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This supplemental issue of the Legislative Update covers legislation still pending upon adjournment of the 2007 session. The bills referenced below have crossed over in that each has passed the body before which it was introduced and is now before the other for consideration. It does not cover all pending legislation, but features bills of particular interest and which most significantly affect the practice of law in the areas listed. This report is intended to provide a brief synopsis of each piece of legislation and is generally categorized for ease of review. Please refer to the actual text of the legislation for detailed provisions.

Requests for Legislation

When requesting legislation, please refer to the bill number. Please direct requests for legislation to Katie Staden, South Carolina Bar, P.O. Box 608, Columbia SC 29202. (803) 799-6653. Fax: (803) 799-4118. Bar members can also request legislation by e-mailing kstaden@scbar.org. There will be a charge for any requests exceeding 30 pages ($.10 per page).

Any other questions relating to legislation can be directed to Kali Campbell Turner, South Carolina Bar, P.O. Box 608, Columbia, SC 29202. (803) 799-6653. Fax: (803) 799-4118 kturner@scbar.org.

General Assembly & South Carolina Code of Laws

Online legislation and regulations are available at www.scstatehouse.net. The South Carolina Code of Laws is available at this site as well.


Administrative & Regulatory

Alcohol Liquors (H3176) would amend § 61-6-4550 of the 1976 Code, relating to the limitations on offering discount prices on the sale of alcoholic liquors for on-premises consumption at certain times, so that a person who holds a biennial license may elect to sell alcoholic liquors at a price less than regularly charged on one full day of each week, excluding Sundays.

Motorcycle Manufacturers, Distributors and Wholesalers (H3084) would revise multiple provisions that regulate motorcycle manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and wholesalers. Similar to S505.

Religious References to God, a Diety, etc. (H3159) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 10-1-210 to provide that religious references to God, a deity, or a higher power of any denomination or religion may be used in approved displays, monuments, plaques, or similar fixtures in state or local public areas, buildings, or places.

Rural Community Water District (H3030) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 6-13-15 to authorize a rural community water district to provide a sewage collection system within the district.

Sunset Commission (H3024) would amend Title 1 of the 1976 Code by adding Chapter 24 to establish the South Carolina Sunset Commission and a Sunset Review Division of the Legislative Audit Council; establish procedures providing for the manner in which the programs of certain agencies and departments of state government must be evaluated; and establish the procedures by which these programs must be continued, modified, or terminated.

Television Programming Protection Act (S598) would amend Chapter 12, Title 58 of the 1976 Code by adding Article 4 to enact the Television Programming Protection Act, which would require a cable or video service provider to block all video and audio on any channel not purchased by the subscriber.

Temporary Certificates of Boat Numbers (S265) would amend § 50-23-345 of the 1976 Code to provide for when the Department may issue temporary certificates and amend § 50-23-370 to further provide for their expiration, renewal, and circumstances when these certificates may be issued.

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Appropriations & Budget

General Fund Appropriations (H3295) would establish new limits on state appropriations that first apply to appropriations for fiscal year 2008-2009.

Homeless Programs (S397), a joint resolution, would direct the Department of Mental Health to transfer money to the City of Columbia for mental health programs. These funds were appropriated pursuant to Proviso 73.17, Act 397 of 2006 for the renovation and operation of the Williams Building Cooperative Ministries Homeless Shelter.

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Constitutional Amendments

Dual Office Holding (H3804), a joint resolution, would amend Section 24 of Article III, Section 3 of Article VI, and Section 1A of Article XVII to the 1895 Constitution to provide that the prohibition against holding two offices does not apply to commissioned law enforcement officers employed by a county or municipal police officers employed in a county in which they do not reside who hold another office.

Post-Employment Benefits Funds (S463), a joint resolution, would amend Section 16, Article X of the 1895 Constitution to provide that the funds from any trust fund established by law for the funding of post-employment benefits for state employees and public school teachers may be invested and reinvested in equity securities subject to the same limitations applicable for the funds of the various state-operated retirement systems.

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Construction

Contractors Licensing Act (S668) would amend § 40-11-360 of the 1976 Code, relating to exemptions from the application of Chapter 11, Title 40 (Contractor's Licensing Act), so as to exempt a project if it is a metal farm building less than five thousand square feet used only for livestock or storage.

Contractor Regulation (H3356) would amend § 40-11-170 of the 1976 Code, relating to assessing costs of investigation and prosecution of a cause against a person found in violation of Chapter 11, Title 40, which provides for the licensure and regulation of contractors, to provide that the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation may not access such costs. The legislation would further amend § 40-11-370, relating to the prohibition against engaging in construction in a name other than the exact name that appears on the entity's contractor's license and prohibiting enforcement of a contract if the entity entered the contract in a name other than the name that appears on the entity's license, to provide that an entity may not engage in construction under a name or a license number other than that which appears on the entity's license and provide that an entity may only enforce a construction contract if the entity either entered the contract in the name that appears on the entity's license or if the contract contained the license number that appears on the entity's license.

