JOINT ELECTION RULES - H.4977 H.4977 sets the rules for the joint election of the governor and lieutenant governor. Voters approved changing the state Constitution in 2012 to jointly elect the governor and lieutenant governor. The bill establishes filing deadlines, how the Election Commission will accept and list the paperwork for the joint filing and importantly the campaign contribution limits — setting
$3,500 per individual toward the joint campaign. Despite the House blocking the bill, by attempting to increase judicial salaries, the Senate led passing a clean bill to see that the Commission can carry out the election and provide ballots to early voters and military on time for the June 12 primary. The bill does not change the governor’s salary ($106,078 / yr) or the lieutenant governor salary ($46,545).
One of the first challenges facing the Senate during this session was an ailing state retirement system. A special joint committee of the Senate and House operated for around 9 months hearing testimony from experts in the public pension systems. The goal of the committee was to make changes to the state retirement system and find long-term approaches to better meet the promises made to state employees.
REAL ID COMPLIANT — H.3358 The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, required states to meet specific standards for issuances of compliant identification. The federal government made this a required new license for state residents. South Carolina said “no” because of the exorbitant unfunded costs associated, the timeline it would take to phase licenses out of the DMV system and the requirement for all citizens who otherwise wouldn’t need the compliant license. As a result, South Carolina and the Department of Homeland Security came to a resolution and this year South Carolina became REAL ID compliant. Licenses are now available at the DMV for the October 1, 2020 deadline. A REAL ID compliant license will be required to board a domestic, commercial flight, enter a secure federal building and visit a military installation. Those who do choose to U.S. a passport or those who do want to do visit the following locations, will not be required to obtain a REAL ID compliant license. The Senate also passed a privacy-protection amendment to prohibit the DMV from distributing the information from the database, including personal information, to any other agency. The average license will cost $25. Additional information is available on the SCDMV website: www.scdmvonline.com.
VETERANS FAMILY IN-STATE TUITION — H.3034 We thank our military personnel and their families. To thank those who keep us safe, the state now recognizes added persons eligible to receive in-state college tuition rates to include a veteran who enrolls with three years of veteran’s discharge, a transferor on active duty in the Uniformed Service of the U.S., Reserve Forces or National Guard or a person receiving assistance under Section 3311(b)(9) of the United States Code.
EXPUNGEMENTS — H.3209 A bill to provide first offense simple possession drug charges and PWID charges after 20 years may be expunged.
KEEP SOUTH CAROLINA BEAUTIFUL — H.4458 Litter is a plague to keeping our state beautiful and threatens our value as a tourism state. H.4458 adds cigarette butts and cigarette component litter to the definition of liter and mandates a fine for persons guilty of littering, not less than $25 and not more than $100 or imprisoned for not more than thirty days. It also includes discarding deceased fish, game or wildlife or parts onto land or water to the definition.
DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY — S.805 Ensuring a voice and protection for those who least have a voice — children living in foster care, poverty and abandoned by their parents — may say the most of our state. S.805 establishes a new Department of Children’s Advocacy to serve exclusively as an independent watch dog for investigations of child endangerment, abuse and death related cases. The advocate will be equipped to investigate independent of the Department of Social Services as an ombudsman for the most vulnerable children in South Carolina. The Governor shall appoint the State Child Advocate from three candidates recommended by the Joint Citizen and Legislative Committee on Children and upon the advice and cones of the Senate for a term of six years.
CHILD FATALITY REVIEW TEAM — S.170 A bill that requires every county corner to establish a Child Fatality Review Team to perform a review within seven days of a case where a child under the age of eighteen has died.
TELEPHONE PRIVACY PROTECTION ACT — H.4628 A bill to update and enhance consumer protection provisions relating to telemarketers. The bill establishes provisions governing the conduct of telephone solicitations that include requirements for a telephone solicitor to provide identifying information, contact information and the option to be added to the telephone solicitor’s in house “do not call list”. It establishes prohibitions on directing telephone solicitations to telephone numbers that have been added to the in house list or the national do not call registry. It prohibits the practice of falsifying caller identification system information known as spoofing, by disallowing a telephone solicitor from making a consumer telephone call with a telephone number that displays a South Carolina area code on the recipient's caller identification system unless the telephone solicitor maintains a physical presence in the state. A telephone solicitor is also prohibited from displaying the receiving party's telephone number on the contacted party's caller identification system. A private cause of action is established for those harmed by violations. The Attorney General is authorized to investigate and enforce violations.
PAWNBROKERS — S.810 A victim rights bill, S.810 allows police to retrieve an item without further process from a pawn shop if it is thought to be stolen, allows for almost immediate return of property to victim if it is identifiable. It requires local governments to establish an electronic database for pawnbrokers to submit certain pawn information for the use of law enforcement. The bill will also provide that a digital photograph be taken of the pledged or purchased item, and that upon probable cause law enforcement may secure property. The pawnbroker may initiate a claim and delivery action and notify law enforcement within a 10 day period of the seizure and the law enforcement agency must hold the property until the completion of that action.