The Weekly Rewind: Week of March 8th

House Floor Review
March 10, 2022

The House set H. 5150, the General Appropriation Bill, and H. 5151, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, for special order on Monday, March 14, to begin its consideration of the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 State Government Budget on the House Floor.

Approved by the House, and sent to the Senate, was H. 4601, County Minimum Ambulance Service Standards. County councils would need to have at least one licensed ambulance service operating within its county under this proposal. They will not have to fund them if the private sector provides the service. Cities could set up, or contract for, these services as well. Mutual agreements are permitted to ensure these minimum service levels are met.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 4837, a bill establishing requirements and authorization that allows a not-for-profit program to operate optometry mobile units to visit Title I public schools and provide services onsite to their students.

The House recommitted H. 4946, legislation which states beginning July 1, 2022, the Department of Agriculture will establish the South Carolina Agricultural Tax Exemption (SCATE) Card Program as the sole method for obtaining farm and agricultural sales tax exemptions.

The House received message from the Senate that the Conference Report for H. 3308 was adopted and enrolled for ratification. The bill increases the watercraft idle speed wake distance on certain lakes.

The House returned S. 1090 to the Senate with amendments. The bill explicitly reaffirms the Department of Employment and Workforce’s authority to set a weekly maximum amount of unemployment benefits that an individual may receive in a week for the legitimate legislative purpose of ensuring the solvency of the unemployment insurance trust fund and that there are adequate funds to pay unemployment insurance benefits to individuals unemployed through no fault of their own. The maximum weekly benefit amount set each year by DEW within the range established in statute must be published on the Department’s website. The legislation identifies the statutory procedure for reconsideration of benefit determinations as the sole and exclusive procedure and remedy for disputing the Department’s determination of an insured worker’s weekly benefit amount.

After adopting the proposed Committee amendment, the House amended and sent H. 3600 to the Senate. Those House amendments made minimal changes regarding highway crossing and helmet requirements. H. 3600 extensively addresses the subject of utility terrain vehicles (UTV).

This bill would define the term utility terrain vehicle and provide for the registration and operation on highways and streets (to include side-by-side, four-wheel drive, off-road vehicle, transporting individuals and cargo or both, tires, width, steering and seating). The bill also addresses speed and engine power parameters to ensure they are over the size of UTVs designed for young people. UTVs must be registered like a passenger vehicle. They would be exempt from county property tax and subject for registration renewal biennially. They are subject to user fees for electric, hydrogen, and fuels other than motor fuel. Other requirements are: unobscured license plate, registration, proof of ownership, liability insurance and a ten-dollar biennial fee. UTVs may only travel on roads with a fifty-five mph speed limit or less, but UTVs may cross at an intersection where the road has a posted speed limit of more than fifty-five miles an hour. It may be operated on an island road not accessible by a bridge designed for use by automobile. Operator must be at least sixteen years old and hold a valid driver’s license. The operator must have in his possession while operating on a street or highway: license plate and registration certificate, proof of liability insurance and driver’s license. If the operator is sixteen and holds a conditional driver’s license, the vehicle may only be driven during daylight hours. Registered UTVs may not be operated by anyone who holds a beginner’s permit holder, even if accompanied by a licensed driver, a moped operator’s permit, a temporary alcohol license, a route restricted license, a provisional driver’s license; or solely a motorcycle license. No child under eight years old may be a passenger in a registered UTV while operated on a road. Drivers and passengers are required to have helmets and googles. Registered UTVs must be equipped with Type 2 seat belt assembly (pelvic and upper torso restraints), operable headlights, brake lights, taillights and turn signals. Drivers and passengers of a registered UTV, while being operated on a roadway, must wear a fastened safety belt.

SCDMV must not register or renew the registration of a UTV unless a certificate of title has been issued to owner or application delivered by owner to SCDMV. The SCDMV may require a bill of sale, invoice, or other sales document to properly title. Certificates of titles issued under this subsection must be branded “off road use only.” UTVs are exempt from the State Infrastructure Tax, but subject to sales tax.

H. 4534 Legal Scrap Metal Purchasing and Transportation was approved and sent to the Senate after receiving three readings in the House.

This proposal would revise the process and restrictions on nonferrous metal purchases, transportation, and sales. Nonferrous metals include copper. Secondary metal recyclers would not be able to buy iron or steel manhole covers, drainage gates, evaporation coils, or condensing coils unless the material is from a properly documented replacement, or maintenance project.

It also seeks to update various criminal offenses associated with nonferrous metals, including redefining “intent” and clarifying other aspects of these violations. One important aspect is the presumption created by employees who violate the requirements of this act. They will be considered to have acted outside the scope and course of their employment in committing their violations.
It will also require county sheriffs to issue permits to non-fixed site secondary metal recyclers who meet permit application criteria as specified in this bill. Catalytic converter purchases must be accompanied by a long list of related information in order to be considered to be legal buys. Fixed site secondary metal recyclers will be required to post specified warning signs for viewing by sellers visiting their businesses.

The House approved and sent the Senate H. 3271 Name Change Residency Prerequisites. Under this bill, name change petitions could not be filed until a petitioner has resided in South Carolina for at least six months.

The Senate has been sent H. 3509 after the House amended it further and gave it third reading. This proposed legislation could extend foster care past age eighteen. Certain children still in SC Department of Social Services custody on their eighteenth birthday could continue to receive these services and support until they turn twenty-one. They include students still pursuing secondary, post-secondary or vocational education. Also included are alternately-abled children, those in vocational rehabilitation, or those working at least eight hours per month. It also expands the definition of what would be considered a “foster family home.”

In order to extend their foster home residency, these children would have to make written application to SC DSS. Children disqualified from receiving services past eighteenth would have to be informed of their right to appeal to the agency, unless they already have a case pending in the family court that can hear this issue. Children without private attorneys could request one from the Commission on Indigent Defense. It was amended further to make its effective date contingent upon funding being budgeted.

The House passed, and sent to the Senate, H. 3950–Boat and Motor Owners Transfer On Death Designees. This bill would allow boat and motor purchasers to file transfer on death [TOD] applications to designate who will own them after they die. As appropriate, either the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles or the Department of Natural Resources will maintain these records (and receive documents when the owner or owners pass away and the designated beneficiary becomes the owner of these items).

Second reading was given to H. 4321 Third Party Workers’ Compensation Claim Notices. Any notice requirements for filing these actions against third parties would be permissive rather than mandatory if this bill is enacted. It also would repeal the existing one-year statute of limitations for filing third party actions.

The House amended S. 947 and sent it to the Senate. The bill exempts the electric cooperatives of South Carolina from being regulated as a driving school by exempting an association formed by a group of electric cooperatives pursuant to the extent that it trains member cooperative employees. The House amendment allows that all driver training schools licensed as pertaining to this chapter may offer financial assistance to students who attend public South Carolina high schools to cover the fees associated with the business of training or educating persons to drive or operate motor vehicles.

The House non-concurred in Senate amendments to H. 3590. The bill would provide that public school districts may hire noncertified teachers if a certified teacher is not available (if certain circumstances and requirements are met).

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 3859, a bill addressing the electronic dissemination of third-party commercial recordings or audiovisual works. The legislation requires someone who owns or operates a website or online service dealing in the electronic dissemination of third-party commercial recordings or audiovisual works, directly or indirectly, and who electronically disseminates the works to consumers in this state to disclose clearly and conspicuously his correct name, physical address, telephone number, and e-mail address on his website or online service. The legislation establishes a private cause of action for violations, and provides that a violation constitutes an unfair trade practice. The legislation is supplemental to state and federal criminal and civil law.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 4161, a bill that revises provisions relating to prohibited gaming machines to allow manufacturers to produce gaming machines and equipment designated for out-of-state use. The legislation allows for the development, manufacture, processing, selling, possessing, provision of technical aid, or transporting of any printed materials, gaming equipment, devices, or other materials, software, or hardware used or designated for use in out-of-state jurisdictions by a gaming device manufacturer. In order to make use of this authority, a gaming device manufacturer must be in compliance with state and local business requirements and must be registered with the South Carolina Secretary of State’s Office and the United States Department of Justice Gambling Device Registration Unit.

The House amended, approved and sent to the Senate H. 4866, a joint resolution to provide for a three-year pilot program for public school-based canneries. The resolution outlines that the Department of Education, in conjunction with the Food Systems and Safety Program of the Clemson Extension Service, shall plan, develop, institute, and oversee a pilot program of three public school-based community canning sites where the general public may bring locally grown produce to be canned for their personal use. The purpose of this program is to enable families to safely preserve and store food grown by them for personal consumption through the use of research-based information, procedures and instruction concerning canning food and the use of industrial grade equipment and supplies that allow for faster processing of fruits and vegetables on a larger scale than can be done at home. These public school based community canneries shall provide community training programs for food preservation using canning. Use of the canning facilities and canning supplies must be provided to the community with limits on the amount available per family.

The resolution also outlines that community members using the facilities must sign an agreement not to sell any of the food that is canned at the cannery. The pilot program will run from Year 2023 to 2026. The bill provides for responsibilities of Clemson Extension and the Department of Education. A performance report must be provided before January 1, 2026. The report will address each cannery and make recommendations regarding whether the program should be continued. The provisions of this joint resolution only may be enforced when the General Assembly appropriates the necessary funding.

The House approved H. 3537, adopting the proposed amendment by the Committee, giving the bill third reading and sending it to the Senate. This legislation outlines that provisions of any homeowners’ association (HOA) governing documents may not prohibit the installation of a flagpole for the display of the flag of the United States or South Carolina. However, the governing documents may include reasonable rules and regulations regarding the location and size of the flagpole.

S. 628, a bill that enacts the “Pharmacy Access Act,” was recalled and referred to the Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.

The House amended and gave second reading to H. 3958, legislation that outlines that a coroner is considered a public safety officer if killed in the line of duty in counties which have both a coroner and a medical examiner. In addition, the bill adds that a coroner or designee may possess and administer an opioid antidote in accordance with the requirements of the “South Carolina Overdose Prevention Act.”

The House also approved S. 973, a bill to incorporate all amendments made to code sections in Volume 21 of our South Carolina Code into one volume. After the House adopted this Senate bill, it was enrolled for ratification.