Energy Independence and Sustainable Construction Act of 2007 (S377) would amend Chapter 52, Title 48 of the 1976 Code by enacting the Energy Independence and Sustainable Investment Act of 2007 to provide incentives for commercial construction and renovation that complies with “green building” energy efficiency and conservation standards. A taxpayer who applies for the tax credit would be able to participate in an expedited permit process upon the posting of an environmental performance bond.

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Consumer

Annuity Investment by Seniors Act (S456) would amend the 1976 Code by adding Article 7 to Chapter 69, Title 38 to enact the Suitability in Annuity Transactions Act to provide standards and procedures for recommendations to senior consumers to ensure that annuity products for these consumers address their insurance and financial needs.

Consumer Credit Sales (H3140) would amend § 37-5-103 of the 1976 Code, relating to restrictions on deficiency judgments in consumer credit sales, to correct cross references to the Uniform Commercial Code.

Vehicle Protection Product Act (S414) would amend the 1976 Code by designating § 38-78-10 through § 38-78-120 as Article 1, Chapter 78, Title 38, entitled “General Provisions” and by adding Article 3 to Chapter 78, Title 38 to enact the Vehicle Protection Act. The legislation would provide for definitions; require the regulation of vehicle protection product warranties; and authorize the Director of Insurance to impose civil penalties for violations of Article 3.

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Corporate, Banking & Securities

Uninsured Funds on Deposit (S642) would amend § 6-5-15 and §11-13-60 of the 1976 Code to define a financial institution in which these funds are deposited as a qualified public depository, allow the depository to secure these funds using the dedicated method or the pooling method, and provide that the local government entity or State Treasurer may require such a depository to use the dedicated method. Similar to H3870.

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Courts

At-Large Judges (H3267) would amend § 14-5-610 of the 1976 Code to increase the number of at-large court judges from thirteen to sixteen and amend § 20-7-1410 to increase the number of Family Court judges by adding three at-large judges.

Attorney-Client Relationship (H3605) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 62-1-110 to clarify that if an attorney-client relationship exists between a lawyer and a fiduciary, communications between the lawyer and the fiduciary are privileged unless waived by the fiduciary. Similar to S502.

Bench Warrants (H3857) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 17-15-90 to provide penalties for failure to appear in court under certain circumstances when the person has been released on bond. The legislation would amend § 38-53-50 to provide procedures for when a bench warrant may be issued for arrest of a defendant and to provide that nonpayment of fees alone does not warrant immediate incarceration of the defendant. It would further amend § 38-53-70 to increase the period of time before the bond is fortified for failure to appear from thirty to ninety days from the issuance of the bench warrant and provide that the bench warrant must be available for pickup by the surety within seven days of issuance.

Civil Causes of Action (H3019) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 15-5-5 to provide that for purposes of a civil cause of action, the term "person" includes an unborn child and the term "unborn child" means a child in utero with certain exceptions.

Court Appointment Deferral Fund (H3116) would amend the 1976 Code by adding Article 11 to Chapter 3, Title 14 to create the Court Appointment Deferral Fund to be maintained by the Supreme Court in accordance with the procedure for submission of rules governing practice and procedure. The purpose of the fund is to allow an attorney, who is not otherwise exempt from appointment pursuant to Rule 608 (d), a one-year optional exemption from appointment to represent an indigent person in accordance with the requirements of Rule 608 upon the payment of a set fee established by the Supreme Court.

Judicial Enhancement Act (H3934) would make comprehensive revisions to the judicial process. Highlights would include the following: provides that each county Clerk of Court will report certain information to Court Administration regarding indictments; provides a procedure for the assignment of a single Circuit Court Judge to complex civil actions; provides factors for the Family Court to consider when determining attorney's fees, increases the fee in all civil actions for issuing a summons and copy for the defendant, and for filing judgment with or without a hearing from forty-five dollars to one hundred twenty dollars; revises the procedure for judicial review of post-conviction relief filings to include the issuance of a certificate of probable cause; increases the civil jurisdiction in Magistrate Courts from $7,500 to $15,000; deletes the existing provisions and provides that a case may be transferred to Magistrate Court if the penalty for the crime does not exceed one year or is a crime classified as a misdemeanor; allows the Court to correct within seven days of sentencing a sentence that resulted from arithmetic, technical, or other clear error, and would allow for a reduction of a defendant's sentence under certain circumstances; and creates a Judicial Circuit Reapportionment Study Committee.

Statute of Limitations (H3465) would amend § 15-3-20 of the 1976 Code to provide that the statute of limitations is tolled upon the filing of a summons and complaint and allow an additional one hundred twenty days to accomplish actual service upon the payment of a seventy-five dollar extension fee.

Uniform Expungement of Criminal Records Act (S110) would amend the 1976 Code by designating the existing sections of Chapter 11, Title 17 as Article 1 and by adding Article 3 to enact the Uniform Expungement of Criminal Records Act, to provide a procedure which must be followed regarding applications for expungement of all criminal records, and to authorize each Solicitor's office in the state to administer the procedure.

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Criminal

Alcohol (S96) would amend Chapter 6, Title 61 of the 1976 Code by adding § 61-6-4155 to provide that it is unlawful for a person to use, purchase, sell, or possess an alcohol without liquid device and to provide for penalties and exceptions. An “alcohol device” is defined as a device designed or marketed for the purpose of mixing alcohol with pure or diluted oxygen or another gas to produce an alcoholic vapor that an individual can inhale or snort.

