House Legislation Updates

Educational Paradigm to Meet Students' Needs H.4596
Status: In Senate

The House took a major step toward giving South Carolina's public schools the flexibility needed to truly meet students where they are and ensure mastery of key concepts and skills. It's called 'Competency Based Education'. The bill creates a pilot program for competency-based education in which students benefit from greater flexibility in time, pace, and delivery. This allows advancing to higher levels of learning by demonstrating mastery of core knowledge and skills instead of merely moving from one subject to the next whether they are ready or not.  This approach provides personalized learning where each student's educational experience can be tailored to meet their unique strengths, interests and needs. After receiving unanimous approval from the House, the bill was sent to the Senate for consideration.

Vision Screening for All SC Driver’s Licenses H.4672
Status: In Senate

Drivers renewing their South Carolina licenses may need to pass a vision test an additional time under legislation passed by the House. New drivers still have to pass the screenings, but the House voted to once again reinstate the rule for drivers renewing their license.

School Choice for Exceptional Learners in South Carolina H.4077
Status: In Senate

The House gave initial approval to legislation granting permanent status to Exceptional SC, a program that allows students with exceptional needs to receive an education that meets their needs. If approved by the Senate, the bill makes permanent what SC has been doing by annual budget provision the past few years. This new step gives certainty to the program so parents, students, and donors know it's going to be there year after year without fail. The program currently exists as a tax credit capped at $11 million annually.

Base Load Review Act Repeal H.4375
Status: In Senate

This piece of legislation eliminates all charges on the electric bills of SCE&G customers that support the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear Power Project and repeal the Base Load Review Act going forward.

The bill orders new electricity rates for customers of SCANA to be reduced by eliminating all of the increases imposed in recent years under the Base Load Review Act to finance the failed power project in Fairfield County.  These lower experimental rates would no longer include the 18% to 19.5% rate increases that have been included on the power bills of SCE&G customers to fund construction of the now abandoned nuclear reactors.

The legislation repeals provisions of the Base Load Review Act prospectively so that utilities would no longer be able to make use of the provisions of this legislation to finance the construction of power generation projects with fees imposed on the electric bills of ratepayers.  The repeal does not apply to pending legal matters.  Existing disputes about the application of the Base Load Review Act will continue to be settled through administrative decisions of the Public Service Commission and judicial rulings from the courts.

School Hotline to Report Abuse H.3920
Status: In Senate

The House approved legislation establishing requirements for public schools to post a toll free hotline for reporting child abuse, neglect and exploitation to the Department of Social Services.  

Kids Health Information for Caregivers H.3699
Status: In Senate

The House approved legislation that removes prohibitions from sharing with foster parents, or other caregivers, the medical, mental health, and other known, or reasonably obtainable, information about children necessary to provide them with adequate care. This disclosure requirement applies to abuse and neglect cases, placements, or adoptions.  

Protecting Student Athletes H.3068
Status: In Senate

The House approved legislation that removes prohibitions from sharing with foster parents, or other caregivers, the medical, mental health, and other known, or reasonably obtainable, information about children necessary to provide them with adequate care. This disclosure requirement applies to abuse and neglect cases, placements, or adoptions.  

Kinship Foster Parents H.3701
Status: In Senate

The House approved legislation that removes prohibitions from sharing with foster parents, or other caregivers, the medical, mental health, and other known, or reasonably obtainable, information about children necessary to provide them with adequate care. This disclosure requirement applies to abuse and neglect cases, placements, or adoptions.  

Domestic Violence Reform S.3
Status: Signed by Governor on June 4

Reports indicate that South Carolina's murder rate of women killed by men sits at twice the national average. This is unacceptable, and this measure gives law enforcement the necessary tools to reverse this pattern of abuse in our state. For 6 months, the House Special Criminal Domestic Violence Ad Hoc Committee studied all aspects of the issue. The committee listened to dozens of hours of testimony from both survivors of domestic violence and from the law enforcement and prosecutors charged with bringing justice to those who perpetrate crimes of domestic violence.

As a result of their findings the committee produced the Domestic Violence Reform Act. This comprehensive legislation:

1. Significantly enhances penalties for those found guilty of committing acts of domestic violence.
2. Paves the way for middle school students to receive instruction on how to identify and respond to domestic violence situations.
3. Creates the Domestic Violence Advisory Committee comprised of citizens, medical doctors, and law enforcement to review instances of death as a result of domestic violence and submit a public annual report.

Currently South Carolina's domestic violence laws are occurrence based - an approach that has proven insufficient by itself. H 3433 institutes a hybrid model based on the number of occurrences and adds that penalties become more severe depending on the level of injury sustained, also accounting for any aggravating circumstances.

Ethics Reform H.3722
Status: In Senate

The House passed a package of 12 ethics reform bills in addition to an omnibus package (H.3722) that rolls the reform measures into one bill. Below are the highlights of the House ethics reform package.

Campaign Finance Laws H.3195
Status: In Senate

Prohibits lobbyist principals from paying for members of the General Assembly to attend American Legislative Exchange Council conferences. This simply removes an existing loophole in the law.

Primary Run-off Election Finance Law Reform H.3193
Status: Signed by Governor

Clarifies how campaign funds should be attributed to primaries and primary run-off campaigns. Existing law was leading to confusion among some candidates for public office. These changes make clear which funds should be attributed to a campaign run-off election account.

Small Business Regulatory Sunset Reform Act H.3006
Status: In Senate

This act places a sunset provision on all future regulation laws. Many regulations are outdated, and this new measure would give an automatic expiration to regulation laws five years after implementation. This ensures we don't have cumbersome and outdated regulations hampering businesses.

