Dear Friends,
We have had a long few weeks trying to clear the House calendar before cross-over week. Cross-over means bills that have not been passed from the House to the Senate, or vice versa, and those bills that were not heard, will most likely not be passed this session. Thank you for allowing me to serve you at the State House. 
In order for me to have a strong voice in Columbia, I have to communicate with my constituents. And that is you! My website, newsletters, mailers, and Facebook are the communication tools that I use. It takes extra time, staff, and campaign funds to maintain these tools. 
House bill H.3799, our Gun Reciprocity bill, is still in the Senate. I am still trying to get the Senate to pass it.
Please help me by making a contribution to Hixon for House, P.O. Box 7927, North Augusta, SC 29861.

I hope that you find this update helpful and informative. If I can help you with an issue, please let me know. Thank you for reading and allowing me to serve you. 


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 Legislative Update   –  April 29, 2016

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3204, the "Cervical Cancer Prevention Act", and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation provides that, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) may offer the cervical cancer vaccination series, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) series, for adolescent students including those enrolling in the seventh grade in any school, public, private, or home schooling program, in this state.  The legislation includes parental consent requirements for vaccinations provided by DHEC and provides that no student is required to have the cervical cancer vaccination series, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) series, before enrolling in or attending school.   


The House amended, approved, and sent the SenateH.4165, the "homeowners' association regime fee fairness to deployed service members act".  The legislation provides that, once a service member who belongs to a homeowners' association has provided proper notification to the association of orders of military deployment, the homeowners' association is prohibited from assessing or imposing penalties or enforcing a lien on unpaid regime fees that accrue during the time when the homeowner is deployed or mobilized outside of this state.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4580, a bill to provide an exemption from Department of Health and Environmental Control licensure provisions for medical foster homes for veterans that provide care for up to three veterans per home as approved by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4327, a bill that includes provisions for hospice programs for terminally ill patients to apply to the Department of Health and Environmental Control for an expansion of their service areas and provisions that allow parent hospice organizations to offer services at multiple locations.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4773.  Designated as margy's law, the legislation expands South Carolina's Emergency Medical Services Do Not Resuscitate Order Act by including provisions for a do not resuscitate bracelet that may be worn by someone with a terminal condition to signify to health care providers and EMS personnel that they are to withhold resuscitative treatment in keeping with a "do not resuscitate" order.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3952, a bill revising the process for committing the mentally ill to mental health facilities.  The legislation adds to commitment provisions the category of the "gravely disabled" which is defined as person who, due to mental illness, lacks sufficient insight or capacity to make responsible decisions with respect to his treatment and because of this condition is likely to cause harm to himself through neglect, inability to care for himself, personal injury, or otherwise.  The legislation includes a preference that emergency admissions of the mentally ill be conducted by plain clothes law enforcement officers that have had crisis intervention training and, in certain instances, the legislation allows for the option of having someone transported to a facility, not by law enforcement officers, but by emergency medical technicians in an ambulance.  For an individual who has eloped after commitment, a request for an order to search, locate, and return must be issued by the probate court and transportation must be by a state or local law enforcement officer.    

H.4717 creates the South Carolina Farm Aid Fund to assist farmers who 

have suffered at least a forty percent loss of agricultural commodities as a result. Click here to see the Chamber's full statement and letter to Senators on H.4717. of a natural disaster. Agriculture is a foundation of our state's economy, and the StateChamber supports passage of this legislation. 
H.3147 phases out the state income tax liability on military retirement benefits. Exempting income taxes on military retiree benefits will bring more military retirees to South Carolina, bolstering our state's workforce. The State Chamber supports passage of this legislation.
Click here to see the Chamber's full statement and letter to Senators on H.3147.

Provisions in the House Amendment to H. 3579:

– The House of Representatives appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H.3579, legislation that includes Department of Transportation restructuring and road funding initiatives.
– Highway Commissioners are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the General Assembly
– Commission appoints a Secretary of Transportation with advice and consent of the General Assembly, who then serves at the pleasure of the Commission to create a single line of authority from the Governor, to the Commission, to the Secretary.
– Eliminates the Joint Transportation Review Committee, but retains the required qualifications for Commissioners to ensure appointees have appropriate education and experience. These qualifications and requirements were removed in the Senate amendment.
– Adopts the State Infrastructure Bank language in the Senate version and requires the entity to follow SCDOT prioritization criteria for projects
– Removes the irresponsible $400M general fund mandate because it is unreliable. This year's House passed budget appropriated $415M additional funds to SCDOT, an amount larger than specified in the Senate amendment, and we will continue to give available funds to SCDOT in the future.
– Addresses the Legislative Audit Council's concerns expressed in report by placing the SCDOT Chief Internal Auditor under the independent State Auditor

Chamber President Ted Pitts released this statement following the House vote:
"The business community appreciates the work Speaker Lucas and the House have done over the last two years to reform DOT and to address our state's long term infrastructure funding needs…As this legislation moves back to the Senate, we are reminded that there is still time to adopt a measure that provides at least $600 million in additional, sustainable revenue along with the reforms to the DOT and STIB this year.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4763, legislation designated as "Alicia's Law" to acknowledge the advocacy efforts of Alicia Kozakiewicz of Pennsylvania who, in 2002 at the age of thirteen, survived abduction by an Internet predator.  The legislation provides for a 6.1% assessment on criminal court fines to be deposited in a newly-created internet crimes against children fund that is to be used to investigate, prosecute, and prevent Internet crimes against children, such as cyber-enticement and child pornography, including the necessary staffing, training, and equipment.  Of the revenue credited to the fund each year, sixty percent must be allocated to the Attorney General to operate the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the remaining forty percent must be transferred to the Department of Public Safety to provide grants to local law enforcement agencies.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3768 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation provides for the "South Carolina Able Savings Program" that allows for the establishment of savings accounts as a means of empowering individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds to support the individual with a disability.  The legislation establishes the Savings Program Trust Fund and Savings Expense Trust Fund and provides guidelines to the State Treasurer for the maintenance of these accounts.  The legislation allows for state implementation that coordinates with the federal Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014.

The House approved S.849 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation establishes requirements for insurance plan pharmacy benefits managers to compile maximum allowable drug cost lists that show the maximum amount for the cost of a particular generic drug that will be reimbursed to a pharmacist or pharmacy who provides covered health care services or supplies as a participating network plan provider.  The legislation includes requirements for pharmacy benefit managers to make these maximum allowable cost lists available to network pharmacy providers and to review and update maximum allowable cost price information.  Provisions are included that allow a pharmacy to appeal the provider's reimbursement for a drug subject to maximum allowable cost pricing.  

The House returned S.339, legislation designated as "hope's law", to the Senate with amendments.  The legislation establishes requirements for mammography reports to be provided to patients that include information about breast density.  When a mammogram shows that breast tissue is dense, the required report must include notice to the patient explaining that dense tissue is common and not abnormal, but can, however, make it harder to evaluate mammogram results and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.


The House amended, approved, and sent the SenateH.5140, a bill that makes revisions relating to a school district's annual school calendar for teachers, staff, and students.  The legislation provides that, beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, the school start date for students must not be before August fifteenth, rather than the opening date limit of the third Monday in August that is set in current law, except for schools operating on a year-round modified school calendar.  The legislation revises the deadline for notification of teaching assignments and makes provisions for the types and timing of student assessments.  Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the legislation requires, with certain exceptions, that school districts administer the statewide summative assessment for grades three through eight during the last twenty days of school and that such testing may not exceed seven days each school year.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4492, a bill revising notification requirements for department of social services child placement hearings that inform foster parents, preadoptive parents, or relatives providing care to abused or neglected children so that, with certain exceptions, notification must be given at least ten days in advance.  The legislation includes provisions that allow these parties to file reports with the family court.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4525, a bill extending and revising provisions for devoting a portion of insurance premium tax revenues to the funding of firefighting needs and emergency medical services training.  The legislation extends until June 30, 2030, the requirement for using two and one-quarter percent of each year's insurance premium tax revenues to fund emergency response needs and redistributes the revenue so that one percent is transferred to the South Carolina Forestry Commission to be used for firefighting and firefighting equipment replacement, one percent is transferred to the aid to fire districts account within the State Treasury to be distributed to local fire departments for firefighting equipment replacement, and one quarter of one percent is transferred to the aid to emergency medical services regional councils within the Department of Health and Environmental Control to be used for grants to fund emergency medical technician and paramedic training.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4556, a bill providing a property tax exemption for permanently and totally disabled emergency medical technicians.  The legislation extends to permanently and totally disabled former emergency medical technicians the homeowner property tax exemption that is currently allowed for military veterans, former law enforcement officers, and former firefighters who are permanently and totally disabled.
The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4712, a bill making clarifications regarding the classification of off-premises outdoor advertising signs as personal property for tax purposes.  The legislation establishes conditions under which an off-premises outdoor advertising sign is classified as tangible personal property for tax purposes, and establishes provisions under which the value of a lease or lease income on such billboards may not be used in the assessment of the tax value of the real property on which the advertising sign is erected.  The legislation includes provisions for any sign permit required by local, state, or federal law to be considered as intangible personal property for ad valorem property tax purposes.
The House amended, approved, and sent the SenateH.4398, a bill establishing a firearms exemption in bankruptcy claims.  The legislation revises provisions for the real and personal property of a debtor that is exempt from attachment, levy, and sale in a bankruptcy proceeding by adding an exemption that covers any firearms not exceeding a total value of five thousand dollars owned by the debtor.  The legislation revises the exemption for a debtor's aggregate interest, not to exceed fifty thousand dollars in value by providing that, except that a surviving spouse may exempt, in addition to their interest, the aggregate interest of a deceased spouse not to exceed fifty thousand dollars in value.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4795, a bill allowing a student who has been awarded a palmetto fellows scholarship the option of deferring enrollment in a higher education institution for one year following high school graduation without declining the award.
The House returned S.1013, a bill overhauling and updating the licensure and regulation of real estate brokers, salespersons, and property managers, to the Senate with amendments.  Notably, the bill includes provisions for the operation of real estate teams supervised by a broker-in-charge and increases continuing education requirements for real estate license renewals from eight hours to ten hours. 

 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.