LEGISLATIVE UPDATE : March 27 – April 7, 2017
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On The Floor:
CROSSOVER DEADLINE — This week marked crossover deadline for the General Assembly. The calendar deadline requires House bills to be sent to the Senate and Senate bills be sent to the House by this date. Upon this deadline, only those bills that have “crossed-over” bodies may be considered in the respective body for this year’s passage. The General Assembly is currently in the first year of a two-year legislative session meaning that the bills that have not crossed over will remain in their current calendar status until next year to be considered.
SHORE UP STATE PENSION — The Senate and House Conference Committee made up of Representatives Herbkersman, Cobb-Hunter and String; and Senators Bennett, Sheheen and Gambrell addressed the details of H.3726 dealing with the state’s retirement system. The Senate and House both adopted the Conference Report, and now the finalized bill heads to the governor’s desk for a signature. Upon initial passage, Senator Bennett discussed the proposal and future of the state’s retirement system with SCETV’s Charles Bierbauer and Senator Sheheen on This Week in South Carolina. Watch the full segment here: http://video.scetv.org/video/2365970754/
REAL ID COMPLIANCE — Compliance with the federal REAL ID Act is on the governor’s desk. The REAL ID Act of 2005, passed by Congress, mandated additional requirements by the state to allow South Carolina Driver’s Licenses be accepted as adequate identification to have access to board commercial airlines, access military basses and other federal facilities. H.3358 and S.201 brought South Carolina within compliance of the REAL ID standards. If signed by the governor, those who want to a REAL ID compliant license may get one, but those who do not wish to have a REAL ID license is not required to obtain one. An amendment was also included that protects the distribution of private information and data to other agencies or private organizations.
LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING COUNCIL — Mental health and addictive disorders are a growing concern for law enforcement. The Senate unanimously passed S.173 to address training of law enforcement to be able to best deal with mental health or addictive disorder crisis cases. The bill would provide additional training and CLE credits to receive certification to deal with these concerns. The bill has been sent to the House for consideration.
DISTURBING SCHOOLS — This week the Senate sent S.131 to the House a bill to give jurisdiction to a magistrate court for a disturbing schools offense. The offense would be defined as a nonstudent who willfully interferes, disrupts or disturbs normal operation. The offense only applies to a student who makes a threat against another of death or great bodily injury.
CHILD RESTRAINT SYSTEMS — Senate Bill 478, passed unanimously, changes the child restraint requirements by increasing the age by which a child must be properly restrained from five to eight years old.
REQUIRED REPORTING OF ABUSE — The Senate unanimously passed a significant step forward in catching early signs of abuse and address the serious concern of child neglect. Senate Bill 447 would mandate nurses and practitioners report signs of abuse and neglect to the Department of Social Services. The bill, now in the House for consideration, requires reporting when an infant or fetus is exposed to alcohol or controlled substances.
INCREASED ALCOHOL SERVER TRAINING — S.116 to increase alcohol server requirements passed the Senate and now is in the House. It strengthens requirements and training of those who server alcohol at an establishment and also requires those who serve alcohol cannot consume alcohol while serving.
DONATION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES — A bill to allow manufacturers or producers of beer/wine passed the Senate 41-1. The provision allows a special permit to qualified non-profit organizations to receive donations of product through licensed wholesalers.
SPECIAL BREWERY PERMITS — Currently in law, breweries and brewpubs are limited under their permits to amount of beer that can be brewed and what can be served. S.275 would reduce restrictions on breweries and brewpubs to allow an additional permit to sell alcoholic liquor by the drink for consumption within a specified area. Additionally, brewpubs may apply for a brewery permit, surrendering its current permit, allowing the establishment to reduce restrictions that make it difficult to expand operations.