UPDATE: Housing projects proposed for area

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Nathan’s News readers will recall last month I shared the news of 2 housing projects proposed for our area .

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) is designed to provide an incentive to owners developing multifamily rental housing. Developments that may qualify for credits include new construction, acquisition with rehabilitation, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse. Owners of and investors in qualifying developments can use the credit as a dollar-for-dollar reduction of federal income tax liability. Allocations of credits are used to leverage public, private and other funds in order to keep rents to tenants affordable.

Today, I asked additional questions from the SC Housing Authority and was given these timeframes:

* Preliminary scores for each project should be posted mid-to-late June
* Awards are anticipated to be announced in mid-August

Of the 42 projects that applied, funding will only be available for 20 projects.

I appreciate your feedback here on the website, via email and particularly emails and letters sent to SC Housing.

As usual, I will keep everyone informed.

(Note: Very similar project was not approved years ago in our area).

UPDATE: community road improvements

Road_Construction_Sign

As I continue to speak with constituents in the district, everyone wants to know about roads! I’m pleased that most see the improvements in our area; but also understand their frustration with our state road system.

Below is an update to the report provided last August of improvements in our area:

SC-6 @ Salem Church Road Intersection Improvement
Project is now complete.

S-40-216: Lowman Home Barn Road
Project is now complete.

S-40-296 – A.J. Amick Road
Project is now complete.

S-40-620: Captain Lowman Road
This road is under contract for single treatment – Contract ID 5190090. C. R. Jackson is the prime contractor. No work has been performed on this road to date. We anticipate that C. R. Jackson will begin full depth patching in May 2016 and follow up with surface treatment shortly after patching is complete. The project has a completion date of September 30, 2016.

US-76 @ Johnson Marina Road Intersection Improvement

This is an intersection improvement project that will provide turn lanes on both US-76 and Johnson Marina Road. Traffic Engineering is currently developing plans for the project. They have indicated issues with both right of way and railroad at this location. The project is tentatively scheduled to be let September 2016.

Richland County Penny Project – Kennerly Road at Coogler Road
This is a Richland County Penny Project begin administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Project Manager Jennifer Bragg, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection. It is one of six intersections included in a Design Build contract. The contract was awarded to C. R. Jackson with a window for completion in Spring 2017 of all intersections. For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

Richland County CTC Resurfacing
Shadowood Drive (S-1680) is complete. West Shady Grove Road (S-612) needs additional full depth patching and then will be resurfaced. Water Garden Court (S-1708) is complete. The contract completion date is October 31, 2015. Lane is in Liquidated Damages at this time for not completing the project by the completion date.

Amicks Ferry Safety Improvement
This project was awarded to Lane Construction in September 2015. This project involves select clearing, widening the pavement ~1’ on each side, resurfacing, pavement markings, and guardrail. Clearing work is expected to begin mid to late April. The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2016.

St. Peters Church Road Safety Improvement
Tentative July 2016 Letting. This project involves moving the ditches back, widening the road ~2’ on each side, resurfacing, pavement markings, and guardrail.

Murray Lindler Road @ Old Lexington Road Roundabout
Tentative November 2016 letting.

OTHER COMPLETED PROJECTS

Firetower Road Bridge Replacements
Both of the bridges on Firetower Road have been replaced with SCDOT crews and the road has been reopened.

PROJECTS ADDED TO THE LIST

S-40-621: Trillie Lane
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surface triple treatment. The completion date is November 30, 2016.

S-40-2265: Silver Point Road
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surface triple treatment. The completion date is November 30, 2016.

S-40-940: Peace Haven Road
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surfacing. The completion date is October 31, 2016.

S-40-1403: Three Dog Road
This road is under contract for full depth reclamation and asphalt surfacing. The completion date is October 31, 2016.

I-26 and Interstate Pavement Preservation
Interstate Preservation: I-26 from MP 100.8 to MP 107.7 in Richland and Lexington Counties. Anticipated to be in the April 12, 2016 Letting with a June 30, 2018 Contract Completion Date

I-126 Interstate Pavement Preservation
Interstate Preservation: I-126 from MP 0.00 to MP 3.68 in Richland County. Anticipated to be in the April 12, 2016 Letting with a June 30, 2018 Contract Completion Date

I-26 Widening
FROM EXIT 101 (US 176) HEADING WEST TO BE DETERMINED – RICHLAND, LEXINGTON, AND NEWBERRY COUNTIES
The project includes widening of I-26 from MM 101 (US 176, Exit 101- Irmo) heading west on I-26 with the western termini to be determined. Project includes widening I-26 from 4 to 6 lanes for approximately 16 miles; overpass bridge replacements at S-58 (Koon Road), S-80 (Shady Grove Road), S-234 (Mt. Vernon Church Road), S-405 (Old Hilton Road), and S-49 (Peak Street); and jacking/rehabilitating overpass bridges at S-39 (Peak Road) and S-167 (Parr Road). Project is scheduled for 2018.

Other notable projects in the Chapin area include:
• Lexington Avenue Enhancement (Landscaping) Project for the Town of Chapin

The Weekly Rewind: Week of April 18th

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NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES ARE PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION’S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THEY ARE STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
April 22, 2016

The House of Representatives appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H.3579, legislation that includes DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RESTRUCTURING AND ROAD FUNDING INITIATIVES.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4763, legislation designated as “ALICIA’S LAW” to acknowledge the advocacy efforts of Alicia Kozakiewicz of Pennsylvania who, in 2002 at the age of thirteen, survived abduction by an Internet predator. The legislation provides for a 6.1% assessment on criminal court fines to be deposited in a newly-created INTERNET CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN FUND that is to be used to investigate, prosecute, and prevent Internet crimes against children, such as cyberenticement and child pornography, including the necessary staffing, training, and equipment. Of the revenue credited to the fund each year, sixty percent must be allocated to the Attorney General to operate the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the remaining forty percent must be transferred to the Department of Public Safety to provide grants to local law enforcement agencies.

The House approved S.1090 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation names Chapter 19, Title 24 of the South Carolina Code of Laws the “JUDGE WILLIAM R. BYARS YOUTHFUL OFFENDER ACT” in recognition of the many contributions that Judge Byars has made to the juvenile justice system in such capacities as family court judge, Director of the Children’s Law Office at the University of South Carolina School of Law, Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and Director of the Department of Corrections.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3768 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides for the “SOUTH CAROLINA ABLE SAVINGS PROGRAM” that allows for the establishment of savings accounts as a means of empowering individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support the individual with a disability. The legislation establishes the Savings Program Trust Fund and Savings Expense Trust Fund and provides guidelines to the State Treasurer for the maintenance of these accounts. The legislation allows for state implementation that coordinates with the federal Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014.

