Friday Report - May 13, 2022
The General Assembly wrapped up its final week with a flurry of legislation. A Sine Die resolution allows them to come back in June to complete specific pieces of legislation. Through much debate and maneuvering, the provisions of the user fee bill S. 984 will continue to be debated during the sine die period. The House of Representatives also saw additional changes in leadership roles this week. Rep. Murrell Smith assumed his position as Speaker of the House. Rep. Davey Hiott was elected as the new House Majority Leader, replacing Rep. Gary Simrill who is not seeking re-election. Rep. Bill Hixon was elected as the new Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee to fill the remaining term of the former chair, Rep. Hiott.
Several bills of note, including S. 984, will be discussed below in this week’s Friday Report.
Revenue, Finance and Economic Development
Use Fee Authorization – S. 984. S. 984 is in response to the June 30, 2021, SC Supreme Court decision in Burns v. Greenville County, which imperils various user fees, especially road use fees, imposed by counties and cities in South Carolina.
The House sent S. 984 back to the Senate with the amendments. The Senate amended the bill back to the Senate version, along with a technical amendment and sent it back to the House. The House did not take the bill back up. However, the provisions of S. 984 were added to S. 233 (discussed below).
Many thanks to Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Craig Gagnon, Russell Ott, Davey Hiott, Heather Crawford, Case Brittain, and Jeff Bradley. Also, special thanks to Oconee Council member and SCAC President Paul Cain, Williamsburg Supervisor Dr. Tiffany Cook, Aiken County Administrator Clay Killian, and Florence County Administrator Rusty Smith for their calls to key House members during the House debate on S. 984. Finally, thank you all for the many calls and discussions with members of the General Assembly on this important bill.
Surviving Spouse – S. 233. This bill would provide that a qualified surviving spouse may qualify for a property tax exemption in an instance where they do not own the house. The statute previously required that the house be transferred to the surviving spouse by the deceased spouse. The bill also now provides the exemption to surviving spouses of those killed in action and to any structures owned by an otherwise qualified surviving spouse even if these structures are located on heirs’ property.
The Senate further amended S. 233 this week by removing the language from the property tax bills added by the House and adding S. 984 as passed by the Senate. The Senate returned S. 233 to the House with amendments. The House voted to non-concur with the Senate amendments and S. 233 was referred to a conference committee. The Senate conferees are Sens. Williams, Davis, and Verdin. The House conferees are Reps. Crawford, Hewitt, and Weeks. As a result of the Senate amendment, the provisions for the user fee authorization in S. 984 still have a chance to become law this session. SCAC will provide the date and time of the conference committee meeting when it becomes available.
State Budget – H. 5150.
The House debated and amended the Senate version of the budget this week. The current version of the budget increased funding to the Local Government Fund (LGF) by $12,583,080 statewide. This represents full funding to the LGF under the statutory formula. The House also directed $12 million into the rural stabilization fund (discussed below), $2 million more than the General Assembly allocated last year.
Other funding of note in the House budget includes:
- $72 million to cover a 3 percent base pay increase for all state employees, including county auditors and county treasurers, as well as over $45 million to cover a one-time $1,500 bonus for state employees;
- $850,000 to the Department of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation (LLR) for EMT training;
- $37 million to cover the state’s share of the 1 percent retirement contribution increase;
- $101 million for the state’s share of the state health plan, including expanded well visits;
- $500,000 for PTSD treatment for first responders;
- $3.5 million for the Firefighter Cancer Benefit Plan;
- $373,000 for a mental health for incarcerated individuals pilot program;
- $15 million for destination-specific tourism grants;
- $4 million in additional funds for tourism advertising;
- $20 million to the Department of Public Safety for grants to fund local law enforcement body cameras and vests;
- $10.66 million to the Office of Resiliency for disaster relief;
- $1.6 million to coroners to fund the local child fatality review team program;
- $1 million to supplement the Councils of Governments (COGs);
- $617,550 to supplement the clerks of court;
- $617,550 to supplement the sheriffs; and
- $617,550 to supplement the probate judges.
Rural County Stabilization Fund – Due to the recent census and the shifting of population into the state and throughout the state the House put $12 million into a Rural County Stabilization Fund. The Senate allocated $10 million into this fund. Under this proviso, any county that had a population growth, as determined by the 2020 Census, of less than 5.35 percent since the 2010 Census shall be eligible to receive monies from the fund as follows:
- a baseline of $300,000 to each eligible county;
- an additional $100,000 to eligible counties with a population between 50,000 and 99,999; and
- an additional $200,000 to eligible counties with a population of more than 100,000.
