Category: Uncategorized

Opinion: The COVID-19 pandemic shows why South Carolina needs to expand Medicaid coverage

Link: https://www.thestate.com/opinion/article241999041.html

Over the past several weeks our state has been forced to grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic. This contagion has exposed the glaring gaps in health care access within South Carolina between the haves and have-nots.

I represent a diverse, densely populated and fast-growing district in Richland County. My community has the highest numbers of identified and projected COVID-19 cases in Richland County — and they are among the highest in South Carolina.

This is alarming but not surprising.

Ever since I was elected to the General Assembly in 2018, I have been puzzled by our state leaders’ reluctance to approve expanding Medicaid in South Carolina. Why would a state that has so many health disparities and poverty-stricken communities refuse federal finding that could provide health care coverage to more of its citizens?

This question has led me to author bills calling for Medicaid expansion in South Carolina; unfortunately, they have languished in committee during this legislative session. However, I am determined to fight on because I know that if we do not act, too many of our vulnerable citizens may die because they lack health care.

In our state Medicaid expansion would have the greatest impact on those whose incomes fall below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($17,000 or less a year). And many of the beneficiaries of Medicaid expansion in South Carolina would be the often-overlooked “essential” workers who are risking their lives daily during this pandemic.

Over the past decade there has been an uptick in Medicaid coverage across our state largely because of an increase in coverage for children. This represents significant progress, but we must do more to cover adults who fall into coverage gaps.

While many critics say that South Carolina can’t afford to expand Medicaid, study after study has shown that we would greatly benefit from doing so.

It’s estimated that over the next 10 years, South Carolina will leave $14.2 billion in federal dollars on the table by not expanding Medicaid — money that will instead be distributed to states that have expanded coverage. In addition it’s estimated that some 312,000 South Carolinians could be covered over the next 10 years, and that at least 200 lives could be saved.

The extent of COVID-19 in South Carolina has yet to be fully realized, but we’ve already seen seen a troubling trend that it is disproportionately killing people of color. As a state we must examine the effects of poverty-induced health care disparities — and we must realize that many of these issues could be remedied by expanding Medicaid.

Our inability to expand Medicaid has kept many South Carolinians from getting affordable, quality health care that could address the underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 (and dying from it).

It shouldn’t take a pandemic for our state leaders to realize the importance of providing health care for all South Carolinians. It is time for our state to expand Medicaid.

A Democrat, state Rep. Kambrell Garvin represents House District 77.

The State Capitol Report – 3/13/2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5201, the General Appropriation Bill, and H.5202, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, which together comprise the FISCAL YEAR 2020-2021 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET.  The budget includes $9.6 billion in recurring state general fund revenue, after $629 million is transferred to the Tax Relief Trust Fund that provides for the residential property tax caps.  The budget’s nonrecurring funds include $568 million in surplus funds estimated for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, $350 million in the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Contingency Reserve Fund, and $162 million in Capital Reserve Funds.

$128 million in nonrecurring funds is used for providing one-time income tax credits that amount to $100 for each filer, and $120 million in recurring funds is devoted income tax relief by reducing the top income tax bracket by 0.2%.

The budget provides for an accelerated statewide farm-to-market road paving program to allow for paving on an estimated statewide total of 240 miles of these farm-to-market secondary roads within the state highway system, with projects in every county of the state.  The paving program includes $77 million in nonrecurring funds allocated through the Department of Transportation and $23 million in nonrecurring funds distributed among the County Transportation Committees.   

$50 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated to begin a Disaster Relief and Resilience Reserve Fund that is to be used for disaster relief assistance, hazard mitigation and infrastructure improvements, and statewide resilience planning.

$10 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the state FEMA match for Hurricane Dorian.

To allow South Carolina to take advantage of measures approved by the U.S. Congress to combat the coronavirus, the budget includes authorization for state agencies to receive funds from the federal government to be expended for COVID-19 preparedness and response.

$42 million in recurring funds is provided for a state employee recruitment and retention initiative that affords agencies flexibility in providing merit-based pay raises and bonuses.  Funding for the initiative is equivalent to a 2% salary increase.

$38.9 million in recurring funds is included to cover the increased costs of operating the state’s health and dental insurance plans and to provide coverage for adult well visits with no additional monthly premium costs.

A provision is included to revise retirement benefits after returning to covered employment under the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System to establish a protocol that allows retirees to return to covered employment without being subject to the ten thousand dollar earnings limitation.

A total of $32 million from the General Fund and $4 million in Education Improvement Act funds is devoted to the 1% increase in the employer contribution rates for the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System that is in keeping with the schedule for addressing the unfunded liability facing the state’s pensions established in Act 13 of 2017.

$213 million in recurring funds is used to provide a teacher salary increase of $3,000 per teacher.  The increase allows the state’s teacher pay to exceed the Southeastern average by $2,456 and places South Carolina in the top half of states in the nation for average teacher salary.

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$26 million in recurring funds is appropriated to increase the base student cost to $2,500 per pupil.  

In order to receive the increased funding for the base student cost, a school district must implement a policy that prohibits the use of cellphones and other personal electronic communication devices by students during direct classroom instructional time.

$76 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for instructional materials.

The budget provides for a statewide expansion of full day 4K early childhood education which includes $37.6 million in Education Improvement Act funds through the State Department of Education, $15 million in EIA funds through the First Steps program, and $2 million in EIA funds for early childhood assessments. 

$3 million in Education Improvement Act funds is allocated to First Steps for the enhancement or expansion or evidence-based programs that serve at-risk children and their families from birth to age three. 

