LEGISLATIVE UPDATE : February 27 – March 3, 2017
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On The Floor:
SHORE UP THE STATE’S PENSION — A joint committee was tasked more than 9 months ago to find solutions and alternatives to the state’s ailing pension. As a result of testimony by experts in the pension field and those state employees most affected by the pension, the Senate passed S.394 to shore up the state retirement system. The proposal unanimously passed the Senate and now heads to the House for consideration. In this interview with SCETV, Senator Sean Bennett explains the changes this bill will make to the retirement system and long-term approaches to better meet the promises made to state employees.
LEGISLATORS ALL-IN FOR SOUTH CAROLINA —Clemson University Head Football Coach Dabo Swinney received a special privilege rarely extended to address the General Assembly in a joint session. The Clemson football team, were recognized for their 2016 National Championship victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide. Coach Swinney spoke about the team’s journey to #1 and encouraged state legislators to be ‘All In” for the people of South Carolina. Watch the full remarks to the General Assembly here.
COMPENSATING OUR STATE GUARD— The Senate unanimously adopted a proposal to ensure that members of the S.C. State Guard be entitled to military leave without loss of pay, seniority or efficiency rating. It avoids a guardsman be unnecessarily impacted if called to serve during a natural disaster or state emergency.
PROPOSED CHANGES TO ETHICS REFORM — Senator Scott Talley introduced new legislation to open the dismissal of ethics complaints to a public hearing, providing a complaint has probable cause as determined by the State Ethics Commission. Read more about Senator Talley’s proposal here.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT IN DASHCAM SHOOTINGS — Senator Greg Hembree proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act, in S.481, to make dashcam video of officer-involved shootings public information. It would require a law enforcement agency to petition a court to restrict the release of these dashcam videos. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
DISABILITY LICENSES FOR GAME — The Fish, Game and Forestry Committee gave a favorable report to S.402 that would allow disabled residents receiving benefits from a state retirement system to obtain a three-year fishing and hunting license at no additional cost.
SCHOOL BUS PASSING VIOLATIONS— The Transportation Committee gave a favorable report to legislation intended to crack down on unlawful passing of a school bus. S.199 would allow the Department of Public Safety to issue a civil penalty to registered vehicle found unlawfully passing a school bus upon inspection of digital images captured by a stop arm mounted camera.
MANSLAUGHTER BY CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE — A bill to create an offense of Manslaughter by Distribution of Controlled Substance received initial approval by the Judiciary Committee. It would create penalties for someone who unlawfully distributes a controlled substance that causes the death of another.
CONCEALED CARRY FOR CLERK OF COURTS — The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a proposal to allow retired persons from certain offices and Clerks of Courts to permissibly carry concealed weapons in the state.