The House approved S.849 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes REQUIREMENTS FOR INSURANCE PLAN PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGERS TO COMPILE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE DRUG COST LISTS that show the maximum amount for the cost of a particular generic drug that will be reimbursed to a pharmacist or pharmacy who provides covered health care services or supplies as a participating network plan provider. The legislation includes requirements for pharmacy benefit managers to make these maximum allowable cost lists available to network pharmacy providers and to review and update maximum allowable cost price information. Provisions are included that allow a pharmacy to appeal the provider’s reimbursement for a drug subject to maximum allowable cost pricing.

The House returned S.339, legislation designated as “HOPE’S LAW”, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation establishes REQUIREMENTS FOR MAMMOGRAPHY REPORTS TO BE PROVIDED TO PATIENTS THAT INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT BREAST DENSITY. When a mammogram shows that breast tissue is dense, the required report must include notice to the patient explaining that dense tissue is common and not abnormal, but can, however, make it harder to evaluate mammogram results and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5140, a bill that makes revisions relating to a school district’s ANNUAL SCHOOL CALENDAR for teachers, staff, and students. The legislation provides that, beginning with the 2017 2018 school year, the school start date for students must not be before August fifteenth, rather than the opening date limit of the third Monday in August that is set in current law, except for schools operating on a year round modified school calendar. The legislation revises the deadline for notification of teaching assignments and makes provisions for the types and timing of student assessments. Beginning in the 2017 2018 school year, the legislation requires, with certain exceptions, that school districts administer the statewide summative assessment for grades three through eight during the last twenty days of school and that such testing may not exceed seven days each school year.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4774, a bill to provide for a two-year REAUTHORIZATION OF SOUTH CAROLINA FIRST STEPS TO SCHOOL READINESS so that the program is extended until July 1, 2018.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4391, a bill REVISING THE UNIFORM ANATOMICAL GIFT ACT TO ALLOW FOR THE DONATION OF BRAIN TISSUE to be used only for research or education.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4574, legislation enacting the “ELECTROLOGY PRACTICE ACT” to provide for the licensure and regulation of electrologists and electrology instructors by an Electrology Licensure Committee established under the Board of Medical Examiners. The legislation is offered as a means of ensuring minimum standards of competency for those who practice or offer instruction in electrology, which involves the permanent removal of hair from the skin through the application of an electric current.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4492, a bill revising NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES CHILD PLACEMENT HEARINGS that inform foster parents, preadoptive parents, or relatives providing care to abused or neglected children so that, with certain exceptions, notification must be given at least ten days in advance. The legislation includes provisions that allow these parties to file reports with the family court.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4525, a bill extending and revising provisions for DEVOTING A PORTION OF INSURANCE PREMIUM TAX REVENUES TO THE FUNDING OF FIREFIGHTING NEEDS AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES TRAINING. The legislation extends until June 30, 2030, the requirement for using two and one quarter percent of each year’s insurance premium tax revenues to fund emergency response needs and redistributes the revenue so that one percent is transferred to the South Carolina Forestry Commission to be used for firefighting and firefighting equipment replacement, one percent is transferred to the aid to fire districts account within the State Treasury to be distributed to local fire departments for firefighting equipment replacement, and one quarter of one percent is transferred to the aid to emergency medical services regional councils within the Department of Health and Environmental Control to be used for grants to fund emergency medical technician and paramedic training.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4556, a bill providing a PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR PERMANENTLY AND TOTALLY DISABLED EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS. The legislation extends to permanently and totally disabled former emergency medical technicians the homeowner property tax exemption that is currently allowed for military veterans, former law enforcement officers, and former firefighters who are permanently and totally disabled.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4712, a bill making clarifications regarding the CLASSIFICATION OF OFF PREMISES OUTDOOR ADVERTISING SIGNS AS PERSONAL PROPERTY FOR TAX PURPOSES. The legislation establishes conditions under which an off premises outdoor advertising sign is classified as tangible personal property for tax purposes, and establishes provisions under which the value of a lease or lease income on such billboards may not be used in the assessment of the tax value of the real property on which the advertising sign is erected. The legislation includes provisions for any sign permit required by local, state, or federal law to be considered as intangible personal property for ad valorem property tax purposes.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4398, a bill establishing a FIREARMS EXEMPTION IN BANKRUPTCY CLAIMS. The legislation revises provisions for the real and personal property of a debtor that is exempt from attachment, levy, and sale in a bankruptcy proceeding by adding an exemption that covers any firearms not exceeding a total value of five thousand dollars owned by the debtor. The legislation revises the exemption for a debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed fifty thousand dollars in value by providing that, except that a surviving spouse may exempt, in addition to their interest, the aggregate interest of a deceased spouse not to exceed fifty thousand dollars in value.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4795, a bill ALLOWING A STUDENT WHO HAS BEEN AWARDED A PALMETTO FELLOWS SCHOLARSHIP THE OPTION OF DEFERRING ENROLLMENT IN A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTION FOR ONE YEAR following high school graduation without declining the award.

The House returned S.1013, a bill overhauling and updating the licensure and regulation of REAL ESTATE BROKERS, SALESPERSONS, AND PROPERTY MANAGERS, to the Senate with amendments. Notably, the bill includes provisions for the operation of real estate teams supervised by a broker-in-charge and increases continuing education requirements for real estate license renewals from eight hours to ten hours.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5023, a bill making various revisions to the SOUTH CAROLINA REAL ESTATE APPRAISER LICENSE AND CERTIFICATION ACT. Notably, the legislation makes provisions for one of the members of the Real Estate Appraisers Board to be a certified residential appraiser and includes alignment provisions for federal and state chartered banks.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3969, a bill making provisions that allow for the ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION OF INSURANCE NOTICES AND DOCUMENTS should the insured choose to receive notices and documents electronically.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5040, a bill updating and revising various provisions relating to the application and enforcement of the CONSUMER PROTECTION CODE.

The House amended, adopted, and sent the Senate H.5108, a concurrent resolution establishing a temporary STUDY COMMITTEE TO ASSESS THE ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT FLEETS IN HIRING ENTRY-LEVEL COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSED DRIVERS.