$60 million in nonrecurring funds is allocated for capital improvements in the most economically challenged school districts.

Eligibility is expanded for the Rural School District and Economic Development Closing Fund established within the Department of Commerce to facilitate economic development and infrastructure improvements.

$10 million in recurring funds is allocated for school resource officers.

$5.5 million in Education Improvement Act funds is included to address S.C. Public Charter School District growth.

$2.6 million in recurring funds is devoted to the SC Virtual Schools Program.

$3 million in recurring funds, $22.5 million in nonrecurring funds, and $500,000 in lottery funds is provided for school buses. $7.9 million in funds from the Volkswagen Environmental Trust is allocated for purchasing school buses. 

The budget includes a higher education tuition mitigation initiative in which a total of $47.6 million in additional recurring funds is distributed among the state’s institutions of higher learning.  In order to retain these appropriations, the institutions must comply with provisions for freezing in-state tuition and mandatory fees during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Capital Reserve Fund is devoted to capital needs at the state’s colleges and universities, with a total of $160 million in these nonrecurring funds allocated among the institutions for repairs, renovations, and maintenance of various facilities. 

A provision is included to require all public institutions of higher learning to prepare a report listing any fee increases assessed in the current fiscal year and the reason for the increase.  The report must be submitted by November 30 to the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The Commission on Higher Education is charged with determining which of the state’s public institutions of higher learning are in compliance with the statutory provisions for required instruction on the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist Papers.  A report on compliance with this instruction on American founding documents must be submitted to the Chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee and the Chairman of Senate Education Committee by November 1. 

Full funding is provided for the LIFE, HOPE, and Palmetto Fellows higher education scholarship programs through $326 million in Education Lottery funds.

The Commission on Higher Education is afforded $28.4 million in lottery funds for need-based grants, representing an approximate 40% increase from last year.

$51 million in lottery funds is provided for tuition assistance through the Commission on Higher Education and the Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education

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The Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education is afforded $17 million in lottery funds for SC Workforce Industry Needs scholarships that help provide full tuition at technical colleges for SC WINS recipients seeking degrees in industry sectors with critical workforce needs.

The Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education is provided $11 million in lottery funds for workforce scholarships and grants, $12.5 million in unclaimed prize money for high demand job skill training equipment.

$8 million in nonrecurring funds and $2.5 million in capital reserve funds is allocated to the Ready SC Program which provides worker training at the state’s technical colleges that is customized to the needs of new and expanding business and industry.

$10 million in recurring funds is provided for instructional programs at the state’s technical colleges.

$10 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated for career and technology education centers which will assist school districts, two- and four-year colleges, and the business community in creating a new model for delivering career and technical education and dual enrollment opportunities.

The budget includes a provision establishing the Workforce and Education Data Oversight Committee to support the mission of the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development by collecting data from various state government agencies and institutions and analyzing the compiled data to improve the effectiveness of the state’s educational delivery system in providing economic opportunities.

The Department of Social Services, Vocational Rehabilitation Department, Denmark Technical College, and the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education are charged with exploring the feasibility of developing and implementing a residential workforce development program for foster and disabled youth at least 18 years of age to provide higher educational and transitional employment opportunities.

$3.7 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for the Deal Closing Fund that the Department of Commerce uses to recruit new business to the state.  The Department of Commerce is afforded $4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Locate SC Site Inventory, $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Association for Community Economic Development, and $9 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Technology and Aviation Center.

The Rural Infrastructure Authority is afforded $2 million in recurring funds for the Rural Infrastructure Fund and $4.3 million in nonrecurring funds for the Water and Sewer Regionalization Fund.

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism receives $1 million in recurring funds for tourism recovery advertising, $2 million in recurring funds and $1 million in nonrecurring funds for destination specific tourism marketing, $10 million in nonrecurring funds for film incentives, $1.1 million in nonrecurring funds for SC Association of Tourism Regions, $3 million in nonrecurring funds for state parks revitalization, $1.7 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Aquarium, and $10 million in nonrecurring funds to rebuild the state’s welcome centers.

The Department of Transportation receives $10 million in nonrecurring funds for upgrades to the state’s rest areas.

The State Ports Authority is afforded $1 million in nonrecurring funds for the Jasper Ocean Terminal Port Facility Infrastructure Fund and $200, 00 in nonrecurring funds for a Port of Georgetown engineering study.

The Division of Aeronautics receives $2 million for airport improvement projects.

The Department of Archives and History receives $3.7 million in nonrecurring funds for community development grants, $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for historic preservation, $1 million in nonrecurring funds for the SC Revolutionary Wary Sestercentennial Commission,   $100,000 in nonrecurring funds for the African American Heritage Commission’s Greenbook of SC.

The State Museum is provided $3.7 million to begin the second phase of its exhibit renovations.

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The Arts Commission is afforded $1 million in recurring funds for community arts development, $1 million in nonrecurring funds for arts organization facilities upgrades, and $500,000 in nonrecurring funds for community arts development and education grants.

The Department of Agriculture is appropriated $1.1 million in recurring funds for federal hemp farming compliance and $630,000 in nonrecurring funds for hemp testing laboratory equipment.

Clemson PSA receives $1.1 million in recurring funds and SC State receives $802,600 in recurring funds for their extension programs.

The Forestry Commission is provided $1 million in nonrecurring funds for firefighting equipment.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control receives $1 million in recurring funds for the additional newborn screenings of Dylan’s Law, $5 million in recurring funds for salary increases for critical position retention, $997,000 in recurring funds for vaccine funding for disease control response, $1 million in recurring funds for hazardous waste emergency response, $1.95 million in recurring funds for the air quality program, $1 million in recurring funds for ocean outfalls, and $2.2 million in nonrecurring funds for its nursing program expansion.

