Legislative Report – February 19, 2015

First, an update on the actions taken in the House Ways and Means Full Committee. Rep. Merrill gave a long and detailed description of facts and findings regarding SC State University. He also asked for the previous Proviso to close SC State be withdrawn. In its place, he presented a Proviso which would place the institution in receivership under the SC Budget and Control Board, removing the current President and Board with an interim president and board. The African-American members and others spoke passionately in favor of the new Proviso and the desire to bring SC State back to its honored place among higher education institutions in South Carolina. This new Proviso would allow SC State to stay open. It passed the committee and becomes part of the budget to be debated on the House floor during Budget Week beginning the week of March 9th.

Here are some other updates on bills tracked out of the Full Education and Public Works Committee and heard on the House floor. Some of the bills generating much debate had to be adjourned until next week because of the time involved. Jay Lucas, the Speaker, wanted to allow enough time for the House Ways & Means Committee to meet and continue working on the budget after adjournment.

H.3142 Moped Safety requires reflective vests on riders and flashing red lights on the moped. Both the person operating the moped and the passenger must wear the reflective vests. Flashing red lights must flash continuously while the moped is in operation. Because there was potential controversy on the issue, debate was adjourned until next week.

H.3165 provides a definition for mopeds. Currently mopeds are not classified as motor vehicles or motorcycles. Hence, moped drivers cannot be ticketed for violation of traffic laws. This bill would change the law and classify mopeds as motor vehicles. As in the previous bill, there was the potential for a great deal discussion so debate was adjourned until next week.

H.3037 would allow veterans who are honorably discharged, and their dependents, to receive in-state tuition to our public colleges and universities. Currently, anyone moving into SC must prove residency of one year before being granted in-state tuition. In July, the federal government will enact requirements for veterans and their families on the G.I. bill that would require every state to provide in-state tuition. My bill, which I have been working on for over four years, would also allow the same for any veteran who moves into our state. This bill passed the House unanimously and goes to the Senate next week.

The Dilapidated Buildings Act (H. 3039) was heard in the Judiciary Subcommittee. As sponsor, I presented the bill with several others testifying in favor of the bill. Single family residences and unincorporated areas (includes rural structures) are not included. Many safeguards are in place to protect residences.

The bill would require the city to exhaust all remedies before going to a court to seek relief. The circuit court judge can appoint a receivership based on explicit criteria before any action is taken. A complete plan and estimate must be presented to the court and approved by the court. Only then would the judge make a decision whether to order demolition of property or not. The committee decided that more clarification of certain language is needed so the bill will be brought up again after corrections are made. For your information, Budget Week is March 9 through 13.

For your information, Budget Week is March 9 through 13. We will be in session long hours to debate and pass the budget that week. The House will be on furlough during the two weeks of March 30 through April 10.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 at 1:05 pm and is filed under Legislative Sessions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

 

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