After disbursal of funds, any monies remaining shall be distributed to each eligible county on a pro rata basis. In the event the amount of funds in the fund is not sufficient to provide monies to counties according to the above formula, the amounts distributed to counties shall be reduced on a pro rata basis.
Local Option Sales Tax Flexibility – H. 3948. This bill, an SCAC policy position, would allow counties that impose a Transportation Penny Tax pursuant to Chapter 37, Title 4 to also conduct a referendum to impose a 1 percent Capital Project Sales Tax. The bill deletes the restriction that the area of the county can only be subject to one of those authorizations. Counties with the Capital Project Sales Tax may also conduct a referendum to impose the Transportation Penny as well. This would provide flexibility to all counties across the state. The Senate passed H. 3948 this week and the bill has been enrolled for ratification.
Continuing Resolution – H. 5278. This joint resolution would provide that if the 2022-2023 state fiscal year begins with no annual general appropriations act in effect for that year, the authority to pay the recurring expenses of state government would continue at the level of amounts appropriated in Act 94 of 2021 (FY 21-22 Appropriations Bill). The continuing resolution would further provide for appropriations from the general fund of the state in whatever amount is necessary for timely debt service on state obligations and other amounts that are constitutionally required to be appropriated, including the Capital Reserve Fund. The House gave H. 5278 a second and third reading and the bill was sent to the Senate.
Sine Die Resolution – S. 1325. The Senate and House passed S. 1325, the Sine Die resolution. Under this resolution, the General Assembly will reconvene on June 15–17, and again on June 28–30 to take up the following:
- the budget bill (H. 5150) and Capital Reserve Fund (H. 5151);
- any supplemental appropriations and continuing resolutions until a budget is passed;
- vetoes by the Governor;
- conference reports; and
- redistricting bills.
Between July 1, 2022, and November 13, 2022, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House may call the General Assembly back into session to address any of the matters listed above, as well as to ratify acts and consider legislation in response to a decision by the US Supreme Court in the abortion case of Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – H. 4408. This legislation would authorize the expenditure of the first phase of the state’s ARPA funds. The Senate amended H. 4408 with a strike and insert amendment that would apply the Senate’s plan of allocating the first phase of funds as passed earlier this year in S. 952.
Under phase one of the Senate’s plan, over $453 million in funding would be allocated to SCDOT, $400 million to the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) for the State Broadband Office to expand access to high-speed broadband internet, and $900 million to the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA). The RIA would be directed to use approximately $800 million of the designated funds to establish three separate grant programs for water, wastewater, and stormwater projects to provide local governments with opportunities to build and update aging infrastructure across the state. The RIA would also designate $100 million of its allotment for projects that are deemed significant to economic development. Additionally, the RIA would be required to transfer $500,000 to each of the 10 Councils of Governments (COGs) for planning assistance, development of grant proposals, and compliance assistance related to improvements in water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure for smaller systems.
The House took up H. 4408 once again last week and amended the bill back to the House’s original version which would reduce the amount allocated to the RIA from $900 million to $800 million. This $100 million would instead be sent to the South Carolina Office of Resilience to be used for stormwater infrastructure projects and for the acquisition of property in floodplains throughout the state to lessen the impacts of future flood events. The Senate concurred with the House amendments to H. 4408 and the bill was enrolled for ratification.
Tax Exemptions – S. 1087. This bill, titled the “Comprehensive Tax Cut Act of 2022,” would reduce the top marginal income tax rate in South Carolina to 5.7 percent, exempt all military retirement income, and exempt 42.8571 percent of manufacturing property from property tax. The revenue loss resulting from the property tax exemption would be reimbursed to political subdivisions from the Trust Fund for Tax Relief.
The House Ways and Means Committee adopted a strike all and insert amendment to S. 1087 to replace the bill’s language with the House version of the income tax break. Under the House plan, the bill would lower the individual income tax marginal tax rate for the current 4 percent, 5 percent, and 6 percent brackets to 3 percent. The current 7 percent tax bracket would also be lowered to 6.5 percent in tax year 2022 with additional triggers that could lower the rate for this tax bracket by an additional 0.1 percent beginning in 2023 until the rate hits 6 percent. The bill would also allow taxpayers to claim a full deduction of military retirement income. S. 1087 received a favorable report, as amended.