The Department of Health and Human Services is afforded $47.3 million in recurring funds for Medicaid maintenance of effort to address program cost growth, $13.9 million in recurring funds for the community long term care census and assistance to the CLTC program that allows aging and disabled individuals to receive care in their communities instead of nursing homes and other institutional settings, $7.9 million in recurring funds for healthcare provider reimbursement rates, $6.7 million in recurring funds for disproportionate share hospital allotment increase, $492,000 in recurring funds for the SC Office of Rural Health, $150,000 in nonrecurring funds for cervical cancer awareness, $7.4 million in nonrecurring funds for the Medicaid Management Information System, and $1.7 million in nonrecurring for medical contracts.

The budget includes a provision for the Department of Health and Human Services to transfer $1 million to the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital Authority to develop a comprehensive approach to advancing the awareness, detection, treatment, and scientific knowledge of sickle cell disease and trait within South Carolina.  The MUSC Hospital Authority is authorized to partner with independent research entities to advance curative therapies for sickle cell disease and trait and is authorized to endow one or more nationally leading academic research centers with a research chair named the “Rena N. Grant Endowed Chair for Hematology” in furtherance of this goal.  Additionally, to improve the quality of care provided to sickle cell patients, the authority is charged with performing statewide cultural competency training in all hospitals, including urgent care centers, in this state in order to educate and increase the awareness of health care professionals that are most likely to treat sickle cell patients on the symptoms and stigma associated with sickle cell disease and trait, especially pain relief.

Funding is continued for the Rural Health Initiative partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine which includes an emphasis on rural residency placement and infrastructure improvements in underserved areas.  $2 million in recurring funds is provided to enhance Telemedicine operations and $5 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for infrastructure. 

As part of the Rural Health Initiative, the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare is charged with studying how to develop a coordinating system for mobile health clinics operating within the state to ensure that they are serving the entire state, including rural and underserved areas.

The Department of Mental Health is afforded $5 million in recurring funds for inpatient services, $7.98 million in recurring funds for workforce sustainability initiatives, $600,000 in recurring funds for school mental health services, $625,897 in recurring funds for the sexually violent predator treatment program, $46.8 million in nonrecurring funds for VA nursing homes certification state match, and $400,000 in recurring funds for emergency department telepsychiatry.

The budget includes a mental health crisis stabilization initiative which provides for the Department of Mental Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Alcohol and 

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Other Drug Abuse Services, and all other relevant agencies coordinate their efforts to ensure that the statewide system for the delivery of mental health services

The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is charged with creating pilot programs with rural community-based nonprofits to provide counseling services to combat the opioid crisis.  DAODAS is authorized to create a trust fund, which may receive donations from public and private sources, that is to be used to award grants to rural community-based nonprofits.

The Department of Social Services receives $14 million for child welfare efforts which includes staff equity increases, case worker staffing, increased Group Home Board Payments, and increased Foster Family Board Payments.  $2.6 million is provided for adult advocacy staff and emergency stabilization beds.

The Department of Disabilities and Special Needs is afforded $10.1 million for various rate increases and $2 million for the Greenwood Genetic Center for Autism Research.

The Department of Corrections receives $100 million in nonrecurring funds for security and prison safety equipment upgrades, $7.5 million for fire alarm replacement, $9 million in recurring funds for recruitment and retention, $9 million in recurring funds for critical need health services positions, $5 million in recurring funds for the Hepatitis C treatment program, $3 million in recurring funds for the expansion of the gang enforcement security team, and $3 million in recurring funds and $1 million in nonrecurring funds for long term programming and reentry needs. 

The Department of Juvenile Justice is afforded $5 million in nonrecurring funds for safety and security upgrades and $9.8 million in nonrecurring funds for security updates and renovations at the Broad River facility.

The Judicial Department is afforded $5 million in nonrecurring funds for case management modernization and $1.4 million in nonrecurring funds for its digital courtroom recorder project.

The Attorney General’s Office is provided $1.6 million for crime victim compensation funding.

$1 million in recurring funds and $2.5 million in nonrecurring funds is appropriated for Circuit Solicitor Prosecution Case Management System and IT infrastructure.

Indigent Defense is afforded $2.8 million for Criminal Justice System Workload Parity.

The budget emphasizes salary increases for law enforcement officers across multiple agencies.

The State Law Enforcement Division is afforded $1.8 million in recurring and $1.5 million in nonrecurring funds for technology equipment.

$2.3 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for local law enforcement grants through the Department of Public Safety.  $1 million in recurring funds is provided for DPS vehicle replacement.

The Department of Motor Vehicles is afforded $5 million to modernize its database and $5 million for salary adjustments and other employee retention initiatives.

The budget includes an $11.6 million increase in recurring funds for the Local Government Fund that is consistent with the revised approach for sending revenue to political subdivisions established in Act 84 of 2019. 

A budget provision precludes counties from obtaining the tax relief offered for solar panels and other renewable energy equipment by excluding this renewable energy resource property from county property tax collection.  

$2 million in recurring and $5 million in nonrecurring funds is provided for Conservation Bank Trust grants. 

The State Library is afforded $1 million in recurring funds for Aid to County Libraries, increasing the per capita distribution from $2.00 to $2.25.

The State Election Commission receives $9.3 million in nonrecurring funds for completion of the new voting system.

The Adjutant General is afforded $2 million for armory revitalization and $7.5 million for the Aiken Readiness Center.

