Weekly Rewind: Week of March 4th


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

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
March 7, 2014

The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H.4576, a joint resolution AUTHORIZING SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO FORGIVE UP TO FIVE DAYS MISSED THIS SCHOOL YEAR DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. Under the legislation, the governing body of a school district may waive the requirement that schools make up full days missed due to inclement weather for five or fewer full school days that students who attend schools or charter schools in the district missed due to inclement weather during the 2013 2014 school year. However, before a school district makes use of this authority to waive make-up days, it must exhaust all of the statutorily required make up days remaining on the 2013-2014 school calendar. When a district waives a make up day under this legislation, the make up day also is waived for any student participating in a home schooling program approved by the board of trustees of the district in which the student resides.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3027 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides for the EXPANSION OF THE OWNER OCCUPIED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT RATIO ELIGIBILITY FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL. The legislation provides that an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States who receives the special assessment ratio for owner occupied residential property retains this four percent assessment ratio as long as the owner remains on active duty, regardless of the owner’s subsequent relocation or change of duty station and regardless of any rental income attributable to the property. The legislation also provides that an eligible active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces who receives orders for a permanent change of station or a temporary duty assignment for at least one year, may claim the four percent assessment ratio and applicable exemptions for two residential properties located in the State for up to two years so long as the owner is attempting to sell the first acquired residence. These provisions also include the spouse of the service member who jointly owns the qualifying property.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3089 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides for a maximum three thousand dollar a year INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX DEDUCTION FOR VOLUNTEER STATE CONSTABLES.

The House returned S.19 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation revises BAIL AND BOND PROVISIONS in criminal court proceedings, including more stringent bond provisions that apply to someone who is charged with committing a violent crime while already out on bond for a previous violent offense. This legislation requires a bond hearing to occur within thirty days in circuit court if a person out on bond for a violent offense is charged with another violent offense not arising out of the same series of events as the initial violent offense charged. If the judge finds at this hearing that there are no conditions of release that will ensure that the person is unlikely to flee or pose a danger to the community, the legislation requires the judge not to set bond for the most recent offense and to revoke the bond for the initial offense. In such circumstances, notice of the second arrest must be sent to the solicitor of the circuit in which the crime was committed and the circuit’s administrative chief judge, and the prosecuting agency must make the required notifications about bond hearings to any victims of the initial or subsequent crimes. Additionally, the legislation brings greater uniformity to the statutory lists of considerations that judges and magistrates use for setting bond. The legislation adds the requirement that both judges and magistrates consider whether the charged person appears in the state gang database maintained at the State Law Enforcement Division when making a determination about bond. The legislation allows someone to post bond with the jail or detention center in jurisdictions that are equipped to receive such payments.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3428, a bill that provides for the REAUTHORIZATION OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA FIRST STEPS TO SCHOOL READINESS INITIATIVE and makes revisions to this initiative for providing enhanced early childhood development, education, and family support services to enable children to reach school ready to achieve academic success. The legislation provides that, before July 1, 2015, the Education Oversight Committee, in consultation with the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees and other early childhood advocates, is required to recommend to the State Board of Education an assessment to evaluate and measure the school readiness of students prior to their entrance into a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten program. This research-based assessment must evaluate each child’s early language and literacy development, numeracy skills, physical well being, social and emotional development, and approaches to learning. The school readiness assessment adopted by the State Board of Education may not be used to deny a student admission or progress to kindergarten or first grade and results of individual students may not be publicly reported. Every student entering the public schools for the first time in prekindergarten and kindergarten must be administered a readiness screening by the forty fifth day of the school year. The First Steps Board shall utilize the annual aggregate literacy and other readiness assessment information in establishing standards and practices to support all early childhood providers served by First Steps. The legislation includes new requirements for the First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees to develop a school readiness description, program objectives, and benchmarks for measuring progress, and then subject them to an evaluation every five years. The legislation makes some revisions to the composition of the First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees and emphasizes diverse geographical representation on this governing board through the appointment of individuals from each congressional district. The legislation codifies duties of the First Steps Board relating to serving as South Carolina Advisory Council for Head Start as well as ensuring that BabyNet complies with the maintenance of effort requirement by coordinating with agencies that provide early intervention. The legislation redesignates the office of First Steps to School Readiness as a state agency, makes its director subject to the authority of the Agency Head Salary Commission, and provides for new duties that include conducting data collection and evaluating each program funded by the First Steps Board on a regular cycle to determine its effectiveness and whether it should continue to receive funding. The legislation replaces the strict county-by-county organizational structure for First Steps partnerships with new authority for local partnerships to collaborate in a manner they determine will maximize the efficient and effective provision of services and programs to children and their families. The legislation includes provisions for the First Steps Board to establish bylaws for use by each local partnership board and for each local partnership board to maintain a total minimum membership of twelve and a maximum membership of thirty elected, appointed, and designated individuals. The legislation includes provisions for the First Steps Board to establish grant qualification requirements and a funding formula, which includes the identification of the most relevant and effective factors, by which the allocations for qualifying local partnership grants are calculated. As a condition of receiving state funds, each local partnership must be subject to performance reviews by the South Carolina First Steps agency that addresses such matters as local board functioning and collaboration and compliance with state standards and fiscal accountability. At least seventy five percent of state funds appropriated for programs must be used by the local partnership for evidence based programs designated by the First Steps Board as meeting such criteria as being grounded in published, peer reviewed research linked to determined outcomes. Not more than twenty five percent of state funds appropriated may be used for evidence informed programs which do not meet the strict criteria needed for designation as evidence based programs but which the First Steps Board determines to be supported by research that indicates potential effectiveness.
The legislation subjects each prevalent program investment to an independent evaluation under a five-year review cycle in order to gauge First Steps’ progress in meeting its goals.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4749, a joint resolution on the selection of the EARLY LITERACY ASSESSMENT FOR KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS. This legislation requires the State Board of Education immediately, in consultation with the Department of Education, the Office of First Steps to School Readiness, the Education Oversight Committee, and other stakeholders, begin to consider which assessment must be used to analyze the early literacy competencies of children in state-funded full-day and half-day four-year-old kindergarten programs and of all children entering kindergarten programs in public schools during the 2014-2015 school year. The assessment must be the same or aligned to assessments intended to provide diagnostic information to teachers and measure student growth over time. The legislation requires the board to report to the General Assembly on the assessment it has selected as well as any comprehensive kindergarten readiness assessment standard chosen to replace it.

