Update on I76 off Exit 97


View heading towards I26 by Food Lion

Two weeks ago, DOT let me know what was causing the issues that made our road seem like we were driving in a 3rd world country. And ironically, while I was away last week IN a 3rd world country for a mission trip, DOT called to let me know work would be done this week.

Many have already seen (driven) the work and – like most things in life – most are happy, others are still not.

What was done is only temporary until the permanent fix can be put on a state project list and take place.

What is that permanent fix? In layman’s terms “ripping up the entire road…10 inches deep!!….and laying new foundation, layers, etc”. The engineers at DOT say this stretch has an unusual amount of moisture that keeps finding it’s way through the layers and causing “pockets” in the road.

You’ll remember 2 years ago the road was smooth as a baby’s bottom….and then, after time, pockets started popping up.

Projects of this magnitude usually take 2 years to get approved. I’m hopefully I can work with DOT to get on the list sooner than that…but, things don’t happen as quickly as I’d like sometimes.

It’s not perfect, but it’s better than what we had. Let’s see how the current patch work holds up over the next year. As a tightwad, I’m always concerned about costs and that’s why as much as it pains me to hear, ripping the whole thing up to finally resolve the problem may be best for our cars/families…and tax payer dollars. But doing it once, compared to multiple patches year after year, would save money.

The Weekly Rewind – Week of February 4th

Nathan’s News readers are aware that I regularly share a “Week in Review” update which is prepared by legislative staff. It’s straight forward, no spin, not partisan…just the facts.

If you want a more personable read, be sure to read a similar update that I write each week in The New Irmo News. Representative Huggins and I rotate weeks throughout the session so that the entire Irmo/Chapin community can stay informed!

*To read the text of any bill mentioned below, please visit www.scstatehouse.gov and enter the bill number in the search box *

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
February 7, 2020

The House of Representatives and the Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.3357 and the bill was enrolled for ratification. The legislation allows for a HEARING IMPAIRMENT NOTATION ON A MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION as a means of providing law enforcement officers with information that could prevent misunderstandings during traffic stops and other interactions. The legislation establishes a procedure that allows drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles to have a notation added to their private passenger carrying motor vehicle registration. This special motor vehicle registration notation would only appear when a law enforcement check is run on the vehicle’s license plate through the department’s online interface with law enforcement to alert the officer that the driver may be deaf or hard of hearing.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to S.996 and the legislation was ratified and signed by the Governor. This joint resolution authorizes an EXTENSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CANDIDATE SCREENING to provide an opportunity to find additional qualified candidates to present to the General Assembly for election to the commission that oversees public utilities. The legislation authorizes an extension in screening for candidates for PSC Seats 1, 3, 5, and 7 that allows the Public Utilities Review Committee to accept applications for a time period beginning Monday, February 3, 2020, through noon on Friday, February 28, 2020. Provisions are made for advertising these positions. In screening candidates for the PSC and making its findings, the Review Committee is directed to find the best qualified people by considering candidates’ ability, dedication, compassion, common sense, and integrity as well as their race, gender, and other demographic factors to assure nondiscrimination, inclusion, and representation to the greatest extent possible of all segments of the population of this state.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4209, a bill that creates the SOUTH CAROLINA FARM AID FUND to receive appropriations from the General Assembly along with private donations and establishes a protocol for using this fund to operate a grant program for providing financial assistance to farmers should the state again experience disastrous flooding or another type of catastrophic weather event. Under the grant program, financial assistance is limited to farmers who experience a verifiable loss of agricultural commodities of at least forty percent due to a catastrophic weather event. A grant may not exceed twenty percent of the farmer’s verifiable loss with a total cap of one hundred thousand dollars. Grant awards must be used for agricultural production expenses and losses due to the catastrophic weather event which demonstrate an intent to continue the agricultural operation, such as the purchase of seeds and fertilizer. The financial assistance may not be used to purchase new equipment. A Farm Aid Advisory Board is established to make recommendations and assist the Department of Agriculture in the administration of the grant program.