Alcoholic Beverages (S66) would amend § 61-4-90 and § 61-4-4070 of the 1976 Code to provide that it is unlawful to transfer an alcoholic beverage to a person under the age of twenty-one regardless of the minor's intent. The bill would allow for a person under the age of twenty-one, who is authorized by a law enforcement agency, to test a person's compliance with laws relating to the unlawful transfer of alcohol to a minor.

Communication Device and Systems (S331) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 16-11-745 to define “communication device” and “communication system,” to provide that it is unlawful to disable, destroy, or injure a communication device or communication system during the commission of a crime; provide that it is unlawful to obstruct, impede, or impair service or transmission of a communication device or communication system during the commission of a crime; and to provide penalties for violations.

Day Reporting Centers (S274) would amend Chapter 21, Title 24 of the 1976 Code to allow the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (PPP) to establish day reporting centers for certain inmates or offenders. Day reporting centers are defined as state facilities providing supervision of inmate or offenders placed on supervision that includes, mandatory reporting, program participation, drug testing, community service, and any other conditions as determined by the PPP.

Department of Motor Vehicles (H3496) would make comprehensive changes to driving under the influence (DUI) laws. Highlights would include the following: a tiered system of punishment with four levels of impairment, felony driving while impaired, testing and video recording procedures, treatment, insurance provisions, suspension of licenses, continuous alcohol monitoring devices, mopeds, and administrative hearings. Similar to S485.

DNA (S142), a comprehensive bill, would amend multiple sections of the 1976 Code. The legislation would require DNA samples upon lawful custodial arrest or a direct indictment for a felony offense or an offense that is punishable by a sentence of five years or more, either of which is committed in this State. Current law requires DNA samples following sentencing and at the time of intake at a jail or prison. The legislation would also require samples to be provided before a person is released on parole, released from confinement, or released from an agency's jurisdiction; would provide for coordination between SLED and local law enforcement agencies to prevent collection and processing of duplicate DNA samples; and would delete the requirements that the persons authorized to take DNA samples must be specific health professionals. Instead, it would require that persons taking DNA samples be appropriately trained. Similar to H3255.

Early Release Bill (S181) would amend § 24-13-210 and 24-13-230 of the 1976 Code to require the Department of Corrections develop policies and procedures to allow certain prisoners to receive a reduction in their sentences and revise the maximum amount of time that may be reduced from a sentence. Certain inmates may earn good behavior, work, and academic credits for early release. The bill would amend § 24-27-200 to provide that a reduction in these credits may be implemented pursuant to an Administrative Law Judge's recommendation. In no case shall the inmate's sentence be reduced to a level below that required by law to be served. It would additionally amend § 30-4-40 to provide that certain architectural plans, drawings, or law enforcement procedures, which could potentially facilitate an escape, are exempt from reasonable disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

Financial Identity Fraud and Identity Theft Protection Act (S453) would amend multiple sections and enact the Financial Identity Fraud and Identity Theft Protection Act to place restrictions on disclosure, maintenance, and disposal of personal identifying information, in addition to establishing new penalties for the information's misuse. Similar to S8.

Illegal Immigration Reform Act, Registration of Immigration Services Act (S392), a comprehensive bill, would address multiple issues surrounding illegal immigration. Areas covered by the legislation would include, but are not limited to the following: illegal aliens and public employment through a verification program for public employers regarding service contracts; enforcement of federal immigration and customs laws memorandum of understanding, which would allow state law enforcement officers to become auxiliary immigration enforcement agents; verification of lawful presence in the United States for those seeking public assistance benefits with numerous exceptions; recording and reporting immigration law violations through business and wage restrictions for employment of unauthorized persons, penalties for the termination of US workers for the purpose of hiring illegal aliens, and creation of a state felony for harboring illegal aliens; verification of nationality of prisoners; and registration of immigration assistance services. Similar to H3026, H3027, H3037, H3068, H3141.

Security Devices (S338) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 16-11-400 to create the offense of tampering with, altering, damaging, or destroying a security device, define the term “security device,” and provide a penalty for the offense

Sentencing Guidelines Commission (S144), a joint resolution, would create a Sentencing Guidelines Commission to study and recommend legislation for sentencing guidelines, the parole system, and alternative sentencing procedures for non-violent offenders.

Sex Offenders (S43) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 24-21-435 to provide that a sex offender who is serving a probationary sentence and is determined to pose a great risk of becoming a recidivist, or has been convicted of a second offense, must be placed under global positioning system satellite surveillance continuously for the duration of his probationary sentence by the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services. Similar to S264.

Smoking in Vehicles (S369) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 56-5-3910 to provide that it is unlawful for a driver or occupant of a motor vehicle to smoke a tobacco product while a child who is less than ten years old is also an occupant. Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no more than one hundred dollars. Similar to H3253.

