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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

The State Capitol Report – 1/27/2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4404, a bill enacting the “VETERANS NURSING DEGREE OPPORTUNITY ACT” as a means of both addressing the state’s nurse shortage and smoothing the transition for veterans from military life to professional civilian careers.  The legislation establishes programs to enable veteran military clinical personnel, such as medics and corpsmen, to accelerate the process at participating South Carolina public and independent colleges and institutions for obtaining associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in nursing by awarding academic and clinical credit or waivers for relevant education, experience, and skills acquired from their military service.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3199, a bill REQUIRING INSTRUCTION ON STUDENT LOANS IN HIGH SCHOOL FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAMS.  The legislation expands high school financial literacy program requirements so that they also include instruction on college and education loans, key loan terms, monthly payment obligations, repayment options, credit, and education loan debt.  The State Board of Education is directed to incorporate these new instructional topics with the adoption of the next revisions scheduled for the social studies academic standards under cyclical review.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3257, a bill that provides for updating public school INSTRUCTION ON MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SOCIAL HEALTH under the Comprehensive Health Education Act.  The legislation provides that, at the next cyclical review of the health standards, the State Board of Education shall continue to revise existing age appropriate standards and concepts that address mental, emotional, and social health.  Before September 1, 2020, in addition to the current standards, the board shall continue to make standards aligned instructional materials available to districts.  Districts shall continue to adopt or develop curriculum locally.  Beginning with the 2020-2021 School Year, each seventh grade student must be offered one unit of instruction in mental health and wellness based on the instructional unit selected or adopted by the board, and each ninth grade student shall receive and successfully complete a one unit course of study in mental health and wellness based on the instructional unit selected or adopted by the board.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4403, a bill revising provisions relating to BULLYING PROHIBITION POLICIES that must be adopted by school districts.  The legislation provides for a more expansive definition of “harassment, intimidation, or bullying”.  Procedures are established for responding to and remediating allegations of bullying.  The legislation requires an appeals procedure.  Local districts are required to adopt policies for the prevention of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that are at least as stringent as the model policies developed by the State Board of Education.  A procedure is established that requires the state board to approve local policies to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4076, a bill REQUIRING BOARD AND COMMISSION MEMBERS TO SIGN STATEMENTS ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITY.  The legislation establishes a protocol under which an agency or instrumentality in the executive branch of state government or a public institution of higher learning with a governing board or commission is required to have its board or commission members sign a written document outlining statutory duties and powers.  Board or commission members are not eligible to receive mileage, subsistence, or per diem unless these documents are signed in a timely manner.  Repeated refusal to sign the required documents constitutes grounds for removal from office by the Governor for persistent neglect of duty.  The bill implements recommendations arising from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to S.996, a joint resolution authorizing 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 Commission and making its findings, the Review Committee is directed to give due consideration to 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.4504, a bill to provide the Department of Health and Environmental Control with more effective means of regulating WASTE TIRE FACILITIES, particularly those facilities that amass large quantities of tires without 

recycling them in a timely manner.   The legislation authorizes DHEC to promulgate regulations to protect human health and safety of the environment from the adverse effects of improper, inadequate, or unsound management of waste tires.  DHEC is authorized to conduct inspections and investigations, obtain records of waste tire processing, storage, or hauling activities, obtain samples, and conduct research regarding the operation and maintenance of any waste tire management facility.  A protocol is established for DHEC to place a facility under a suspension when it exceeds its permitted capacity and to sanction a facility that violates a suspension by accepting additional waste tires.  DHEC is charged with maintaining a Waste Tire Rebate Facility List that includes only facilities that are in compliance and fulfill the requirements of a waste tire recycling facility.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4811, a bill revising beachfront management restrictions placed on erosion control structures or devices seaward of the setback line to allow for the placement of shoreline perpendicular WINGWALLS that extend landward at a ninety degree angle from the ends of existing erosion control structures or devices that are consistent in height and composition with the existing erosion control structures to which they are attached subject to any special conditions imposed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4202, a bill requiring the state registrar of vital statistics at the Department of Health and Environmental Control to issue, upon receipt of certain documentation, a CERTIFICATE OF FOREIGN BIRTH for a child with United States citizenship who is born in a foreign country to a parent who is a resident of South Carolina.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4286, a bill revising requirements for PRESCRIPTION DRUG LABELS to provide that the lot number of the prescription must be indicated on the label, patient receipt, or bar code.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3695, a bill establishing provisions that make MOTORCYCLES OR MOTORCYCLE THREE-WHEEL VEHICLES ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE HIGH MILEAGE TAX DEDUCTIONS.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H.3357, a bill allowing for a HEARING IMPAIRMENT NOTATION ON A MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION. 

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 – 1/17/2020

Lawmakers returned to the State House on January 14, 2020, to commence the second regular session of the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly.

The House of Representatives approved S.11 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation provides that, if the United States Congress amends federal law to authorize states to observe DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME year round, it is the intent of the South Carolina General Assembly that daylight saving time be the year round standard of the entire state and all of its political subdivisions.

The House returned S.194, a bill addressing PROSTITUTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation makes revisions to prostitution crimes that include an increase in the fines for second and subsequent misdemeanor offenses relating to soliciting prostitutes or abetting prostitution.  An enhanced felony offense is established for violations involving a prostitute who is severely or profoundly mentally disabled.  The legislation revises offenses of engaging in prostitution to establish an affirmative defense against prosecution for a violation when the defendant is a victim of human trafficking.  The legislation adopts recommendations for eradicating human trafficking from the organization Shared Hope International.  These initiatives include: the establishment of criminal offenses for combatting sex tourism enterprises more effectively; the inclusion of human trafficking among the offenses for which law enforcement may seek a court order authorizing wiretapping or the interception of electronic communications to further their criminal investigations; provisions for appointing special advocates trained in handling human trafficking cases to assist minor victims; and, enhancements to training on trafficking in persons and sex trafficking for law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges.   

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.16, legislation that increases the maximum amount of a medication that may be dispensed through EMERGENCY REFILLS OF PRESCRIPTIONS BY PHARMACISTS. 

The House amended Senate amendments to H.3174 and returned the bill to the Senate.  This bill establishes technical specifications for ELECTRIC‑ASSIST BICYCLES and bicycles with helper motors and provides that those who operate these low-speed electrically assisted bicycles are subject to all statutory provisions that apply to bicyclists.  The legislation includes labelling requirements for these bicycles to indicate their wattage and maximum electrically assisted speed.  The legislation specifies that electric-assist bicycles and bicycles with helper motors are not mopeds.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.4244 and returned the bill to the Senate.  The legislation makes revisions related to VEHICLE SERVICE CONTRACTS and theft protection program warranties that include requirements for disclosures to consumers and provisions for how service contract providers establish their financial security to pay claims.

The House returned S.580 to the Senate with amendments.  This bill revises provisions governing the South Carolina Life and Accident and Health Insurance Guaranty Association to adopt national model standards for addressing IMPAIRED OR INSOLVENT INSURERS.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4533, a bill renaming the state’s Commission for Minority Affairs the COMMISSION FOR MINORITY AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS.

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

Rep. Garvin to File Bill to Combat Implicit Bias in Healthcare “South Carolina Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act” to require implicit bias training for health care staff

Rep. Garvin to File Bill to Combat Implicit Bias in Healthcare “South Carolina Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act” to require implicit bias training for health care staff Featured

Columbia, SC – Rep. Kambrell Garvin (D-Richland) will file the “South Carolina Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act,” which would require health care providers to implement an evidence-based implicit bias program to train health care staff.

“Every person should be entitled to dignity and respect during pregnancy and childbirth. Yet the facts show that we are in a state of crisis when it comes to maternal healthcare, especially black maternal healthcare,” Rep. Garvin said.

The bill notes that the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, with 700 women dying and an additional 50,000 women suffering severe complications every year. The maternal death rate is particularly high for black women, who suffer a maternal mortality rate nearly 4 times greater than white women. South Carolina’s maternal mortality rate is the 8th-highest in the country, with 26.5 mothers dying for every 100,000 births, compared to the national average of 20.7.

Implicit bias is a key cause of health disparities in communities of color. Currently, health care providers in South Carolina are not required to undergo any implicit bias testing or training. This bill would require hospitals to provide annual training in an evidence-based implicit bias program to all staff members involved in perinatal care. The bill defines “implicit bias” as a bias in judgment or behavior that results from subtle cognitive processes, including implicit prejudice and implicit stereotypes that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control.

“It’s time we treat implicit bias for what it is: a matter of life and death. Training medical professionals to recognize these prejudices and stereotypes will save lives,” Rep. Garvin said. “By breaking down these barriers, we can make South Carolina one of the safest places for pregnancy and childbirth.”

The South Carolina House of Representatives will hold prefiling for the 2020 Legislative Session on Wednesday, November 20 and Wednesday, December 11.

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Rep. Kambrell Garvin Will File ‘Crown Act’ to Ban Racist Discrimination Against Hair

Rep. Kambrell Garvin Will File ‘Crown Act’ to Ban Racist Discrimination Against Hair

Columbia, SC – Rep. Kambrell Garvin (D-Richland) will file the ‘Crown Act’ to ban racial or ethnic discrimination against facial features, hair textures, hair types, hair styles, and protective hairstyles associated. The legislation would make such discrimination unlawful in matters of housing, school, and employment policy.

The bill states that “the history of our nation is riddled with laws and societal norms that equate ‘blackness,’ and the associated physical traits, for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair, to a badge of inferiority, sometimes subject to separate and unequal treatment,” and that “this idea also permeated social understanding of professionalism.”

Garvin’s bill continues: “[D]espite the great strides American society and laws have made to reverse the racist ideology that black traits are inferior, hair remains a rampant source of racial discrimination with serious economic and health consequences, especially for black individuals.”

