained herein is prepared by the staff of the South Carolina Senate and is not the expression of the Senate. It is strictly for the internal use and benefit of members of the Senate and is not to be construed by a court of law as an expression of legislative intent.

Senator Mike Fair

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or need assistance.