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Domestic Relations

Adoption (H3172) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 20-7-1792 to establish a procedure allowing an adoptee twenty-one years or older to obtain copies of birth records and related information when a birth parent has authorized the release of such information. The legislation would apply to adoptions finalized after June 30, 2008 and apply to all other adoptions beginning July 1, 2011. The legislation would further require that the State Registrar carry out a public service campaign to educate the public about this Act.

Adoption (S204) would amend § 20-7-1640 of the 1976 Code, relating to a fingerprint review for a person applying for licensure as a foster parent, to include anyone seeking approval to adopt a child in the custody of the Department of Social Services (DSS) to undergo a fingerprint review. The legislation also seeks to amend § 20-7-1642 by including a prohibition on placing a child in the custody of DSS in a home for foster care or adoption where an adult in the home has pled guilty or no contest to unlawful conduct or cruelty toward a child.

Child Abuse (H3547) would amend § 20-7-650 of the 1976 Code to clarify the circumstances under which a perpetrator's name must be placed in the Central Registry by providing that if the court finds that a perpetrator physically neglected, severely neglected, or repeatedly neglected a child, the perpetrator's name must be placed in the Central Registry.

Child Visitation for Grandparents (H3134) would amend § 20-7-420 of the 1976 Code, relating to the jurisdiction of the Family Court, including jurisdiction to order visitation for grandparents, to provide that if the court finds that the child's parents are depriving the grandparent visitation with the child and that it is in the child's best interest to have visitation, the court may order such visitation. This would not apply to a family in which the parent and child live in the same household.

Family Court Financial Privacy Act (S584) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 20-3-240 to enact the Family Court Financial Privacy Act to provide that a financial declaration made part of the record in a matter before the Family Court must be sealed. The legislation would provide access to a financial declaration upon request only by the parties, the Court and personnel of the Court, and the Child Support Enforcement Division of the Department of Social Services. It would additionally amend § 30-4-40 to exempt financial declarations in matters before the Family Court except on order of the Court for good cause shown.

Family Court Hearing Officer Act; Family Court Reform Act of 2007; Family Law Mediation Act (S196), a comprehensive bill, proposes multiple reforms relating to the Family Court. These would include, but are not limited to the following: clarification that an action in Family Court is subject to the South Carolina Frivolous Proceedings Sanctions Act; revisions pertaining to the payment of alimony and child support; creation of the South Carolina Family Court Hearing Officer Act; authorization for the Department of Social Services to file a civil action against those individuals that made a report of suspected child abuse and neglect maliciously or in bad faith; and would allow, under certain circumstances, individuals to petition the Court to release the identity of the person making an unfounded report of abuse or neglect.

Legal Representation of Children. (S9) would amend §  20-7-110 of the 1976 Code to provide that when an appointed guardian ad litem is an attorney, additional legal counsel must not be appointed by the Family Court to the guardian absent extraordinary circumstances.

Marriage (H3427) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 20-1-110 to provide that common law marriage in the State may not be recognized on and after January 1, 2008, and provide an exception for a common law marriage existing as of December 31, 2007; and would repeal § 20-1-360 relating to the validity of a marriage contracted without the issuance of a license. Similar to S137.

Marriage (H3798) would amend § 20-1-20 of the 1976 Code, relating to a person who may perform marriage ceremonies, to include the chief of a Native American Indian entity recognized by the South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs.

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Education

Charter Schools (H3285) would amend § 59-40-190 of the 1976 Code to provide that a charter school chartered before 2006 may have a member of the school governing body who also receives pay as an employee.

Smoking (S103) would amend § 44-95-20 of the 1976 Code, relating to the Clean Indoor Air Act, to include exceptions to places where smoking is prohibited, delete provisions allowing smoking in private offices and teacher lounges at schools, and would add § 59-1-485 to provide that it is unlawful for a person to smoke or possess smoking material in outdoor areas of public schools and preschools. Similar to S185.

South Carolina Teacher Loan Program Policy Board of Governance (H3162) would amend § 59-26-20 of the 1976 Code to establish the South Carolina Teacher Loan Program Policy Board of Governance and provide for its membership and duties.

Teachers (S324) would amend § 59-26-85 of the 1976 Code to provide that teachers who are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), but who are not yet certified by the State, shall receive an increase in pay equal to two-thirds of the amount provided for state-certified teachers who are also NBPTS certified.

Teacher Protection Act (S157) would amend the 1976 Code to enact the South Carolina Teacher Protection Act of 2007, by adding § 59-25-900 to provide that a teacher may bring a civil action against a student who commits a criminal offense against the teacher if the offense occurs on school grounds, at a school related event, or if the offense is directly related to the teacher's professional responsibilities. The legislation would further amend § 16-3-612 to redefine into three offenses with separate penalties for each. Similar to H3347.

Tuition Pre-Payment Program (S75) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 59-4-110 to provide that the South Carolina Tuition Prepayment Program may not accept new participants and that the program shall remain in operation for existing participants.

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Elections

Absentee Ballots (S59) would amend § 7-15-320 to provide that a qualified elector meeting certain requirements must be permitted to vote by absentee ballot by mail, and that any qualified elector must be permitted to vote by absentee ballot in any election in which he is entitled to vote for any reason if the elector appears in person to cast an absentee ballot as provided by law. Similar to H3539.