The Department of Administration is appropriated $1.5 million for statewide employee recruiting and retention initiatives, $2.5 million recurring and $8.1 million nonrecurring for the SC Enterprise Information System, and $5 million for state-owned building capital needs.

The budget enhances funding for the constitutional reserve accounts that the state uses to cope with revenue shortfalls.  An additional $13.6 million is used to fully fund the Capital Reserve Fund.  $122 million is provided for the General Reserve Fund, which exceeds the constitutionally-required $34 million contribution.   

The House made appointments to a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.601, a bill SUBJECTING EMPLOYEES OF RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE FACILITIES TO CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS.

The House made appointments to a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.76, a bill that makes provisions for EXTENDING THE ENERGY EFFICIENT MANUFACTURED HOMES INCENTIVE PROGRAM for five additional years.

Having completed its work on the state government budget and sent the legislation to Senate, the House of Representatives will not meet during the upcoming week of March 16-20.  This furlough week for House Members is a cost-saving measure for South Carolina’s taxpayers, and it affords legislators additional time to consider pending legislation on the future of Santee Cooper which the House is scheduled to take up after it returns on March 24.

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908); or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.  

The State Capitol Report – 3/6/2020

The House of Representatives and the Senate adopted the conference committee report on S.16, legislation that relates to EMERGENCY REFILLS OF PRESCRIPTIONS BY PHARMACISTS, and the bill was enrolled for ratification.  Current law provides authority for pharmacists to dispense an emergency prescription refill of up to a ten-day supply of a medication once within a twelve-month period.  The bill increases the maximum amount of a medication that may be dispensed for an emergency prescription refill to a fourteen-day supply.  If the qualifying medication is packaged in a way that it is not possible to dispense a fourteen-day supply, the pharmacist may dispense up to a thirty-day supply.

The House returned S.635 to the Senate with amendments.  The legislation authorizes the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue “DRIVERS FOR A CURE” SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES to support medical research that combats cancer.  Proceeds from the plates must be distributed evenly between the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center and the Duke Cancer Institute.  The legislation also authorizes the issuance of AIR MEDAL SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES to those who have been awarded the medal in the course of their military service.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4663, legislation AUTHORIZING PHARMACISTS TO ADMINISTER FLU VACCINES TO CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN TWELVE YEARS OLD in accordance with a protocol issued by the Board of Medical Examiners upon recommendation of the Joint Pharmacist Administered Vaccines Committee.  The legislation builds upon current provisions that authorize pharmacists to administer the influenza vaccine, without a physician’s order, to those who are at least twelve years old. 

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4776, a bill addressing RESTRICTIONS ON REPRESENTING PARTIES BEFORE THE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION IMPOSED UPON FORMER COMMISSIONERS AND PSC EMPLOYEES.  The legislation prohibits representing a party in a Public Service Commission proceeding for a period of four years, in the case of a former commissioner, and a period of one year, in the case of a former PSC employee.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4724, a joint resolution establishing a temporary COMMITTEE TO STUDY CERTAIN ISSUES AFFECTING VETERANS that is charged with examining the prevalence and root causes of veteran homelessness in South Carolina.  The committee’s study must address such issues as: the approximate number of homeless veterans in the state; how many of South Carolina’s veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); the availability of services for the state’s most economically disadvantaged veterans; and, reasons why traditional Veterans Affairs Services are not alleviating homelessness, particularly with regard to job placement services.  The committee is composed of: three members of the Senate, appointed by the President of the Senate; three members of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House; and, the Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs or his designee.  The legislation requires the committee to submit its report to both houses of the General Assembly and to the Governor by the end of 2021 and provides for the committee to dissolve after this deadline.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4694, a bill EASING SCHOOL BUS TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS.  The legislation revises the blanket prohibition that makes it unlawful for a school bus to pass another school bus by establishing an exception which provides that a school bus may pass another school bus on a multilane highway.  The legislation also eliminates a provision that sets maximum speed limits for school buses.     

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4454, a bill that revises the criminal offense that applies to drivers ENDANGERING EMERGENCY SERVICES PERSONNEL at accident scenes so that tow truck operators responding to emergency incidents are included among the emergency services personnel.

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The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4938, a bill addressing EXEMPTIONS FROM ELECTRONIC PRESCRIPTION REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES included in Schedules II, III, IV, and V.  The legislation adds to the electronic prescription requirements exemptions list: a practitioner who writes a prescription for a controlled substance included in Schedules II through V that does not exceed a five-day supply for the patient; and, a practitioner who issues an oral authorization in the case of an emergency situation.  The legislation revises an existing exemption that addresses hospital discharges so that it also applies to state mental health facilities.  Another existing exemption is revised so that it also applies to controlled substances administered in a home infusion pharmacy. 

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4669, a bill that narrows the exemption from ELECTRONICALLY FILING DEATH CERTIFICATES by removing from the exemption physicians who certify fewer that twelve deaths per year and funeral homes that perform fewer than twelve funerals per year.  By subjecting these individuals to requirements for the electronic filing of death certificates, only those who act, without compensation, as a funeral director on behalf of a deceased family member or friend remain covered by the exemption from electronic filing.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4937, a bill revising provisions for CHARITABLE RAFFLES.  The legislation makes revisions to provisions authorizing raffles conducted by nonprofit organizations that include: allowing charitable raffles to continue by eliminating the upcoming sunset date when these provisions are set to expire; increasing prize amounts; consolidating reporting requirements; authorizing a nonprofit organization to compensate members for services rendered in a fundraising event that may include raffle costs related to entertainment, such as the costs of a disc jockey, band, auctioneers, support staff, waiters, bartenders, and wait staff utilized to conduct the fundraising event; and removing a prohibition so that raffle funds may be used for the provision of athletic facilities and equipment. 

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4963, a bill relating to ALCOHOL SAMPLES.  The legislation establishes a protocol that allows a producer or wholesaler to furnish samples of wines, cordials, and distilled spirits to a retailer.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4710, a bill to strengthen provisions enacted last year as updates to the Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act and public school tobacco-free campus policies that take VAPING into account.  The legislation also applies Clean Indoor Air Act restrictions to vaping.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4800, a bill REAUTHORIZING THE JOINT CITIZENS AND LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON CHILDREN through 2030.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4078, a bill that revises requirements for the ELECTRONIC SUBMISSION OF REPORTS to the General Assembly so that these requirements also apply to reports that are required to be sent to a legislative standing committee or other committee created by the General Assembly.  The legislation implements a recommendation arising from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense.

The House gave Special Order status to H.5201, the General Appropriation Bill, and H.5202, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, so that consideration of the FISCAL YEAR 2020-2021 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET is set to begin on Monday, March 9. 

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908); or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

The State Capitol Report – 2/28/2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4431, a bill to enact the “SOUTH CAROLINA BUSINESS LICENSE TAX STANDARDIZATION ACT” as a means of: reducing the complexity of complying with the business license taxes imposed by counties and municipalities by bringing statewide uniformity to the deadlines, application forms, and various other parts of the process; enhancing convenience for businesses by allowing them to pay taxes owed in multiple jurisdictions using a one-stop-shopping online portal; and, allowing counties and municipalities to receive the full amounts they are owed for business licenses without subtracting the portion that has been charged in fees by third parties collecting the taxes. The legislation imposes statewide standardization upon many aspects of the business license taxes imposed by counties and municipalities, including: a single timeline for issuing and renewing licenses and imposing penalties; standards for computing taxes based upon the gross income of the business; a uniform business license application established and provided by the Director of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office; a protocol for issuing refunds to businesses; requirements for taxing jurisdictions to make use of the Standardized Business License Class Schedule as recommended by the Municipal Association of South Carolina and adopted by the Director of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office; requirements for the Municipal Association to determine and revise this Standardized Business License Class Schedule every even year using the latest available nationwide Internal Revenue Service statistics for the calculation of profitability of businesses and using the latest business classification codes of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS); and, a protocol that allows county and city councils to approve reasonable sub-classifications.  Provisions are made for a centralized online portal hosted and managed by the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office which businesses may use to pay the various license taxes imposed in multiple jurisdictions.  In addition to allowing a payment through the business license tax portal, a taxing jurisdiction shall allow a taxpayer to file and pay its business license tax in person at a location within the taxing jurisdiction, by telephone, or by mail.  The legislation imposes a prohibition on a private third-party assessing or collecting business license taxes or requiring businesses to remit confidential tax data on behalf of a taxing jurisdiction.  Restrictions are imposed on how a taxing jurisdiction may contract with a third party to assist in the collection of business license taxes.  The legislation disallows arrangements where a private sector auditing firm or other third party is paid on a contingency fee or success basis.  Enforcement measures are provided which authorize the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs award to civil penalties to taxpayers for violations.  The legislation provides an exemption from business license taxes for charitable organizations that covers their nonprofit activities.  

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4761, a bill providing for “SOUTH CAROLINA READ TO SUCCEED ACT” ENHANCEMENTS that emphasize early intervention for students who are having difficulty learning to read so that they can receive needed instruction before reaching the time when a low score on a literacy assessment can require a student to repeat the third grade.  Under the legislation, the State Board of Education is charged with approving no more than five reliable and valid early literacy and numeracy screening assessment instruments for selection and use by school districts in kindergarten through third grade.  Assessments must be given at the beginning of the school year.  For students who need additional assistance, the screening will also occur during the middle and end of the school year.  Assessment results must be reported to the State Department of Education which is responsible for monitoring student progress.  Read to Succeed Act provisions are revised to require that districts provide appropriate in-class intervention and at least thirty minutes of supplemental intervention by certified teachers who have a literacy add on endorsement until all students are at grade level.  School districts must offer a summer reading camp as intervention for any student enrolled in the first or second grade who is substantially not demonstrating proficiency in reading, based upon the universal screening process.  The legislation replaces the current “Not Met 1” benchmark for student retention, and provides, instead that a student must be retained in the third grade if the student fails to demonstrate reading proficiency at the end of the third grade as indicated by scoring at the lowest achievement level on the state summative English/language arts assessment which indicates that the student needs substantial academic support to be prepared for the next grade level.  Districts are encouraged to develop policies for intensive support and retention of students in kindergarten through second grade if it is determined 

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to be in the student’s best interest.  The reading portfolio exemption from retention is strengthened.  When exemptions from retention are granted because of appeals by students’ parents or guardians, school districts are required to report on the number of appeals made, the number granted, and the outcome of the students whose appeals are successful.  More specific job duties and position requirements are established for reading coaches.  The State Department of Education must screen and approve reading coaches for districts where more than one-third of third grade students score at the lowest achievement level on the state English/language arts assessment.  Early childhood, elementary, and special education teacher candidates must pass a test on reading instruction and intervention before they can be certified.  The Commission on Higher Education and the Learning Disorders Taskforce are charged with examining the effectiveness of teacher education programs with regard to diagnosing and assisting students with reading difficulties.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3328, a bill revising SCHOOL LUNCH provisions.  The legislation provides that students eligible for free and reduced meal benefits must be offered the same federally reimbursable meal as students not eligible for these federal free and reduced meal provisions.  Federally reimbursable meals must be offered even if the student owes money for previous meals.  Schools that offer food and beverages separate from federally reimbursable meals may not allow students to accrue a balance when purchasing items, and only may accept cash payment or allow funds to be electronically drawn from a prepaid balance.  A school or school district may not invoke penalties for failing to pay for a school lunch, such as prohibiting students from attending field trips, participating in graduation or other recognition ceremonies, or attending other academic-related activities.  The State Department of Education is charged with developing and providing a model policy and template to each school district regarding the collection of school meal debt.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4765, a bill imposing LIMITATIONS ON COLLECTING SCHOOL MEAL PROGRAM DEBTS.  The legislation prohibits a public school or school district from using a debt collection service to collect debts owed on a school lunch or breakfast account of a student.  A public school or school district may not assess or collect any interest, fees, or other such monetary penalties for outstanding debts on student school lunch or breakfast accounts.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4758, a bill providing authority for ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMS FOR EDUCATOR PREPARATION AND CERTIFICATION as a means of addressing current teacher shortages.  Under the legislation, educator preparation programs housed within an institution of higher education may submit a separate and distinct educator preparation program for alternative preparation to the State Board of Education for approval.  The board shall promulgate regulations concerning the granting of approval, cyclical review, and revocation of approval for alternative educator preparation programs.  The State Department of Education is charged with providing each college of education and state-approved educator preparation program with information evaluating the performance its graduates on a yearly basis so that this information may be used to improve education services.

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908); or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.  KHG/jhm

The State Capitol Report – 2/21/2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3197, the “STUDENT LOAN BILL OF RIGHTS ACT”, which establishes consumer protection measures for those who obtain loans to finance postsecondary education or other school-related expenses.   The legislation provides for the licensure and regulation of student loan servicers by the Department of Consumer Affairs.  A list of prohibited activities is established for student loan servicers to address such misconduct as: defrauding or misleading student loan borrowers; knowingly or recklessly providing inaccurate information to a credit bureau; charging unauthorized fees; and, placing student loan borrowers in forbearance or default without determining whether they are eligible for income-based repayment programs.  The legislation authorizes the Department of Consumer Affairs to conduct investigations and examinations and empowers the department to address fraud and other violations through such means as: suspending, revoking, or refusing to renew licenses; imposing fines, cease and desist orders, and other equitable and injunctive relief; and bringing civil actions.  A student loan ombudsman position is created within the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide timely assistance to borrowers by performing such duties as: receiving, reviewing, and attempting to resolve complaints from student loan borrowers; compiling and analyzing data on these complaints; answering questions about student education loans; disseminating information and conducting educational programs; and, advising on policy and law changes.  The department is required to submit an annual report on these student education loan consumer protection initiatives to the Senate Education Committee and the House Education and Public Works Committee. 

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3455, a bill that provides for the licensure and regulation of SWIMMING POOL INSTALLERS by classifying them as residential specialty contractors.  The legislation adds swimming pool installers to the list of those classified as residential specialty contractors, who are independent contractors who contract with licensed residential builders, general contractors, or individual property owners to do certain construction work, repairs, improvement, or re-improvement which requires special skills and involves the use of specialized construction trades or craft.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4974, a bill providing for ADDITIONAL CIRCUIT COURT AND FAMILY COURT JUDGES.  The legislation provides for the election of two additional resident circuit court judges: one for the Fourteenth Circuit and one for the Fifteenth Circuit.  The legislation provides for the election of two additional resident family court judges: one for the First Circuit and one for the Sixteenth Circuit.

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908); or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

KHG/jhm

The State Capitol Report – 2/14/2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4940, a joint resolution creating a temporary ELECTRICITY MARKET REFORM MEASURES STUDY COMMITTEE to examine whether the legislature should adopt market reform measures affecting the provision of electric service in South Carolina and study the public benefits associated with such measures.  The legislation provides for the study committee’s membership of six legislators, three members of the House of Representatives, all serving ex officio, appointed by the Chairman of the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee and three members of the Senate, all serving ex officio, appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The committee includes a non-voting advisory board made up of representatives from the electrical power industry, alternative energy and renewable power developers, consumer groups, pertinent government agencies, economic sectors, and conservation advocates.  Provisions are made for the study committee to engage third party, independent, expert consultants.  The legislation sets a deadline of January 12, 2021, for issuing a report to the General Assembly and provides for the study committee to dissolve after making its final report.

The House returned S.601, a bill SUBJECTING EMPLOYEES OF RESIDENTIAL CHILD CARE FACILITIES TO CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS, to the Senate with amendments.  The legislation enacts recommendations of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children to bring South Carolina into compliance with federal requirements by extending the criminal background checks that are required before the Department of Social Services may place a child in a foster home or adoptive home so that these background checks are also required for employees working in residential facilities, such as child caring institutions, emergency shelters, group homes, and wilderness therapeutic camps.  The legislation also expands this foster home, adoptive home, and residential facility background screening by requiring a check of the registry of child abuse and neglect in every state where an individual has previously resided, rather than those states where an individual has lived within the past five years.  

The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.4974, a bill providing for ADDITIONAL CIRCUIT COURT AND FAMILY COURT JUDGES.  The legislation provides for the election of two additional resident circuit court judges: one for the Fourteenth Circuit and one for the Fifteenth Circuit.  The legislation provides for the election of two additional resident family court judges: one for the First Circuit and one for the Sixteenth Circuit.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3066, a bill making provisions for the DESTRUCTION OF ARREST RECORDS IN CASES OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY.  This legislation establishes requirements for the destruction of records of those arrested because of mistaken identity, establishing a 180-day deadline following the completion of investigations that prove arrests were due to mistaken identity.  No investigating authority can charge or collect fees for these arrest record destructions.  Provisions are included that authorize law enforcement and prosecution agencies to retain arrest and booking records, associated bench warrants, mug shots, and fingerprints under seal so that this information is exempt from disclosure, except by court order.  The legislation also establishes a protocol for DISMISSING CHARGES FOR CERTAIN OFFENSES LEFT UNRESOLVED for more than five years and destroying records relating to arrests.  Under the legislation, someone charged with certain listed offenses may petition the county solicitor for dismissal of the alleged offense that has not been adjudicated by trial or guilty plea, or otherwise disposed of or dismissed, after five years.  If the petitioner has no other pending charges unrelated to the subject charge and no criminal convictions subsequent to the alleged offense, the solicitor must approve the dismissal of the offense charged and must do so within thirty days of receipt of the petition.  The listed offenses include third degree simple assault and battery, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, breach of trust with fraudulent intent, open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles, trespassing, misdemeanor fraudulent check offenses, misdemeanor shoplifting, driving under suspension, simple possession of controlled substances, and similar local and state offenses that are similar to these listed crimes, in the opinion of the prosecutor.  Upon dismissal of the offense, the solicitor is required to notify the State Law Enforcement Division and SLED 

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is required to remove the pending charge from the petitioner’s criminal record within ten days.  Additionally, any arrest and booking records, associated bench warrants, mug shots, and fingerprints of the person must be destroyed and no evidence of the record pertaining to the charge or associated bench warrants may be retained by any municipal, county, or state agency.  An employee who intentionally violates these requirements is guilty of contempt of court.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate to H.5062, a bill that allows the option of obtaining HARD CARD HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSES and other wildlife permits and tags from the Department of Natural Resources that are made of plastic or similar materials so that they will be more durable than paper versions.  Those who select this option are subject to a six-dollar fee of which the issuing vendor may retain one dollar.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5015, a bill ADDING SCHEDULE IV DRUGS TO THE LIST OF SUBSTANCES THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES MAY USE FOR THE CAPTURE AND IMMOBILIZATION OF WILDLIFE.  The legislation expands this list of tranquilizing agents and other approved substances so that DNR will be able to use a new drug, classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance, that is particularly effective for deer and bear immobilization. 

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4702, a bill restoring AUTHORIZATION FOR THE RICHLAND-LEXINGTON AIRPORT COMMISSION TO OPERATE A FOREIGN TRADE ZONE that was inadvertently removed from statutory language.

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908); or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

KHG/jhm

The State Capitol Report – 2/7/2020

The House of Representatives and the Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.3357 and the bill was enrolled for ratification.  The legislation allows for a HEARING IMPAIRMENT NOTATION ON A MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION as a means of providing law enforcement officers with information that could prevent misunderstandings during traffic stops and other interactions.  The legislation establishes a procedure that allows drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing to apply to the Department of Motor Vehicles to have a notation added to their private passenger‑carrying motor vehicle registration.  This special motor vehicle registration notation would only appear when a law enforcement check is run on the vehicle’s license plate through the department’s online interface with law enforcement to alert the officer that the driver may be deaf or hard of hearing.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to S.996 and the legislation was ratified and signed by the Governor.  This joint resolution authorizes an EXTENSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CANDIDATE SCREENING to provide an opportunity to find additional qualified candidates to present to the General Assembly for election to the commission that oversees public utilities.  The legislation authorizes an extension in screening for candidates for PSC Seats 1, 3, 5, and 7 that allows the Public Utilities Review Committee to accept applications for a time period beginning Monday, February 3, 2020, through noon on Friday, February 28, 2020.  Provisions are made for advertising these positions.  In screening candidates for the PSC and making its findings, the Review Committee is directed to find the best qualified people by considering candidates’ ability, dedication, compassion, common sense, and integrity as well as their race, gender, and other demographic factors to assure nondiscrimination, inclusion, and representation to the greatest extent possible of all segments of the population of this state.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4209, a bill that creates the SOUTH CAROLINA FARM AID FUND to receive appropriations from the General Assembly along with private donations and establishes a protocol for using this fund to operate a grant program for providing financial assistance to farmers should the state again experience disastrous flooding or another type of catastrophic weather event.  Under the grant program, financial assistance is limited to farmers who experience a verifiable loss of agricultural commodities of at least forty percent due to a catastrophic weather event.  A grant may not exceed twenty percent of the farmer’s verifiable loss with a total cap of one hundred thousand dollars.  Grant awards must be used for agricultural production expenses and losses due to the catastrophic weather event which demonstrate an intent to continue the agricultural operation, such as the purchase of seeds and fertilizer.  The financial assistance may not be used to purchase new equipment.  A Farm Aid Advisory Board is established to make recommendations and assist the Department of Agriculture in the administration of the grant program.