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter will co-sponsor the bill. The South Carolina House of Representatives will hold prefiling for the 2020 Legislative Session on Wednesday, November 20 and Wednesday, December 11. “I look forward to prefiling this bill and I hope it sparks an important discussion when the House comes back in January,” Garvin said.

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The State Capital Report – 5/15/2019


The General Assembly concluded work on the regular legislative session, but lawmakers are scheduled to return later this month under the terms of S.785, a resolution EXTENDING THE SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY beyond this year’s May 9 deadline for final adjournment.  The resolution allows the House of Representatives and Senate to convene, beginning on Monday, May 20, to take up a limited list of matters including budget legislation, legislation concerning Santee Cooper, the provisions of S.1 which address interim appointments made by the Governor, vetoes issued by the Governor, and the reports of conference committees that have been formed to address the differences between the House and Senate on particular pieces of legislation.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.4000, the General Appropriation Bill, and H.4001, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, which together comprise the FISCAL YEAR 2019-2020 STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET.  Compared with the budget legislation House approved by the House in March, the Senate’s version of the budget includes such differences as:  the use of $20.4 million in nonrecurring funds for recurring expenses, creating annualizations issues; $15 million added to the Base Student Cost; a reduction in the Rebate Fund that allows for a $50 one-time rebate for each tax return, rather than each taxpayer, with $25 million used, instead, to provide relief to farmers harmed by last year’s hurricanes; and, alternate expenditure of excess debt service funds in the amounts with $35 million less for the Rural School District and Economic Development Closing Fund, $10 million more for school district capital improvements, and $20 million used for a bonus for state employees who make no more than $70 thousand a year.  The House amended the legislation so that it largely reverts to the budget proposal approved by the body earlier this year with certain differences that include:

The allocation of $9 million recently available for expenditure from the Litigation Recovery Account with $5 million provided to the Department of Administration to hire experts to assess bids and proposals for Santee Cooper, $2 million to the Department of Public Safety for local law enforcement grants, and $2 million to the Department of Archives and History for community development grants.

An additional $150 thousand is provided to the Department of Health and Human Services for cervical cancer prevention.

A provision is included to discontinue the exemption from statewide public school class size standards that has been provided in recent years as a way of affording school districts some flexibility in coping with budget shortfalls that occurred in times of economic recession.  The elimination of the statewide exemption requires school districts to comply with the student-to-teacher ratios set in state law.  A waiver process remains in place, however, that allows individual school districts to obtain exemptions from the State Department of Education by demonstrating that they are unable to comply with the maximum class size requirements due to a lack of funds or a teacher shortfall. 

Local school districts shall not administer more than one formative assessment per grade level.  Assessments must provide students with Lexile and Quantile scores that are shared with students’ parents or guardians.   

A provision is included to establish a protocol for evaluating proposals for the sale of Santee Cooper or other arrangements.

A provision is included to establish the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) program to facilitate the deployment of broadband to unserved areas of the state.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.4000 and H.4001.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on Senate H.3137, a bill making REVISIONS TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUND.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.4243 and S.309, legislation addressing PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAM INVESTMENTS.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.4287, legislation establishing a protocol for EVALUATING PROPOSALS FOR THE SALE OF SANTEE COOPER OR OTHER ARRANGEMENTS.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3659 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The bill is legislation furthering voluntary programs that make use of RENEWABLE ENERGY generation resources, such as solar power, and establishing ELECTRICAL POWER CUSTOMER CONSUMER PROTECTIONS in order to: shield customers from rising utility costs; provide opportunities for customer measures to reduce or manage consumption from electrical utilities in a manner that contributes to reductions in utility peak electrical demand and other drivers of electrical utility costs; and, equip customers with the information and ability to manage their electric bills.  The legislation provides that every customer of an electrical utility has the right to a rate schedule that offers the customer a reasonable opportunity to employ such energy and cost saving measures as energy efficiency, demand response, or onsite distributed energy resources in order to reduce consumption of electricity from the electrical utility’s grid and to reduce electrical utility costs.  The legislation makes revisions to build upon the successful deployment of solar generating capacity through the South Carolina Distributed Resource Act to continue enabling market‑driven, private investment in distributed energy resources across the state by reducing regulatory and administrative burdens to customer installation and utilization of onsite distributed energy resources.  The legislation removes the cap on the development of solar power generation and other distributed energy resources that has been set at 2% of the previous five‑year average of an electrical utility’s South Carolina retail peak demand.  The legislation requires the adoption of new provisions governing the way in which electrical utilities purchase power generated by renewable energy facilities and new requirements for metering customer‑generators.  In making the revisions, the legislation discontinues existing arrangements where solar power programs are subsidized by all of an electrical utility’s customers, regardless of whether an individual customer is participating in a program.  The Public Service Commission is directed to establish a new Community Solar Energy Program for each electrical utility to permit the utility’s customers to participate in a solar energy project that allows for a credit to the customer’s utility bill based upon the electricity generated that is attributed to the customer’s participation in the solar energy project.  Provisions are made for neighborhood solar programs to expand access to solar energy options for all South Carolinians, including those who lack the income to afford the upfront investment in solar panels or those that do not own their homes or have suitable rooftops.  The Public Service Commission, in coordination with the Office of Regulatory Staff, is authorized to initiate an independent study to evaluate the integration of renewable energy and emerging energy technologies into the electric grid for the public good.  The Office of Regulatory Staff, in collaboration with the Department of Consumer Affairs, is directed to develop new consumer protection regulations.  A new consumer protection protocol is established that must be followed before construction commences on a new major utility facility for power generation in the state.

The House returned H.3145, a bill addressing ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES OVERSIGHT AND TRANSPARENCY, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation vests the Office of Regulatory Staff with authority and jurisdiction to make inspections, audits and examinations of electric cooperatives.  The legislation provides that no distribution electric cooperative shall, as to rates or services, make or grant any unreasonable preference or advantage to any person, corporation, municipality or consolidated political subdivision to its unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.  No distribution electric cooperative shall establish or maintain any unreasonable difference as to rates or service as between localities or as between classes of service.  The legislation revises provisions relating to annual meetings of members of an electric cooperative, so as to revise the notice requirements for certain meetings.  The legislation revises provisions relating to a quorum at meetings of electric cooperatives, so as to allow persons casting early voting ballots for the election of trustees to be counted for purposes of determining a quorum at the meeting for the election, and to prohibit voting by proxy.  For meetings that include the election of cooperative trustees, polling locations must be open for a minimum of four hours.  Requirements are included for making early voting accommodations when trustee races are contested.  Unless otherwise provided in the bylaws, each trustee’s principal residence, as determined by South Carolina voter registration law, must be served by the cooperative.  A vacancy in the office of trustee occurring for any reason other than expiration of a term may be filled only for the remainder of the unexpired term by a vote of the membership at the next annual meeting.  The legislation requires annual public disclosure of compensation and benefits paid to or provided for members of the board of trustees.  The legislation includes notice requirements for all non‑emergency meetings of the board of trustees or the membership of the cooperative.  The legislation makes transparency provisions for meetings that include requirements for certain votes of trustees to be taken in open session, requirements for votes taken in executive session to be ratified in open session, require for providing minutes of all meetings to cooperative members.  Provisions are included to prohibit certain conflicts of interest and the misuse of a position on a board of trustees for financial gain or to secure certain other advantages.  The legislation establishes provisions governing the conduct of elections by a cooperative, that prohibit advocacy or campaigning within a certain distance of the polling place.  Incumbent trustees seeking reelection shall not directly or indirectly influence the nomination or credentials process.  The legislation includes financial disclosure requirements and ethics provisions for electric cooperative trade associations.  The Office of Regulatory Staff is authorized to make inspections, audits, and examinations of these trade associations and the Public Service Commission is vested with the authority and jurisdiction to resolve any disputed issues arising from the inspections, audits or examinations.

The House returned H.4380, a bill establishing RIDER SAFETY PROVISIONS FOR TRANSPORTATION NETWORK COMPANIES, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation revises South Carolina’s Transportation Network Company Act, which governs the operations of digital ride hailing companies, to establish a new provision that allows Transportation Network Company vehicles to be more readily distinguished from other vehicles by requiring a TNC vehicle to display its license plate number on the front of the vehicle when picking up a passenger.  A misdemeanor criminal penalty is established for those who misrepresent themselves as authorized TNC drivers, which is subject to a fine of up to five hundred dollars and/or imprisonment for not more than thirty days.  A misdemeanor criminal penalty is also established to address the use of aTransportation Network Company to further criminal activity, which is subject to a fine of up to one thousand dollars and/or imprisonment for not more than two years.

The House returned S.595, legislation ENHANCING PROHIBITIONS ON THE EMPLOYMENT OF SEX OFFENDERS AT CHILDCARE FACILITIES, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation expands the category of facilities that are subject to background screening requirements and prohibitions on employing offenders so that it includes a licensed, approved, or registered childcare facility, or any childcare provider that delivers services for which Child Care and Development Fund financial assistance is provided.  The legislation provides for more expansive background screening of employees so that it includes checks of the National Crime Information Center National Sex Offender Registry, the state sex offender registry, and the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect.  Provisions are made for employees to be subject to a state criminal register or repository check, a state sex offender check, and a state child abuse and neglect registry and database check in each state where the person has lived in the previous five years.  Fingerprint‑based background checks and reviews must be repeated every five years and must be repeated for someone who has not been employed at a childcare facility for at least six months.  The legislation establishes background screening requirements that apply to who are at least eighteen years of age living in or moving into a group family childcare home and another screening protocol that applies to group home residents who are fifteen through seventeen years of age.   More expansive background checks are required for those applying for a license as an operator of a childcare facility. The prospective employee or childcare facility is responsible for any fees associated with any and all required background checks.  Fees must not exceed the actual cost of processing and administration.  Provisions are made for the retention and sharing of records to facilitate the screening.