Children and Voting Booths (S14) would amend § 7-13-770 of the 1976 Code to authorize a dependent child of a qualified elector be allowed to accompany the elector into the voting booth.

Election Vacancies (H3278) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 7-13-200 to provide a uniform method of filling vacancies in an elected or appointed office when a person moves his residence outside of the area from which he was elected or appointed. If the office was originally filled by appointment, the presiding officer shall notify the appointing officer. The appointing officer shall fill the vacancy by appointment within ninety days. If the office was originally filled by election, the presiding officer shall notify the county election commission. Upon receiving notice, the county Election Commission shall schedule a special election to fill the vacancy.

South Carolina Election Law (H3197) would amend multiple sections relating to the term “club district,” defined as the territory of the general election voting place or precinct in which the political party club is formed, whether a ward, township, or subdivision. The legislation would delete the definition of the term and references to this term in election law.

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Employment & Licensing

Health Personnel Licensing (H3852) would amend upon passage § 44-4-130 of the 1976 Code to revise the definition of "qualifying health condition" and "trial court"; § 44-4-320, relating to powers and duties regarding safe disposal of human remains, so as to specify that existing provisions in the State Emergency Operations Plan govern the disposal of remains and if the plan is not sufficient, measures may be adopted relating to, among other things, death certificate and autopsy procedures; § 44-4-530, relating to isolation and quarantine of individuals or groups and penalties for noncompliance, so as to change a misdemeanor offense to a felony offense for failing to comply with the Department's isolation and quarantine rules and orders; and to prohibit an employer from firing, demoting, or discriminating against an employee complying with an isolation or quarantine order; § 44-4-540, relating to isolation and quarantine procedures, so as to provide that the isolation and quarantining of individuals and groups under other provisions of law must be carried out pursuant to this section; and § 44-4-570, relating to additional emergency health powers and procedures regarding licensing of health personnel, so as to further specify the use of in-state and out-of-state volunteer health care providers, to provide that immunity from liability for volunteer health care providers in a state of public health emergency applies whether or not the volunteer receives financial gain for the volunteer services, and to provide such immunity to emergency assistant medical examiners or coroners.

Retiree Health Insurance Trust Fund (H3789) would revise provisions regarding employees and retirement insurance to bring the State into compliance with new federal requirements of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board for post-employment benefits. Similar to S462.

Small Employer Health Group Cooperative (S588) would provide for the establishment of a small employer group cooperative for the purpose of providing health insurance to their employees. The Office of Research and Statistics of the Budget and Control Board would be required to submit a report to the office of the Governor and the General Assembly by January 1, 2010. Similar to H3751.

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Environment

Brownfields/Voluntary Clean Up Program (H3880) would amend Article 7, Chapter 56, Title 44 of the 1976 Code to revise the liability protection provided to parties who are not responsible for environmental contamination of property and who subsequently become responsible for the property. Property on to which a release of petroleum products occurred would be eligible for participation in this voluntary cleanup program. Contents of a voluntary cleanup contract and grounds for termination of the contract are further specified. The Department of Health and Environmental Control would be required to report to the General Assembly on the activities of this program.

Energy Freedom and Rural Development Act (H3649) would amend the 1976 Code by adding Chapter 63 to Title 12 so as to enact the Energy Freedom and Rural Development Act, which would establishe various incentives to encourage biomass fuel development and utilization. Among other things, the legislation would provide for a sales tax rebate of three hundred dollars for an in-state purchase or lease of a hybrid electrical vehicle. Similar to S243, H3146, and H3749.

Environmental Certification Board (H3543) would amend § 40-23-230 of the 1976 Code to change the period in which a licensee may file an application to reinstate a lapsed license from ninety days to three hundred sixty five days, and would require that an applicant seeking reinstatement of a lapsed license meet certain continuing education requirements.

Fleet Management Program (S368) would amend § 1-11-220 of the 1976 Code to provide that the Fleet Management Program shall seek to decrease pollutants and would amend § 1-11-310 to provide that in matters of acquisition, a preference must be given to alternative fuel vehicles when a comparable price and quality is available.

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Fish, Game & Watercraft

Wild Game (S691) would amend and repeal multiple sections to address a variety of fish, game, and forestry related issues. These include, but are not limited to: studies relating to game zones stocked with wild turkeys, the establishment of wake zones, and the use of artificial light to protect a lessee's property.

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Government

Food Assistance (H3149) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 43-5-252 to provide that a person may not receive food assistance payments including, but not limited to, food stamps if the State administers the eligibility process, unless the person verifies that he or she is lawfully present in the State; require such a person to apply for such benefits through the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement Program; and provide that it is unlawful to provide such benefits in violation of this Act. The provisions of the legislation would not apply to applications for recipients under the age of eighteen. The legislation would also require education and counseling for food stamp recipients, which must include information on nutrition requirements and meal preparation advice. Similar to H4117 and H4119.

Judicial Merit Selection Commission (H3463) would amend multiple sections of the 1976 Code, relating to the Judicial Merit Selection Commission, all so as to change the Commission's process for nominating judicial candidates from the nomination of three candidates to the release of a list of all qualified and fit candidates to the General Assembly. The legislation would delete the requirement that race, gender, national origin, and other demographic factors be considered by the commission, define the term "immediate family member", and provide further conforming changes.