The House approved S.525 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation eliminates the sunset date for an environmental impact fee so that it will no longer expire on December 31, 2026, and will instead continue to fund the SUPERB ACCOUNT, which is used to address environmental clean up costs should an underground petroleum tank leak.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4831, a bill STRENGTHENING LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR NATIVE REPTILE AND AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS to counter illicit trade operations that collect these animals, notably South Carolina’s box turtles, and export them for sale. With certain exceptions, the legislation makes it unlawful for someone to sell, purchase, trade, exchange, barter, export, ship, transfer the possession of, rehome, remove, or attempt to remove from this state any native reptile or amphibian species, including parts, products, eggs, offspring, and derivatives. The Department of Natural Resources is authorized to establish possession limits for reptile and amphibian species by regulation in order to protect designated species from commercial exploitation and other pressures on these populations. The legislation also includes provisions making it unlawful for someone to release from captivity wildlife that is not native to this state. The Department of Natural Resources is authorized to promulgate regulations to prohibit or otherwise restrict certain species of nonnative wildlife in this State, including species that have the potential to become established in this state in sufficient numbers so as to become a nuisance and those that pose a demonstrable deleterious and widespread threat to wildlife, agriculture, or human health and safety. The legislation enhances penalties for violations.

The House approved S.474 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises catch limits and size limits for estuarine and saltwater finfish, to provide that it is unlawful for someone to take or have in possession more than ten SPADEFISH (Chaetodipterus faber) in any one day, not to exceed thirty spadefish in any one day on any boat. The legislation provides that it is unlawful to take, possess, land, sell, purchase, or attempt to sell or purchase spadefish of less than fourteen inches in total length.

The House approved S.475 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises catch limits and size limits for estuarine and saltwater finfish, to provide that it is unlawful for someone to take or have in possession more than three TRIPLETAIL (Lobotes surinamensis) in any one day, not to exceed nine tripletail in any one day on any boat. The legislation provides that it is unlawful to take, possess, land, sell, purchase, or attempt to sell or purchase tripletail of less than eighteen inches in total length.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4737, a bill revising PERSONAL WATERCRAFT AND BOATING SAFETY provisions by increasing distance limits between a watercraft operating in excess of idle speed upon certain lakes and rivers of this state and a moored or anchored vessel, wharf, dock, bulkhead, pier, or person in the water. The doubling, or in the case of Lake Wylie tripling, of the current fifty foot minimum distance requirement on these lakes and portions of rivers is offered to afford greater protection from wakes generated by personal watercraft, notably sport boats used for waterskiing and wakeboarding.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5018, a bill facilitating ELECTRONIC PROCESSING OF WATERCRAFT AND OUTBOARD MOTOR TITLES through the Department of Natural Resources. The legislation allows for the transmitting and receiving titles and liens and the discharging of liens online using electronic documents.

Ballentine Civic Association – Monday, February 3rd, 6:30pm

Received this email to share:

Mark your calendars to come to the February 3rd community meeting with the Ballentine Civic Association. On the program:

The ongoing issue of the potential closing of Lowman Home Barn Road. There will be many updates to be discussed. People within the area of Johnson Marina Road and the developments there have been working hard to try to keep this road open. Hope to see you all there. Bring friends and neighbors.

Community Action Team officers Shawn Powers will let us know what is happening with any crime in this area as well as give a short presentation of how the ring doorbell can be used in conjunction with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

There are many who have not paid the $20.00 dues to the BCA this year yet. If you still want to be a member or wish to join, please see Joan after the meeting. Thank you.

As always the meeting is at the Ballentine Community Center, Bird Road off Bickley Road, Ballentine.

www.ballentinecivic.com
542-2419
or see the Ballentine Civic face book page

Irmo Chamber Gala & Awards Presentation


The Annual Greater Irmo Chamber Awards Night and Gala will be held on Friday, March 6, 2020. The Doubletree By Hilton will host us at their newly renovated facility and it will be a glamorous evening of fun for all including cocktails, dinner, dancing, silent auction and casino-style entertainment!

We’ll also have a brief awards presentation to recognize those businesses and individuals who have supported the Greater Irmo Chamber this year! Black Tie Optional. Special thanks to Steve Padgett’s Honda of Lake Murray for being our presenting sponsor for 2020!!

2100 Bush River Road
Columbia, SC 29210
6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Single ticket $100 or $175 per couple

To vote for this year’s winners please click here !