The Weekly Rewind: Week of April 11th

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NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES ARE PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION’S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THEY ARE STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
April 15, 2016

The House of Representatives amended Senate amendments on H.3579, legislation that includes DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RESTRUCTURING AND ROAD FUNDING INITIATIVES, and returned the bill to the Senate. The legislation includes a restructuring of the Commission overseeing the South Carolina Department of Transportation that retains the commission’s geographical representation, but provides that legislators would no longer elect commissioners and that all commissioners would, instead, be appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the General Assembly, by a roll call vote in each legislative house. Commissioners are to serve at the pleasure of the Governor and their terms of service are limited to a maximum of twelve years. Under restructuring, the DOT Commission assumes the responsibility of appointing the Secretary of Transportation, upon the advice and consent of the General Assembly, by a roll call vote in each legislative house. In order to afford the chief internal auditor of the Department of Transportation greater independence, the legislation provides for the department’s chief internal auditor to be appointed and overseen by the State Auditor rather than the DOT Commission. The legislation provides for all of the motor vehicle sales tax revenue to be transferred to the Department of Transportation to be used exclusively for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair. The legislation also provides for revisions to the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Before providing a loan or other financial assistance, the Board of Directors that oversees the Infrastructure Bank must, under the legislation, submit its decision to the Department of Transportation Commission for its consideration. The DOT Commission can, in turn, approve or reject the decision or request additional information from the bank’s board of directors. The Infrastructure Bank’s policy of following the SC Department of Transportation’s project priority criteria is established as a statutory requirement. The General Assembly may, however, enact a joint resolution specifically allowing the bank to fund a project without using DOT’s prioritization criteria. The minimum project amount set in Transportation Infrastructure Bank requirements is lowered from $100 million to $25 million. This threshold is lowered to allow more areas to be able to afford local match requirements and take advantage of the bank’s bonding capabilities for financing their transportation projects.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3204, the “CERVICAL CANCER PREVENTION ACT”, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides that, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) may offer the cervical cancer vaccination series, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) series, for adolescent students including those enrolling in the seventh grade in any school, public, private, or home schooling program, in this state. The legislation includes parental consent requirements for vaccinations provided by DHEC and provides that no student is required to have the cervical cancer vaccination series, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) series, before enrolling in or attending school. The department may develop and provide informational brochures concerning adolescent vaccinations, including the cervical cancer vaccination series, that schools and home schooling programs may distribute to the parents or guardians of all students in the sixth grade. DHEC’s informational brochure must state the benefits and side effects of the cervical cancer vaccination series and that the vaccination series is optional. The brochure shall encourage the student’s parent or guardian to go to the child’s own health care provider for vaccination. DHEC may not contract with a health care provider to offer the vaccination series if the health care provider performs abortions.

The House concurred in Senate amendments H.4328, a bill including various TAX PROVISIONS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation synchronizes certain filing deadlines regarding income tax withholdings to eliminate a lag time that presents an opportunity for fraud. The legislation updates statutory references to U.S. Internal Revenue Code provisions so that state tax provisions coordinate with federal tax provisions. The legislation provides for a state sales tax exemption for liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas sold to a person with a miscellaneous fuel user fee license for use as motor fuel in motor vehicles. Applicable motor fuel user fees must be remitted.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4165, the “HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION REGIME FEE FAIRNESS TO DEPLOYED SERVICE MEMBERS ACT”. The legislation provides that, once a service member who belongs to a homeowners’ association has provided proper notification to the association of orders of military deployment, the homeowners’ association is prohibited from assessing or imposing penalties or enforcing a lien on unpaid regime fees that accrue during the time when the homeowner is deployed or mobilized outside of this state.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4580, a bill to provide an exemption from Department of Health and Environmental Control licensure provisions for MEDICAL FOSTER HOMES FOR VETERANS that provide care for up to three veterans per home as approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5091, a bill to provide for the nineteenth day of June of each year, designated as “Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom Day” to also be recognized as “SICKLE CELL DAY IN SOUTH CAROLINA” to coordinate with “World Sickle Cell Day” initiatives to raise awareness of the genetic disease and support and encourage research, treatment, and management of sickle cell disease.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4327, a bill that includes provisions for HOSPICE PROGRAMS for terminally ill patients to apply to the Department of Health and Environmental Control for an expansion of their service areas and provisions that allow parent hospice organizations to offer services at multiple locations.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4773. Designated as MARGY’S LAW, the legislation expands South Carolina’s Emergency Medical Services Do Not Resuscitate Order Act by including provisions for a DO NOT RESUSCITATE BRACELET that may be worn by someone with a terminal condition to signify to health care providers and EMS personnel that they are to withhold resuscitative treatment in keeping with a “do not resuscitate” order.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5100, legislation INCLUDING ORAL SURGEONS AND DENTISTS AS EMERGENCY MEDICAL PROVIDERS under the Access to Emergency Medical Care Act so that they can be reimbursed for emergency care services.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3952, a bill REVISING THE PROCESS FOR COMMITTING THE MENTALLY ILL TO MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES. The legislation adds to commitment provisions the category of the “gravely disabled” which is defined as person who, due to mental illness, lacks sufficient insight or capacity to make responsible decisions with respect to his treatment and because of this condition is likely to cause harm to himself through neglect, inability to care for himself, personal injury, or otherwise. The legislation includes a preference that emergency admissions of the mentally ill be conducted by plain clothes law enforcement officers that have had crisis intervention training and, in certain instances, the legislation allows for the option of having someone transported to a facility, not by law enforcement officers, but by emergency medical technicians in an ambulance. For an individual who has eloped after commitment, a request for an order to search, locate, and return must be issued by the probate court and transportation must be by a state or local law enforcement officer.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5024, a joint resolution providing for REQUIRED TRAINING ON DYSLEXIA FOR LITERACY COACHES AND LITERACY TEACHERS. The legislation provides that, before the 2016 2017 school year, the State Department of Education shall provide training to all literacy coaches and literacy teachers in kindergarten through grade three on dyslexia, including evidence-based dyslexia screening, instructional methods, and interventions. Before October 1, 2016, the State Department of Education shall provide the Senate Education Committee and the House Education and Public Works Committee with a report describing the specific training used and stating the number and percentage of literacy coaches and teachers who successfully completed the training.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4932, a bill making revisions to SPECIFICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS FOR VEHICLES AND TRAILERS operated along the state’s highways. The legislation revises provisions for maximum trailer lengths to provide for a greater maximum length that applies only to trailers or semitrailers used exclusively or primarily to transport vehicles used in connection with motorsports competition events. The legislation makes revisions relating to axle and weight limits for motorhomes and intrastate public agency transit passenger buses. The legislation makes provisions for increased weights associated with idle reduction systems. New provisions are included to allow motor vehicles fueled primarily by natural gas to exceed weight limitations by specified amounts.