Judicial Merit Selection Commission (S40) would make numerous revisions to provisions relating to judicial elections. Among others, these revisions would include the following: no member of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) would be eligible to seek judicial office while serving on the Commission and for one year thereafter; provide that the judicial candidate is not permitted on the floor during the time he is listed as a qualified candidate and the election is pending; further provide that the Commission shall release a list of qualified candidates rather than releasing its nominees; and with regards to the election of Family Court Judges, the legislation would require that a person be a resident of the circuit for at least one year.

Judicial Merit Selection Commission (S105) would amend § 2-19-70 of the 1976 Code to prohibit a person or judicial candidate from directly or indirectly seeking the pledge of a member of the General Assembly regarding screening for any judicial office until the qualifications of all candidates have been determined by the Judicial Merit Selection Commission and the Commission has formally released its report. In addition, no member of the General Assembly may trade anything of value in exchange for a pledge to vote for a particular candidate.

Lottery Ticket Sales (S121) would amend § 59-150-210 of the 1976 Code to permit the sale of lottery tickets on general or primary election days.

State Treasurer (S263) would repeal § 11-5-30 of the 1976 Code to eliminate a provision that requires the State Treasurer to maintain office hours on Saturdays.

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Health Care

Abortion (H3355) would amend multiple sections of the 1976 Code to require that a physician who is to perform an abortion must verify the probable gestational age of the embryo or fetus by using an obstetric ultrasound at least one hour prior to the abortion. The images must be reviewed with the woman seeking the abortion. Senate amendments include these provisions: nothing may be construed to require the woman to view the images and neither the woman nor the physician shall be penalized if the woman refuses to review the images. A Conference Committee has been appointed to reach a compromise on said legislation.  Similar to S84.

Automated External Defibrillator (AED) (S71) would amend § 44-76-40 of the 1976 Code to provide immunity for civil liability for persons providing training for cardiopulmonary resuscitation that includes training in the use of an automated external defibrillator, as long as training is in accordance with the guidelines and policies of a national training organization and the trainer is authorized to deliver the course.

Hospital Infections Disclosure Act (H3380) would amend § 44-7-2430 and § 44-7-2440 of the 1976 Code to require that hospitals collect data and submit reports to the Department of Health and Environmental Control on hospital acquired infection rates and to require hospitals collect data and submit reports on deaths resulting from hospital acquired infections.

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Law Enforcement & Public Safety

Concealable Weapons Permits (H3528) would amend § 23-31-215 of the 1976 Code to restrict the circumstances upon which the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) may release its list of permit holders. SLED, which maintains a list of all concealable weapon permit holders, may only release the list of permit holders or verify and individual's permit status if the request is made by a law enforcement agency to aid in an official investigation.

Concealable Weapons Permits (H3212) would amend § 23-31-215 of the 1976 Code to provide that valid out-of-state permits to carry concealable weapons held by a resident of another state must be honored by this state and eliminate the provision that this state will only honor out-of-state permits issued by a state with which South Carolina has reciprocity.

Emergency Management Division (S218) would amend Article 5, Chapter 9, Title 25 of the 1976 Code to name the rename the Southern Regional Emergency Management Assistance Compact, the Emergency Management Compact, and would amend Article 4, Chapter 1, Title 25 to provide that the Emergency Management Division is responsible for implementing an Incident Management System and provide that the Governor shall develop and coordinate an Emergency Management System.

Law Enforcement Officer (H3326) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 23-23-120 to provide a procedure whereby a governmental entity which has assumed the cost of training a law enforcement officer may be reimbursed for these costs by a governmental entity that subsequently hire the law enforcement officer. Similar to S715.

Plain Language Communications (H3286) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 23-3-70 to provide for the use of plain language communications by each state and local, fire, and law enforcement agencies.

Special Purpose Districts (H3623) would update various statutes by referencing the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and make other technical revisions.

Statewide First Responder Building Mapping Information System (S175) would amend the 1976 Code by adding Article 11 to Chapter 3, Title 23 to provide that the South Carolina Emergency Management Division shall create and operate a statewide First Responder Building Mapping System. It shall not impose standards on other mapping systems used for any other local government purposes.

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Probate

Elective Share (S94) would amend § 62-2-204 of the 1976 Code, relating to a surviving spouse's rights to an elective share, homestead allowance, and exempt property to provide for the voluntary waiver of those rights upon fair and reasonable disclosure by the other spouse.

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Professions & Occupations

Immigration Assistance (H3025) would amend the 1976 Code by adding Chapter 91 to Title 40 to provide for registration and other requirements for persons engaged in the profession of providing immigration assistance.

Sheriff (H3771) would amend § 23-15-110 of the 1976 Code, relating to the prohibition of a Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff, or Sheriff's Clerk from practicing law or holding the office of Clerk of Court, to remove the prohibition regarding the practice of law.

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Real Estate & Land Use

Mortgages and Liens (H3033) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 29-3-345 to provide for a document of rescission to correct an erroneous recording of a satisfaction of a mortgage or other lien affecting real property; protect a priority creditor who records after the erroneous recording; provide a civil cause of action for a person injured by a wrongful recording of a document of rescission; establish a recording fee; and provide a form for the document.