This week, the House debated S. 1087 and gave the bill second and third readings and sent it back to the Senate with amendments. The Senate amended the bill back to their version and the House insisted on its version. The House appointed Reps. Simrill, Murrell Smith, and Rutherford for the conference committee for S. 1087. The Senate appointed Sens. Peeler, Setzler, and Alexander as conferees.
Electrical Utility Storm Recovery Fees – S. 1077. This legislation would allow the Public Service Commission (PSC) to authorize an electric utility's issuance of securitized bonds to offset and reduce costs incurred for storm recovery activity. The PSC would be responsible for reviewing securitization mechanisms to determine approval, which may only be granted if the electric utility's use of this mechanism provides quantifiable net benefits to customers and would result in the lowest storm recovery charges. The bill further establishes the processes for the authorization of these bonds, and as part of the requirements, electric utilities would be required to provide functional exhibits and workpapers to the PSC and to the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) supporting any petitions, testimony, and exhibits. The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee amended the bill this week to further define the term “storm recovery costs” and to allow electric utilities to apply to the Public Service Commission for financing orders only if certain requirements are contained in the petition. Last week, S. 1077 received a favorable report as amended.
This week, the House gave the bill second and third readings and sent it back to the Senate with amendments. The Senate voted to non-concur with the House amendments. The House insisted on its amendments and appointed Reps. West, Ott, and Jeff Johnson for the conference committee on S. 1077. The Senate appointed Senators Rankin, Talley, and Hutto as conferees.
License Tax Credits Allowed for Contributions to Qualifying Infrastructure and Development Projects – H. 3340. This legislation would increase the maximum annual license tax credit amount for eligible infrastructure projects for utility companies beginning in tax year 2021 from $400,000 to $600,000. The bill would also expand the definition of qualifying infrastructure improvements and provide for an additional higher maximum license tax credit at graduated amounts up to an additional $150,000 for eligible projects in Tier II, III, and IV counties based upon the Jobs Tax Credit. The Senate Finance Committee amended the bill to allow utility companies to enter into multi-year commitments to pay cash for eligible infrastructure projects and retain the tax credit. They would also be allowed to make cash payments to a county for the purpose of defraying public debt to pay for infrastructure. H. 3340 was given a second and third reading and was returned to the House as amended. The House concurred with the Senate amendments and H. 3340 was enrolled for ratification.
Housing Tax Credits – H. 5075. H. 5075 would cap the state’s Workforce and Senior Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program. In January, a moratorium was put in place on this tax credit program after demand exceeded financial expectations by hundreds of millions of dollars. The Senate amended H. 5075 to increase the cap to $20 million and would preserve no less than 50 percent of that amount for projects in rural areas that apply for the 9 percent federal low-income housing tax credit. A new scoring program through the Joint Bond Review Committee would also be implemented to award funds to projects that are deemed to be the highest priority setting up a more competitive process for developers to receive tax credits. The House made some technical amendments to H. 5075, the Senate concurred with those amendments, and H. 5075 has been enrolled for ratification.
County Green Space – S. 152. This legislation would allow counties to impose by ordinance, subject to referendum approval in the county during a general election, a Green Space Sales and Use Tax of up to 1 percent for land preservation. A county would also be prohibited from imposing this tax when two or more existing sales and use taxes are in effect. S. 152 was given a second and third reading and returned to the Senate as amended. The Senate concurred with the House amendments and the bill will be enrolled for ratification.
Tax Conformity – H. 5057. This bill conforms the state tax code with any changes to the federal tax code and updates the reference year to 2021. The Senate gave H. 5057 a second and third reading and the bill was enrolled for the ratification.
Telephone Cooperative Property Tax Exemption – H. 5144. H. 5144 would amend Section 12-37-220(B)(10) of the S.C. Code that currently provides a property tax exemption to telephone companies and rural telephone cooperatives that were exempt from property taxes as of December 31, 1973. H. 5144 would further exempt all property of these cooperatives, including property used for broadband and other services, which essentially codifies the Farmers Telephone court case. The Senate concurred with House amendments to the bill and it has been enrolled for ratification.