The House returned S.454 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation provides for the issuance of DEER HUNTING TAGS for in-state residents and non-residents. This new tagging system does not revise game zones or seasons, but it does include requirements for hunters to tag every deer taken in the state. The legislation provides for the Department of Natural Resources to issue eight doe day specific tags and three buck tags with the purchase of a South Carolina hunting license and big game permit for in-state residents. Hunters (including youth and gratis licensees) will have the option to purchase two additional buck (with four points on one side or a minimum 12-inch antler spread) tags at $5 each and/or four additional doe tags at $5 each. All funds collected from the two additional buck tags sales will go into a Coyote Management Program. With the purchase of a hunting license and big game permit, non-resident hunters will pay $50 for the first purchased antlered tag and $20 for each additional antlered tag (with a maximum purchase of four tags of which two must have size restriction). There is a $10 charge for each antlerless tag purchased. The legislation provides for antlerless and antlered deer limits to be two doe taken per day and two bucks taken per day. The Department of Natural Resources to provide a report of a four year study by July 1, 2022, to the Chairman of the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee and the Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee on such issues as the status of state’s the white tailed deer population and a review of the tagging program. As part of its Coyote Management Program, DNR is directed to develop and implement a coyote tagging and bounty program. The department must tag and release no less than three coyotes in each of the four game zones and apply a bounty of not less than one thousand dollars per tagged coyote. The department must neuter any coyote before it is released.

Back again: Proposed Housing Development submits application

Letter

URGENT: DEADLINE TO HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD IS THURSDAY, APRIL 7th

Readers may recall a few years ago, a federal-tax credit development was proposed for our area. By law, Members of the General Assembly are to be notified of applications made in their districts.

These developments have been trying to pop up in Chapin and Irmo for some time. Including 1 currently proposed for Chapin.

Just as I did years ago (and actually last month when I received a letter from a consultant working for this development group), I shared what you have asked me to share in the past. Our community does not have a need for these facilities nor do we have the current infrastructure in place to support it.

We have a lot of growth as it is that goes unchecked or unquestioned at the county level. I’m glad members of the General Assembly are dialed in on these federal-tax credit projects so that we can speak for the community and not have a local council or commission approve a change without the community knowing about it.

While I do not get a “vote” on these matters. I do get to share my response and ask that you share yours as well.

To have your voice heard, you can do one of two things:

1) Email me directly at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov with the title “The Park and The Pointe” (names of the 2 almost identical proposals) and I will forward you emails to the SC State Housign Finance and Development Authority

or

2) Email Laura Nicholson directly (please cc: me at email above) at her address: Laura.Nicholson@schousing.com

There are currently more than 40 developments vying for tax credits. These 2 or our community along with 1 in Irmo (Lake Murray Boulevard/Lexington) and 1 in Chapin.

For a complete list of all 40+ projects in the state, click here and then select 2016 Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program List

The Pointe

The Weekly Rewind: Week of March 21st

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NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES ARE PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION’S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THEY ARE STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
March 24, 2016

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5001, the General Appropriation Bill, and H.5002, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, which together comprise the proposed FISCAL YEAR 2016-2017 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET. The budget includes $7.5 billion in state general funds with $767 million in recurring revenue newly available for appropriation and $597 million in nonrecurring revenue.

$415 million is devoted to the state’s roads. Of that total, $316 million is appropriated to the State Highway Fund for paving, rehabilitation, resurfacing, and reconstruction of the primary road system, $49 million is allocated to the Department of Transportation to address road repair costs from the October 2015 flood damage, and $50 million in nonrecurring funds is distributed among the County Transportation Committees to use for resurfacing, reconstructing, and repairing roads and bridges in the state owned secondary road system.

The Department of Transportation is charged with developing and implementing a needs-based weighting methodology to allocate funding within the state funded road resurfacing program, which must include consideration on a county-by-county basis, to ensure that each county in the state is guaranteed funding.

For K-12 public education, $218 million is used to increase the base student cost by $130 to arrive at an estimated $2,350 per pupil.

The budget legislation makes provisions for a 2% teacher salary increase and a one year step increase for teacher salaries which must be applied uniformly for all eligible certified teachers.

$750 thousand in Education Improvement Act funds is included for teacher supplies.

$19.2 million in recurring funds is allocated for bus driver salary enhancements to address driver shortages.

$7.2 million is provided from the Capital Reserve Fund for purchasing or leasing new school buses along with $6.5 million in Education Lottery funds and $3.5 million in unclaimed lottery prize money.

The K-12 technology initiative is afforded $29.3 million in Education Lottery proceeds.

The State Department of Education is provided $18 million in Education Lottery proceeds for instructional materials.

Education and Economic Development Act initiatives are afforded $10 million in recurring funds.

The State Department of Education is provided $3 million in Education Lottery proceeds for college and career readiness.

$13 million in Education Improvement Act funds is included to address S.C. Public Charter School District growth.

Virtual SC is afforded $1.1 million in recurring funds.

The Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics is provided $1.2 million in recurring funds for its statewide Accelerate Engineering program.

$2.5 million in Education Improvement Act funds is allocated for AdvancED technical assistance.

$1 million in recurring funds is provided for full-day four-year-old kindergarten instructional costs.

$1.5 million from the Capital Reserve Fund is provided to the State Department of Education for a statewide facilities assessment.

$9 million in nonrecurring funds is allocated for school districts that have a poverty index of at least eighty percent to use for teacher recruitment and retention purposes, such as providing signing bonuses or merit bonuses.

$8.25 million in Education Improvement Act funds is included for the rural teacher initiative that allows one year of a teacher’s student loan debt to be forgiven for every two years of teaching in an underserved area.

$16.8 million in nonrecurring funds is included for technical assistance to the Abbeville education lawsuit plaintiff districts and other rural school districts to facilitate online test taking and increase access.

$3 million in Education Lottery funds is provided for mobile device access and management.

$3.1 million in Education Lottery funds is included for efficiency studies in all plaintiff school districts.

Provisions are included for a system of tiers of technical assistance that the State Department of Education provides for low-performing schools which are failing to meet state standards or which have the lowest high school graduation rates.

New provisions are included that authorize the State Superintendent of Education to declare a state of emergency in a school district if the accreditation status is probation or denied, if a majority of the schools fail to show improvement on the state accountability system, if the district is classified as being in “high risk” status financially, or for financial mismanagement resulting in a deficit. A state of emergency may be declared by the State Superintendent for an individual school if the accreditation status is probation or denied or if the school fails to show improvement on the state accountability system. Upon declaration of a state of emergency, the State Superintendent of Education may take over management of the school or district, which may include direct management, consolidation with another district, charter management, public/private management, or contracting with an educational management organization or another school district.

