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The Past Week in the Senate: May 7 - May 11, 2018

The South Carolina Legislature adjourned Sine Die on Thursday. Read below for our final legislative update from this session.

Returned to the house with amendment...

Tattoos and Piercings for Pets

The bill would prohibit the piercing or tattooing of a companion animal except for when conducted by veterinarians for purposes of providing means of identification or supplying a medical benefit.

Opioid Education

A bill to require the State Board of Education to include instruction on alcohol and prescription drug abuse prevention, with an emphasis on the prescription drug epidemic and the connection between opioid abuse and addition to other drugs, such as heroin, in the health standards.

Homebuilders Licensure Requirements

A bill to exempt an owner of residential property who makes general cosmetic improvements, inside or outside the home, such as the installation or repair of interior and exterior paint or trim, flooring, toilets, showers, tubs, sinks, fixtures, cabinetry, shelving, appliances, doors, windows, drywall, driveways, landscaping, external storage buildings, decks, patios, porches, and fencing, if the owner does the work himself. A residential property owner is exempt from building permit application requirements for these cosmetic improvements if he performs the work himself. The legislation also specifies that a licensed residential builder may also obtain licensure as a residential specialty contractor.

Affordable Housing Property Tax Exemption

A bill to exempt all property devoted to housing low income residents if the property is owned by an instrumentality of a nonprofit housing corporation.

Utilities Consumer Advocate

A bill creating a Utilities Consumer Advocate to safeguard the interests of consumers in dealings with public utilities that offer such essential services as electrical power, gas pipelines for heating and cooking needs, water, sewerage, and telecommunications. The new Utilities Consumer Advocate must be an attorney qualified to practice in all the state's courts.

Speech/Language Pathologists

A bill updating and revising the practice act to better facilitate that needs for these services are met.

Turkey Parts

A bill authorizing the use of wild turkey parts in arts and crafts sold by American Indian artists.

Enrolled for ratification...

Child Fatality Review Team

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.

Drones at Corrections Facilities

A bill that would ban drones from certain specified feet and altitude of any SC Department of Corrections facilities. Set penalties for violations, and exempt any unmanned aerial vehicles registered with the FAA that are operated by electric, water, communications and transportation providers who first notify the Director of DOC.

Physical Education

A bill to provide that ROTC and marching band instruction that is based on certain standards in public schools must be considered the equivalent of physical education instruction. The bill will also require the Board to set opioid prescription awareness instruction standards.

Continued Appropriations

A resolution to provide for the continuing authority to pay the expenses of state government if the 2017-2018 fiscal year begins without a general appropriations act for that year in effect.


A bill to require 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.

Temporary Permits

A bill to delete a prior reference date in the statute relating to temporary permits of alcohol issued by the DOR upon referendum vote.

Will Lou Gray Board of Trustees

A bill to revise the compensation of the Board of Trustees to eliminate two ex officio seats. It will also require certain mandatory Board training to adequately prepare Board members to serve the at risk student.

Youth Hunting Day Tag Waiver

A bill to waive the requirements of a license or tag for a youth hunter on youth hunter day.

Prescribed Substances

A bill to require electronic prescriptions with limited exceptions for targeted substances, which are defined as Schedule II and III controlled substances. Places prescribing limits on the quantity of these substances. The bill further requires that a dispenser review the prescription monitoring program for a twelve month period for the patient if the dispenser has reason to believe the patient is retrieving the substances under specific questionable circumstances.

Special Purpose District

A bill to allow a work of art received by a special purpose district through gift, bequest, purchase or by other means may transfer ownership of the object to a nonprofit corporation organized for the purpose of displaying works of art for such consideration or upon the terms of the governing body of a special purpose district.

Greenville Hospital Authority


A joint resolution to direct the DHEC to focus the resources of the Department’s dams and reservoirs safety program on regulating the state’s high and significant hazard dams.

Uniform Athlete Agents Act

The bill updates protection of student athletes and makes extensive changes to the elements of the athlete/agent relationship to include changes in definitions, classifications regarding signing, requires more information regarding registering with the Department of Consumer Affairs. The provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act would apply. More direct powers are given to the Department for suspension or revocations of registrations. It would allow education institutions or student athletes to bring actions if the athlete is adversely impacted by actions or omissions of the agent.

Alcohol Sales

A bill that would make professional soccer complexes eligible for permits for on-premises consumption of beer, wine, and liquor.

State Superintendent of Education

A joint resolution for a proposed amendment to the South Carolina Constitution that the State Superintendent of Education be appointed by the Governor upon the advice and consent of the Senate, rather than elected by the state's voters. Under the proposed state constitutional amendment, the Superintendent of Education would be removed from the list of Constitutional Officers who are elected statewide and the State Superintendent would instead be appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at the Governor's pleasure. The General Assembly would provide by law for the duties, compensation, and qualifications for the office. Should the legislation be approved by the General Assembly, the proposed amendment to South Carolina's Constitution would be placed before the voters as a ballot question at the next general election. If the proposed amendment is approved by the voters, the appointment provisions would begin in January 2023, or earlier should a vacancy in the office of Superintendent of Education occur after the date of ratification.