Note: I have provided links above directly to bills listed above. For bills appearing below this section, you may visit www.scstatehouse.gov and simply type the bill number and use the search feature to view the legislation.

The House returned S.148 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation establishes IDENTITY THEFT SAFEGUARDS FOR PROTECTED CONSUMERS, a special class of consumers composed of children as well as adults who are incapacitated or otherwise under another’s guardianship. To help prevent the identities of these protected consumers from being stolen and used for such purposes as opening fraudulent credit accounts, the legislation establishes requirements for consumer reporting agencies to place security freezes on the records of those under the age of sixteen as well as incapacitated individuals and protected individuals for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed upon the request of parents or other representatives who can produce sufficient proof of their authority to act on behalf of the protected consumers. A consumer reporting agency may not charge any fees for implementing security freezes for protected consumers or for creating any consumer credit files needed to implement such security freezes.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4347, the “SOUTH CAROLINA CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY MEDICAL RESPONSE SYSTEM ACT”. This legislation creates the South Carolina Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System, under the administration of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, to provide statewide coordination and medical service resources, assisting and collaborating with children’s advocacy centers and state agencies charged with the investigation, assessment, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse or neglect for children in the state. The program is charged with developing, supporting, and maintaining a consistent quality standard of care and practice for services intrinsic to the assessment of children who are suspected victims of abuse or neglect, such as medical expert witness services and forensic medical examinations, assessments, and diagnoses. The program is responsible for providing guidance on the training of health care providers participating in the forensic medical assessment of suspected victims of child abuse or neglect, the reporting of findings, and when a forensic medical assessment should be obtained by the South Carolina Department of Social Services and law enforcement agencies. The program is required to collect and manage data from participating health care providers, children’s advocacy centers, and children’s hospitals for the purposes of establishing quality assurance programs, research, and public policy guidance.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4788, a bill designating the second Sunday in August as “SPIRIT OF ‘45 DAY” to commemorate the anniversary of the end of
World War II.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4403, a bill designating January seventeenth of each year, the birthday of the late actress, singer, and native South Carolinian Eartha Mae Kitt, as “EARTHA KITT DAY” in South Carolina.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4560, a bill pertaining to MATERIAL SUBJECT TO AN ORDER FOR DESTRUCTION OF ARREST RECORDS OR EXPUNGEMENT. This legislation provides that evidence gathered, incident reports, and investigative files produced as a result of a law enforcement action or investigation must be retained, under seal, by the agency for future investigative purposes or any other law enforcement purpose for a period not to exceed three years from the date of the expungement order and are not subject to an order for destruction of arrest records. Provided, however, specific language indicating a subject has been arrested or charged with a crime must be redacted from the incident report following a no conviction disposition of such criminal charge. A violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor. Additionally, this legislation includes any associated bench warrant among records that must be destroyed when charges are dismissed or expunged and allows expungement provisions to apply to someone who has been under investigation for a criminal offense.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4364, a bill requiring PUBLICATION OF CHANGES IN VOTING PROCEDURES. This legislation requires the executive director of the State Election Commission to publish on the commission’s website each change to voting procedures by act or joint resolution of the General Assembly, or by ordinance of a political subdivision of the State, relating to the election laws of the State together with a brief explanation, if necessary, of each such enactment. Enactments and any accompanying explanations published on the commission’s website must remain on the commission’s website at least through the date of the next general election.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3563, a bill making REVISIONS TO THE “SOUTH CAROLINA SELF-SERVICE STORAGE FACILITY ACT”, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation revises the provisions for how the owner of property kept in a self-service storage facility can be placed in default for failure to pay rent and how the storage facility owner can sell or otherwise dispose of the defaulting occupant’s property. The legislation revises notification requirements for this process including new authorization to provide notices by electronic mail.