In response to multiple reports that have highlighted the cost inefficiencies at the John de la Howe School for at risk youth and the lack of data regarding the impact of the program on student outcomes, the budget legislation includes a provision that temporarily suspends the school’s board of trustees and forms an advisory group, combining representation from the legislature, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Education, and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, that is charged with recommending an educational, vocational, and life skills training program at the John de la Howe School for older youth who are at risk and who are aging out of foster care or juvenile justice supervisory programs. In consultation with the advisory group, the Department of Juvenile Justice is directed to procure a contract with a non-profit child-service provider to operate the program.

Full funding is provided for the LIFE, HOPE, and Palmetto Fellows higher education scholarship programs.

Tuition grants are increased by $100 per student for a new maximum grant of $3,100 which provides need-based assistance to students attending eligible independent non-profit in-state colleges.

$5 million in Workforce Scholarships is included to provide grants for tuition, fees, transportation, or textbook expenses to state residents enrolled in a career education program at a technical school or professional certification program.

In higher education, the budget emphasizes an increase in the recurring funding that is directed to the state’s colleges, universities, and technical schools.

Provisions are included for the forgiveness of the $12 million in state loans disbursed to South Carolina State University if the university meets specified benchmarks such as maintaining academic accreditation, maintaining a balanced budget, and meeting enrollment growth goals. The budget includes a provisions that it is the intent of the General Assembly that the SC State Interim Board of Trustees conduct a national search to hire a permanent President for the university by December 31, 2016.

Provisions are included for the transfer of the Felton Lab from S.C. State University to the S.C. Public Charter School District.

$13.5 million in nonrecurring funds is devoted to worker training through the Ready SC Program at the state’s technical colleges. $8 million in recurring funds is provided for manufacturing, healthcare, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) training. $20 million in nonrecurring funds is provided to the Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education for critical training equipment.

$7 million in recurring funds and $10 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the Deal Closing Fund that the Department of Commerce uses to recruit new business to the state. The Department of Commerce is afforded appropriations of $5.4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Locate SC Site Inventory for potential business relocation prospects, $3 million in nonrecurring funds for research initiatives, $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for the Office of Innovation, $500,000 in recurring funds for the SC Manufacturing Extension Partnership, $400,000 in nonrecurring funds for IT-ology Coursepower, $350,000 in recurring funds for the SC Council on Economic Competitiveness, and $300,000 in nonrecurring funds for the US Department of Defense Business Diversification grant match.

$1.5 million in recurring funds is allocated to the Rural Infrastructure Fund that is used to provide grants for water and sewer projects that facilitate economic development in rural areas. $4.3 million is included for a new Statewide Water and Sewer Fund that allows areas that do not meet the criteria for being considered rural to obtain grants for sewer and water projects that are needed to support economic development.

The Department of Employment and Workforce is allocated $1.8 million in recurring funds for the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative.

A 2% state employee pay increase is provided with $33.4 million in recurring funds.

$25.4 million is included to cover the increased costs of operating the state’s health insurance plan and $1.5 million is included to cover increased dental plan costs with no increases in the premiums paid by employees and no reductions in coverage.

$18.4 million is allocated for retirement contributions increases in the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System.

The budget legislation defunds the Retirement System Investment Commissioners by eliminating the commissioners’ salaries.

$28 million is used to fully fund the reserve accounts that the state uses to cope with revenue shortfalls.

The Department of Administration is afforded $9.6 million to implement an information technology disaster recovery plan for all state agencies.

The Local Government Fund is maintained at its $212 million level and a $12.5 million component of the fund which has been comprised of nonrecurring dollars is replaced with recurring dollars so that the fund is entirely made up of recurring revenue.

The Department of Health and Human Services is afforded $129 million in recurring funds to accommodate part of the growth in the state’s Medicaid Program with recurring funding rather than funding from reserve accounts.

$8.5 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for an updated Medicaid Management and Information System.

The budget provides for the continuation of Medicaid Program accountability and quality improvement programs such as: the Healthy Outcomes Initiative for meeting the needs of chronically ill uninsured patients through home visits and care in other settings outside the emergency room; a Primary Care Safety Net utilizing such resources as Federally Qualified Health Centers and free clinics; and efforts to enhance provider capacity in rural and underserved areas.

Telemedicine is afforded $10 million through the Healthy Outcomes provisions and $2 million in recurring funds.

$6 million is provided for a Rural Health Initiative partnership between DHHS and the USC School of Medicine to enhance the recruitment of physicians to practice in underserved areas and to improve access to life-saving emergency room care in the wake of rural hospital closures. Provisions include an exemption from Certificate of Need requirements for the construction of a facility in a medically underserved area that can provide emergency care and stabilization beds twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and is designed to utilize the Statewide Telemedicine Network.

The budget legislation includes a provision that sets priorities in the awarding of state and federal family planning funds to contractors with top priority given to state, county and other public entities that provide family planning services and local community health clinics and federally qualified health centers; middle priority assigned to nonpublic entities that provide comprehensive primary and preventive health services in addition to family planning services; and lowest priority given to nonpublic entities that provide family planning services but do not provide comprehensive primary and preventive health services. Those who award family planning funds must submit an annual report to the General Assembly that details funds awarded to the lowest priority contractors and includes an explanation of how it was determined that there was an insufficient number of preferred service providers available to be awarded family planning funds and meet the need for services.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control receives $661,500 in recurring funds to enhance its dam safety inspection and permitting program, $8 million in recurring funds along with $2 million in nonrecurring funds for its data center infrastructure, $2 million in recurring funds for electronic medical records, $1.75 million in recurring funds to enhance its infectious disease tuberculosis program, $2.75 million in nonrecurring funds for water quality infrastructure, $945,00 in recurring funds for ambient water quality monitoring, and $100,000 in nonrecurring funds for Donate Life’s Organ Donor Registry.

The budget allocates nonrecurring funds derived from the sale of DHEC’s home health services by providing $3.6 million for data center infrastructure, $5.2 million for Pinewood Custodial Site capital improvements and repairs, $5.8 million for electronic medical records, and $2.5 million for flood recovery operations.

The Department of Mental Health is allocated $4.2 million in recurring funds for the Sexually Violent Predator Program, $2.5 million in recurring funds for inpatient clinical and medical services, $2.5 million in recurring funds for forensics, $500,000 in recurring funds for school based services, and $1 million in recurring funds for a crisis stabilization unit.

The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs receives $6.6 million in recurring funds to reduce its waiting lists, $1.2 million in recurring funds for the transition to community-based services, $1 million in recurring funds for crisis intervention and stabilization, $500,000 in recurring funds for expansion of non-emergency respite care beds, $500,000 in recurring funds for post-acute rehab for traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, and $500,000 in recurring funds for enhanced research through the Greenwood Genetic Center, including blood testing for autism.

The Department of Vocational Rehabilitation is provided $635,287 in recurring funds for School-to-Work Transition Services.