Criminal Record Expungement

A bill to provide first offense simple possession drug charges and PWID charges after 20 years may be expunged.

Human Trafficking

A bill to revise the criminal definitions and provide more stringent penalties that apply when a victim is under the age of eighteen.

Commission for the Blind

A bill to require that three members of the Commission meet the legal definition of Blindness. To further provide for the use of counselors to assist teachers of students with certain visual impairments.

Alcohol Permits

A bill to revise provisions that prohibit liquor licenses and permits from being issued to business located within certain distances of churches, schools or playgrounds, so as to allow a permit for on-premises consumption of alcoholic liquor to be issued to a business so long as the local school board of any school located within the proximity provides a statement that it does not object. Currently there are provisions to allow churches and playgrounds to do this as well.

Birth Certificates

A bill allowing an adult adoptee (21 years old or older) to obtain a copy of the adoptee's own original birth certificate information. The bill requires the development of a contact preference form and a medical history form to provide to a biological parent upon request. Upon completion, these forms must be filed with the state registrar and accompany with an original sealed birth certificate issued to an adoptee. The contact preference form must allow the biological parent to indicate whether he has completed or updated a medical history form and must allow the biological parent to choose from various contact options.

Prescribing Opioids

A bill to establish requirements related to prescribing opioids to minors.

Tamper-Resistant Prescription Pad

A bill that requires a written prescription for any schedule II, III, IV and V controlled substance to be written on a tamper-resistant prescription pad that meets the counterfeit-resistant standards required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for prescriptions. Prescription orders transmitted by facsimile, orally, or electronically are exempt from this requirement. This requirement does not apply to refill prescriptions of an original written prescription that was issued before the effective date of this act.

SC Pregnancy Accommodation Act

A bill to enact the “South Carolina Pregnancy Accommodations Act”. This bill would add “lactation” to related medical conditions for women who have recently had a child and specifies that women must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes. It makes it unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to provide reasonable accommodations for medical needs related to pregnancy unless the employer can demonstrate undue hardship. In addition an employer cannot deny employment opportunities to a job applicant based on the need of the employer to make reasonable accommodations.

Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office Duties and Conforming Changes

A bill updating and clarifying the duties of the RFA’s Office.

Exceptional Needs Tax Credit

A bill codifying income tax credits for the education of the children with exceptional needs. These provisions have been included as a budget proviso in general appropriation acts for the last five years.

Employment First Initiative Act

The bill directs all of South Carolina's state agencies and political subdivisions to consider adopting a policy that encourages competitive integrated employment for individuals with disabilities. To further those employment goals, state agencies and local governments are encouraged to coordinate their efforts, adopt rules and promulgate regulations for implementation, and share data and information across systems in order to track the progress of the initiative. A seventeen-member South Carolina Employment First Oversight Commission is created to coordinate the implementation of the initiative and make annual progress reports to the Governor and members of the General Assembly.

Medical Practice Act

A bill to clarify that no provision of the Medical Practice Act requires a physician to secure a maintenance of certification as a condition of licensure, reimbursement, employment, or admitting privileges at a hospital in this State or a federal qualified health center.

Drug Court Access

A bill to allow DHEC to provide program data to a presiding judge of a drug court pertaining to a specific case involving a designated person.

Dyslexia Screening

A bill to require the DOE to establish and provide training and support for a statewide multi-tiered support system (MTSS) framework with three tiers of interventions. The MTSS framework will consist of a data based system to match instructional resources to educational needs, an ongoing system of student assessment, and a layered continuum of support. The department would develop a universal screening process to screen for identifying students who may be at risk for problems in reading, math, writing and social/emotional development. The screening would be used by local school districts through their existing response to intervention framework. Beginning the 2019/2020 school year, school districts are to use the universal screening process to screen each child from kindergarten to second grade at least three times a year.


A bill to restructure the criminal penalties for littering increasing their severity with the amount of litter waste involved.

Law Enforcement Officer Misconduct

A bill to revise the process for addressing misconduct allegations. The bill authorizes the LETC to appoint attorneys from the criminal justice academy to sit as hearing officers for contested case hearings. No officer who has a pending allegation of misconduct may be employed as a law enforcement officer or as a telecommunications operator or perform any law enforcement duties until a decision has been made that authorizes employment.

EMS Personnel

A bill to authorize SC to join the Emergency Medical Services Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact which allows for reciprocal recognition of licenses among member states.

Controlled Substances

A bill to require the code commissioner be added in to the persons to be notified upon the rescheduling or deletion of controlled substances by DHEC.

Licensure of Addiction Counselors

A bill that will require an addiction counselor to be licensed by the Department of Labor, Licensure, and Regulation. After October 1, 2018, an addiction counselor applicant must have a master's degree or higher and meet the other licensure requirements imposed on professional counselors and marriage and family therapists.

General and Mechanical Licensure

A bill that would allow applicants for particular licensure to provide surety bonds to satisfy financial statement requirements. The bill also sets forth the requirements of those surety bonds.

South Carolina Telephone Privacy Protection Act

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.

Department of Insurance Procedures

A bill which will update administrative penalties for insurers based upon the recommendations of the DOI.

Captive Insurance Companies

A bill updating and enhancing captive insurance provisions. It would enact changes recommended by the DOI as a means of making SC more competitive in the captive insurance markets.

Driver’s License

A bill to make changes as to who may sign the application for a license or identification card for an individual who is less than eighteen years of age as it relates to registration with the Selective Service System.

Board of Medical Examiners

A bill that provides an exemption for licensed physicians employed with the disability determination services unit of the state agency of vocational rehabilitation from additional examination requirements with the State Board of Medical Examiners.

Watercraft Certificates

A bill to revise procedures relating to assessments and payments of property taxes on boats and certification of watercraft. It provides for an annual renewal for watercraft certificates rather than the current three-year renewal period.

Restructuring and Reauthorizing the South Carolina Conservation Bank

A bill to revise the composition of the Board to require certain requirements for board members, to redefine the term eligible trust fund recipient. To require the bank to collaborate and advice on mitigation efforts when requested, to authorize the bank to develop conservation criteria to advance support federal, state and local conservation goals, to provide certain restrictions on who may serve as executive director and to prohibit the award of a grant or loan unless the funds are presently available in the trust fund. The bill further allows the bank to award additional grant funds to certain agencies for the acquisition of fee simple title to land and to establish application and reporting requirements.

Motor Vehicle Dealer Exemption

A bill that provides an exemption from provisions governing motor vehicle dealers for persons conducting a limited number of charitable auctions each year of investment grade, collector or other special interest motor vehicles. The bill will help facilitate the annual Hilton Head Island Concours D’Elegance.

South Carolina Solar Habitat Act

A bill to establish a voluntary solar best management practices for commercial solar energy generation sites that provide native perennial vegetation and foraging habitats beneficial to gamebirds, songbirds, and pollinators and reduce storm water runoff and erosion at the solar generation site. The Bill provides that certificates of compliance may be issued to those that meet the guidelines.

Retaliatory Tax Filings for Title Insurance

A bill to provide title insurers may only include their portion of the premium in the retaliatory tax computations and are prohibited from including these amounts in the SC column of retaliatory tax worksheets.

Special License Plates

A bill allowing a former member of the general assembly to be issued a second special license plate.

Unsound School District Finances

A bill which allows the State DOE authority that extends beyond academic matters to include fiscal affairs.

Home-Based Food Production

A bill that implements recommendations arising from the Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the DOAg. It eliminates outdated references to the department’s role in regulating home-based food production operations which are now supervised by the DHEC.

Identification Tags

A bill revising requirements for the identification tags placed on cotton bales stored in a warehouse operated under the state warehouse system. The bill provides that the system may utilize the permanent bale identification number and tag of another gin if the tag meets the requirements. However, if the PBI tag does not meet the requirements, a sticker maybe affixed to the PBI tag or bale of cotton adjacent to the PBI tag that meets these requirements.

Workers’ Compensation Commission Hearings

A bill to provide that hearings must be held in the Workers’ Compensation Commission district, rather than the city or county, in which an injury has occurred, so long as the location is no greater than seventy-five miles from the county seat of the county in which the injury occurred.

Conference/Conferee’s Appointed...

Drones at Military Installations

Senators Rankin, Grooms and Hutto, Representatives Smith, Weeks and Rutherford.

John De La Howe

Senators Massey, Young and Sheheen, Representatives Erickson, Stavarinakas and Bannister.

Public School Fire and Safety

Senators Hembree, Turner and Nicholson, Representatives Allison, Pendarvis and Felder.

Accommodations Tax-Eligible Expenses

Senators Davis, Goldfinch and Scott, Representatives Pitts, Finlay and Crawford.

Abandoned Building Revitalization Act

Senators Grooms, Talley and Reese, Representatives Cole, Simrill and Rutherford.

Special Alcohol Permits

Senators Rankin, Rice and Hutto, Representatives Erickson, Starvinakas and Bannister.

Youth Challenge Academy

Senators Campsen, Young and Scott.

Motorsports Entertainment Complex Investment Act

Senators Campbell, Martin and Malloy, Representatives Williams, Lucas and Simrill.

Base Load Review Act

Senators Massey, Rankin and Setzler, Representatives McCoy, Finlay and Rutherford.

Unlicensed Vehicles

Senators Grooms, Rankin and Hutto

Military Special Plates

Senators McElveen, Shealy and Jackson

Applied Baccalaureate Manufacturing Degree

Senators Turner, Young and Allen, Representatives Taylor, Elliott and Alexander.

Marine Resources Fund

Senators Campsen, Talley and McElveen, Representatives Pitts, Hixon and Atkinson.

As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help, and thank you for allowing me to serve you in Columbia.

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