Land Use, Natural Resources and Transportation
Lot Clean-up – H. 5036. This legislation, an SCAC policy position, would help counties across South Carolina that continue to assume the cost of repairing or cleaning up certain properties when a landowner fails to upkeep structures on the property. H. 5036 would allow counties to recover costs associated with repairs, improvements, or demolition of structures on commercial or industrial properties falling under Sections 108, 109, and 110 of the International Property Maintenance Code. These costs would be collected from the property owner in the same manner as property taxes. The bill provides for a five-year installment for the payment of the lien, after which the property could be sold by the county at a tax sale if the debt is unpaid. The bill also clarifies that if a property is sold by the owner or through a tax sale prior to all five installments becoming due, the entire balance of the lien would be due and payable as property taxes at the time of sale or disposition of the property. The Senate adjourned Sine Die this week without taking any action on H. 5036, thereby killing the bill.
Electronic Waste – H. 4775. This legislation, an SCAC policy position, would establish a new statewide “Manufacturer Electronic Waste Recovery Program” for covered televisions and computer monitor devices (ex: old CRT TVs). Counties are currently faced with large financial burdens to recycle these items because there is no market for the devices and these devices cannot go into a landfill. Under the old program, manufacturers only had to recycle 80 percent of the pounds sold, leaving counties to shoulder the cost of recycling any devices that remained at county facilities.
The new program would require that all covered television and computer monitor devices must be picked up from counties, providing significant cost savings for disposing of these devices. Language in the bill provides protection to counties from financial liability once these devices leave a county facility which addresses issues that have occurred in the past where counties were sued for devices that were stored offsite. The bill provides for a sunset of the program in 2029 and requires all stakeholders to reconvene on June 1, 2026, to assess how the program is working and whether there need to be changes or updates to the program going forward.
The Senate amended the bill on third reading this week to attach S. 596, a bill relating to pre-production plastics (commonly known as the “Nurdle Bill”) and gave H. 4775 a third reading as amended. The House moved to non-concur with the Senate amendment and appointed Reps. Hixon, Forrest, and Atkinson to the conference committee. The Senate conferees are Senators Talley, Kimbrell, and Stephens.
Hazardous Waste Cleanup – H. 4999. This bill provides standards for certain types of hazardous waste cleanup, removal, and remediation. It also provides site-specific remediation standards. The Senate gave H. 4999 a second and third reading and the bill was enrolled for ratification.
Public Safety, Corrections and Judicial
Opioid Recovery Fund – H. 5182. This bill is part of the requirement of the opioid lawsuit settlement for this state and the 46 counties and 43 municipalities that were a part of the lawsuit. The bill establishes the opioid recovery fund accounts with the state treasurer. It also creates the South Carolina Opioid Recovery Fund Board which would administer and distribute the funds. As introduced, the board would be composed of nine members, five of which would be appointed by the Governor from a list provided by the South Carolina Association of Counties, with at least one member selected from each of the South Carolina public health regions as defined by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The House amended the bill so that the Governor would appoint three from the list provided by SCAC and the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate would each appoint one from that list. The Senate Finance Committee further amended the bill this week to add three additional members to the board: one additional member that would be recommended by the Municipal Association of South Carolina, one additional member that would be appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and one additional member that would be appointed by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Senate gave the bill a second and third reading and returned H. 5182 to the House as amended.
Members of the House voiced concerns this week regarding the Senate amendments to the bill and voted to non-concur with the Senate amendment that altered the membership on the Opioid Recovery Fund Board. As a result, the Senate receded from its previously adopted amendments and the bill was enrolled for ratification.
Law Enforcement Certification, Reporting, and Training – H. 3050. As originally drafted, the bill would provide that, beginning on July 1, 2021, a non-certified law enforcement officer shall only perform his duties while accompanied by a certified law enforcement officer. As amended by the House, H. 3050 would also add that failure by an officer to intervene when observing another officer physically or psychologically abusing members of the public or prisoners falls under the definition of “misconduct.” Also, the bill defines “chokehold” and provides that such a method of restraint would be limited to justifiable uses only. Further, the Law Enforcement Training Council would establish required minimum standards for all law enforcement agencies, including policies relating to “no-knock” warrants, implementation of body-worn cameras, vehicle pursuit standards, and more. A Compliance Division would be created that would inspect, at least once every three years, the policies and procedures for every law enforcement agency. The bill would also provide for civil fines if an agency is non-compliant and would allow for certification suspension of every officer within an agency until the agency becomes compliant with the relevant policies and procedures. Finally, H. 3050 would require candidates for law enforcement certification to submit evidence that they have signed an attestation form committing to ethical policing. The Senate made some technical amendments to H. 3050, gave it second and third readings, and sent it back to the House with amendments. The House concurred with the Senate amendments to the bill and H. 3050 was enrolled for ratification.
Sex Offender Registry – H. 4075 and S. 1073. H. 4075 conforms the sex offender registration provisions for second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor to third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. The Senate amended this bill by adding the provisions of S. 1073. S. 1073 would establish a procedure for an offender who is required to register, after a specified period of time and based on the tier of his offense, to apply for removal of the requirements of the sex offender registry. H. 4075 was given third reading by the Senate as amended and sent back to the House. The House concurred with the Senate’s amendments to H. 4075 and the bill was enrolled for ratification.
Motor Vehicle Carriers / V-SAFE – S. 1045. As introduced and passed by the Senate, this legislation would amend the current process relating to the issuance and regulation of various moving company motor vehicle operators within the state. The House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee amended the bill to add the language from H. 3252, commonly referred to as the “Volunteer Strategic Assistance and Fire Equipment Program (V-SAFE) Bill.” H. 3252 updates the V-SAFE program so that it would be housed within the Division of the State Fire Marshall. The program seeks to provide grants to eligible volunteer and combination fire departments for the purposes of protecting local communities and regional response areas from incidents of fire and hazardous materials and to provide for the safety of volunteer firefighters. To be eligible for grant funding, a fire department must have at least 50 percent of its staff serving as volunteers, which was reduced from the 75 percent volunteer requirement in previous years. The existing funding cap of $30,000 to a single fire department once every three years was also removed. Eligible fire departments would receive annual grants totaling approximately $20,000 per department that would be funded. Funding for the V-SAFE program would be provided by increasing the percentage of the insurance premium tax revenue that is allocated to the program and crediting 1 percent of the manufacturer’s depreciation reimbursement amount to the program.
The House took up S. 1045 this week and adopted the committee amendment to the bill along with an amendment relating to special purpose districts to provide that if a hospital district is dissolved and the hospital has an affiliated 501(c)(3) or (4) organization, then the hospital district may transfer its assets to its affiliated tax-exempt organization. S. 1045 received a second and third reading and was returned to the Senate. The Senate concurred with the House amendments to S. 1045 and the bill has been enrolled for ratification.
State Fire Marshal / V-SAFE – S. 460. As introduced, this bill would transfer the state fire marshal’s office and its duties and functions to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The House amended the bill to add the language of H. 3252 (V-SAFE) without funding and gave the bill a third reading. The Senate voted to concur with the House amendment and S. 460 was enrolled for ratification.
Immigration Enforcement – S. 1032. This bill would repeal the Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit within the SC Department of Public Safety and move the unit to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to enforce state and federal immigration laws. SLED would be required to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The bill would also allow counties and local law enforcement agencies to enforce applicable state and federal immigration laws. The House amended S. 1032 and sent it back to the Senate. . The Senate did not take up S. 1032 as amended; therefore the bill is dead for the session.
Corrections Officer Age – S. 1092. This bill would require a detention or correctional officer to be at least 18 years of age at the time of employment. The Senate adopted an amendment to exempt correctional officers employed by the Department of Juvenile Justice from this requirement. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report, as amended; however, the House Judiciary Committee amended the bill by adding the provisions of H. 4919 (discussed below).
This week, the House gave the bill second and third readings and sent it back to the Senate with amendments. The Senate voted to non-concur with the House amendments and the House decided to recede from its amendments to the bill. S. 1092 has been enrolled for ratification.
Register of Deeds Qualifications – S. 1031. This bill would provide that in order to hold the office of register of deeds, a person must be a US citizen, must be a qualified elector of the applicable county, and must hold a four-year bachelor's degree or have four years of experience in law, real estate, accounting, or as an employee in a register of deeds office. They must also not have a pattern of failing to record documents in the office in the time and manner prescribed by law. Any register of deeds serving prior to the enactment of S. 1031 would be grandfathered from these requirements. S. 1031 applies to both elected and appointed registers of deeds and allows an action to be brought by the Attorney General to remove a register of deeds who does not meet the qualification requirements or who has a pattern of not recording documents in a timely manner. A House Judiciary subcommittee gave the bill a favorable report as amended; however, the House Judiciary Committee amended the bill by adding the provisions of H. 4919 (discussed below). The House gave S. 1031 a second and third reading, as amended, and returned the bill to the Senate. After the Senate non-concurred with the House amendment, the House receded from its amendment to the bill and S. 1031 has been enrolled for ratification.