4 candidates file for Irmo Town Council election


By Al Dozier, Irmo News

Four candidates have filed to run in a special election March 3 to fill the council seat recently vacated by Barry Walker Sr., who was elected mayor in November.

Long-time Mayor Hardy King was voted out in the election, along with two incumbent council members, Julius Waites and Mark Pouliot. Erik Sickinger and Kelly Busch are the two newly elected council members.

According to a news release from the town, the following candidates have officially filed for the vacant council seat: Barbara Waldman, Arthur McClain, Mike Ward and Bill Danielson.

The candidates are all political newcomers who have not held elective office before. One of the candidates, Mike Ward, ran for mayor in the November elections. He came in third, behind Walker and former Mayor Hardy King.

To read more from The Irmo News, click here.

The Weekly Rewind – Week of January 28th

Nathan’s News readers are aware that I regularly share a “Week in Review” update which is prepared by legislative staff. It’s straight forward, no spin, not partisan…just the facts.

If you want a more personable read, be sure to read a similar update that I write each week in The New Irmo News. Representative Huggins and I rotate weeks throughout the session so that the entire Irmo/Chapin community can stay informed!

*To read the text of any bill mentioned below, please visit www.scstatehouse.gov and enter the bill number in the search box *

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
January 31, 2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4760, a bill revising the STUDENT ASSESSMENTS that are administered in the state’s public schools as a means of: ensuring that standardized testing is not unnecessarily burdensome; improving notification about upcoming assessments; and, affording parents, guardians, and teachers with timely access to test results so that this information might be better used to improve student achievement. The legislation eliminates the summative assessments in social studies and United States History that are not required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act accountability provisions. In addition to streamlining summative testing, which is conducted at the end of a school year to determine what a student has learned in a course of study, the legislation also places limits and conditions on formative testing, which is conducted during the course of a school year to determine what progress a student is making towards mastering particular subjects. With certain exceptions, the legislation provides for students to be administered no more than one state or locally procured formative assessment, and for that one standardized test to be given no more than three times during an academic year. A protocol is established that requires schools to provide notification to parents and guardians about upcoming formative assessments and their purpose at least one week before testing. No more than one week after the administration of a formative assessment, schools are required to provide teachers, parents, and guardians with test results. In addition to test scores, the material that parents and guardians receive must include information on how the formative assessment aligns with state standards and summative assessments, and suggestions for how to support the child’s learning at home.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4753, a bill providing for TEACHER INCENTIVES. The legislation establishes a “Teacher Bill of Rights” to enumerate those things that all certified public school teachers in South Carolina should be able to expect. These include: working in an environment conducive to learning; the inclusion of their discretion with regard to disciplinary and instructional decisions; freedom from frivolous lawsuits; unencumbered daily planning time; a competitive salary; no unnecessary paperwork; and, support from school administration to meet performance standards and professional expectations. These provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a violation. The legislation provides that each classroom teacher and full time librarian is entitled to at least a thirty minute daily planning period free from the instruction and supervision of students. Each school district may set flexible or rotating schedules for the implementation of this duty free planning period. Implementation may not, however, result in a lengthened school day. The legislation offers a tax incentive for attracting teachers to areas where they are most needed in the form of an income tax credit that covers all of the property taxes paid for five years on a residence for a K-12 public school teacher who lives and teaches in a Tier IV economically challenged county.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.455, the “ARMED SERVICE MEMBERS AND SPOUSES PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING ACT”.

The House returned S.996 to the Senate with amendments. This joint resolution authorizes an EXTENSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CANDIDATE SCREENING to provide an opportunity to find additional qualified candidates to present to the General Assembly for election to the commission that oversees public utilities.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4936, a bill that eliminates the prohibition on possessing GAME FISH DEVICES while possessing or using nongame devices. The change allows someone to have an authorized game fish device, such as a rod and reel, while using authorized nongame devices, such as set hooks, trotlines, eel pots, jug fishing devices, and traps.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4945, a bill that revises coastal zone management provisions governing construction seaward of the baseline to allow for certain EROSION CONTROL STRUCTURES to have their damage assessment based on a single distinct continuous seawall or bulkhead rather than on a lot by lot basis.

The condition of Broad River Road – 2mile stretch Peak Exit 97

Over past several weeks, I’ve heard the complaints and actually driven and seen myself. I received an answer
to my questions of who was the contractor, has DOT had issues with contractor before….and when will it be fixed?