The House approved S.699 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation codifies an additional INSPECTION FEE ON THE DISTRIBUTION OR SALE OF COMMERCIAL FERTILIZER in the amount of one dollar a ton that has been imposed through budget provisos since 2009. All revenues of the fee must be retained and expended by the Division of Regulatory and Public Service Programs of Clemson University (Clemson PSA).

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3134, a bill relating to MORTGAGE SATISFACTIONS. This legislation provides definitions for terms related to methods of entering a satisfaction of mortgage in the public records. Also, the legislation provides a procedure and form for use in execution that simplifies the current process of entering a satisfaction of mortgage in the public records without being required to provide the original debt instrument.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4604, a bill providing for an EXEMPTION FROM ENGINEER LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR PERFORMING CERTAIN MANUFACTURING COMPANY ACTIVITIES. The legislation revises exemptions from the licensure requirement to practice engineering, so as to provide an exemption for the activities of full time employees of a manufacturing company or other personnel under the direct supervision and control of the manufacturing company or its subsidiary, on or in connection with activities related to the research, development, design, fabrication, production, assembly, integration, installation, or service of products manufactured by the manufacturing company. This exemption does not apply to activities where the seal of a professional engineer is expressly required by statute, regulation, or building code, or to engineering services offered to the public.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4578, a bill STREAMLINING THE PLAN APPROVAL, INSPECTION, AND CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL MODULAR BUILDINGS. The legislation makes revisions to the South Carolina Modular Buildings Construction Act to allow a third-party approved inspection agency to perform final plan review and approval, inspection, and certification of a single family residential modular building. A copy of the approved plan must be filed with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, after which time the department may issue the necessary certification labels for units manufactured to the approved plan. For commercial or multifamily modular buildings, an approved inspection agency shall perform initial plan review and approval, inspection, and certification and the plans are then submitted to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for final plan review and approval.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4644, a bill CONFORMING THE SOUTH CAROLINA REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS LICENSE AND CERTIFICATION ACT TO NEW NATIONAL UNIFORM STANDARDS for licensing, certifying, and recertifying real estate appraisers that provide for new minimum education and experience requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4643, a bill relating to PROFESSIONAL LICENSING FEES COLLECTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING AND REGULATION. The legislation repeals statutory provisions setting professional licensing fees for contractors and speech pathologists and audiologists so that these fees may be set through regulation rather than statute, as is the case with the other professional licensing fees administered by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4550, a bill that updates the LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR NURSING HOME AND COMMUNITY RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY (CRCF) ADMINISTRATORS. The bill specifies that the “related health care administration” experience needed to qualify for a Nursing Home Administrator license does not include experience in an independent living community. It also allows an applicant to qualify for a Nursing Home Administrator license if he or she has a health-related associates degree from an accredited college and three years of practical experience in nursing home administration. Among other things, the bill allows an applicant who is a licensed practical nurse who has at least one year (minimum 384 hours) supervised on-site work experience with supervisory to qualify for a CRCF license. The bill also preserves the existing grandfather clause for CRCF administrators without a college degree who became licensed prior to July 1, 2000.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4561, a bill authorizing the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to enter into an INTERSTATE BOATING VIOLATOR COMPACT that assists law enforcement in enforcing boating laws on watercraft that cross lines of jurisdiction as they travel through the waters of this state and neighboring states.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4551, a bill providing that it is UNLAWFUL TO TAKE OR POSSESS A GREAT WHITE SHARK. Any great white shark that is caught must be released immediately and must remain completely in the water at all times while being released.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4543, a bill revising FISHING RESTRICTIONS ON BLUE CATFISH that alters the limitations on sizes and daily catch limits. A new daily possession limit of not more than ten blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is established for Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, and the upper reach of the Santee River.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4574, a bill relating to WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM OPERATOR TRAINEE REQUIREMENTS. In an effort to address the shortage of qualified water treatment operators and water distribution system operators, the bill eliminates the requirements that a Trainee Water Treatment System Operator applicant be at least 18 years old and have completed high school or the equivalent in order to participate in the trainee program.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4345, a bill revising the point system for violations relating to hunting and fishing to provide that TRESPASSING TO HUNT OR TRAP is a fourteen-point violation.

The House approved S.558 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF WATERCRAFT ON LAKES WILLIAM C. BOWEN AND H. TAYLOR BLALOCK in Spartanburg County.

The House rejected H.4731, a bill revising provisions for TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES FOR HEARING AND SPEECH IMPAIRED PEOPLE so that the surcharges supporting these programs would be imposed not only on traditional land line telephones, as is now the case, but also on the full array of telecommunications services offered in the contemporary market, including commercial mobile radio service (CMRS), prepaid wireless service, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.