Real Estate Brokers (H3516) would amend § 40-57-80 of the 1976 Code, relating to qualifications for licensure as a real estate broker, salesperson, or property manager, to provide for criminal record reports and satisfactory evidence that the applicant is of good moral character. If the applicant has an unsatisfactory examination or investigation, the Commission must notify the applicant in writing, at which point the applicant has sixty days from the date of notification to respond to the Commission.

Tenant Ejectment (H3157) would amend § 27-37-30 of the 1976 Code, relating to requirements for service of rule on a tenant against whom ejectment proceedings are brought, to provide a method of service by posting if grounds of ejectment are circumstances that threaten life or significant property damage; amend § 27-37-40 to require Magistrates to immediately issue a warrant for ejectment if grounds for ejectment are circumstances that threaten lives or significant property damage and the tenant fails to appear and show cause within five days of service; and amend § 27-40-720 to define for the purposes of this section the term "emergency" to include circumstances considered to threaten the lives of residents or employees, or malicious property damage. “Malicious property damage” is defined as willfully or deliberately causing physical damage to rental property. “Threat to human life” is defined as the verbal, written, or physical threat by the tenant or a member of the tenant's household of bodily harm to the landlord, an employee of the landlord, or another tenant of the landlord.

Uniform Real Property Recording Act (H3451) would amend the 1976 Code by adding Chapter 6 to Title 30 so as to enact the Uniform Real Property Recording Act to provide for the authority of the Register of Mense Conveyances in a county to receive and record documents and information in electronic form, setting forth certain requirements in acceptance of electronic documents by a Register, charging the office of the Secretary of State with the responsibility of implementing the act and adopting standards for the receipt, recording, and retrieval of electronic documents, and providing definitions.

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Taxation

Boat Property Tax (H3765) would amend § 12-37-220 of the 1976 Code, relating to general exemptions from property tax, so as to exempt from the property tax 42.75 percent of the fair market value of a watercraft and its motor, if it is not attached to the watercraft; and would amend § 12-37-714, relating to property tax on boats with situs in South Carolina, so as to increase the number of days a boat that is used in interstate commerce must be present in the State to be subject to the property tax from thirty days to ninety days, and to increase the number of days a boat that is not used in interstate commerce must be present in the state from sixty consecutive days to one hundred twenty consecutive days. Similar to S800 and H3763.

Cigarette Tax (H3567) would amend § 12-21-620 of the 1976 Code, relating to taxation on cigarettes, so as to increase the amount of tax on each cigarette from three and one-half mills to two cents; add § 44-6-157 so as to provide that the revenue generated from the taxation on cigarettes must be used to expand Medicaid coverage to children eighteen years of age and younger whose family income does not exceed two hundred percent of the federal poverty level; create the Health Care Trust Fund to provide Medicaid benefits to individuals whose family income does not exceed one hundred percent of the federal poverty level and who are uninsured and to provide that revenue in excess of the children's Medicaid coverage from the cigarette tax must be credited to the Health Care Trust Fund; and would further amend § 12-36-910, relating to sales taxes generally, so as to provide that as of July 1, 2009, the three percent sales tax is eliminated on unprepared food which lawfully may be purchased with United States Department of Agriculture food coupons, provide for certain general fund transfers to the Education Improvement Act Fund for each fiscal year to offset EIA revenues lost as a result of the loss of sales tax on the sale of unprepared food, and to reduce the sales tax on unprepared food to two percent as of July 1, 2007, and one percent as of July 1, 2008.

Department of Revenue (H3372) would provide for technical revisions and updates to taxation provisions. Similar to S366, S367, H3422, and H3627.

Income Tax Credit (H3390) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 12-6-3588 to allow a state income tax credit equal to twenty percent of the qualified expenditures of photovoltaic, solar, and fuel cell property credits allowed against a taxpayer's federal income tax liability.

Motor Vehicle or Mobile Home (H3323) would amend § 56-19-265 of the 1976 Code to provide that if there are one or more liens or encumbrances on a motor vehicle or mobile home, the Department of Motor Vehicles may electronically transmit the lien to the first lienholder and notify the first lienholder of any additional liens and lien satisfactions; provide when electronic transmission of liens and lien satisfactions is used, a Certificate of Title may be issued when the last lien is satisfied and a clear certificate is issued; provide that when a motor vehicle or mobile home is subject to an electronic lien, its Certificate of Title is physically held by the lienholder; provide that a certified copy of an electronic record of a lien is admissible in court as evidence of the existence of a lien; and provide that a transaction fee may be collected by commercial parties and lenders who transmit or retrieve data pursuant to this section.

Property Tax Millage (H3812) would amend § 6-1-320 of the 1976 Code to provide for a millage rate limitation to purchase residential development rights in undeveloped property near military installations in order to prevent additional residential development near those military institutions.

Sales and Use Tax (H3762) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 6-1-155 to establish an account in the State Treasury consisting of sales and use tax revenues attributable to the deletion of an exemption and to provide that this revenue must be distributed upon application to coastal municipalities and counties and used to maintain salt water quality in SAA waters near channels used by ships in intercoastal trade foreign commerce.