Here’s what I received:

The ‘resurfacing’ on Broad River Road, US 176, in Richland County was actually not resurfacing, but was a road surface preservation treatment used to extend the life of the pavement. This preservation treatment, called micro-surfacing, is used on roads that are not yet on the resurfacing list and is used on roads all over South Carolina. This treatment is only about 3/8” thick and typically bonds to the road surface very well and serves as a wearing surface to extend the usable life of the road. The contractor, Slurry Pavers Inc., began micro-surfacing on US 176 on 5/11/2018 and continued until 6/3/2018. This project as a whole reached substantial work completion on 7/19/2018. A final inspection was completed on this project on 7/25/2018. At the time of the final inspection only small unrelated problems existed on the road and the roadwork was accepted contingent on the small repairs. During heavy rains of October and November of 2018 the surface began to delaminate very similar to how it is currently. At the time we believed it to be a latent defect with the slurry seal. The contractor was contacted and scheduled repairs as soon as weather would permit. The contractor mobilized to the roadway and completed repairs from 1/8/19 to 1/10/19 and again from 3/7/19 to 3/11/19. After completion of the repairs, the roadway rode and functioned as expected with a micro-surfacing application. No issues or potholes were noted until they began to reappear suddenly in December of 2019. This type deterioration has not been observed at other locations across the state and appears to be unique to this section of US 176 and not an issue with the product. We have continuously reviewed and studied these areas to determine the root cause and possible remedies to this area. Staff from our Office of Materials and Research have evaluated the issue and have also concluded that the product was not defective but that there appears to be an issue with moisture in the underlying layers that is contributing to the unusual delamination of the thin surface treatment.

Understanding the sensitivity of our taxpayers, we want to ensure that the fix we put in place is a lasting one. Therefore, more evaluation is needed before a final reconstruction decision is made. Over the next several weeks, the pavement is going to be re-evaluated by our Pavement Management team using specialized equipment. Also, our maintenance forces will be milling off the top layer of the surface treatment to restore a smoother ride and minimize the nuisance to the traveling public. This will give our subject matter experts the opportunity to further investigate causes of this delamination and determine the best path forward.

As we move forward, I will keep you all informed as new information becomes available. Please let me know if there are any questions.

Thanks,

Robert C. Dickinson, P. E.
District 1 Engineering Administrator

The Weekly Rewind – Week of January 21st

Nathan’s News readers are aware that I regularly share a “Week in Review” update which is prepared by legislative staff. It’s straight forward, no spin, not partisan…just the facts.

If you want a more personable read, be sure to read a similar update that I write each week in The New Irmo News. Representative Huggins and I rotate weeks throughout the session so that the entire Irmo/Chapin community can stay informed!

*To read the text of any bill mentioned below, please visit www.scstatehouse.gov and enter the bill number in the search box *