The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services receives $1.75 million in recurring funds for prescription drug abuse medication assisted treatment and $3 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for infrastructure improvements in the substance abuse provider system.

At the Department of Social Services, $5.6 million in recurring funds is devoted to child and adult protective services recruitment and retention. $6.2 million in recurring funds and $1 million in nonrecurring funds is allocated for the development of the child support system. Utilizing $3.4 million in recurring funds, the budget provides for an increase in monthly family foster care and kinship care payment rates. $800,000 in nonrecurring funds is provided for criminal domestic violence initiatives with the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

The State Law Enforcement Division is provided $364,000 in recurring funds for law enforcement officer rank change, $3.2 million in recurring funds to complete vehicle rotation, and $10 million in nonrecurring funds for the forensics lab expansion.

The budget legislation provides for a transfer of the Illegal Immigration Unit from the Department of Public Safety to SLED.

The Attorney General’s Office receives $1 million in recurring dollars for retention funding, $200,000 in recurring funds for prosecutors and $81,200 in recurring funds for a forensic examiner in the Internet Crimes Against Children division, and $600,600 in recurring funds for violent crimes and sex crimes prosecutors.

The Commission on Minority Affairs receives $200,000 in recurring funds for a human trafficking hotline.

The budget makes provisions for three additional Circuit Court Judges and support staff in anticipation of increased caseloads due to the provisions of the 2015 Domestic Violence Reform Act that transfer domestic violence matters into circuit court.

The Prosecution Coordination Commission is afforded $2.98 million in recurring funds to allow for additional prosecutors to handle increased domestic violence caseloads, $7.8 million in recurring dollars for caseload equalization funding, and $800,000 in recurring funds for the SC Center for Fathers and Families.

The Commission on Indigent Defense is afforded $6.2 million in recurring dollars for additional public defenders.

The budget legislation provides for the reauthorization of the Sentencing Reform Oversight Committee to examine the need for criminal justice reform initiatives.

The Department of Corrections receives $8 million in recurring dollars for its correctional officer hiring rate adjustment and retention plan to reduce turnover rate at the agency, $2.75 million in recurring funds for the middle phase its mental health remediation plan, and $722,328 in recurring funds for the middle phase its medical remediation plan.

The Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services is provided $1.98 million in recurring funds for officer retention and $6.4 million in recurring funds to offset revenue loss due to sentencing reform.

The Department of Juvenile Justice receives $1 million in recurring funds for its correctional officer hiring rate adjustment and retention plan to reduce turnover rate at the agency and $100,000 in nonrecurring funds for AMI Kids.

The Department of Natural Resources is allocated $326,930 in recurring funds for law enforcement officer step increases and $261,312 in recurring funds for vehicle rotation.

$72 million in nonrecurring funds is allocated to the Adjutant General’s Emergency Management Division as the full state and local match for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds for the 2015 catastrophic flood response. The Adjutant General’s Office receives $5 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for armory revitalization.

The budget legislation accommodates the $40 million appropriation from the 2014 2015 Contingency Reserve Fund for the “South Carolina Farm Aid Fund” that is created to assist farmers who suffered extensive damage in the October 2015 floods through H.4717 which has been passed by the House of Representatives during the current General Assembly and sent to the Senate.

The Department of Agriculture is afforded $1 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for consumer protection equipment and $500,000 in recurring funds to expand “Certified SC” marketing of the state’s produce.

Clemson PSA receives $1 million in recurring funds for its agriculture and natural resources program and $1 million in nonrecurring funds for program facilities, and $750,000 in recurring funds for the animal industry infectious disease program to address such issues as the avian flu.

The Forestry Commission receives $320,000 in recurring funds for additional firefighters, $1 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for firefighting equipment, and $200,000 in recurring funds for implementing a forest inventory system.

Operations at the Department of Motor Vehicles are funded with recurring dollar appropriations since funds derived from fines and fees that the DMV has retained to fund department operations are transferred to the State Highway Fund.

The budget legislation authorizes the withholding of funds in Local Government Fund distributions to counties and municipalities equal in amount to any fines that a political subdivision has collected to enforce local ordinances that conflict with state traffic laws.

The Division of Aeronautics receives $1 million in nonrecurring funds for aviation grants matching funds and $100,000 in nonrecurring funds for airport facilities security system replacement.

$1.5 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated to the State Ports Authority for Jasper Ocean Terminal permitting.

$40 million in nonrecurring funds is provided to the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism for coastal beach renourishment, which completely covers the state’s cost share for all public beaches.

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism receives $1.2 million in nonrecurring funds for the Sports Development Marketing Program, $3 million in nonrecurring funds for the Medal of Honor Museum, and $4.3 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for facilities revitalization.

A proviso directs the Department of Administration to conduct an analysis of moving the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum from Columbia to the Charleston area.

The Department of Archives and History receives $2.1 million in nonrecurring funds for its architectural heritage preservation initiative.

The State Library is afforded $222,000 in recurring funds for electronic resources and $1 million in recurring funds for aid to county libraries.

The Arts Commission receives $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for the SC Artisans Center.

The Department of Revenue is afforded $1 million in nonrecurring funds for an extension of identity and credit protection services and receives $1 million in nonrecurring funds and $1.9 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for implementing an updated tax processing system.

The State Auditor’s Office is appropriated $325,000 for additional audit capabilities.

The State Ethics Commission receives $150,000 in recurring funds and $10,000 in nonrecurring funds for auditors.

The State Election Commission receives $254,000 in recurring funds for county compliance auditors and supervisors.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging receives $1 million in recurring funds for family caregiver services that allow seniors to remain at home rather than the more expensive alternative of institutional care, and $1.5 million in recurring funds for home and community based services to be used for purchasing home delivered meals, group dining meals, transportation, and home care.

