LEGISLATIVE UPDATE : May 20-24, 2019
The Senate returned this week, pursuant to the Sine Die resolution, to take up “conference committee reports.” Conference Committees are composed of three members from each body, Senate and the House, appointed to resolve differences between the respective bodies on an amended bill. The committee reports the recommendations, compromises, or amendments to the full Senate and full House for further action. If both bodies approve of the final changes to the legislation, the conference committee report is adopted and sent to the governor for signature or veto. The following conference committee reports were adopted and now head to the governor’s desk for further action.
Conference Committee Report Adopted
H.3137 –Local Government Fund: A bill to amend the State Aid to Subdivisions Act, the Local Government Fund, to establish a process of distribution of funds. The bill deletes the provision relating to mid-year cuts. The revenues to the local government will be adjusted proportionally to the same projected percentage change, but not to exceed five percent. The base is re-benchmarked at the current level of funding and then grows as the general fund grows.
H.3601– Public Disorderly Conduct: A bill to allow procedures for conditional discharge for first time offenders relating to public disorderly conduct. The court without entering a judgment of guilty and with the consent of the accused may defer further proceedings and be placed on probation with terms and conditions. A nonpublic record must be forwarded and retained by SLED solely for the purpose of use by the courts in determining whether a person has committed a subsequent offense. Upon dismissal and discharge, the person may apply to the court for an order of expungement A fee of $150 must be paid before a person may be discharged and proceedings dismissed, in which the funds shall be transmitted to the Prosecution Coordination Commission.
H.3602 – Health Care Decisions: A bill relating to the persons who may make health care decisions for a patient who is unable to consent, to add a person who has an established relationship with the patient, acting in good faith and who can reliably convey the patient’s wishes but is not a paid caregiver or provider of health care services to the patient. The person must sign and date a notarized acknowledgement form provided by the hospital or other facility where the patient is located.
H.3789 – Driver’s Licenses: A bill to expand options to prove veteran’s status, raises validity period for certain types of licenses and ID cards, allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to charge differing amounts for licenses depending on the validity periods. Members of the Armed Services and their dependents DL validity is extended from 4 years to 8 years. Veteran’s status extends to both national guardsmen and members of the reserve components who qualify. Establishes two options for commercial driver’s license: HAZMAT endorsement valid for 5 years upon individual which passes TSA threat assessment or without HAZMAT endorsement valid for 8 years, and additional conforming changes.
H.3821 – Advanced Practice Registered Nurses: A bill to enact the “Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Act” to provide that APRNs may certify the manner and cause of death pursuant to the provisions of the State Code of Laws. APRNs may have prescriptive authority on Schedule II narcotics for patients in long-term care facilities, all other restrictions of law remain the same.
H.3986 –Palmetto ABLE Savings: A bill to rename the “South Carolina ABLE Savings Program” the “South Carolina Stable Account Program,” and make conforming changes.
H.4004 – POST Act: A bill to enact the “Physician’s Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) Act.” The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control must administer, create access and manage improvements to the POST form, develop process to identify patients utilizing POST and other advance directives, develop educational efforts for public and health care professionals and promulgate necessary regulations. The POST form must be a uniform document based on the standards recommended by the National Physical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) paradigm and must include certain criteria. A POST may be revoked at any time by an oral or written statement by the patient or patient’s legal representative.
H.4243 –Professional Sports Teams Credits: A bill to define and include ‘professional sports team’ to taxpayers eligible for the new job tax credit. Additionally, increases the amount of initial job credit from eight thousand dollars to twenty-five thousand dollars for Tier IV counties, and from four thousand dollars to twenty thousand dollars for jobs created in Tier III counties. The provisions relating to ‘professional sports team’ shall sunset by July 1, 2022.
H.4000 –State General Appropriations: A bill to enact the general appropriations of the state for Fiscal Year 2019-2020. Highlights of the State Budget may be found online HERE.
H.4001–Capital Reserve Fund: A bill to appropriate monies from the Capital Reserve Fund for FY18-19 and allow unexpended funds appropriated to be carried forward to succeeding fiscal years and expended for the same purposes.
H.4287 – Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper): A joint resolution to provide the Department of Administration shall establish a process to conduct a competitive bidding process for the sale of some or all of the Public Service Authority (“Santee Cooper”) and receive management proposals that do not involve a sale but design to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Santee Cooper’s electric operations. The process shall not be limited to individuals or entities that responded to the ICF Request for Expressions of Interest. Santee Cooper shall also submit a proposal as an alternative to a sale or management proposal, setting plans to reform, restructure and change operation. Nothing precludes the department from negotiation with entities to improve the proposal. The department shall procure professional services necessary; the services must not be an entity with whom the House of Representatives, Senate or Governor has previously engaged relating to Santee Cooper. The department shall designate a third party to administer the procurement and dissemination of information from Santee Cooper to third party bidders in order to ensure consistency, proper characterization and accuracy of information provided. The department shall conduct a thorough evaluation off all bids (Section 2), management proposals (Section 3), reform (Section 4), under strict parameters of evaluation included within. The department shall establish a process in which its professional services experts conduct confidential negotiations between Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. and each entity that submitted a bid or proposal after all have been submitted. The department shall require that negotiations operate in good faith, and other like requirements. Information received during the process and ensuing negotiations shall be confidential and handled with sufficient care to prevent disclosure and must not be released without written permission of the entity whose bid or proposal was recommended. The department shall require non-disclosure agreements which must be entered into by each individual or entity involved. At the conclusion, the department shall concurrently present a recommendation by its professional service experts of one bid for sale, one management proposal that consider to be in the best interest of the State, taxpayers and customers of Santee Cooper, as well as the recommendation of Santee Cooper’s proposal. Each must include justifications, contract with full terms, and supporting documents. The proposed contracts must include covenants that the bidder will abide by the terms of its bid for sale or its proposal. The department must enter into a contract with each entity that establishes penalties for failure to proceed with the terms in the event the bid or proposal is selected by the General Assembly. The contract must include, but is not limited to, earnest money to be paid upon a recommendation of that entity is being made to the General Assembly and penalties for failure to finalize the terms of bid or proposal upon selection by the General Assembly. The department shall present to the Chairman of Senate Finance Committee, Chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee the documents by January 15, 2020, and may extend an additional 60 days if needed. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House shall convene their respective bodies to consider any legislation to effectuate the sale, management proposal, or reform, restructure and changes in operation of Santee Cooper. In the event of an approved sale, the net proceeds shall be deposited in the State Retirement Systems Group Trust. In the event the General Assembly approves a management proposal, the department must execute and documents necessary to effectuate the proposal. If any section, subsection, paragraph, et al. be held unconstitutional or invalid, the remaining portions of the act shall be held if the General Assembly would have approved the remaining portions of the act.
For more questions on the above bills or additional legislation being considered by the Senate, please reach out! WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU.