REPEAL OF CERTIFICATE OF NEED FOR HEALTH CARE FACILITIES
The requirement for CON has long held back the deployment of health care across SC. Rival providers opposed one another’s applications, causing delays sometimes as long as 15 years to establish new facilities. The passage of Senate Bill 164 repealed CON requirements for expansion and establishment of health care facilities and services. Nursing homes were exempted from the repeal.
We represented Smith+Nephew, a medical device manufacturer, in this effort; and we are grateful for the chance to work with terrific colleagues from the SC Medical Association, the SC Orthopedists Association, Americans for Prosperity and Palmetto Promise Institute to see this measure passed.
EXPANSION OF INTERLOCK IGNITION DEVICE REQUIREMENTS FOR DUI OFFENDERS
SC has had an unenviable standing in drunk driving statistics. Ignition interlock devices prevent a car from starting if a driver’s blood alcohol content is above a certain minimal level as measured by a breath test device. Until this year, a driver had to be convicted of DUI at twice the legal limit before the device was required. S. 36, as passed this session, greatly expanded the required installation of IId’s and will have a decided impact on the incidence of drunk driving in SC.
We were honored to work on this legislation for the Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers, and even more honored to be associated with the Sheriffs’ Association, The SC Law Enforcement Officers Assoc., the Ignition Interlock Program of the SC Dept of Probation, Pardon and Parole, the Prosecution Coordination Commission, the American Automobile Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving in achieving passage of the new measures.
SC legislators, parents and education reform advocates have tried for many years to pass meaningful choice programs in SC. This year we finally joined states like Florida and Arizona in creating a robust program offering families the ability to choose a school best suited for their children. S 39 establishes state funded Education Scholarship Accounts which families can use to elect schooling opportunities other than just the traditional public school option. This program is funded by state appropriations to the scholarship fund, without any adverse impact to public school funding. Eligibility is limited by family income on an escalating scale over three years. The number of available scholarships is also graduated over a three year period.
Our specific client in the ESA project was Excellence in Education, the education reform foundation started by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. We were privileged to work in coalition with the Palmetto Promise Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the American Federation for Children and the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, among many others, for passage of this groundbreaking measure.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT PRE-EMPTION ON TOBACCO/VAPOR BANS AND EXPANSION OF UNDERAGE SALES RESTRICTIONS
Bans on ingredients and flavors in tobacco products are best accomplished as a uniform state policy, rather than as a hodge-podge of inconsistent local prohibitions. Our client, Reynolds American, is committed to selling only products which conform to federal guidelines; and we have a long term commitment to preventing sales to underage purchasers. H 3681 reserves to the state the authority to make decisions about products or flavors in a consistent statewide manner. Meaningfully, H3681 also expanded restrictions and penalties for underage sales and required all sellers of tobacco and vapor products to be registered with the SC Department of Revenue.
The passage of H 3681 was a joint effort accomplished in partnership with the SC Convenience and Petroleum Marketers and the SC Retail Association.