The House returned H.3973, a bill establishing the CRIME OF FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation establishes felony criminal provisions that apply to the mutilation of the genitalia of females who are under the age of eighteen or older females who are unable to consent to the procedure.  A violation is punishable with a fine of up to twenty thousand dollars and/or imprisonment for not more than twenty years.  In addition to these criminal penalties, professional licenses or certifications are permanently revoked for physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals who engage in criminal female genital mutilation.  The legislation also revises the Children’s Code to add female genital mutilation to provisions addressing child abuse and harm.

The House approved S.196, a bill REPEALING THE PREGNANCY EXCEPTION THAT ALLOWS THE ISSUANCE OF MARRIAGE LICENSES TO MINORS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  The legislation eliminates a provision that allows the issuance of marriage licenses to those who are under eighteen years of age when the female is pregnant or has borne a child.  While the legislation eliminates this provision for marrying the putative father of a child, which has allowed marriages for some young minors who were several years from attaining the age of eighteen, South Carolina law continues to allow comparatively older minors, aged sixteen and seventeen, to obtain marriage licenses with parental consent.  The legislation implements a recommendation from the South Carolina Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to S.21, a bill that provides for ADDING PUTATIVE FATHERS TO AMENDED BIRTH CERTIFICATES, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation establishes a protocol which, after appropriate courts determine that putative fathers are bona fide fathers, makes provisions for children’s birth certificates to be amended accordingly.  The legislation also revises Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Review Committee data collection provisions so that South Carolina can be eligible for federal grant assistance.

The House returned H.3036, “DYLAN’S LAW”, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.   This bill requires the Department of Environmental Control to add tests for certain neonatal genetic disorders and diseases to the existing newborn screening program.  The legislation establishes the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee to review the feasibility and advisability of including additional metabolic, genetic, and congenital disorders in the neonatal testing.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3728 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation expands the PRESCRIPTION MONITORING PROGRAM, requiring the Department of Health and Environmental Control to include and maintain information in the prescription monitoring program on the administering of opioid antidotes in a hospital emergency department or by a first responder.  The legislation includes provisions relating to electronic prescriptions.

The House returned S.359, a bill establishing provisions for the licensure and regulation of PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGERS by the Department of Insurance, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation revises provisions for prohibited acts for a pharmacy benefit manager that relate to such matters as charging unreasonable fees, engaging in misleading advertising, preventing pharmacists from making certain disclosures to insureds, and penalizing pharmacists for making such disclosures.

The House returned on S.314, a bill making provisions for MEDICAL CARE TRAINING INCOME TAX CREDITS, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation affords an income tax credit for clinical rotations served by a physician, advanced practice nurse, or physician assistant as a preceptor for public teaching institutions and independent institutions of higher learning.

The House approved S.132, legislation revising the scope of practice for a PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT (PA), and enrolled the bill for ratification.   The legislation provides revisions to the scope of practice for physician assistants that are comparable to the expansions and greater flexibility that lawmakers recently approved for advanced practice registered nurses.  The legislation increases the total number of PA’s a physician may supervise from three to six.   The legislation authorizes a PA to perform such functions as: providing non-controlled prescription drugs at free medical clinics for indigent patients; certifying that a student is unable to attend school and may benefit from homebound instruction; ordering hospice services for a patient; and executing a Do Not Resuscitate Order.  A PA is authorized to prescribe up to 5-day supply of a Schedule II controlled substance.  The legislation also streamlines the Board of Medical Examiners’ approval process for a PA’s scope of practice guidelines.  The legislation eliminates the prohibition for a PA to practice more than 60 miles from the supervising physician and eliminates other restrictions to allow more flexibility for the practicing PA.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3760 and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  The bill is legislation MERGING THE PATIENTS’ COMPENSATION FUND WITH THE SOUTH CAROLINA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION and establishing it as amarket of last resort for ensuring the availability of medical malpractice and other types of liability insurance for health care providers that it is not in competition with the private insurance market.  The legislation addresses governance following the merger, makes provisions to eliminate the accumulated deficit of the JUA and the Patients’ Compensation Fund, and provide for rates for policies issued to be adequate and established at a level that permits the association to operate without accumulating additional deficits over time.

The House approved S.463, a bill allowing PHARMACISTS TO EXERCISE JUDGEMENT IN DISPENSING MAINTENANCE MEDICATION UPON REFILLS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  The provisions do not apply to any medications for which a report is required under the prescription monitoring program.

The House returned H.3951, a bill revising QUALIFICATIONS FOR SHERIFFS and candidates for the office of sheriff, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.   The legislation provides that law enforcement experience requirements are satisfied exclusively through South Carolina Class 1 Certification.  Sheriffs and candidates for the office must be eligible to be issued a certificate as a Class 1 law enforcement officer by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council upon the commencement of the term of office.  Incumbent sheriffs are exempt from these Class 1 Certification provisions.  The legislation disqualifies someone from holding the office who has been convicted of or pled guilty to a felony or a crime of moral turpitude in this state or another state.    

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3586, a bill revising and updating the COORDINATED STATEWIDE 911 EMERGENCY TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation charges the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office with creating, updating, and implementing a comprehensive strategic plan, including operating standards, for a coordinated statewide 911 system to address changing technology, services, and operating efficiency and effectiveness.  The standards must be developed and updated with comments and recommendations from the South Carolina 911 Advisory Committee, local officials, service providers, and the public.  The plan must be approved by the board and may be amended as necessary.  The legislation includes provisions for auditing local governments on the use of the “Emergency Telephone System” Fund, requiring local governments to restore 911 funds that were inappropriately used and allowing the withholding of funds to local governments that fail to comply with audit provisions.

The House approved S.109, a bill making REVISIONS TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA ALARM SYSTEM BUSINESS ACT that include provisions for electric fences, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  These electric fence provisions include height specifications, requirements for protective barriers and signage posted to provide warning, and requirements for these fences to be equipped with an energizer driven by a commercial storage battery that does not exceed an electric charge of twelve volts DC.  Electric fences shall be permitted on any property that is not zoned exclusively for residential use.

The House approved S.439, a bill addressing PORT CARGO VOLUME INCREASE TAX CREDITS AND PORT TRANSPORTATION CREDITS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  The legislation increases the maximum annual amount of tax credits for port cargo volume increases available to all qualifying taxpayers from eight million to fifteen million dollars.  The legislation establishes a schedule for phasing in a port transportation credit for the costs of transporting freight, goods, and materials to and from port facilities in South Carolina as a means of establishing a customer base for a new Jasper Port facility.  The port transportation credit expires effective at the end of the calendar year in which a port in Jasper County is opened and is accepting shipments.  Codifying a provision included in recent general appropriation acts, the legislation provides that a port facility is a distribution facility for purposes of certain sales tax exemptions.

The House approved S.329 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation provides an EXTENSION FOR TAX CREDITS FOR THE PURCHASE OF GEOTHERMAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT so that these provisions are set to expire on January 1, 2022.

The House approved S.408 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  In light of recent court rulings, this legislation revises provisions for the TAXATION OF CABLE SYSTEM OPERATORS so that they are afforded parity with satellite service providers.

The House approved S.310 and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  This bill clarifies language pertaining to UNSTAMPED OR UNTAXED CIGARETTES, to provide that they are contraband goods which may be seized by the Department of Revenue or any law enforcement agency of the state without a warrant.  The bill further clarifies that seized cigarettes must be delivered to the Department of Revenue.

The House returned H.4133 to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  This bill revises provisions relating to COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TAX CREDITS, so as to: allow a tax credit of fifty percent of any cash donation to a community development corporation or community development financial institutions; eliminate an aggregate credit provision and set an annual limit; establish tax credit reserve accounts for the first three quarters of each tax year so as to avoid the depletion of credits by an individual taxpayer; eliminate the pro‑rata distribution of tax credits; allow financial institutions with tax liabilities in this state to invest in community development corporations for the purpose of receiving a tax credit; and, provide that returns on investments in certified community development corporations and certified community development financial institutions may not exceed the total amount of the initial investment.  The legislation extends the provisions of the South Carolina Community Economic Development Act until June 30, 2023.  The legislation makes provisions for an INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR DEVELOPING SOLAR ENERGY COLLECTION FACILITIES ON POLLUTED PROPERTIES that are found on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priority List, subject to a Voluntary Cleanup Contract with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, or designated as compromised under certain other federal and state initiatives.  The credit is equal to twenty‑five percent of construction and installation costs.  A credit for each installation of solar energy property placed in service may not exceed two million five hundred thousand dollars.  The tax credit applies to land that is owned by the Pinewood Site Custodial Trust.

The House returned S.440.  This bill revises provisions of THE SOUTH CAROLINA TEXTILES COMMUNITIES REVITALIZATION ACT to provide that a certain cap on rehabilitation expenses only applies to certain rehabilitated buildings on contiguous parcels, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation includes provisions for extending tax credits for rehabilitating an abandoned building.

The House approved S.323 and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  This bill allows the Department of Revenue to submit certain information to a financial institution regarding a DEBTOR THAT HAS BEEN NAMED ON A WARRANT FOR DISTRAINT, when the debt is at least one hundred eighty days old, and requires the financial institution to provide certain information to the department.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3243, a bill REVISING FILING AND RECORDING FEES CHARGED BY THE REGISTER OF DEEDS AND CLERKS OF COURT to make provisions for charging certain flat fees, rather than fees determined by the number of pages in a document, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation updates 30‑year-old fee schedules set for filing and registering a list of legal documents, including deeds and mortgages.   Fees for filing a power of attorney are waived for military personnel deployed to combat zones.

The House approved S.621 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  In accordance with recent changes in federal law, this bill revises provisions relating to the ISSUANCE OF BONDS FOR INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, so as to provide for certain public notice requirements.