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
January 24, 2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4404, a bill enacting the “VETERANS NURSING DEGREE OPPORTUNITY ACT” as a means of both addressing the state’s nurse shortage and smoothing the transition for veterans from military life to professional civilian careers. The legislation establishes programs to enable veteran military clinical personnel, such as medics and corpsmen, to accelerate the process at participating South Carolina public and independent colleges and institutions for obtaining associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in nursing by awarding academic and clinical credit or waivers for relevant education, experience, and skills acquired from their military service.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3199, a bill REQUIRING INSTRUCTION ON STUDENT LOANS IN HIGH SCHOOL FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAMS. The legislation expands high school financial literacy program requirements so that they also include instruction on college and education loans, key loan terms, monthly payment obligations, repayment options, credit, and education loan debt. The State Board of Education is directed to incorporate these new instructional topics with the adoption of the next revisions scheduled for the social studies academic standards under cyclical review.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3257, a bill that provides for updating public school INSTRUCTION ON MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SOCIAL HEALTH under the Comprehensive Health Education Act. The legislation provides that, at the next cyclical review of the health standards, the State Board of Education shall continue to revise existing age appropriate standards and concepts that address mental, emotional, and social health. Before September 1, 2020, in addition to the current standards, the board shall continue to make standards aligned instructional materials available to districts. Districts shall continue to adopt or develop curriculum locally. Beginning with the 2020-2021 School Year, each seventh grade student must be offered one unit of instruction in mental health and wellness based on the instructional unit selected or adopted by the board, and each ninth grade student shall receive and successfully complete a one unit course of study in mental health and wellness based on the instructional unit selected or adopted by the board.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4403, a bill revising provisions relating to BULLYING PROHIBITION POLICIES that must be adopted by school districts. The legislation provides for a more expansive definition of “harassment, intimidation, or bullying”. Procedures are established for responding to and remediating allegations of bullying. The legislation requires an appeals procedure. Local districts are required to adopt policies for the prevention of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that are at least as stringent as the model policies developed by the State Board of Education. A procedure is established that requires the state board to approve local policies to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4076, a bill REQUIRING BOARD AND COMMISSION MEMBERS TO SIGN STATEMENTS ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITY. The legislation establishes a protocol under which an agency or instrumentality in the executive branch of state government or a public institution of higher learning with a governing board or commission is required to have its board or commission members sign a written document outlining statutory duties and powers. Board or commission members are not eligible to receive mileage, subsistence, or per diem unless these documents are signed in a timely manner. Repeated refusal to sign the required documents constitutes grounds for removal from office by the Governor for persistent neglect of duty. The bill implements recommendations arising from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to S.996, a joint resolution authorizing an EXTENSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CANDIDATE SCREENING to provide an opportunity to find additional qualified candidates to present to the General Assembly for election to the commission that oversees public utilities. The legislation authorizes an extension in screening for candidates for PSC Seats 1, 3, 5, and 7 that allows the Public Utilities Review Committee to accept applications for a time period beginning Monday, February 3, 2020, through noon on Friday, February 28, 2020. Provisions are made for advertising these positions. In screening candidates for the Commission and making its findings, the Review Committee is directed to give due consideration to race, gender, and other demographic factors to assure nondiscrimination, inclusion, and representation to the greatest extent possible of all segments of the population of this state.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4504, a bill to provide the Department of Health and Environmental Control with more effective means of regulating WASTE TIRE FACILITIES, particularly those facilities that amass large quantities of tires without recycling them in a timely manner. The legislation authorizes DHEC to promulgate regulations to protect human health and safety of the environment from the adverse effects of improper, inadequate, or unsound management of waste tires. DHEC is authorized to conduct inspections and investigations, obtain records of waste tire processing, storage, or hauling activities, obtain samples, and conduct research regarding the operation and maintenance of any waste tire management facility. A protocol is established for DHEC to place a facility under a suspension when it exceeds its permitted capacity and to sanction a facility that violates a suspension by accepting additional waste tires. DHEC is charged with maintaining a Waste Tire Rebate Facility List that includes only facilities that are in compliance and fulfill the requirements of a waste tire recycling facility.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4811, a bill revising beachfront management restrictions placed on erosion control structures or devices seaward of the setback line to allow for the placement of shoreline perpendicular WINGWALLS that extend landward at a ninety degree angle from the ends of existing erosion control structures or devices that are consistent in height and composition with the existing erosion control structures to which they are attached subject to any special conditions imposed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4202, a bill requiring the state registrar of vital statistics at the Department of Health and Environmental Control to issue, upon receipt of certain documentation, a CERTIFICATE OF FOREIGN BIRTH for a child with United States citizenship who is born in a foreign country to a parent who is a resident of South Carolina.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4286, a bill revising requirements for PRESCRIPTION DRUG LABELS to provide that the lot number of the prescription must be indicated on the label, patient receipt, or bar code.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3695, a bill establishing provisions that make MOTORCYCLES OR MOTORCYCLE THREE-WHEEL VEHICLES ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE HIGH MILEAGE TAX DEDUCTIONS.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H.3357, a bill allowing for a HEARING IMPAIRMENT NOTATION ON A MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION.

New website coming…after more than 12 years!

More than 12 years ago, NathansNews was up and running !

I had the site created in order to keep you informed (more than just a once a month email that I would send…I still do that too, by the way) and seeing as you know I’m cheap , I didn’t get too many bells and whistles on it; but back then, it was pretty high-tech for me and I have enjoyed regularly posting updates about the State House and our community on the site.

(Whew..talk about a run-on sentence! Sorry, Mom!)

