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Legislative Weekly Summary: Feb. 1-8

Judicial Selections -- This week the Senate and House met in Joint Assembly for the election of judicial candidates, College and University Trustees and a seat to the Public Service Commission. James E. Nicholson Jr was elected to the position on the Board of Visitors for the Citadel, at-large; R. McLaurin Burch was elected to the position on the Board of Trustees for the College of Charleston, 5th Congressional District, Seat 10; Catherine M. Patterson and J. Tracy Power were elected to the two two-at large positions on the Old Exchange Building Commission; and Florence P. Belser was elected to fill position on the Public Service Commission, Seat 2.

Third Reading and Sent to the House

S.358 -- Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty: A bill that provides a licensed insurer may not participate in or receive benefits or protection from the South Carolina Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association. An assumption, transfer, merger or other block of business may not be approved until the commission has obtained an opinion from qualified actuary on related impacts.

S.360 -- Food Spoilage Claims: A bill to clarify that certain individuals are authorized to adjust food spoilage claims without adjuster’s license. Procedures for Department of Insurance. Certain individuals are authorized to adjust food spoilage claims without adjuster's license, establishes a process for bail bondsman premiums by excluding commissions and other expenses from premium taxes, requires producers to notify the Department of a conviction, not simply being charged and specifies what documents must be provided. It also clarifies the Data Security Act applies to captive insurance companies unless otherwise qualifying for an exemption and corrects exempted small licensees from the entire Data Security Act.

Given Second Reading

S.426 -- DNR Funds Transfer: A bill to direct the Department of Transportation to transfer to the Department of Natural Resources any funds remaining from the $150,000 appropriation for the Sandy Island Boat Ramp in Georgetown County in Act 101 of 2013. DNR shall credit the funds to the water recreational resource fund for Georgetown County.

H.3630 --Property Taxes, Government Shutdown: A bill to extend the three months the penalty schedule for unpaid property taxes and assessments set if the real property is employed by the federal government and did not receive his federal salary on the normal schedule during the government shutdown that began on December 22, 2018. This also applies to an owner who contracts with the federal government in which the shutdown has caused him to lose at least fifty percent of his income during the shutdown. The taxpayer must provide the county treasurer with the necessary proof to determine eligibility.

This Week in Committee

Finance Committee

S.160 -- Tax Liens Over Internet: A bill to implement a system of filing and indexing liens accessible to the public over the Internet or through other means. A lien filed is effective statewide from date and time recorded and encumbers all the taxpayer’s property and rights to property, regardless of property location.

S.310 -- Contraband Cigarettes: A bill to provide cigarettes found that do not have stamps required pursuant to law affixed to their package are contraband. This provision includes importing, receiving, acquiring, or selling at retail. Contraband cigarettes may be seized by the department, its employees or law enforcement without a warrant, and must be delivered to the department.

S.314 -- Clinical Rotation Tax Credits: A bill to provide an allowed income tax credit for each clinical rotation a physician serves as the preceptor for medical school-required clinical rotation, advanced practice nursing program, and physical assistant program-required clinical rotation. The credits may not be cumulative and may not be combined. If a taxpayer earns the maximum annual credit amount allowed and the taxpayer serves additional rotations, they may claim a deduction in an amount equal to the amount a credit would have equaled, earned deduction allowed up to six times a tax year. The department shall report the number of taxpayers claiming the credit allowed, total amount of credits allowed, and the number of hours that the recipient taxpayers served to the Senate Finance Committee, House Ways and Means Committee and the Governor.

S.323 -- Warrant For Distraint: A bill to allow the Department of Revenue to submit to a financial institution, information identifying a debtor named on a warrant for distraint that has been issued or filed or whose debt has been submitted to collections. Debt must be at least 180 days old from assessment. These may be submitted quarterly or, with agreement of the financial institution, more frequently, and they must conduct a data match, followed by information concerning the debtor and purpose for collecting outstanding debt. The financial institution must be paid out of collected funds, not exceeding the actual cost. The financial institution is not liable to a person for disclosure of information.

S.310 -- Contraband Cigarettes: A bill to provide exemption for unstamped packages of cigarettes, beginning January 1, 2019 and ending October 1, 2019, for which taxes have been paid are not contraband goods subjected to seizure or fines.

Judiciary Committee

S.279 -- Board of Juvenile Parole Quorum: A bill to change the quorum requirements of the Department of Juvenile Justice’s Board of Juvenile Parole, to conform to board membership changes.

S.379 -- Powers of Sheriffs: A bill to provide that a county sheriff has the power of constable and enforce cases arising within county limits, including municipal limits. When in fresh and continuous pursuit of a suspect within county limits, police officers may follow and arrest the suspect anywhere in the State.

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Family & Veterans’ Services Committee

S.181 --Medical Information For Adoptive Parents: A bill to add that medical history of an adoptee’s biological parents shall be disclosed to disclosed to prospective adoptive parent, if biological parents elect to provide that information. The medical history must be in a form that does not disclose personally identifiable information of the biological parents, and shall be deposited with the family court that enters a final decree of adoption. The medical history may be disclosed to the adoptee upon reaching the age of majority or under certain circumstances prior to reaching age of majority if in best interest of the child.

S.191 -- Fictive Kin Foster Parents: A bill to provide that fictive kin are eligible to be foster parents under the kinship foster care program and relatives and fictive kin may foster a child before being licensed as a kinship foster care provider under certain circumstances. A ‘fictive kin’ means an individual who is not related by birth, adoption or marriage to a child but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child. If a relative or fictive kin with whom a child has been placed is denied licensure, then the relative or fictive kin must relinquish custody of the child to the department.

S.211 -- Disclosure of Child Fatalities: A bill to authorize the Department of Social Services Director or his designee to prepare and release reports relating to fatalities or near fatalities of children. The disclosure is limited to cause and circumstances regarding the fatality or near fatality; age and gender of the child; previous reports of child abuse or neglect that led to the fatality or near fatality; result of investigations; services provided by the state and actions of the state pertinent to the abuse, neglect, fatality or near fatality. The report may be delayed if the disclosure would threaten the safety or well-being of a child or the child’s family, or when the disclosure would impede a criminal investigation.

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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