News from the House of Representatives
Dams and Reservoirs Safety Act
On Wednesday the House gave second reading to the Dams and Reservoirs Safety Act. The bill, by Speaker Lucas, expands the definition of regulated dams and reservoirs to include those the Department of Health and Environmental Control determines that dam failure or improper reservoir operation might result in serious damage to homes, industrial and commercial facilities, public utilities, main and secondary highways, or railroads. Regulated dam owners must provide contact information regarding the owner and emergency action plans for emergency management officials yearly. Owners must also notify DHEC of the failure or potential failure of a dam or reservoir and emergency management officials are required to inform or evacuate any downstream residents or business owners located in the inundation zone. The House gave the bill third reading and sent it to the Senate.
Hunting and Fishing Licenses
The House approved legislation this week by Representative Davey Hiott that would allow the Director of the Department of Natural Resources to issue special authorization for hunting and fishing to any person under 21 years old who has been diagnosed with a terminal or life threatening illness. The individual must be sponsored by certain nonprofit charitable organizations and the fee requirements for the licenses would be waived. The bill now goes to the Senate Fish, Game, and Forestry Committee for its consideration.
South Carolina Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council
On Tuesday the House amended and gave second reading to a bill by Representative Rita Allison creating the South Carolina Education and Economic Development Coordinating Council. The bill was amended by inserting a five year sunset into the law which must be reauthorized by the General Assembly. The Council would be comprised of twenty-nine members. Its responsibilities include advising the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce and reviewing accountability and performance measures. The bill received third reading on Wednesday and was referred to the Senate Education Committee.
House Budget Schedule
The House Ways and Means Committee has released the following tentative schedule for budget deliberations.
- February 7-9: Budget Subcommittee Meetings
- February 14-16: Proviso Subcommittee Meeting
- February 20-23: Full Ways & Means Committee Budget Deliberations
- February 28-March 2: Appropriation Bill Printed
- March 7-9: Printed Appropriation Bill placed on House Members’ desks
- March 13-16: House Floor Budget Deliberations
News from the Senate
On Tuesday the Senate approved legislation by Senator Katrina Shealy amending who may sign the application for a beginner’s permit or driver’s license of an unemancipated minor. In addition to the parents and guardians responsible for the minor, individuals appointed by the Department of Social Services may sign the application. The bill received final approval on Wednesday and was referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee.
Special License Plates
The Senate gave third reading to a bill by Senator Harvey Peeler on Thursday that would direct the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue “Clemson University 2016 Football National Champions” special license plates. In addition to the biennial registration fee, an additional fee of seventy dollars must be paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Clemson University may submit to the Department the emblem, seal, or other symbol it desires to be used for its respective special license plate. The bill now goes to the House for its approval.
Superintendent of Education
A bill by Senator Chip Campsen regarding the State Superintendent of Education has been approved by the Senate. The Superintendent of Education would be removed from the list of statewide approved officials and would be appointed by the Governor with advice and consent of the Senate. The bill would be effective upon approval of a constitutional amendment by voters at a general election. The bill will now go to the House for its consideration.
Senate Budget Schedule
The Senate Finance Committee has tentatively set the following weeks for budget deliberations.
- March 21-23: Full Senate Finance Committee Budget Deliberations
- April 4-6: Senate Floor Budget Deliberations