February 1-5, 2016
News from the House of Representatives
On Tuesday the House gave second reading to a bill by Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope that would provide that in the case of a vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor, the Governor shall appoint a successor to fill the unexpired term. The Governor’s appointment must be approved by the Senate. The Judiciary Committee amended the bill to say that in the case of the removal, death, resignation, or permanent disability of both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor, the President of the Senate shall become the Governor. In the case of the temporary disability of both the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor, the President of the Senate shall perform the duties and exercise the powers of Governor until the disability has been removed or until the next general election. The bill was given third reading on Wednesday and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The House approved legislation this week that would require candidates for magistrates court to be screened by the Judicial Merit Selection Commission before they may be appointed by the Governor by and with the consent of the Senate. The bill received second reading by a vote of 82-24 and after third reading on Thursday, it was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Personal Watercraft and Boating Safety
On Tuesday the House approved a bill by Representative Chip Huggins that would increase the zone in which a person may not operate a personal watercraft, specialty propcraft, or vessel in excess of idle speed adjacent to a dock in the waters of this state. The bill increases the zone from 50 feet to 100 feet. The bill received second reading by a vote of 109-1. On Wednesday the House moved to recommit the bill to the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee for further consideration of the matter.
2016 House Budget Calendar
The House Ways & Means Committee has released the House’s tentative 2016 budget calendar, which is listed below. Please note that the schedule has been updated and the full House deliberations have been pushed back until March 21st.
- February 9-11: Budget Subcommittee Meetings
- February 16-18: Proviso Subcommittee Meetings
- February 22-25: Full Ways & Means Committee Budget Deliberations
- March 1-3: Appropriation Bill Printed
- March 8-10: Printed Appropriation Bill Distributed to All House Members
- March 15-17: Printed Appropriation Bill Distributed to All House Members
- March 21-24: House Floor Budget Deliberations
The House of Representatives has announced that they will furlough for three weeks during this session. The weeks are listed below.
- February 16-18
- March 29-31
- April 5-7
News from the Senate
Department of Transportation
The Senate Transportation Committee gave a favorable with amendment report to a bill by Senator Grooms this week regarding the composition of the Department of Transportation Commission. The legislation says that the Regional Councils of Government districts of South Carolina are constituted and created Department of Transportation Districts of the State. The Commission of the Department of Transportation shall be composed of one commissioner from each transportation district upon the recommendation of the appropriate regional council of government, appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The legislation specifies that in making appointments, the Governor shall take into account race, gender, and other demographic factors, such as residence in rural or urban areas so as to represent all segments of the population of the State and the impact that each appointee would have on the composition of the commission. The Governor is also to ensure that the commission is comprised of at least two commissioners who reside in a county with a population of one hundred thousand or less and at least two commissioners who reside in a county with a population greater than one hundred thousand.
The governing body of each regional council of government is to recommend three candidates to the Governor to represent the transportation district. The Joint Transportation Review Committee must screen each appointee and report its findings to the General Assembly and the Governor. All commissioners are appointed to a six year term and a commissioner may not serve more than one term. The bill must now be debated by the full Senate before going to the House.
Music Therapy Practice Act
A bill by Senator Lourie enacting the Music Therapy Practice Act was given second reading by the Senate on Tuesday. The legislation would regulate the practice of music therapy and would create the South Carolina Music Therapy Board. The Board would facilitate the development of materials that the director may use to educate the public concerning music therapist licensure, the benefits of music therapy, and utilization of music therapy by individuals and in the facilities or institutional settings. The bill received third reading on Wednesday and was referred to the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.
Property Tax Assessment Ratios
On Thursday the Senate gave second reading to a bill by Senator Sean Bennett that would revise an application deadline for certain property owned by certain members of the armed forces as it relates to property tax assessment ratios. A member of the Armed Forces who receives a permanent change of station or a temporary assignment for at least one year may claim the four percent assessment ratio on two residential properties in the state, so long as the owner attempts to sell the first residence within thirty days of acquiring the second residence. The legislation changes the date from May 15th to the first penalty date for payment of the taxes of the year for which the taxes are due, which is typically January of the following year. The bill received a unanimous second reading and must receive third reading by the Senate before being sent to the House.
The Senate has announced that they will furlough for one week during this session. The week is listed below.
- March 29-31