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.