The House approved S.530, a bill providing for CONSOLIDATED PROCUREMENT CODE REVISIONS, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation provides for updates and revisions to the South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code provisions for state government purchasing of goods and services.  The revisions include the adoption of simplified procedures for the acquisition of commercially available off‑the‑shelf products, including higher dollar thresholds for agency purchases of those products, as a means of promoting efficiency and economy in contracting and avoiding unnecessary burdens for agencies and contractors by implementing acquisition policies that more closely resemble those of the commercial marketplace, encourage the acquisition of commercial items, and, where possible, allow use of terms and conditions accepted in the marketplace.

The House returned H.4245, a bill addressing the labeling of vat grown CELL‑CULTURED MEAT for sale, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation prohibits someone who advertises, offers for sale, or sells all or part of a carcass from engaging in any misleading or deceptive practices, labeling, or misrepresenting a product as ‘meat’ or ‘clean meat’ that is cell‑cultured meat/protein, or is not derived from harvested production livestock, poultry, fish, or crustaceans.  These provisions do not apply to plant-based meat substitutes.  A violation is a misdemeanor punishable with imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars.

The House returned S.575, a bill establishing revised WILD TURKEY HUNTING provisions, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  Recently, the General Assembly has provided for temporary wild turkey hunting season and bag limit revisions that extend until July 1, 2019, while the Department of Natural Resources was conducting its study of the state’s wild turkey population.  Drawing upon DNR’s study as well as testimony from hunters and other stakeholders, this legislation replaces temporary wild turkey hunting measures with long term provisions.  The legislation provides for a hunting season that runs from March 22 until April 30 in Game Zones 3 and 4 and from April 1 until May 10 in Game Zones 1 and 2.  The legislation establishes bag limits of one per day with three per season for residents and two per season for non-residents.  For resident hunters, there is established a five dollar fee with three tags and for nonresidents a one hundred dollar fee with two tags.  There continues to be no cost for a set of wild turkey tags for those under the age of sixteen, lifetime licensees, and gratis licensees.  It is unlawful to take a female wild turkey unless authorized by DNR.  Provisions are made for a ‘Youth Turkey Weekend’ for turkey hunters under eighteen years of age.  During this weekend preceding the start of a game zone turkey season, license or tag requirements are waived for a youth turkey hunter and the bag limit is one male wild turkey, which shall count towards the season bag limit. The legislation also provides for the implementation of an electronic harvest reporting system that involves scanning in information using smartphone cameras or calling in reports.

The House approved S.281, addressing SERVICE ANIMALS, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation provides that It is unlawful for a person to intentionally misrepresent an animal as a service animal or service animal-in-training for the purpose of obtaining any right or privilege provided to a disabled person.  Fines are established for violations.  Misrepresentation of a service animal is added to the list of offenses that law enforcement officers may address through the uniform traffic ticket.  The legislation establishes a more detailed definition for service animals that do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The legislation provides that places of public accommodation, such as airports, train stations, and bus stations, may establish rules and regulations related to access to such facilities by non-service animals, including emotional support animals intended to provide companionship and reassurance.  The legislation establishes a list of questions that a landlord may ask a tenant or prospective tenant to determine whether an animal that is not a service animal should be considered a reasonable accommodation.    

The House returned S.105, a bill addressing ANIMAL CRUELTY AND ANIMAL RESCUE provisions, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation makes provisions for magistrates and municipal court judges to receive at least two hours of instruction on issues concerning animal cruelty every four years.  The legislation revises provisions for unclaimed animals that have been quarantined under the South Carolina Rabies Control Act to establish provisions that allow an animal shelter to turn over a litter of unidentifiable dogs or cats four months of age or younger to any organization established for the purpose of caring for animals immediately, so long as the litter is turned over for life-saving purposes.  The legislation establishes a protocol that allows those awarded custody of an animal in animal cruelty proceedings to apply to be reimbursed for the costs of custodial care.  The legislation revises provisions for spaying and neutering grants.  The legislation makes provisions for an emergency limited license that allows an out-of-state veterinarian to offer assistance during an emergency or natural disaster.  Under the legislation, the General Assembly finds it is the best practice for a shelter, public or private, to prepare and maintain records documenting the number of animals admitted to the facility and the method by which those animals exit the facility, whether by adoption, fostering, natural death, euthanasia, transfer to another state, or other means of discharge.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3785, a bill making revisions that relate to the operation of the BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY including provisions detailing when it is appropriate for meetings of the board to be closed.

The House returned H.3916, a bill INCREASING THE FINE FOR FAILING TO REGISTER A MOTOR VEHICLE from not more than one hundred dollars to five hundred dollars, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The increase addresses an issue that has emerged since the fee for registering an out-of-state vehicle was increased as part of the comprehensive road funding measures approved in Act 40 of 2017.  Rather than registering a vehicle properly and paying the two-hundred-fifty-dollar fee, some have been choosing to pay the lower one-hundred-dollar maximum fine.

The House returned H.3035, a bill revising POLL WORKER QUALIFICATIONS to allow for a more expansive pool of eligible workers, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation allows someone who is registered as a voter in South Carolina to serve as a poll worker anywhere in the state, replacing more restrictive provisions that require poll workers to reside in the area where the primary or election is being held.  Each chairman and clerk appointed from among the managers of election for the various polling places must be a resident and registered elector of the respective county in which he is appointed to work or in an adjoining county.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s review of the State Election Commission. 

The House returned H.3703, a bill dealing with the LICENSURE EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.   The bill applies to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.  Currently, an applicant may attempt the licensure examination a total of three times.  This bill will increase the attempts to six.  However, if an applicant fails the examination a fifth time, the applicant must take courses and furnish evidence of completing these courses before taking the examination a sixth time.

The House approved to S.277, a bill allowing SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY ASSISTANTS to adhere to the responsibilities set forth by the American Speech Language Hearing Association, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation also provides an exemption from licensure for an educator who is certified by the State Board of Education, including an educator certified as a speech-language therapist who is not licensed as a speech-language pathologist and does not hold a certificate of clinical competence in speech-language pathology credential from the American Speech Language Hearing Association.  The bill also repeals a temporary provision that exempts applicants for licensure as a speech-language pathologist assistant from having to have a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited college or university if the applicant has a bachelor degree from a nationally accredited college or university.  This temporary provision expires July 1, 2019.

The House approved S.12 and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation designates the third Wednesday in February of each year as “BARBERS’ DAY” in South Carolina.

The House returned H.3754, a bill addressing VACATION TIME‑SHARING PLANS, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation revises vacation time sharing plan provisions, so as to define the term “timeshare instrument” and further provides for when a timeshare closing is considered to have occurred.  The legislation enacts the “Vacation Time‑Sharing Plan Extensions and Termination Act”, including provisions to clarify and supplement the procedures and requirements as to how owners of vacation time‑sharing interests may terminate vacation time‑sharing plans or extend the terms of these plans.

The House returned H.3700 to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation revises beachfront management restrictions placed on EROSION CONTROL STRUCTURES or devices seaward of the setback line to allow for the placement of shoreline perpendicular wingwalls that extend landward at a 90 degree angle from the ends of existing erosion control structures or devices that are consistent in height with the existing erosion control structures to which they are attached, subject to any special conditions imposed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.  The legislation includes provisions for the rehabilitation, reinforcement, or protection of an existing erosion control device.

The House returned H.4239, a bill making provisions for TRAWLING IN AREAS ALONG THE COAST OF HORRY COUNTY, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification. 

The House returned H.4010 to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  This bill revises provisions for land acquired under the HERITAGE TRUST PROGRAM, so as to remove the maximum acreage limitation.  The legislation makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Natural Resources.

The House returned H.4011, legislation that makes necessary changes and enhances the “WATER RESOURCE AND PLANNING COORDINATION ACT”, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  Among many things, the bill adds a “State Water Plan” as an example of a comprehensive water resource policy in which DNR provides assistance to the Governor and General Assembly in formulating.  The bill allows DNR to accept and spend federal money for water resource investigation.  Requires to DNR to assist with coordination of water resource activities, programs, and plans at both local and “regional” level.  The bill also expands DNR’s consideration of adequate supplies of surface and groundwater from specific uses to “all” uses.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House returned H.4012, legislation that cleans up and updates the LAND, RESOURCES, AND CONSERVATION DISTRICTS DIVISION, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  Among many things, the bill updates the division’s name to Land, Water and Conversation Division and it reformats the State Land Resources Conservation Commission into the Land, Water and Conservation Division Advisory Committee.  The bill also removes unnecessary statutory requirements that relates to financial needs for soil and water conservation districts which is now accomplished through the budgeting process.  It removes references to discontinued practices as it relates to County Agricultural Agents.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House returned H.4013, a bill that changes certain requirements for the STATE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY UNIT under the Department of Natural Resources, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The bill requires that the state geologist become familiar with geologic hazards throughout the state.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House returned H.4020, legislation addressing PRT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DUTIES, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  This bill makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.  The legislation adds duties relating to community development to the general powers and duties of theDepartment of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and repeals provisions relating to the agency’s division of community development.

The House returned H.3383, a bill that revises provisions governing the STATE FOREST LAND REVENUES that the Forestry Commission shares with counties, so as to exclude the proceeds from land rentals and Wildlife Management Area payments from the proceeds that are shared with the counties, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.  Under the legislation, the Forestry Commission would retain these proceeds, but would continue to share with counties the major source of revenue generated by timber sales.

The House returned H.3662, a bill officially ADOPTING REVISED CODE VOLUMES 3 AND 4 OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA CODE OF LAWS, to the Senate with amendments.  The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.4004, the “PHYSICIAN ORDERS FOR SCOPE OF TREATMENT (POST) ACT”, legislation establishing a protocol that allows a patient with an advanced illness to execute a POST form that consists of a set of medical orders, signed by a patient’s physician, addressing key medical decisions consistent with patient goals of care concerning treatment at the end of life that is portable and valid across health care settings.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.3602, a bill expanding THOSE WHO ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE HEALTH CARE DECISIONS FOR PATIENTS WHO CANNOT PROVIDE CONSENT. 

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.3821, a bill revising the medical acts that ADVANCE PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSES are authorized to perform.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.3986, a bill redesignating the South Carolina ABLE Savings Program which was enacted to allow the establishment of savings accounts empowering individuals with a disability and their families to save private funds which can be used to provide for disability related expenses that supplement benefits provided through private insurance.  Since an existing organization is named SC ABLE, the program is renamed the PALMETTO ABLE SAVINGS PROGRAM.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.3789, a bill revising provisions for DRIVER’S LICENSES and identification cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences of the House and Senate on H.3601, a bill establishing a procedure that allows a court to grant a CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE FOR A FIRST TIME OFFENDER CHARGED WITH PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS AND DISORDERLY CONDUCT.

The House refused to concur in Senate amendments to S.455, the “ARMED SERVICE MEMBERS AND SPOUSES PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING ACT”.

The House refused to concur in Senate amendments to H.3357, a bill allowing 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 House approved and sent the Senate H.3309, legislation requiring the State Law Enforcement Division to create and operate a statewide SEXUAL ASSAULT KIT TRACKING SYSTEM.

The House returned to S.16, legislation that relates to EMERGENCY REFILLS OF PRESCRIPTIONS BY PHARMACISTS, to the Senate with amendments.  Currently, under certain conditions, a pharmacist is authorized to dispense an emergency prescription refill of up to a 10-day supply of a medication once within a 12-month period.  The bill increases the maximum amount of a medication that may be dispensed for an emergency prescription refill to a 14-day supply.  If the qualifying medication is packaged in a way that it is not possible to dispense a 14-day supply, the pharmacist may dispense a 30-day supply.  The bill also requires the pharmacist to label the medication as an emergency refill. 

The House returned S.76 to the Senate with amendments.  This bill makes provisions for EXTENDING THE ENERGY EFFICIENT MANUFACTURED HOMES INCENTIVE PROGRAM for five additional years.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4327, a bill addressing the APPLICATION OF CERTAIN BUILDING CODES ON FARM STRUCTURES.  The legislation provides that structures without a commercial kitchen used in an agritourism activity shall fall under the group A‑3 classification as defined in the 2015 International Building Code.  Such structures may accommodate up to three hundred guests without installing a sprinkler system.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3757, a bill 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 House approved and sent the Senate H.3984.  This bill revises provisions for employer and EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTION RATES UNDER THE SOUTH CAROLINA RETIREMENT SYSTEM AND THE POLICE OFFICERS RETIREMENT SYSTEM to provide that an employer, up to certain limits, may elect to pay all or a portion of required employee contributions during a fiscal year.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3661, a bill that addresses the annexation of certain adjoining property by a MUNICIPALITY LOCATED ENTIRELY WITHIN THE AREA OF A SPECIAL PURPOSE DISTRICT.

The House gave second reading approval to S.11, a bill to provide that, if the United States Congress authorizes states to observe DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME YEAR ROUND, it is the intent of the South Carolina General Assembly that daylight saving time be the year‑round standard of the entire state and all of its political subdivisions.

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 Capital Report – 5/3/2019

The House of Representatives amended and gave second reading approval to H.3757, a bill 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 legislation provides for WEDOC’s composition of key public officials in the areas of employment and K-12 and higher education.  The Office of First Steps to School Readiness, the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, the Department of Social Services, the Technical College System, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Employment and Workforce, the Education Oversight Committee, and other agencies of the state, as considered necessary by the General Assembly, that collect relevant data related to educational and workforce outcomes are required to submit that data to the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office so that it may be used by WEDOC to compose reports and provide analysis for policy makers.  All information disseminated by these partner agencies to the office, committee, or external stakeholders must conform to state and federal privacy, security, and data breach laws and regulations.  These include requirements for using data in aggregate form and preventing the reporting of data that may potentially be used to identify information relating to a specific individual.  The legislation specifies that the data submitted remains under the ownership and direction of the agency submitting the data and prohibits the unauthorized release of collected data.  A protocol is established for the immediate notification of the Governor’s Office in the event of any actual, probable, or reasonably suspected breach of security or any unauthorized access to or acquisition, use, loss, destruction, compromise, alteration, or disclosure of any information under the oversight of WEDOC.

The House returned S.455, the “ARMED SERVICE MEMBERS AND SPOUSES PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING ACT”, to the Senate with amendments.   The legislation establishes a protocol that allows the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to expedite the issuance of professional and occupational licenses to spouses of military personnel transferred to South Carolina when the spouse holds a professional or occupational license issued by another state that has similar requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3915, legislation clarifying the ROLE OF DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES.  The legislation revises provisions relating to DSS legal representation to provide that Department of Social Services legal representatives must ensure that the child’s welfare and safety are the predominant basis of all department recommendations and decisions pertaining to abuse and neglect proceedings.

The House approved S.401, a bill addressing TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROJECT COSTS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  This bill relates to construction in the state highway system and provides that an entity undertaking a transportation improvement project shall bear the costs related to relocating water and sewer lines within the Department of Transportation’s right‑of‑way.  The bill provides the requirements for utilities to be eligible for relocation payments.  Public utilities are grouped into: (1) small utilities which have 10,000 or less water taps or sewer connections and serves a population of 30,000 or less; and (2) large utilities which have more than 10,000 water taps or sewer connections and greater than 30,000 in population.  The

transportation project will pay 100 percent of the relocation costs for the smaller utilities.  For larger utilities, the project will pay the relocation costs but cap the amount paid by the project at no more than 4.0 percent of the

original contract bid.  If a small and large utility are in the same project, the cap goes to 4.5%, but the small utility has all costs covered, which is subtracted from the 4.5%; any remainder goes to cover the large utility.  To be eligible for payment of the relocation costs, the public utility must meet the Transportation Improvement Project’s bid and construction schedule.  This involves public utilities early in the project planning and design and provides an opportunity to minimize and avoid relocation costs through project design.  In addition, DOT must include metrics on utility relocation in its annual accountability report.

The House gave second reading approval to S.109, a bill making REVISIONS TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA ALARM SYSTEM BUSINESS ACT that include provisions for electric fences.  These electric fence provisions include height specifications, requirements for protective barriers and signage posted to provide warning, and requirements for these fences to be equipped with an energizer driven by a commercial storage battery that does not exceed an electric charge of twelve volts DC.  Electric fences shall be permitted on any property that is not zoned exclusively for residential use.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.4327, a bill addressing the APPLICATION OF CERTAIN BUILDING CODES ON FARM STRUCTURES.  The legislation provides that structures without a commercial kitchen used in an agritourism activity shall fall under the group A‑3 classification as defined in the 2015 International Building Code.  Such structures may accommodate up to three hundred guests without installing a sprinkler system

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4152, a bill to accommodate the PLASTIC RECLAMATION OPERATIONS of businesses that can accept discarded plastics unsuitable for various recycling initiatives and use a gasification or pyrolysis process to heat these post‑use polymers and recoverable feedstocks to break them down and convert them into such useful materials as oil, fuel, waxes, and lubricants.  Solid waste policy and management provisions are revised to provide that post‑use polymers and recoverable feedstocks used in pyrolysis and gasification processes are classified as recovered materials, rather than solid waste, for the purposes of regulation by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.  The legislation facilitates operations that use a gasification or pyrolysis process to heat plastics derived from industrial, commercial, agricultural, or domestic activities that may contain incidental contaminants or impurities, such as paper labels or metal rings, in order to convert them to crude oil, diesel, gasoline, home heating oil or other fuels, chemicals, waxes, lubricants, chemical feedstocks, diesel and gasoline blendstocks, or other raw materials or intermediate or final products that are returned to the economic mainstream in the form of raw materials, products, or fuels.  The legislation includes requirements for seventy‑five percent, by weight or volume, of the recovered material stored at a facility to be recycled, sold, used, or reused during a calendar year.  Any material that is accumulated speculatively and not in accordance with these requirements must be handled as solid waste.

House Resolution H.4169 was adopted to memorialize the United States Congress to approve the UNITED STATES‑MEXICO‑CANADA AGREEMENT (USMCA) in order to ensure continuity in trade among the three North American economic partners.

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 Capital Report – 4/26/2019

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3020, the “SOUTH CAROLINA FETAL HEARTBEAT PROTECTION FROM ABORTION ACT”.  The legislation establishes a prohibition on the performance of an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.  Felony criminal penalties are established for performing or inducing an abortion in violation of the legislation which carry a fine of ten thousand dollars and/or imprisonment for up to two years.  The legislation includes a medical emergency exception that allows a physician to perform an abortion in order to save the life of the pregnant woman or prevent her from suffering substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.  Exceptions are also included to address instances where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  When any of these exceptions are applied, a physician is required to make written notations in the pregnant woman’s medical records that must be maintained for at least seven years.  The legislation establishes a protocol that requires abortion providers to make certain disclosures to pregnant women, perform obstetric ultrasounds and determine whether embryonic or fetal heartbeats are present, and make these available for pregnant women to see and hear.  A civil cause of action is also established that allows a woman to recover damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees should an abortion be performed that violates the legislation’s requirements.     