I write all the content (again, too cheap to pay for someone to do that) and I hope you’ve enjoyed not only the political side of the site, but the occassional (or often) posts about family, kids, sports and the dogs! I’ve always been about People, Not Politics and that’s why I offer this site to y’all.

As much as I hate to spend money , I’ve been told 12 years is more than enough time to keep the same format. It’s time for change.

So…..with that said, look for a new website in the coming weeks! Hopefully it won’t receive hundreds of spam comments each week so that I can be sure to find yours.

As always, please share with me any community news you’d like me to post. Especially if you have a neighbor you’d like to brag about and share with everyone!

Before the old site shuts down, I went back to see how many posts I had written through the years. Turns out 1,124 since July 2007…an average of roughly 2 post a week, every week, for more than 12 years. Maybe some of it is the part of me from my highschool days working on our yearbook? Mostly, it’s because I’ve always believed that elected officials who stay in touch often – not just during a campaign – are better able to serve their constituents!

Hopefully the new site won’t cost to much and will still be hosted (is that the word?) here at the same address. I’ll definitely get the word out to you on my regular COMMUNITY UPDATE emails that I’ve been sending since 2005 (pre-website). If you still have not added your name to that distribution, please email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov and I’ll add you to February’s email which will go out in the next two weeks!

Thanks for continuing to read and to stay informed and share your opinions and advice!

The Weekly Rewind – Week of January 14th

Nathan’s News readers are aware that I regularly share a “Week in Review” update which is prepared by legislative staff. It’s straight forward, no spin, not partisan…just the facts.

If you want a more personable read, be sure to read a similar update that I write each week in The New Irmo News. Representative Huggins and I rotate weeks throughout the session so that the entire Irmo/Chapin community can stay informed!

*To read the text of any bill mentioned below, please visit www.scstatehouse.gov and enter the bill number in the search box *

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
January 17, 2020

Lawmakers returned to the State House on January 14, 2020, to commence the second regular session of the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly.

The House of Representatives approved S.11 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides that, if the United States Congress amends federal law to authorize states to observe DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME year round, it is the intent of the South Carolina General Assembly that daylight saving time be the year round standard of the entire state and all of its political subdivisions.

The House returned S.194, a bill addressing PROSTITUTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation makes revisions to prostitution crimes that include an increase in the fines for second and subsequent misdemeanor offenses relating to soliciting prostitutes or abetting prostitution. An enhanced felony offense is established for violations involving a prostitute who is severely or profoundly mentally disabled. The legislation revises offenses of engaging in prostitution to establish an affirmative defense against prosecution for a violation when the defendant is a victim of human trafficking. The legislation adopts recommendations for eradicating human trafficking from the organization Shared Hope International. These initiatives include: the establishment of criminal offenses for combatting sex tourism enterprises more effectively; the inclusion of human trafficking among the offenses for which law enforcement may seek a court order authorizing wiretapping or the interception of electronic communications to further their criminal investigations; provisions for appointing special advocates trained in handling human trafficking cases to assist minor victims; and, enhancements to training on trafficking in persons and sex trafficking for law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.16, legislation that increases the maximum amount of a medication that may be dispensed through EMERGENCY REFILLS OF PRESCRIPTIONS BY PHARMACISTS.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.3174 and returned the bill to the Senate. This bill establishes technical specifications for ELECTRIC ASSIST BICYCLES and bicycles with helper motors and provides that those who operate these low-speed electrically assisted bicycles are subject to all statutory provisions that apply to bicyclists. The legislation includes labelling requirements for these bicycles to indicate their wattage and maximum electrically assisted speed. The legislation specifies that electric-assist bicycles and bicycles with helper motors are not mopeds.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.4244 and returned the bill to the Senate. The legislation makes revisions related to VEHICLE SERVICE CONTRACTS and theft protection program warranties that include requirements for disclosures to consumers and provisions for how service contract providers establish their financial security to pay claims.

The House returned S.580 to the Senate with amendments. This bill revises provisions governing the South Carolina Life and Accident and Health Insurance Guaranty Association to adopt national model standards for addressing IMPAIRED OR INSOLVENT INSURERS.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4533, a bill renaming the state’s Commission for Minority Affairs the COMMISSION FOR MINORITY AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS.