Weekly Rewind: Week of May 15th


(Published by the Office of Research of the House of Representatives)

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
May 18, 2012

The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H.3152, a PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ALLOWING THE JOINT ELECTION OF THE GOVERNOR AND THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, and enrolled the joint resolution for ratification. Under the proposed amendment to the South Carolina Constitution, a gubernatorial candidate would select a running mate to fill the position of Lieutenant Governor in a manner similar to the election of the President and Vice President at the national level. The General Assembly shall provide by law the manner in which a candidate for Lieutenant Governor is selected. The legislation also proposes to revise the role that the Lieutenant Governor plays under the state’s constitution by eliminating the office’s legislative duties and revising the manner in which vacancies in the office of Lieutenant Governor are to be filled. The proposal eliminates the Lieutenant Governor’s authority to serve as President of the Senate and cast tie-breaking votes in that body. Instead, the Senate would, every four years, elect from among its members a President to preside over the Senate and perform other duties as provided by law. The proposal eliminates the constitutional role of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, who is currently called upon to fill a vacancy in the office of Lieutenant Governor. In the case of the removal of the Lieutenant Governor from office by impeachment, death, resignation, disqualification, disability, or removal from the State, the legislation provides that the Governor would appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, a successor to fulfill the unexpired term. The proposed constitutional amendment is to be placed on the ballot at the upcoming general election and, should the proposal be approved by the state’s voters in November and subsequently ratified by the General Assembly, the joint election of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, along with the other changes, would commence with the 2018 general election.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4761, a bill revising FARM TRUCK AND COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE PROVISIONS, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises definitions and other provisions so that farm trucks and other smaller, lighter commercial vehicles and trailers will not be subject to the more stringent requirements that new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations impose upon commercial trucks. The legislation also specifies that the Transport Police Division of the Department of Public Safety has exclusive authority in this state for enforcement of the commercial motor vehicle carrier laws, which include Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Hazardous Material Regulations, and size and weight laws and regulations.

The House approved S.1149, the “BORN ALIVE INFANT PROTECTION ACT”, and enrolled the bill for ratification. This legislation provides that, in determining the meaning of any act or joint resolution of the General Assembly or any regulation, the words ‘person’, ‘human being’, ‘child’, and ‘individual’ must, unless otherwise defined, include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. The term ‘born alive’, with respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the complete expulsion or extraction from the mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after the expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion. Nothing in this legislation may be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point before being born alive.

The House insisted upon its amendments to H.3066, the “SOUTH CAROLINA RESTRUCTURING ACT OF 2012”, and appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on the legislation.

The House did not concur in Senate amendments to H.3730, legislation that provides for COMMERCIAL FUR LICENSES and makes other revisions relating to hunting and trapping. A conference committee was appointed to address differences with the Senate on the legislation.

The House returned S.105, which creates an AGRITOURISM AND TOURISM ORIENTED SIGNAGE PROGRAM, to the Senate with amendments. This legislation directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to create and supervise a coordinated, self-funded, statewide program providing directional signs along the state’s major rural highways and non-interstate scenic byways leading to tourism and agritourism-oriented facilities. Participating facilities are responsible for the cost of the signs and their installation and maintenance. The statewide program shall be operated according to standards and regulations consistent with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices authorized to be adopted and promulgated by DOT. DOT shall coordinate with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) to allow those departments to promote tourism and agritourism facilities participating in this directional signage program. The criteria for selection of qualified agritourism facilities shall be recommended by the Department of Agriculture and the criteria for the selection of qualified tourism facilities shall be recommended by PRT to be incorporated into DOT regulations. The approval of applications for signs for agritourism and tourism oriented facilities must be determined by an oversight committee composed of representatives from these government agencies and representatives from the state’s tourism and outdoor advertising industries. The Department of Agriculture and PRT must develop logos to be utilized for the signage. These logos may be used by the departments for other promotional purposes associated with tourism and agritourism. S.105 also provides that it is UNLAWFUL FOR ANY PERSON TO CAMP, SET FIRES, OR COOK ON A HIGHWAY. A violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100, or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or such other lesser disposition, penalty, or non penalty as the court determines.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3417, relating to the authority to establish SPECIAL PURPOSE OR PUBLIC SERVICE DISTRICTS, and enrolled the bill for ratification. This legislation authorizes the formation of a fire protection district with or without rescue response services related to the provision of fire services.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3259, which pertains to OPERATING GOLF CARTS ALONG THE STATE’S HIGHWAYS, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation establishes a procedure that authorizes golf cart owners to obtain a permit decal and registration from the Department of Motor Vehicles, upon presenting proof of ownership and liability insurance for the golf cart and upon payment of a five dollar fee, which allows for the limited operation of the golf cart during daylight hours on a secondary highway or street for which the posted speed limit is no more than thirty five miles an hour within a set area that is nearby their residence, nearby the entrance to their gated community, or on an island that is not accessible by a bridge designed for use by automobiles.