LEGISLATIVE UPDATE : March 1-8, 2019
On The Floor:
REDUCING DRUNK DRIVING FATALITIES — A high number of traffic fatalities are related to alcohol-impaired driving. The numbers are alarming — there’s no excuse for driving while intoxicated. The ignition interlock device program in South Carolina is working. Senate Bill 18 takes an additional step forward to reduce fatalities resulting from alcohol-impaired driving. The bill provides that in lieu of serving the remainder of a suspension or denial of license or permit, relating to persons who drive motor vehicles and have a certain amount of alcohol concentration, a person may enroll in the Ignition Interlock Device Program. The ignition interlock device is required to be affixed to the motor vehicle for three months. Mopeds and Motorcycles exempt from the provision. The cost of the device must be borne by the person, however the person may submit an affidavit of indigence to the Department of PPP, and other related items. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
CONTRABAND CELLPHONES — The use and access to contraband cell phones in our state’s correctional facilities is dangerous to correctional officers, other inmates and unfettered access to the general public. Contraband cell phones is a growing concern nationwide, as they are used to plot escapes and run criminal networks outside of prison walls. The Senate pushed back on this unlawful activity in S.156 to enact that it is unlawful to possess within or introduce a telecommunication device upon the grounds of a correctional facility, except as authorized by the appropriate official in charge of the correctional institution. A person who violates is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be imprisoned for not more than three years and forfeits all earned work credits, education credits and good conduct credits. The bill now heads to the House for further consideration.
LET KIDS, BE KIDS — The Senate this week re-enforced commonsense guardianship and all that goes with child independence. Senate Bill 79, passed this week by the Senate, provides that child abuse or neglect or harm does not occur if a parent, guardian or other responsible for child’s welfare allows a child of certain age to engage in independent activities including independent means of travel to and from school, engaging in recreational facilities, outdoor play, and remaining at home unattended.
FOSTER CARE FOR FICTIVE KIN — Senate Bill 191 provides that fictive kin are eligible to be foster parents under the kinship foster care program and relatives and fictive kin may foster a child before being licensed as a kinship foster care provider under certain circumstances. A ‘fictive kin’ means an individual who is not related by birth, adoption or marriage to a child but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child or the child’s family. If a relative or fictive kin with whom a child has been placed is denied licensure, then the relative or fictive kin must relinquish custody of the child to the department. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
SOLAR ENERGY — Senate Bill 362 allows a an income tax credit equal to twenty-five percent of the cost of installation of a solar energy property if he constructs, purchases or leases a solar energy property and other related terms. A credit for each installation of solar energy property may not exceed two million five hundred thousand dollars. The credit s allowed on a first-come, first-served basis, and the total amount of credits available to be taken. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
POWERS OF SHERIFFS — Jurisdictional limits can result in unnecessary barriers for sheriff’s to perform their duties and keep the public safe, even within their own county. Senate Bill 397 provides that a county sheriff, in counties with a population in excess of one hundred thousand residents according to the latest official U.S. Decennial Census, has the power of constable and enforce cases arising within county limits, including municipal limits. When in fresh and continuous pursuit of a suspect within county limits, police officers may follow and arrest the suspect anywhere in the State. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
ARMED FORCES LICENSES — A bill, S.455, provides that a board or commission shall issue temporary professional license to the spouse of an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces if meeting certain circumstances. A professional or occupational board or commission shall accept the education, training and experience completed by an individual as a member of the Armed Forces or Reserves of the United States, National Guard of any state, Military Reserves of any state or the Naval Militias of any state and apply this training, education and experience in the manner most favorable toward satisfying the qualifications. Nothing in the provision should be construed as requiring a board or commission to grant licensure to the spouse if not all state law requirements have been met. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
For more questions on the above bills or additional legislation being considered by the Senate, please reach out! WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.