Shortening Legislative Session H.3014
Status: In Senate

For the 10th time in the past 20 years the House has passed legislation that would shorten the legislative session. Shortening the session by nearly 2 months each year would save valuable taxpayer dollars.

 

Income Disclosure H.3186
Status: Signed by Governor

Requires members of the General Assembly to disclose the source and type of all income received from any private entity.

Restructuring Ethics Commission
Status: In Senate

Revamps the makeup of the South Carolina Ethics Commission and turns the Commission into an independent investigative body. The independent commission is given the full resources of the South Carolina law enforcement community and is tasked with investigating ethics complaints made against elected officials. The State Ethics Commission would be comprised of 4 members appointed by the Governor, 4 elected by the Supreme Court, and 2 members elected by each the House and Senate.

Eliminating Leadership PACs H.3188
Status: In Senate

Bans candidate affiliated "Leadership" Political Action Committees (PAC). It even goes one step further and states that elected officials can no longer accept campaign contributions from Leadership PACs.

Exempting Research Professors H.3200
Status: In Senate

Provides certain exemptions to encourage state-funded university employees to develop intellectual property that benefits institutions of higher learning, making South Carolina more competitive in the effort to attract and retain top quality researchers.

Creation of Freedom of Information Act Office S.11
Status: Signed by Governor

Establishes an office specifically designed to handle Freedom of Information Act concerns. The measure also expands the right to access existing electronic transmission of public records, sets a reasonable fee schedule for accessing records, and reduces the turnaround time on obtaining records from 15 to 10 days.

Whistleblower Protection H.3202
Status: In Senate

Strengthens the existing whistleblower law and provides additional monetary incentives for government employees to report misuse of taxpayer dollars. The hope is that where fraud exists, this provision will empower state employees to come forward with that information, saving taxpayer dollars.

Publicly Posting Agendas H.3192
Status: In Senate

Tightens the requirements on all government bodies by requiring them to post a public meeting agenda prior to engaging in official business. This measure sheds sunlight on all government bodies and gives the public a better idea of what their government is doing and when they're doing it.

Ride Sharing Deregulation - Uber H.3525
Status: Signed by Governor

The House addressed issues surrounding the ride sharing industry that specifically impacted Uber and other transportation network companies (TNC). In South Carolina, we've always had taxis and they fall under the management of the Public Service Commission (PSC). However, the business model for TNCs, like Uber, wouldn't be viable if each driver had to pay for a taxi license.

In January, the PSC issued a cease and desist order against Uber effectively shutting them down. In response, this "business positive" bill was drafted to set up a framework that allows TNC's, specifically Uber, to operate legally. H. 3525 establishes that framework and allows the TNC companies to get one license - allowing all of their drivers to operate under that single license.

Roads & Infrastructure H.3579
Status: In Senate

Following 7 months of testimony and hours of debate with much input, the House passed a bill to address the state's aging infrastructure. The comprehensive measure revamps the existing DOT structure, leadership and funding model. It's important to note that House was able to include a provision that also provides income tax relief to South Carolina taxpayers.

Protecting Our Citizens H.3145
Status: In Senate

Gives certain legal protections to bystanders who rescue those trapped inside sweltering cars and trucks. One of the core functions of government is providing for the safety of our children and vulnerable adults.

Balanced Budget
Status: Signed by Governor

The Republican Majority in the House voted in unison to pass the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget. Balancing our state budget is something House takes very seriously.

Judicial Selection Reform H.3979
Status: In Senate

Reforms the process used to select our state's judges. Currently, judicial candidates are screened through a panel that is limited to selecting 3 individuals for any given judicial election. This bill would remove the cap and allow anyone who is deemed qualified to run for the bench. By doing so, we open up the process and allow everyone to participate, not just a select few.

In-State Tuition for Military S.391
Status: Signed by Governor

Grants in-state tuition rates to active duty military and their dependents. Currently, active duty military personnel who have been stationed in South Carolina do not receive in-state tuition rates. This bill grants them that privilege and allows them and their dependents to continue receiving an in-state tuition rate as long as they remain continuously enrolled.

Certificate of Need H.3250
Status: In Senate

This bill revises and streamlines the Certificate of Need process and repeals it completely in 2018. The House overwhelmingly supported this measure which helps to limit the regulation of healthcare providers around the state.

Patent Infringement H.3582
Status: In Committee

Patent trolls hinder private development projects and stifle innovative research from the private sector. This measure ensures that South Carolina innovators receive added legal protections for their unique ideas. By creating a safe haven for innovation, we increase our marketability to research institutions and aid our economic progress.

SC State Resolution H.3663
Status: Signed by Governor

The House took forceful and necessary action to solve the well-publicized troubles at SC State University. The House unanimously passed a joint resolution to put SC State back on track that:

1. Removes the current SC State board members.
2. Gives authority to newly appointed interim board members
3. Allows the interim Board of Trustees to remove the current President if they deem that action necessary.

Human Trafficking S.196
Status: Signed by Governor

A cross-county jurisdictional loophole in the current law was brought to our attention by prosecutors recently. As a result, the House passed a measure that would allow prosecutors to engage the grand jury system for individuals who are trafficking humans over county lines. In an effort to increase reporting from exploited individuals and prosecute their traffickers, a previously established information and reporting hotline would be strengthened by expanding the publicity of the hotline to high traffic areas.

CWP Expansion H.3799
Status: Signed by Governor

The House approved a concealed weapons permit reciprocity agreement with the state of Georgia allowing licensed CWP carriers to cross state lines without any legal ramifications.

Overseas Military Voters H.3154
Status: Sent to Governor

This measure ensures each ballot cast by overseas military personnel is not only counted, but streamlines the process while enhancing their access to voter registration.