The House approved S.525 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation eliminates the sunset date for an environmental impact fee so that it will no longer expire on December 31, 2026, and will instead continue to fund the SUPERB ACCOUNT, which is used to address environmental clean up costs should an underground petroleum tank leak.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4831, a bill STRENGTHENING LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR NATIVE REPTILE AND AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS to counter illicit trade operations that collect these animals, notably South Carolina’s box turtles, and export them for sale.  With certain exceptions, the legislation makes it unlawful for someone to sell, purchase, trade, exchange, barter, export, ship, transfer the possession of, rehome, remove, or attempt to remove from this state any native reptile or amphibian species, including parts, products, eggs, offspring, and derivatives.  The Department of Natural Resources is authorized to establish possession limits for reptile and amphibian species by regulation in order to protect designated species from commercial exploitation and other pressures on these populations.  The legislation also includes provisions making it unlawful for someone to release from captivity wildlife that is not native to this state.  The Department of Natural Resources is authorized to promulgate regulations to prohibit or otherwise restrict

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certain species of nonnative wildlife in this State, including species that have the potential to become established in this state in sufficient numbers so as to become a nuisance and those that pose a demonstrable deleterious and widespread threat to wildlife, agriculture, or human health and safety.  The legislation enhances penalties for violations.     

The House approved S.474 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation revises catch limits and size limits for estuarine and saltwater finfish, to provide that it is unlawful for someone to take or have in possession more than ten SPADEFISH (Chaetodipterus faber) in any one day, not to exceed thirty spadefish in any one day on any boat.  The legislation provides that it is unlawful to take, possess, land, sell, purchase, or attempt to sell or purchase spadefish of less than fourteen inches in total length.

The House approved S.475 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation revises catch limits and size limits for estuarine and saltwater finfish, to provide that it is unlawful for someone to take or have in possession more than three TRIPLETAIL (Lobotes surinamensis) in any one day, not to exceed nine tripletail in any one day on any boat.  The legislation provides that it is unlawful to take, possess, land, sell, purchase, or attempt to sell or purchase tripletail of less than eighteen inches in total length.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4737, a bill revising PERSONAL WATERCRAFT AND BOATING SAFETY provisions by increasing distance limits between a watercraft operating in excess of idle speed upon certain lakes and rivers of this state and a moored or anchored vessel, wharf, dock, bulkhead, pier, or person in the water.  The doubling, or in the case of Lake Wylie tripling, of the current fifty foot minimum distance requirement on these lakes and portions of rivers  is offered to afford greater protection from wakes generated by personal watercraft, notably sport boats used for waterskiing and wakeboarding.  

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.5018, a bill facilitating ELECTRONIC PROCESSING OF WATERCRAFT AND OUTBOARD MOTOR TITLES through the Department of Natural Resources.  The legislation allows for the transmitting and receiving titles and liens and the discharging of liens online using electronic documents.

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908); or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

KHG/jhm

The State Capitol Report – 1/31/2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4760, a bill revising the STUDENT ASSESSMENTS that are administered in the state’s public schools as a means of: ensuring that standardized testing is not unnecessarily burdensome; improving notification about upcoming assessments; and, affording parents, guardians, and teachers with timely access to test results so that this information might be better used to improve student achievement.  The legislation eliminates the summative assessments in social studies and United States History that are not required under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act accountability provisions.  In addition to streamlining summative testing, which is conducted at the end of a school year to determine what a student has learned in a course of study, the legislation also places limits and conditions on formative testing, which is conducted during the course of a school year to determine what progress a student is making towards mastering particular subjects.  With certain exceptions, the legislation provides for students to be administered no more than one state or locally procured formative assessment, and for that one standardized test to be given no more than three times during an academic year.  A protocol is established that requires schools to provide notification to parents and guardians about upcoming formative assessments and their purpose at least one week before testing.  No more than one week after the administration of a formative assessment, schools are required to provide teachers, parents, and guardians with test results.  In addition to test scores, the material that parents and guardians receive must include information on how the formative assessment aligns with state standards and summative assessments, and suggestions for how to support the child’s learning at home.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4753, a bill providing for TEACHER INCENTIVES.  The legislation establishes a “Teacher Bill of Rights” to enumerate those things that all certified public school teachers in South Carolina should be able to expect.  These include: working in an environment conducive to learning; the inclusion of their discretion with regard to disciplinary and instructional decisions; freedom from frivolous lawsuits; unencumbered daily planning time; a competitive salary; no unnecessary paperwork; and, support from school administration to meet performance standards and professional expectations.  These provisions do not create or imply a private cause of action for a violation.  The legislation provides that each classroom teacher and full time librarian is entitled to at least a thirty minute daily planning period free from the instruction and supervision of students.  Each school district may set flexible or rotating schedules for the implementation of this duty free planning period.  Implementation may not, however, result in a lengthened school day.  The legislation offers a tax incentive for attracting teachers to areas where they are most needed in the form of an income tax credit that covers all of the property taxes paid for five years on a residence for a K-12 public school teacher who lives and teaches in a Tier IV economically challenged county.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.455, the “ARMED SERVICE MEMBERS AND SPOUSES PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING ACT”.

The House returned S.996 to the Senate with amendments.  This joint resolution authorizes an EXTENSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CANDIDATE SCREENING to provide an opportunity to find additional qualified candidates to present to the General Assembly for election to the commission that oversees public utilities. 

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4936, a bill that eliminates the prohibition on possessing GAME FISH DEVICES while possessing or using nongame devices.  The change allows someone to have an authorized game fish device, such as a rod and reel, while using authorized nongame devices, such as set hooks, trotlines, eel pots, jug fishing devices, and traps. 

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The House approved and sent the Senate H.4945, a bill that revises coastal zone management provisions governing construction seaward of the baseline to allow for certain EROSION CONTROL STRUCTURES to have their damage assessment based on a single distinct continuous seawall or bulkhead rather than on a lot by lot basis.

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-212-6875); my Richland Legislative Delegation Office (803-576-1908); or write P.O. Box 292434, Columbia, SC 29229.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

KHG/jhm