Sales Tax Exemptions (H3143) would amend § 12-36-2120 of the 1976 Code, relating to exemptions from sales tax, to provide an exemption for hospital beds, walkers, and wheelchairs sold or rented to an individual under the written prescription of a health care professional.

Tax Credit (H3015) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 28-2-520 to provide the option of a property tax credit or state income tax credit, instead of just compensation, for the value of property that is subject to a condemnation action to a landowner that grants property to a county, municipality, or state agency for the purpose of building a sidewalk or bicycle path.

Tax Increment Finance Law (H3830) would amend § 31-6-30 and § 31-6-80 of the 1976 Code to revise the definitions for “redevelopment plan” and “redevelopment project costs,” and to require additional findings before an adoption of a redevelopment plan by a municipality, and would amend sections § 31-7-30, § 31-7-80, and § 31-7-120 relating to definitions, procedures for adopting redevelopment plans and intergovernmental agreements for purposes of the Tax Increment Financing Act for counties, to reenact portions of the definition of “blighted area” inadvertently deleted and revise definitions for “conservation area” and “redevelopment project area,” to require additional findings before adoption of a redevelopment plan by a county; and to clarify the application of municipal and county tax increment financing laws to intergovernmental agreements.

Underground Storage Tanks (H3977) would amend § 44-2-40 of the 1976 Code to increase the registration fee for underground storage tanks from $100 to $135 and § 44-2-60 to provide that the amount of registration and late fee revenue used for administration may not exceed the total amount collected from such fees annually. Current law provides that the amount used for administration may not exceed three million a year.

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Torts and Insurance

Insurance Programs (H3713) would amend the 1976 Code by adding § 1-11-735 to provide that the Employee Insurance Program of the Budget and Control Board is directed to develop, for employees and their spouses who participate in the health plans offered by the employee insurance program, an incentive plan to encourage participation in programs that promote health and prevention of disease, and to provide that the employee insurance program, upon approval of the Budget and Control Board, is further directed to implement a premium reduction or other financial incentive, beginning on January 1, 2008, for those employees and their spouses who participate in these programs.

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Transportation

Handicapped License Tags (S425) would propose numerous provisions regarding the issuance of handicapped license tags. Similar to S611.

License Plates (S493) would amend Chapter 3, Title 56 of the 1976 Code to provide that the Department of Motor Vehicles may issue Operation Desert Storm-Desert Shield, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran's license plates.

Mobility Development Authority (H3279) would amend multiple sections to establish a Mobility Development Authority within the State Budget and Control Board. The Authority would be required to develop and coordinate a general mass transit program and policy for the State.

Railways (S585), a joint resolution, would direct the Department of Commerce, Division of Public Railways to implement and oversee a statewide rail plan, on or before March 31, 2008, in accordance with existing federal statutes, rules, and guidelines.

Rural Infrastructure Act (H3666) would amend Title 11 of the 1976 Code by adding Chapter 50 to enact the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Act, to establish the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority and provide for its governance, powers, and duties. The legislation would authorize the Authority to provide loans and other financial assistance to a municipality, county, special purpose or public service district, and a public works commission to finance rural infrastructure facilities. It would allow state appropriations, grants, loan repayments, and other available amounts to be credited to the fund of the Authority and authorizes lending to and borrowing by eligible entities through the Authority.

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Regulations

Air Pollution Control Regulations and Standards (S516), a joint resolution, would approve regulations to the Department of Health and Environmental Control, relating to air pollution control regulations and standards, designated as regulation document number 3069, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.

Air Quality Implementation Plan (S519), a joint resolution, would approve regulations of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, relating to air pollution control regulations and standards, and the South Carolina Air Quality Implementation Plan (SIP), designated as regulation document number 3083, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.

Alcohol Permits (S578), a joint resolution, would approve regulations of the Department of Revenue relating to the requirements for protesting beer and wine permits or alcoholic liquor licenses, designated as regulation document number 3101, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.

CPA (S437), a joint resolution, would approve regulations of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, Board of Accountancy, relating to licensure of certified public accountants, accounting practitioners, and registration of accounting firms, designated as regulation document number 3092, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.

Nursing Programs (S695), a joint resolution, would approve regulations of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation-Board of Nursing, relating to nursing programs designated as regulation document number 3080, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.

OSHA (S572), a joint resolution, would approve regulations of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Occupational Safety and Health, relating to reporting fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents to OSHA, designated as regulation number 3105, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.  

Public Swimming Pools (S517), a joint resolution, would approve regulations of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, relating to the public swimming pools, designated as regulation document number 3055, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.

Psychology (S696), a joint resolution, would approve regulations of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Board of Examiners in Psychology, relating to the practice of psychology-specialty designations, designated as regulation document number 3102, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code. Similar to H3878.

Septic Tank Evaluation Fees (S520), a joint resolution, would approve regulations for the Department of Health and Environmental Control relating to septic tank site evaluation fees, designated as regulation document number 3084, pursuant to the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 23, Title 1 of the 1976 Code.  

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