Heirs’ Property Study Committee – S. 560. This joint resolution establishes the Heirs’ Property Study Committee to examine current and prospective methods to address heirs’ property issues in South Carolina; to provide for the membership of the committee, including the requirement that the committee seeks assistance from groups, including SCAC; and to require the committee to prepare a report for the General Assembly. Last week, The House Judiciary Committee amended the bill by adding the provisions of H. 4919 (discussed below) and gave it a favorable report.
This week, the House debated S. 560 and gave the bill second and third readings and sent it back to the Senate with amendments. The Senate amended the bill back to its version and the House insisted on its version. The House appointed Reps. B. Newton, Jordan, and Bernstein for the conference committee on S. 560. The Senate appointed Senators Garrett, M. Johnson, and Scott.
County Government and Intergovernmental Relations
Early Voting and Absentee Ballot Voting – H. 4919 and S. 108. H. 4919 provides a two-week period of no-excuse early voting prior to an election, including two Saturdays. County boards of voter registration and elections would have the discretion to determine the location of early voting locations in each county but could have no more than seven locations based on the population of the county. After receiving the bill back from the Senate with amendments, the House committed H. 4919 to the House Judiciary Committee. The House then proceeded to attach the provisions of H. 4919 onto S. 560, S. 1031, and S. 1092. The House also amended S. 108 and added the provisions of H. 4919.
S. 108 as initially drafted, requires the state geological survey unit to conduct topographic mapping for the state. The House gave S. 108 third reading and sent it back to the Senate as amended. The Senate made some technical amendments to the bill, the House concurred, and S. 108 has been enrolled for ratification.
Permit Extensions – S. 17. This joint resolution, also known as the “Permit Extension Joint Resolution of 2022,” extends the approval of certain permits issued by DHEC. The permit must be current and valid at any time between January 1, 2020, and December 31, 2023. DHEC indicated that there is no expenditure impact on the agency because the bill's implementation would be accomplished using its existing resources. The House amended the bill by restricting the types of permits and making the extension retroactive to permits valid between December 1, 2016, and December 31, 2023.
The House gave the bill second and third readings and sent it back to the Senate with amendments. The Senate amended the bill back to the original Senate version and the House insisted on its amendments. The House appointed Reps. Willis, Jordan, and Wheeler for the conference committee on S. 17. The Senate appointed Senators Talley, Climer, and Sabb.
Alarm System Ordinances – H. 4889. This bill would provide that if a local government enacts an ordinance requiring a fine for a false alarm, the alarm business must not be fined or assessed a civil penalty for such false alarms which are not attributed to improper installation, defective equipment, or operational error by the alarm business contractor. Such a fine may be imposed on the homeowner if user error is determined to be the reason for the false alarm. The Senate adopted a technical amendment to the bill and gave the bill a second and third reading. The House concurred with the Senate amendment and the bill was enrolled for ratification.
Sign Language Interpreters Act – H. 3795. This bill would enact the “Sign Language Interpreters Act” to require a specific level of competence for sign language interpreters used by detention facilities, police stations, and other agencies. The Senate amended the bill to clarify that when a government entity has a need for a sign language interpreter, the entity must use a properly credentialed sign language interpreter as determined by the South Carolina Association of the Deaf, the South Carolina Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, and the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. H. 3795 received a third reading this week and was returned to the House as amended. The House concurred with the Senate amendment to the bill and H. 3795 was enrolled for ratification.
Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund – S. 968. This bill would establish the "Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund" as a new fund created in the State Treasury. Revenues of the fund may include gifts, grants, federal funds, donations, and appropriations from the General Assembly. These funds are to be used to offset costs paid by organizations that provide honor guard burial details at the funerals of qualifying South Carolina veterans. A House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee amended the $100 cap provision in the bill to “no less than $100” and gave the bill a favorable report as amended. The House gave the bill second and third readings, and the bill was returned to the Senate with amendments. The Senate amended S. 968 back to the original Senate version and the House refused to concur. The Senate appointed Sens. Shealy, Young, and McElveen to serve as its conferees on the conference committee. The House conferees are Reps. Yow, Matthews, and McCravy.