This week, the State House focused on a wide range of bills, both its own legislation and bills which were passed by the Senate. With the “crossover” deadline coming up – the last date in which House bills can be sent to the Senate in enough time for them to consider those bills before this year’s adjournment – work is speeding up on passing House bills that got held up while work took place on the state budget.
Here’s some of the legislation which was passed by the House this week:
- House Bill 4243, which creates a tax credit to help encourage the Panthers’ move to South Carolina, was passed by the House and sent to the Senate. As the Panthers’ are looking at moving their offices and training facilities to either Lancaster or York County, this bill could have a noticeable impact and I am glad to be one of the sponsors of the bill.
- House Bill 3046, which is intended to give the state tools to help address terrorist acts and plots which take place in South Carolina, was passed and sent to the Senate. This legislation also makes it a crime for anyone in our state to provide financial or material support for terrorist groups and will allow law enforcement to seize assets related to support for terrorist groups and acts.
- House Bill 3145 will implement several reforms with how the state’s Electric Co-Operatives conduct business and elect their board members, as well as give the state’s Office of Regulatory Staff power to conduct audits of electric co-operatives. This comes after a major scandal with one co-op in the lower part of the state when part-time board members were giving themselves full-time pay with benefits. This bill was passed and sent to the Senate.
- House Bill 3602 will amend state laws regarding who can make decisions for health care of those unable to give consent. In addition to relatives and paid staff, this legislation would create an additional category of non-relatives who can prove they have established and trusting relationships with those individuals. This bill was passed nearly unanimously and sent to the Senate.
- Senate Bill 540 was intended to improve the process of selecting the Director of the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce, by requiring a screening committee to submit up to three qualified Director candidates to the Governor for consideration for appointment. This bill was amended by the House and sent back to the Senate for their consideration.
Here is some of the legislation which came before the House for the first time this week:
- House Bill 4297 is a response to many complaints from law enforcement and victims advocates about additional crimes committed by those out on bond while awaiting trial. It would allow for tougher sentences for crimes committed while out on bond and allow courts to deny bond in some cases.
- Senate Bill 579, which was just passed by the Senate and sent to the House, would require auto insurance companies to wait at least six months after a rate increase approval before asking for another increase, helping to limit insurance rate increases.
The House also continued debate over House Bill 3951. This legislation will bring needed changes to who can be elected Sheriff in South Carolina. Most notably, this would bar those who have been convicted of felony or other serious charges from running for Sheriff. There have been several instances where former Sheriffs who lost office due to committing crimes in office have tried to run again, which this legislation would prevent. It would also require that anyone elected Sheriff be able to be a certified South Carolina Class One law enforcement officer. Former York County Bruce Bryant, now a State House member, is one of the largest advocates for this bill.
This week, I signed on as a co-sponsor to two bills aimed at protecting children and families:
- House Bill 3729 would require reporting of where an infant or unborn child has been exposed to alcohol or controlled substances. This bill was referred to the House Judiciary Committee for review.
- House Bill 3915 will clarify that SC DSS representatives ensure that the welfare and safety of children are the sole basis of their recommendations in any abuse and neglect proceedings. This legislation received a favorable vote in the House Judiciary Committee this week and may come before the full House for debate next week.
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