The Weekly Rewind: Week of March 14th

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NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES ARE PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION’S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THEY ARE STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
March 18, 2016

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4554, the “SOUTH CAROLINA ANTI MONEY LAUNDERING ACT” which establishes new provisions for the regulation and oversight of money transmission services. The legislation is offered as a means of rectifying South Carolina’s current status as the only U.S. state with no regulatory authority over money transfers of smaller amounts which has made the state a center for money laundering activities that facilitate organized criminal enterprises and terrorist activities. The legislation establishes new requirements for the licensure and regulation of money transmission and currency exchange services with the South Carolina Attorney General. Record keeping requirements are imposed on licensees and the Attorney General’s Office is afforded authority to review records and conduct investigations. Penalties are established for violations including felony criminal penalties for falsifying records and engaging in illicit money transfers involving larger dollar amounts. The jurisdiction of the state grand jury is expanded to include violations relating to the South Carolina Anti Money Laundering Act.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4521, the “TUCKER HIPPS TRANSPARENCY ACT”, legislation named in memory of the Clemson University student who died during a fraternity activity on September 22, 2014. The legislation requires the state’s public institutions of higher education to maintain a report detailing student misconduct investigations related to fraternity and sorority organizations formally affiliated with the institution. These reports are specifically required to include a violation of a Student Code of Conduct for offenses involving alcohol, drugs, sexual assault, harm to others, threats, endangerment, and hazing. The report must be readily available to the public upon request and posted on the institutions’ websites. Institutions must also furnish a printed notice of the nature and availability of this report and the website address where it can be found to attendees at student orientation. Each public institution of higher learning shall compile an initial report and make it available to the public and online before the beginning of the 2016 2017 academic year. This initial report must include the required information beginning with data after December 31, 2010. Institutions are subject to requirements for updating reports in a timely manner.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4688, the “TIMOTHY WAYNE GIBSON ACT”, legislation named in memory of the South Carolina Department of Transportation highway maintenance worker who died in the line of duty while responding to the catastrophic floods of October 2015. The legislation provides that it is unlawful to remove or reposition a temporary road closure sign or device. The legislation specifies that it is not a violation for a property owner or someone else entitled to access the premises to move a temporary traffic control device or temporary road closure sign and then immediately replace that sign or device in order to enter or exit the property.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3325, the “CLEMENTA C. PINCKNEY UNIFORM PARTITION OF HEIRS’ PROPERTY ACT”, and enrolled the bill for ratification. Addressing an abiding concern of the late South Carolina Senator, the legislation is named in memory of Pinckney, who, while serving in his capacity as Senior Pastor of Charleston’s historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was shot to death along with eight members of his congregation as they gathered for an evening Bible study on June 17, 2015. The legislation establishes a protocol for partitioning real estate when a court determines that the land meets the criteria established for heirs’ property as a means of preserving property rights in situations where land has been passed down through generations without written wills or properly probated wills so that the property is owned in common by multiple heirs. This statutory protocol includes requirements for notifying those who own a percentage of the land as one of many heirs as well as provisions for conducting sales or making such other arrangements as dividing up the heirs’ property among the cotenants by forming physically distinct and separately titled parcels.

The House adopted the conference committee report on H.3545, a bill making revisions to ARSON OFFENSES, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation revises various statutes that provide for the degrees of arson, making corrections to these and other provisions that were put in place through the adoption of the 2010 Omnibus Crime Act. [Read more…]

The Budget: debate begins March 21st

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One of our most important jobs in office is to be stewards of your tax dollars. Monday at 1:00pm the session begins. How long the debate will last is never known. Sometimes we go past midnight. I remember one time we went til about 6am. Usually we finish no later than Thursday. For those interested, you can watch live by clicking here .

For information about the budget; you can click any of the links below.

Budget Briefing

Final Summary Control Document

Proviso Summary

Proviso List

Once we receive the “Earmark List” (on our desk Monday in Chamber), I’ll tweet that out .

The Roads Debate: House plan? Senate plan? ANY plan?

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After more than 300 days since the House passed our plan to fix our state’s infrastructure needs (reform and funding), the Senate voted this week on their plan.

Now that there are 2 proposals, the question becomes “Which plan do you think is BEST?” Unless the House concurs with the Senate plan this week (which means we agree to Senate bill with no changes), legislation will head to a conference committee in the weeks ahead to “iron out” differences for a solution that can find enough votes to pass both chambers and gain the support of the Governor.

What are your thoughts? I believe the “comments section” now finally is working again (after receiving more than 8,000 spam comments in the past few months and a virus that took down several posts and every comment going back to when the website started)

As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts here , or email, or comment below.

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TIM SMITH The Greenville News
On the same day the Senate gave final approval to its roads bill, House leaders attacked the plan, blasting it as “deceptive” and “irresponsible.”

The Senate’s bill, which actually amends a very different House bill, would dedicate $400 million annually for roads from the General Fund and transfer the power to appoint the state’s highway commissioners from the Legislature to the governor.

The bill now returns to the House, which next week will debate the budget. The original House bill would raise about the same amount of money through a sales tax on gas and by increasing the cap on the sales tax on cars, as well as give the governor the power to appoint highway commissioners, reform the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank and offer a financial carrot to counties willing to take over local roads in the state inventory.

“The Senate’s deceptive plan to fix our crumbling roads system is irresponsible and prioritizes politics over a sound solution,” House Speaker Jay Lucas said in a statement Thursday. “Not only does their plan mislead the people of South Carolina into thinking that a large pot of general fund money will be available every year for roads, it also practices reckless budgeting that jeopardizes the prosperity of our economy. While I acknowledge the Senate’s governance reform efforts, kicking the can further down the road and into a giant pothole defies the test of real leadership.”

House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White of Anderson said the Senate roads bill was not a serious attempt to address the state’s long-term infrastructure needs.

“The Senate’s plan is not a fix for our chronic roads problem,” he said. “It’s a plea for the House to budget them out of their inability to pass a comprehensive roads bill. The House has budgeted hundreds of millions of dollars for roads in the last several years and will continue to do so while we wait on the Senate to get serious about a long-term fix for our roads.”

Rep. Gary Simrill, a Rock Hill Republican who helped craft the House roads plan last year, said using General Fund money to fix roads does not solve the problem over the long run.

“As additional money was made available, the House eagerly fought to set aside resources to improve the condition of our crumbling infrastructure rather than grow the size of government,” he said. “Over $1 billion in general fund money has been appropriated for road repair over the last three years. These short-term solutions proved to be a step in the right direction, but much like the Senate plan, do not provide for South Carolina’s long-term infrastructure needs.”

Senate Republicans did not take the criticism lightly. [Read more…]

The Weekly Rewind: Week of March 7th

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NOTE: THESE SUMMARIES ARE PREPARED BY THE STAFF OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT THE EXPRESSION OF THE LEGISLATION’S SPONSOR(S) OR THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THEY ARE STRICTLY FOR THE INTERNAL USE AND BENEFIT OF MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED BY A COURT OF LAW AS AN EXPRESSION OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
March 11, 2016

The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H.4639, relating to INTERSTATE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENTS FOR POSTSECONDARY DISTANCE EDUCATION, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides that the Commission on Higher Education may enter into interstate reciprocity agreements, such as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, governing the operation of postsecondary distance education programs offered by accredited degree granting institutions of higher learning in South Carolina. Since colleges and universities that offer online education programs must obtain authorization in every state where a pupil resides, the legislation is offered as a means of making this authorization process less complex and expensive by allowing the institutions of higher learning in South Carolina to make use of a single distance education protocol that applies in all the states that have entered into a reciprocity agreement.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3534, a bill EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE SOUTH CAROLINA HIGHER EDUCATION EXCELLENCE ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM that is funded with Education Lottery proceeds for the purpose of enhancing the educational opportunities of low income and educationally disadvantaged students, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation expands the criteria for institutions eligible to participate in the South Carolina Higher Education Excellence Enhancement Program so as to include: an institution that offers at least one nonsectarian program at the baccalaureate level; an institution that meets criteria for having a predominately female enrollment; and an institution that receives Title III funding and is accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the United States Department of Education. Provisions are included for the Commission on Higher Education to conduct an annual review of funds allocated to schools to ensure that they are being used appropriately.