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4332, a bill providing for STATE GENERAL OBLIGATION ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BOND ACT REVISIONS.  The legislation adds freight transportation to the types of infrastructure that may be financed with economic development bonds and makes provisions for up to fifty million dollars in bond financing for a strategic infrastructure project, which is not subject to job creation and capital investment requirements, to assist the Department of Commerce in promoting economic development in the state by providing infrastructure that is needed by industry located in or considering locating in South Carolina.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4256, a bill addressing FUNERAL SERVICES with provisions that include prohibiting the unlicensed conduct of funeral services, enhancing penalties for funeral services violations, and strengthening ethics provisions.  The legislation also eliminates the requirement for a funeral home to have a room containing a displayed stock of at least six adult caskets and instead requires a funeral home to have the means of showing photographs or other representations of available caskets and other necessary funeral supplies.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.4152, a bill to accommodate the PLASTIC RECLAMATION OPERATIONS of businesses that can accept discarded plastics unsuitable for various recycling initiatives and use a gasification or pyrolysis process to heat these post‑use polymers and recoverable feedstocks to break them down and convert them into such useful materials as oil, fuel, waxes, and lubricants.  Solid waste policy and management provisions are revised to provide that post‑use polymers and recoverable feedstocks used in pyrolysis and gasification processes are classified as recovered materials, rather than solid waste, for the purposes of regulation by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.  The legislation facilitates operations that use a gasification or pyrolysis process to heat plastics derived from industrial, commercial, agricultural, or domestic activities that may contain incidental contaminants or impurities, such as paper labels or metal rings, in order to convert them to crude oil, diesel, gasoline, home heating oil or other fuels, chemicals, waxes, lubricants, chemical feedstocks, diesel and gasoline blendstocks, or other raw materials or intermediate or final products that are returned to the economic mainstream in the form of raw materials, products, or fuels.  The legislation includes requirements for seventy‑five percent, by weight or volume, of the recovered material stored at a facility to be recycled, sold, used, or reused during a calendar year.  Any material that is accumulated speculatively and not in accordance with these requirements must be handled as solid waste.

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 Capital Report – 4/15/2019

The House of Representatives will be on furlough during the week preceding Easter to lower operating costs and save taxpayer dollars. The House will reconvene on April 23.

The House of Representatives approved and sent the Senate H.4380, the “SAMANTHA L. JOSEPHSON RIDESHARING SAFETY ACT”. The legislation revises South Carolina’s Transportation Network Company Act, which governs the operations of digital ride hailing companies, to provide new requirements that allow Transportation Network Company vehicles to be more readily distinguished from other vehicles. Under the new requirements, a Transportation Network Company vehicle must make use of an illuminated sign displaying the company’s proprietary trademark or logo that allows the vehicle to be recognized in darkness. The legislation establishes requirements for this sign and other identifying emblems to be returned to the Transportation Network Company when a driver ceases to be employed by the company.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.3420, legislation PREVENTING YOUTH ACCESS TO VAPING, CIGARETTES, AND OTHER TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS. The Senate subsequently concurred in those amendments and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation updates the “Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act of 2006” to prohibit minors under the age of eighteen from entering retail establishments that primarily sell tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or both, unless the minor is actively supervised and accompanied by an adult. The legislation provides for a more expansive definition of “alternative nicotine product” that specifically includes vaping. The legislation revises the restrictions governing Internet commerce and other remote sales to provide for the use of a method of mailing, shipping, or delivery that requires the signature of a person at least eighteen years of age before a tobacco product or alternative nicotine product will be released to the purchaser, unless the remote seller employs certain alternative protections to ensure age verification. The legislation requires every local school district in the state to adopt, implement, and enforce a written policy prohibiting at all times the use of any tobacco product or alternative nicotine product by any person in school buildings, in school facilities, on school campuses, and in or on any other school property owned or operated by the local school administrative unit. The policy also must prohibit the use of any tobacco product or alternative nicotine product by anyone attending an off-site school‑sponsored event when in the presence of students or school personnel.

The House approved S.205 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides an additional duty for the Department of Aging’s ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND RELATED DISORDERS RESOURCE COORDINATION CENTER by charging the center with facilitating the coordination and integration of educational initiatives for health care providers on the importance and value of early detection and timely diagnosis of cognitive impairment, validated cognitive assessment tools, and increasing understanding and awareness of early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia and how to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3929, a joint resolution making provisions for TEMPORARY ENHANCED AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE MISSED SCHOOLS DAYS in light of the flooding experienced by areas of the state in recent months, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation provides that, during the 2018‑2019 School Year, a local school district may waive the requirements of making up days beyond the three days forgiven by the local school district for any days missed during the 2018‑2019 School Year because of snow, extreme weather conditions, or other disruptions requiring schools to close.

The House approved S.514 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides for the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue ‘CLEMSON UNIVERSITY 2018 FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONS’ SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES. License number ‘1’ is reserved for the Clemson University Head Football Coach.

The House amended, approved and sent the Senate H.3403, a bill authorizing public school districts to create COMPETENCY‑BASED SCHOOLS that are designed to improve progress towards attaining state education goals through a curriculum that allows students to pursue their own inquiries, take ownership of learning, and master competencies along a personalized and flexible pathway. The legislation establishes a protocol that allows a school district to establish a competency-based school by obtaining a waiver from the State Department of Education that allows the program to be exempt from certain requirements for the purposes of accountability and accreditation. The Department of Education is charged with developing separate evaluation criteria and guidelines for schools implementing competency-based education, conducting a biennial review of such schools, and reporting findings. If the biennial review shows that the goals or objectives of the competency-based school are not being met, the exemptions granted for that school may be revoked. The department is also directed to develop a process to ensure that schools and districts are not penalized for the purposes of

accreditation and to ensure that students are not penalized when transferring between schools with and without competency-based systems. The Commission on Higher Education and State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education must establish policies to provide fair and equitable access to institutions of higher education and technical colleges for students with competency‑based credits or diplomas, scholarships, and financial aid for graduates of schools implementing innovative school models and using nontraditional diplomas and transcripts.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3577, a bill providing authority for ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMS FOR EDUCATOR PREPARATION AND CERTIFICATION as a means of addressing current teacher shortages. The legislation establishes a protocol allowing for the approval of alternative route providers and programs for educator preparation and certification. The legislation establishes criteria that apply to alternative programs housed within an institution of higher education. The State Department of Education is required to provide an annual report on the total number of individuals employed in this state, by district, with certificates issued by institution of higher education alternative programs to the State Board of Education and the General Assembly. The State Board of Education, through the State Department of Education, is charged with developing and implementing a seven-year cyclical evaluation process for all alternative route educator preparation providers and programs.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4413, a STATE GOVERNMENT BUDGET CONTINUING RESOLUTION. This joint resolution makes provisions for the continuing authority to pay the expenses of state government if the 2019‑2020 Fiscal Year begins without a general appropriations act for that year in effect.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3596, a bill addressing ROLLBACK PROPERTY TAXES ON RECLASSIFIED AGRICULTURAL LAND. The legislation revises provisions relating to classification of property and assessment ratios for purposes of ad valorem taxation, so as to limit rollback taxes to three years, rather than the current five years, when land classified as agricultural real property is applied to another use.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3210, a bill providing for the HIGH GROWTH SMALL BUSINESS JOB CREATION ACT REAUTHORIZATION. The legislation reauthorizes the High Growth Small Business Job Creation Act for an additional six years, so that the act is set to be repealed at the end of 2025.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3998. This bill enacts the “WORKFORCE AND SENIOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING ACT” to allow a taxpayer eligible for a federal low‑income housing tax credit to claim a state tax credit for developing housing for those with lower incomes. Once an affordable housing project becomes eligible for this state tax credit, for that year and for the next ten calendar years, all property that makes up the qualified project is exempt from all fees and taxes imposed by the municipality in which it is located. This exemption includes such taxes and fees as property taxes, impact fees, development fees, sewer fees, wastewater fees, sanitation fees, infrastructure fees, administrative fees, permit fees, and planning fees.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3730, a bill establishing the felony criminal offense of TRAFFICKING IN FENTANYL to address situations involving amounts at least four grams of fentanyl, fentanyl‑related substances, or mixtures. Violators are subject to a term of imprisonment of not more than ten years and a fine of up to fifty thousand dollars for a first offense, and a term of imprisonment of not more than twenty years and a fine of up to one hundred thousand dollars, for a second or subsequent offense.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3728, legislation that expands the PRESCRIPTION MONITORING PROGRAM, requiring the Department of Health and Environmental Control to include and maintain information in the prescription monitoring program on the administering of opioid antidotes in a hospital emergency department or by a first responder.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3036, “DYLAN’S LAW”. This bill requires the Department of Environmental Control to add tests for certain neonatal genetic disorders and diseases to the existing newborn screening program. The legislation establishes the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee to review the feasibility and advisability of including additional metabolic, genetic, and congenital disorders in the neonatal testing.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4004, the “PHYSICIAN ORDERS FOR SCOPE OF TREATMENT (POST) ACT”. The legislation establishes a protocol that allows a patient with an advanced illness to execute a POST form that consists of a set of medical orders, signed by a patient’s physician, addressing key medical decisions consistent with patient goals of care concerning treatment at the end of life that is portable and valid across health care settings. This set of medical orders concerning what life sustaining care is to be administered applies only to situations where the patient has been diagnosed with a serious illness or, based upon medical diagnosis, may be expected to lose capacity within twelve months. A Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment (POST) Advisory Council is established to advise the Department of Health and Environmental Control in the areas of POST program design, standards, data collection and evaluation, quality improvement, funding, and program evaluation.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3231, a bill addressing GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE. The legislation revises the ground for divorce of physical cruelty to provide that this ground shall be construed to include willful or other abhorrent conduct or treatment which destroys or tends to destroy the mental and physical wellbeing, happiness, and welfare of the other and renders continued cohabitation unsafe or intolerable.

