|The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3041, a joint resolution for a proposed amendment to the South Carolina Constitution that the state superintendent of education be appointed by the governor, upon the advice and consent of the Senate, rather than elected by the state's voters. Under the proposed state constitutional amendment, the Superintendent of Education would be removed from the list of Constitutional Officers who are elected statewide, beginning upon the expiration of the term of the Superintendent of Education serving in office on January 10, 2019, and the State Superintendent of Education would instead be appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at the Governor's pleasure. The General Assembly would provide by law for the duties, compensation, and qualifications for office, and the procedures by which the appointment is made. Should the legislation be approved by the General Assembly, the proposed amendment to South Carolina's Constitution would be placed before the voters as a ballot question at the next general election.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4666, a bill that makes provisions for local domestic violence fatality review committees by requiring each Circuit Solicitor to establish an inter-agency circuit-wide review committee to assist local agencies in identifying and reviewing domestic violence deaths, including homicides and suicides, and facilitating communication among the various agencies involved in domestic violence cases. These local domestic fatality review committees are also charged with reporting to the state's Domestic Violence Advisory Committee and others regarding recommended improvements to domestic violence response and prevention initiatives.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3653, a bill providing authorization for local governments to enter into a law enforcement multi-jurisdictional task force arrangement in order to share officers and other law enforcement resources. The legislation makes provisions for a multi-jurisdictional task force to be governed by a written contract that must be approved by the appropriate governing bodies of each concerned county, incorporated municipality, or other political subdivision.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4457, a bill doubling the maximum dollar amount of the civil jurisdiction of magistrates court by providing for magistrates to have civil jurisdiction in matters that do not exceed $15,000, rather than the current maximum limit of $7,500.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4639, a bill relating to interstate reciprocity agreements for post-secondary distance education. The legislation provides that the Commission on Higher Education may enter into interstate reciprocity agreements, such as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, governing the operation of post-secondary distance education programs offered by accredited degree-granting institutions of higher learning in South Carolina. Since colleges and universities that offer online education programs must obtain authorization in every state where a pupil resides, the legislation is offered as a means of making this authorization process less complex and expensive by allowing the institutions of higher learning in South Carolina to make use of a single distance education protocol that applies in all the states that have entered into a reciprocity agreement.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3420, a bill relating to the issuance of high school diplomas to veterans. The legislation expands provisions crafted for the issuance of high school diplomas to World War II veterans by adding veterans of the eras encompassing the Korean War and the Vietnam War to those who must be issued a high school diploma upon presentation to the South Carolina Department of Education of documentation of school enrollment and honorable discharge from the military.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4515, a bill relating to in-state higher education tuition rates for veterans and their dependents. Through the passage of Act 11 of 2015, the General Assembly revised eligibility criteria for in-state higher education tuition rates for veterans and their dependents to ensure that South Carolinians can continue to take advantage of federal G.I. Bill provisions. H.4515 makes further revisions to provide that the three-year post discharge enrollment time limit put in place by last year's legislation does not apply to spouses or children dependents of veterans who are entitled to receive federal educational assistance transferred from veterans so that these individuals may take full advantage of the transferred benefits.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3166, a bill making revisions to conditions that disqualify someone from receiving unemployment compensation, including an additional disqualification from unemployment benefits for those who fail screenings for illegal drugs required by prospective employers as a condition of employment or who refuse to comply with such pre-employment drug tests.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4857, a bill establishing landfill requirements for coal ash from electrical power plants. The legislation provides that coal combustion residuals that result from an electrical utility, an electric cooperative, a governmental entity, a corporation, or an individual producing electricity for sale or distribution by burning coal must be placed in a Class 3 solid waste management landfill, unless the coal combustion residuals are: (1) located contiguous with the electric generating unit; (2) intended to be beneficially reused; (3) placed into beneficial reuse; or (4) placed in an appropriate landfill owned or operated by the entity that produced the electricity that resulted in the coal combustion residuals. The legislation establishes a five-year sunset date for these requirements, unless they are reenacted or otherwise extended by the General Assembly.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4447, a bill providing authorization for mobile barbershops that can be transported from one location to another and offer temporary portable barber operations in such settings as a client's home or a nursing home. The legislation makes provisions for mobile barbershop permitting and regulation by the State Barber Board and subjects mobile barbershops to all state and local laws, regulations, and ordinances pertaining to the practice of barbering.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4090, a bill revising requirements governing the operation of pawnbrokers. Offered as a comprehensive update of the provisions regulating pawnbrokers, the legislation includes among its revisions an increase in the maximum amount of a loan that a pawnbroker is allowed to make from $2,000 to $15,000.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3685, a bill making provisions for the electronic transmission of traffic tickets to bring South Carolina into compliance with federal electronic ticketing provisions.
As always, thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please do not hesitate to contact me.