The House approved S.1049, relating to the REINSTATEMENT OF MARKETING COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes provisions that allow marketing cooperative associations to seek reinstatement from the Secretary of State within two years of expiration.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5020, a bill declaring the third Saturday in May of each year as “SOUTH CAROLINA DAY OF SERVICE” when all South Carolinians are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand to make a positive difference in our great state.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3989, the “PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RIGHT TO PARENT ACT” which establishes protections for the parenting rights of persons with disabilities. The legislation: establishes requirements and safeguards in child custody, child protection, and probate guardianship proceedings; prevents people with disabilities from being denied their right to parent, or have custody of, children; prohibits child placing agencies, adoption service providers, and assisted reproductive technology service providers from denying disabled people access to services; requires assessments, and evaluations, of certain people with disabilities in probate and family court proceedings; requires consideration of ways to accommodate disabilities to better enable disabled persons to parent a child adequately; requires consideration of a parent’s or legal guardian’s disability to avoid the removal of the child as well as preserve or reunify a family; allows access to adaptive parenting equipment, instruction on adaptive parenting techniques, and reasonable accommodations with regard to accessing services that are available to nondisabled parents or legal guardians; and requires that reasonable efforts must be individualized based on the specific needs of the parent’s or legal guardian’s disability.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4510, a bill establishing LIMITATIONS ON THE NUMBER OF FOSTER CHILDREN WHO MAY BE PLACED IN A FOSTER HOME. The legislation allows a foster home to provide full-time care for up to eight children, with up to five of them being foster children. The exceptions to this maximum number include keeping a sibling group together, allowing children to remain in their home community, returning a child to a home that was a previous placement for them, complying with a court order, and any placement in the best interest of the child.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4262, legislation revising FAMILY CHILDCARE HOME training and registration requirements. Beginning July 1, 2017, the legislation increases hours of training from two to ten for operators of family childcare homes, employees or contractors with operators of family childcare homes. The legislation incorporates these training requirements and provides for other revisions within the criteria that the Department of Social Services uses in determining whether to deny an application for a statement of registration, deny an application for a renewal of registration, work with a family childcare home operator to resolve a concern, or withdraw a statement of registration. DSS shall consider previous applications and the circumstances of prior inspections or withdrawals of registration as factors to be considered in the application process; however, a prior concern does not prohibit the department from granting the family childcare home a statement or renewal of registration if the department is satisfied the concern has been resolved.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3036, a bill declaring January 17 of each year as “EARTHA KITT DAY” in South Carolina in honor of the late Eartha Mae Kitt, nationally and internationally known actress, singer, and native South Carolinian and to promote cultural tourism in the state in order to enhance the economic well being and improve the quality of life of all South Carolinians.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4944, a bill REQUIRING THAT GENERAL ELECTIONS BE HELD FOR UNCONTESTED MUNICIPAL RACES by eliminating an exception that currently allows a general election not to be conducted to fill a municipal office when only one person has filed for the office and no one has filed a declaration to be a write in candidate.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4535, a bill REPEALING OBSOLETE LAWS. The legislation repeals various outdated South Carolina Code provisions relating to: assisting in duels and challenges for such combat; seduction under promise of marriage; adultery and fornication; adventuring in lotteries; unlawful operation of public dance halls on Sundays; supplanted provisions for unlawful work on Sundays and the prohibited sale of certain items on Sundays; a prohibition on railroads removing their lines from towns with more than five hundred inhabitants; the unlawful removal of hand or lever cars from tracks and leaving them near crossings; and, a prohibition on minors playing pinball. The legislation includes provisions that the repeal or amendment of any law by this act does not affect any pending actions, rights, duties, or liabilities.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4124, a bill UPDATING STATE MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES TERMINOLOGY, including a substitution of the term ‘law enforcement officer’ for the term ‘marshal’ and ‘Department of Mental Health’ for obsolete references to the ‘Mental Health Commission’ in order to reflect current Department operations.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4542, the “EXPERIMENTAL HEALTH CARE TREATMENT LAW” which provides authorization for physicians to prescribe certain promising experimental treatments to an eligible patient who has considered all available approved treatments for an advanced illness that has been medically determined to be irreversible and, without life sustaining measures, likely to result in death within six months. The provisions apply only to an investigational drug, biological product, or device that has successfully completed phase one of an FDA approved clinical trial but remains under further investigation in federal clinical trials and has not yet been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The House refused to grant free conference powers on H.3114, the ”SOUTH CAROLINA PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT” which establishes a prohibition on the performance of abortions beginning at twenty weeks following fertilization.

The House approved and sent to the Senate H.5064, a joint resolution directing the Department of Health and Environmental Control to conduct or commission a feasibility study concerning the most efficient and cost effective manner of PROVIDING CLEAN DRINKING WATER TO THE RESIDENTS OF WADMALAW ISLAND IN CHARLESTON COUNTY without the use of wells with the potential for contamination.

The House adopted S.1009, a concurrent resolution to respectfully and humbly issue a “CALL TO PRAYER” FOR THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA and invite her citizens everywhere to pray that God will continue to bless this country, our noble state and the freedoms for which they stand.

The House adopted S.1079, a concurrent resolution to honor our senior nutrition programs, the seniors they serve, and the volunteers who care for them and to declare March 2016 as “MARCH FOR MEALS MONTH” in South Carolina.

The House adopted and sent the Senate H.5083, a concurrent resolution TO REMEMBER ALL THE CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES WHO WERE KILLED IN THE HOLOCAUST, TO HONOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS AND THEIR RESCUERS AND LIBERATORS, and to mark the unveiling of the Permanent Butterfly Memorial Monument in Myrtle Beach that will commemorate them for both present and future generations.

The House adopted and sent the Senate H.5085, a concurrent resolution to recognize that abuse and neglect of children is a significant problem, to commend the important work being done to combat this serious problem, and to declare Tuesday, April 26, 2016, as “CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY CENTER DAY” in South Carolina.