The House approved and sent the Senate was H.3967, relating to RESTRAINING INMATES WHO ARE PREGNANT OR IN POSTPARTUM RECUPERATION. The legislation details the safety methods and restrictions that are to be followed in correctional facilities and other settings for using wrist restraints or other types of restraints on inmates who are pregnant or have been determined to be in postpartum recuperation.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4318, a bill establishing revised WILD TURKEY HUNTING provisions. Recently, the General Assembly has provided for temporary wild turkey hunting season and bag limit revisions that extend until July 1, 2019, while the Department of Natural Resources was conducting its study of the state’s wild turkey population. Drawing upon DNR’s study as well as testimony from hunters and other stakeholders, this legislation replaces temporary wild turkey hunting measures with long term provisions. The legislation provides for a 42-day-long hunting season the would run from March 20 until April 30 in Game Zones 3 and 4 and from April 1 until May 12 in Game Zones 1 and 2. The legislation establishes bag limits of one per day with three per season for residents and two per season for non-residents. For resident hunters, there is established a five dollar fee with three tags and for nonresidents a one hundred dollar fee with two tags. There continues to be no cost for a set of wild turkey tags for those under the age of sixteen, lifetime licensees, and gratis licensees. It is unlawful to take a female wild turkey unless authorized by DNR. Provisions are made for a ‘Youth Turkey Weekend’ for turkey hunters under eighteen years of age. During this weekend preceding the start of a game zone turkey season, license or tag requirements are waived for a youth turkey hunter and the bag limit is one male wild turkey, which shall count towards the season bag limit. The legislation also provides for the implementation of an electronic harvest reporting system that involves scanning in information using smartphone cameras or calling in reports.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3174. This bill establishes technical specifications for ELECTRIC‑ASSIST BICYCLES and bicycles with helper motors and provides that those who operate these low-speed electrically assisted bicycles are subject to all statutory provisions that apply to bicyclists. The legislation includes labelling requirements for these bicycles. The legislation specifies that electric-assist bicycles and bicycles with helper motors are not mopeds.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4439, a bill designating the sixteenth day of July of each year as ‘ATOMIC VETERANS DAY’ in South Carolina to recognize those who participated in aboveground nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, served with the United States military occupation forces in or around Hiroshima and Nagasaki before 1946, or were held as prisoners of war in or near Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4211. In accordance with recent changes in federal law, this bill revises provisions relating to the ISSUANCE OF BONDS FOR INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS, so as to provide for certain public notice requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3703, a bill dealing with the LICENSURE EXAMINATION REQUIREMENTS FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY. The bill applies to physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. Currently, an applicant may attempt the licensure examination a total of three times. This bill will increase the attempts to six. However, if an applicant fails the examination a fifth time, the applicant must take courses and furnish evidence of completing these courses before taking the examination a sixth time.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4412, a bill to authorizing the imposition of the EDUCATION CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS SALES AND USE TAX in certain situations.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3205, a bill that makes revisions to the Catawba Indian Claims Settlement Act to eliminate an obsolete CATAWBA INDIAN TRIBE FEE EXEMPTION.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3080, a bill addressing ALCOHOL SALES AT FESTIVALS. The legislation revises provisions for the issuance of beer and wine permits and alcoholic liquor licenses that allow sales at multiple locations on multiple days at a festival on one application.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4075, a bill providing for the DISCONTINUATION OF COUNTY OFFICER OFFICE INSPECTIONS. The legislation repeals the legal requirement for the Attorney General, and circuit solicitors, to inspect county officer offices. The legislation makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Prosecution Coordination Commission.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4008. This bill revises Heritage Trust Program provisions by REPEALING PROVISIONS FOR HERITAGE TRUST REVENUE BONDS since this bond debt has been retired. The legislation makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Natural Resources.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4010. This bill revises provisions for land acquired under the HERITAGE TRUST PROGRAM, so as to remove the maximum acreage limitation. The legislation makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Natural Resources.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3351. This bill makes provisions for the DISPOSITION OF CERTAIN DUPLICATIVE MATERIAL IN THE POSSESSION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY to another public or nonprofit institution by gift or sale, and provides for the use of resulting proceeds. The legislation makes provisions for annual reporting requirements and the retention and use by the department of certain proceeds generated by its operations. The legislation implements recommendations arising from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s review of the Department of Archives and History.

The House approved and sent the Senate on H.3485, legislation addressing DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND HISTORY FUNDING. This bill implements recommendations arising from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s review of the Department of Archives and History. The legislation revises provisions for the income tax credit for making qualified rehabilitation expenditures for a certified historic structure, so as to remove a provision allowing the Department of Archives and History to establish fees. The legislation provides that a taxpayer claiming the credit must pay a fee to the Department of Archives and History for the State Historic Preservation Grant Fund. The legislation charges the department with developing an application process. The legislation adds the Department of Archives and History to the list of check off options on the income tax return which taxpayers use to make voluntary contributions. Such voluntary contributions must be used by the department to purchase or preserve collections with significant historical value to the state.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4017. This bill revises Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism provisions to establish updated objectives for the SOUTH CAROLINA FILM COMMISSION. This bill makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4019. This bill makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The legislation revises Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism provisions to remove references to residential areas on HUNTING ISLAND.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4020, legislation addressing PRT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DUTIES. This bill makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The legislation adds duties relating to community development to the general powers and duties of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and repeals provisions relating to the agency’s division of community development.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4021, relating to the USE OF CABINS AT STATE PARKS. This bill makes revisions recommended by the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The legislation removes the prohibition on swimming and rental or use of cabins at state parks.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3737, a bill revising the membership of the RICHLAND‑LEXINGTON AIRPORT COMMISSION.

The House approved and sent the Senate to H.3307, a bill making provisions for a searchable online DATABASE ON PROPERTY SEIZED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FORFEITED.

The State Capital Report – 4/9/2019

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate on H.4287, legislation establishing a protocol for EVALUATING PROPOSALS FOR THE SALE OF SANTEE COOPER OR OTHER ARRANGEMENTS in order to protect the individual and corporate ratepayers of Santee Cooper and the electric cooperatives of this state who receive electric power from this state-owned electric utility from rising electric power rates due to grossly excessive debt and costs incurred in the construction of the two abandoned nuclear reactors at Jenkinsville, South Carolina.  This joint resolution establishes a process for the Public Service Authority Evaluation and Recommendation Committee to receive and consider offers of purchase and other arrangements such as entering into a management agreement.  The committee is authorized to retain the services of legal and technical experts.  The legislation provides that any offer of purchase or alternate proposal must be submitted to the General Assembly for approval and specifies the manner in which proposals are to be transmitted to and approved or disapproved by the General Assembly.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4261, a bill providing REFORM FOR SOUTH CAROLINA’S PUBLIC SERVICE AUTHORITY which governs the operations of the state-owned electric utility Santee Cooper.  Terms of service are ended for the current PSA Board of Directors and a schedule is established for the appointment of their successors.  All new board members must meet a set of qualifications to ensure that they possess certain levels of educational attainment and a background that affords expertise in: energy issues; water and wastewater issues; finance, economics, and statistics; accounting; engineering; or law.  The legislation revises appointment procedures to provide for the directors representing each of the state’s congressional districts to be elected by the General Assembly.  Members of the General Assembly and their immediate family may not be appointed to the Public Service Authority while serving as legislators and for four years after their service.  Provisions are included to avoid conflicts of interests by prohibiting members of the board of directors from having certain financial ties with the Public Service Authority.  Transparency provisions are included that require live-streaming of PSA board and committee meetings and online public access to archived recordings of these meetings along with agendas and any documents presented during the open portion of meetings.  The legislation requires that all major utility facilities proposed by the Public Service Authority must be submitted to the Public Service Commission for approval.  A new procedure is established that the Public Service Authority must follow prior to revising any of its board‑approved retail rate schedules for residential, lighting, commercial, or industrial customers in a manner that results in a rate increase.  This retail rates process includes requirements for providing notice to customers, holding public meetings, and receiving commentary from customers impacted by proposed rate increases.  The legislation creates a ten-member South Carolina Public Service Authority Review and Oversight Commission composed of key legislative leaders, or their designees.   The commission’s oversight duties include conducting a biennial review of to assess whether the PSA is improving the quality of life for South Carolinians by providing low cost, reliable power in this state in an efficient, effective manner in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.  The commission is authorized to undertake other reviews, studies, or evaluations on such matters as: (1) transmission and distribution reliability; (2) generation sources and availability; (3) customer surveys; (4) economic development; (5) lake management; (6) financial reports including operating budgets, outstanding debt, existing and proposed debt issuances, debt defeasance, debt/equity ratios, and bond ratings; (7) executive organizational structure and compensation, to include retirement compensation; and, (8) status of planned and ongoing capital projects.  The South Carolina Public Service Authority board of directors and president/CEO have a duty to disclose material operational issues that impact customer rates to the commission.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3438, a bill making provisions for the DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS within the executive branch of government, and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  In place of the current arrangement where veterans’ affairs are housed as a division of the Department of Administration cabinet agency, the legislation establishes a separate Department of Veterans Affairs within the executive branch that is headed by a Secretary appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The Secretary must be a veteran.   The legislation provides new duties for the Secretary that include coordinating with state and federal agencies to obtain additional resources and support for veterans living in South Carolina in the areas of medical care, mental health and rehabilitative services, housing, homelessness prevention, job creation, and education, and addressing all issues of mutual concern to the state and the armed forces of the Unites States, including quality of life issues unique to South Carolina’s military personnel and their families, quality of educational opportunities for military children, transportation needs, substance abuse, and social service needs.  The Department of Veterans Affairs is required to submit an annual report to the Governor detailing its work on behalf of the state’s veterans.  The department is authorized to apply for and accept funds, grants, gifts, and services from this state, the United States Government or any of its agencies, or any other public or private source, and may use funds derived

from these sources to defray clerical and administrative costs, as may be necessary for carrying out the department’s duties.  The Department of Administration may provide administrative support to the Department of Veterans Affairs in such areas as financial accounting, human resources, information technology, procurement, and logistics.  The SOUTH CAROLINA MILITARY BASE TASK FORCE is established for the purpose of enhancing the value of military installations and facilities and the quality of life for military personnel located in this state and coordinating efforts among the public and the private sectors to maintain a significant United States Department of Defense presence in South Carolina.  The task force is charged with advising the Governor and the General Assembly on any issues and strategies related to military base closures, realignments, and mission changes.  The legislation provides for the composition of the task force and establishes its duties including the coordination of an annual meeting between the Governor, military commanders, and General Assembly members geographically representing military communities to discuss items of interest to all parties and exchange pertinent information on the current climate and challenges facing our state’s military installations and their personnel.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3180, the “SOUTH CAROLINA SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT”, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation aligns South Carolina with federal law that provides for contracts for telecommunication services, Internet services, cable, direct satellite, and other television services, satellite radio services, and athletic club or gym memberships to be cancelled, without early termination charges, when those in military service are deployed or reassigned.  The legislation sets out duties for notifying service providers and establishes civil penalties for violations.  The Adjutant General is directed to post on the South Carolina National Guard website a list of the rights a servicemember or a servicemember’s dependent has under the South Carolina Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The House approved S.214, a bill addressing SALES AND USE TAX LIABILITY in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding state tax collections on Internet retail sales, and enrolled the legislation for ratification.  The legislation reaffirms state tax policy regarding market facilitators and other matters and makes explicit provisions that Internet marketplaces where a person sells tangible personal property at retail by listing or advertising, or allowing the listing or advertising of, another person’s products on an online marketplace and collects or processes the payment from the customer are retailers required to remit the sales and use tax on such retail sales under the provisions of South Carolina sales and use tax law.

