From the Dome to Your Home: May 1, 2015
The House of Representatives and Senate were in session this week and held subcommittee and committee meetings. Most of the action took place on the floor with legislators working long hours trying to pass bills before the April 30 crossover deadline. Bills that didn't pass the House or Senate and cross over to the other chamber are more difficult to pass this session.
Senate Finance Committee amends and approves House roads plan
The Senate Finance Committee amended and approved H3579, the House version of the roads bill. The amendment strikes all of the language in the bill and replaces it with the language from the Senate version of the roads bill, S523. That bill is now on the Senate contested calendar with a minority report on the bill from the full committee. On Thursday, senators tried to put the bill on special order to require debate next week. That vote failed. For more information on the roads bill, contact Melissa Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1251 or Scott Slatton (email@example.com) at 803.933.1203.
Body camera bills moving through the General Assembly
S47, the Senate bill that requires law enforcement officers to wear body cameras if funding is provided, was given third reading by the Senate on Wednesday and sent over to the House for debate. On Thursday, the House voted to place S47 immediately on the calendar instead of going to a committee. H3997, the House bill that instructs the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council to conduct a body camera pilot project with six municipalities and three counties, is on the House contested calendar. For more information on the body camera bills, contact Tiger Wells (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1270.
Dilapidated Buildings Act carried over by full Senate Judiciary Committee
The Senate Judiciary Committee carried over S194, the Dilapidated Buildings Act. This bill gives cities and towns another tool to deal with dilapidated buildings through the appointment of a receiver to either repair or demolish the property. Several committee members expressed concern over the amendment added in subcommittee to include counties and other issues in the bill. Contact Scott Slatton (email@example.com) at 803.933.1203 for questions about the bill or to share stories that illustrate the challenges of dilapidated buildings.
Amended Senate agenda bill passed by the House
S11, the Senate bill that requires an agenda for all regularly scheduled meetings of a public body, was amended and given approval by the House Judiciary Committee last week. The committee amended the bill to strike all of the language in S11 and replace it with the language in the House version of the bill, H3192, which requires an emergency finding before an action item could be added to an agenda at the time of a regularly scheduled meeting. The full House gave the amended version of S11 third reading on Thursday and returned it to the Senate with those amendments. On Thursday, the Senate amended the bill with the Senate version and returned it to the House. Next, the House will have to concur or nonconcur with the Senate amendments. For more information on the agenda bill, contact Tiger Wells (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1270.
Workers" compensation bill passed full Senate Judiciary Committee
S429, the bill that modifies the requirements of workers" compensation to include mental illness, was amended and passed by the full Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee members amended the bill to limit the workers" compensation expansion to first responders directly involved in an incident in the course of their employment where that incident results in medically diagnosed PTSD. The bill is now on the Senate contested calendar. There was a minority report placed on the bill in full committee. For more information on the workers" compensation bill, contact Tiger Wells (email@example.com) at 803.933.1270.
Senate begins budget debate on Monday
The full Senate will begin debating the Senate Finance Committee's version of the budget on Monday at 1:30 p.m. and continue the debate throughout the week until they approve the bill. The Senate Finance Committee's budget includes $212.6 million in the Local Government Fund for Fiscal Year 2015-2016. This total includes $200.1 million as the base funding level and $12.5 million in one-time money. This total is the same amount as the current year and $81.9 million less than full funding.
Senate Finance Committee members included a proviso that would allow municipalities to use surplus victim assistance funding to purchase body cameras for sworn officers. The budget also added $3.4 million in the Department of Public Safety budget that includes $2.4 million base funding and $1 million onetime funding for 2,000 body cameras. The Senate Finance Committee also included the proviso that requires cities and towns to negotiate an agreement with the circuit public defender to provide indigents with a public defender in municipal court. The proviso prohibits the circuit public defender from providing indigent defense in municipal court without an agreement with the city or town. For more information on the state budget bill, contact Melissa Carter (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 803.933.1251.
Weekly bill introductions
Committee action this week
Senate Judiciary Committee
S282 - Makes several changes to the Tort Claims Act - carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Makes several changes to the Tort Claims Act including changes to the medical malpractice language and defective product language.
H3168 - SC Emergency Management Law Enforcement Act - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Outlines procedures for the use of out-of-state officers who are deployed to the state in accordance with the provisions of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
Senate Judiciary subcommittee
S178 - Prohibits that failure of the video recording equipment to capture all of a field sobriety test from being grounds for a dismissal - carried over
Summary of the bill as introduced: Prohibits that failure of the video recording equipment to capture all of a field sobriety test from being grounds for a dismissal of any charges.
Senate Transportation Committee
H3213 - Requires law enforcement officers to notify DMV of medical conditions of drivers - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires law enforcement officers who suspect that a motor vehicle accident was the result of a driver's loss of consciousness due to a medical condition to notify DMV of the determination.
Senate Corrections and Penology Committee
S338 - Requires residential housing programs for paroled prison inmates to provide notice in the newspaper - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires any public, private or nonprofit entity that is engaged in helping to rehabilitate and reintroduce paroled prison inmates into the community through residential housing to provide notice in a newspaper of general circulation of the address of the residential housing facility.
House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee
S255 - Requires removal of arrest records on websites if the charges have been dismissed or discharged - favorable report with an amendment. The amendment allows the records up for destruction to be retained beyond the statutory period if they are being used in an ongoing action.
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires removal of arrest records on websites within 30 days if the charges have been dismissed, discharged or the person is found not guilty.
Senate Judiciary subcommittee
S647 - Exempts a person from a criminal offense who photographs or records a law enforcement officer performing official duties - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Exempts a person from a criminal offense who photographs or records a law enforcement officer performing official duties while the officer is in a public place.
S649 - Requires all law enforcement agencies to have written policies regarding investigations of officer involved deaths - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Requires all law enforcement agencies to have written policies regarding investigations of officer involved deaths.
S650 - Gives SLED exclusive authority and jurisdiction to investigate all officer-involved shootings that result in bodily injury or death - favorable report
Summary of the bill as introduced: Gives SLED exclusive authority and jurisdiction to investigate all officer-involved shootings that result in bodily injury or death.
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