The House approved and sent the Senate to H.3807, the “TEEN SKIN CANCER PREVENTION ACT”.  The legislation provides that an individual must be at least eighteen years old in order to use tanning beds and other equipment that induces tanning through ultraviolet radiation in a tanning facility.  Tanning facilities are subject to requirements for posting signs to provide notification of this minimum age for using tanning equipment.  A tanning facility that allows a minor to use tanning equipment in violation of these provisions is subject to a five hundred dollar civil penalty assessed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.  DHEC may deny, suspend, or revoke a tanning facility’s registration for repeated violations.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4262, a bill that enacts the “SOUTH CAROLINA SMALL WIRELESS FACILITIES DEPLOYMENT ACT” to establish certain uniform procedures and standards for small wireless facilities, including small cells and distributed antenna systems, on utility poles in rights of way to encourage the development of strong and robust wireless and broadband communications networks throughout the state.  The legislation prohibits local government authorities from imposing regulations and restrictions on small wireless facilities that are more burdensome than provisions applied to other types of infrastructure deployments in the rights of way or charging these wireless providers discriminatory rates or fees for the use of rights of way.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3780, a bill creating the “GROWING RURAL ECONOMIES WITH ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY (GREAT) PROGRAM” to facilitate the deployment of broadband data transmission service to unserved areas of the state.  The legislation establishes the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology Fund as a special revenue fund in the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority that is to be used for awarding state grants, in conjunction with federal funds, that are to be used to pay for the infrastructure costs associated with deploying high speed, high capacity, broadband Internet access to homes, businesses, and community anchor points in an unserved area of an economically‑distressed county.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3778, a bill addressing PORT CARGO VOLUME INCREASE TAX CREDITS AND PORT TRANSPORTATION CREDITS.  The legislation increases the maximum annual amount of tax credits for port cargo volume increases available to all qualifying taxpayers from eight million to fifteen million dollars.  The legislation establishes a schedule for phasing in a port transportation credit for the costs of transporting freight, goods, and materials to and from port facilities in South Carolina as a means of establishing a customer base for a new Jasper Port facility.  The port transportation credit expires effective at the end of the calendar year in which a port in Jasper County is opened and is accepting shipments.  The legislation provides that a port facility is a distribution facility for purposes of certain sales tax exemptions.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4127.  This bill revises eligibility criteria for the DEPARTMENT ON AGING’S PHYSICIAN STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PROGRAM as a means of enhancing the South Carolina’s ability to recruit and retain needed geriatricians.  A sunset date is established for the loan repayment provisions so that these incentives expire at the end of 2024.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3936, a bill revising eligibility requirements of the merit-based Palmetto Fellows Scholarship by ALLOWING A PALMETTO FELLOWS SCHOLARSHIP TO BE USED AT TWO-YEAR INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING AND TECHNICAL SCHOOLS in addition to four-year colleges and universities.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4133.  This bill revises provisions relating to COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT TAX CREDITS, so as to: allow a tax credit of fifty percent of any cash donation to a community development corporation or community development financial institutions; eliminate an aggregate credit provision and set an annual limit; establish tax credit reserve accounts for the first three quarters of each tax year so as to avoid the depletion of credits by an individual taxpayer; eliminate the pro‑rata distribution of tax credits; allow financial institutions with tax liabilities in this state to invest in community development corporations for the purpose of receiving a tax credit; and, provide that returns on investments in certified community development corporations and certified community development financial institutions may not exceed the total amount of the initial investment.  The legislation extends the provisions of the South Carolina Community Economic Development Act until June 30, 2023.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3620, legislation addressing RETIREES RETURNING TO COVERED EMPLOYMENT UNDER STATE PENSIONS.  This bill revises provisions governing retirement benefits after returning to covered employment under the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System, respectively, so as to establish a protocol that allows retirees to return to covered employment without being subject to the ten thousand dollar earnings limitation.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.3307, a bill making provisions for a searchable online DATABASE ON PROPERTY SEIZED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AND FORFEITED.  The legislation charges the Prosecution Coordination Commission with establishing and maintaining a case tracking system and searchable public website that provides information about property seized by a law enforcement agency and forfeited under state law or under any agreement with the federal government.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3951, a bill revising QUALIFICATIONS FOR SHERIFFS and candidates for the office of sheriff.   The legislation provides that law enforcement experience requirements are satisfied exclusively through South Carolina Class I Certification.  Incumbent sheriffs are exempt from these Class I Certification provisions.  The legislation allows someone to be eligible to serve as sheriff who has obtained a law degree and, within six months of being elected, obtains certification as a Class I certified law enforcement officer.   The legislation disqualifies someone from holding the office who has been convicted of, pled guilty to, or been pardoned for a felony or a crime of moral turpitude in this state or another state.  In order to be eligible to serve as a sheriff, an individual must be a legal resident of the state for at least one year immediately preceding the date of the election for sheriff and a legal resident of the county in which he seeks the office of sheriff at the time he files for office.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3079, a bill establishing an ADDITIONAL METHOD OF POSTING NOTICE OF TRESPASSING on a property.  As an alternative to the posting of ‘No Trespassing’ signs, the legislation establishes a procedure that allows trespassing notice to be posted on tracts of land by marking immovable, permanent objects along the boundary lines with purple paint.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4245, a bill addressing the labeling of vat grown CELL‑CULTURED MEAT for sale.  The legislation prohibits someone who advertises, offers for sale, or sells all or part of a carcass from engaging in any misleading or deceptive practices, labeling, or misrepresenting a product as ‘meat’ or ‘clean meat’ that is cell‑cultured meat/protein, or is not derived from harvested production livestock, poultry, fish, or crustaceans.  These provisions do not apply to plant-based meat substitutes.  A violation is a misdemeanor punishable with imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to one thousand dollars.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4244, a bill making revisions related to VEHICLE SERVICE CONTRACTS and theft protection program warranties that include requirements for disclosures to consumers and provisions for how service contract providers establish their financial security to pay claims.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4246, a bill addressing REAL ESTATE COMMISSION CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS.  The legislation revises requirements for criminal background checks by the Real Estate Commission, so as to change the effective date to allow for better coordination with license renewal schedules.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3785, a bill making revisions that relate to the operation of the BOARD OF ACCOUNTANCY including provisions detailing when it is appropriate for meetings of the board to be closed.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3800, a bill that waives the certification of completion requirement for a hunting license if a person purchases an APPRENTICE HUNTING LICENSE.  The legislation is offered as a means of extending the opportunity for a person to try out hunting prior to purchasing a hunting license.  The legislation also provides that a nonresident who meets the qualifications as an apprentice hunter must purchase a three-day temporary statewide apprentice hunting license for fifty dollars.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4239, a bill making provisions for TRAWLING IN AREAS ALONG THE COAST OF HORRY COUNTY.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4009, a bill dealing with statutory changes for the DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (DNR).  This bill repeals outdated sections, amends incorrect sections, updates sections to current procedure and nomenclature.  It deletes items pertaining to an expired directive or an ended study.  It further gets rid of duplicative statutes.  As a result, the changes include the ability for DNR to send license suspension information through the mail without a return receipt.  As a result, this update leads to a cost savings of nearly $7K.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4011, legislation that makes necessary changes and enhances the “WATER RESOURCE AND PLANNING COORDINATION ACT”.  Among many things, the bill adds a “State Water Plan” as an example of a comprehensive water resource policy in which DNR provides assistance to the Governor and General Assembly in formulating.  The bill allows DNR to accept and spend federal money for water resource investigation.  Requires to DNR to assist with coordination of water resource activities, programs, and plans at both local and “regional” level.  The bill also expands DNR’s consideration of adequate supplies of surface and groundwater from specific uses to “all” uses.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House gave second reading approval to H.4012, legislation that cleans up and updates the LAND, RESOURCES, AND CONSERVATION DISTRICTS DIVISION.  Among many things, the bill updates the division’s name to Land, Water and Conversation Division and it reformats the State Land Resources Conservation Commission into the Land, Water and Conservation Division Advisory Committee.  The bill also removes unnecessary statutory requirements that relates to financial needs for soil and water conservation districts which is now accomplished through the budgeting process.  It removes references to discontinued practices as it relates to County Agricultural Agents.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4013, a bill that changes certain requirements for the STATE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY UNIT under the Department of Natural Resources.  The bill requires that the state geologist become familiar with geologic hazards throughout the state.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House approved and sent the Senate to H.4014, a bill that designates the Department of Health and Environmental Control as the designated agent in selecting land as it related to the LEASE OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS TO GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES UNDERLYING SURFACE LANDS OWNED BY STATE.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4015, a bill repealing Chapter 11, of Title 13, the NEW HORIZONS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY as a result of the inactivity over the years.  The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4260, the “SOUTH CAROLINA RATEPAYER PROTECTION ACT OF 2019”.

The House committed H.3917, the “SOUTH CAROLINA ELECTRONIC NOTARY PUBLIC ACT”, to the Ways and Means Committee.

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