SCACPA’s Advocacy activities this past week were highlighted by CEO Chris Jenkins and Board member Ken Newhouse meeting with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman W. Brian White (R-Anderson). Conformity issues were discussed in detail, and we were able to answer questions about the issue. The talks included our description of the effects to South Carolina if there is no Conformity. We thank Chairman White for his time, and we are glad he heard our concerns.

 

View from the Dome

 

By Copper Dome Strategies LLC
ISSUE: March 9, 2018
The General Assembly reached the milestone of the halfway point of the legislative session. Nine weeks are completed and nine weeks are left until adjournment on Thursday, May 10. Both chambers met in Joint Session this past Tuesday to hear remarks from the National Commander of the American Legion.

 

 

APPOINTMENT
Governor Henry McMaster announced on Wednesday he will appoint former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon as the next Chairman of state-owned utility Santee Cooper’s Board of Directors. Mr. Condon will serve the unexpired term ending in May of this year that was left vacant when former Chairman Leighton Lord resigned in December of 2017. The governor will appoint Mr. Condon to a full, seven-year term after the current term expires. A Charleston-area attorney, Mr. Condon previously served eight years as attorney general from 1995 to 2003 and over 10 years as solicitor in Charleston and Berkeley Counties. The governor’s appointment will be sent for approval to the Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) prior to being sent to the full Senate for confirmation.

 

 

BUDGET
The full House of Representatives will begin debate on their version of the FY 2018-19 state appropriations act beginning Monday.

The committee budget spreadsheets and amendments can be found here.

In the Senate, the Finance subcommittees are continuing their agency budget hearings. The Health & Human Services Subcommittee on Wednesday heard the presentation from Pat Maley, Interim State Director for the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs. The agency is requesting $11.3 million to address workforce needs by being able to offer more competitive wages for direct care, primarily in residential and day support services. The agency is additionally seeking $9.5 million to increase and improve in-home support.

The governor’s Executive Budget can be found here.

Individual state agency budget requests can be found here.

 

 

ENERGY
On Wednesday, by a vote of 107-1, the House approved S. 954 (Senators Leatherman, Setzler) which prohibits the Public Service Commission (PSC) from making a decision on any SCANA-Dominion Energy merger until December. Last week, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to amend the bill so that it also decreases SCE&G power bills by about 18%, the amount SCE&G is currently charging its customers for the failed VC Summer nuclear project. Following the vote, House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) blasted the Senate for failure to take action on any of the six bills already passed by the House to deal with the fallout from the shuttering of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Facility. Senators have argued they want to take their time and make sure they do it the right way to avoid potential future lawsuits. Gov. McMaster joined the House in calling for an immediate end to the surcharge payments for the failed project. The Joint Resolution now goes back to the Senate for consideration.

Fallout from the decision to cease all construction on two new nuclear reactors being built at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station in Jenkinsville by SCANA and state-owned utility Santee Cooper remain one of the most costly, complex and politically explosive issues to hit our state in decades.

On Wednesday, a House Labor, Commerce and Industry subcommittee approved H. 4875 (Rep. Ott) which enacts the “South Carolina Solar Habitat Act”. The bill establishes voluntary best-management practices for commercial solar energy generators. On Thursday, the bill was adopted by the full committee. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

 

 

HEALTHCARE
On Wednesday, the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee approved a number of bills dealing with the state’s opioid crisis. H. 3825 (Reps. Huggins, Bedingfield, Fry, Henderson, and others) requires the Department of Health and Environmental Control to provide prescription report cards to practitioners that includes data relevant to a practitioner’s prescribing practices. H. 3826 (Reps. Huggins, Bedingfield, Fry, Henderson, and others) would require the Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop a counterfeit-resistant prescription blank to be used for prescribing controlled substances. H. 4112 (Reps. Bedingfield, Fry, Henderson, and others) would require the Department of Health and Environmental Control to develop a voluntary nonopioid directive form to allow a person to deny or refuse the administering of a controlled substance containing an opioid by the practitioner. H. 4117 (Reps. Henderson, Bedingfield and Fry) would add an exception to the confidentiality of data in the prescription monitoring program for drug courts. H. 4602 (Reps. Henderson, Bedingfield, Alexander, and others) requires hospital emergency department physicians and pharmacists to submit certain information to the Department of Health and Environmental Control for inclusion in the prescription monitoring program when a person is administered an opioid antidote. H.4603 (Reps. Bedingfield, Alexander Dillard and others) would limit initial prescriptions of an opioid medication to a five-day supply for acute pain management or a fourteen-day supply for postoperative pain management. All of these bills now go to the full House for consideration.

 

 

HIGHER EDUCATION
On Thursday, the House approved H.4931 (Reps. Elliott, Alexander, Simrill and many others) by a vote of 103-0. The bill would authorize an applied baccalaureate in manufacturing if approved first by the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education and the Commission on Higher Education. The House then voted by unanimous consent to give the bill third reading tomorrow and then it will go to the Senate for consideration.

Also on Thursday, the House Ways and Means Higher Education Subcommittee approved to H. 4182 (Rep. White) by a vote of 2-1. The bill would allow boards of trustees at public four-year higher education institutions to allow auxiliary divisions to be exempt from various state laws governing procurement, human resources, personnel and the disposition of real property under certain circumstances. The goal of the bill is to eliminate duplicative oversight in the regulatory process, particularly for projects that do not utilize state funds. The bill now goes to the full House Ways and Means Committee.

 

 

JUDICIAL/LEGAL
On Tuesday the House Judiciary Committee approved H. 4811 (Reps. S. Rivers, G. M. Smith, Elliott, and others) that would require magistrates to be a licensed attorney. The bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

 

 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS
On Thursday the House approved H. 4628 (Reps. Martin, B. Newton, Daning, Lucas, and others) by a vote of 99-1 (Hill). The bill prohibits a telemarketer or telephone solicitor from making a consumer telephone call with a spoofed telephone number that displays a South Carolina area code unless the telemarketer or solicitor maintains a physical presence in the state. After routine third reading next week the bill goes to the Senate for consideration.

 

 

INTRODUCTIONS OF INTEREST

HOUSE
H.4950 Ways and Means Committee: FY 2018-19 General Appropriations Act. Without Reference
H. 4951 Ways and Means Committee: Appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund. Without Reference.
H. 5072 Reps. Allison, and role of the House: Declares April 4, 2018 “South Carolina Technical College System Day”. The Concurrent Resolution was agreed to and ordered sent to the Senate.
H. 5080 Rep. Erickson: Relating to definitions used in the Emergency Medical Services Act.
Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.
H. 5087 Rep. Funderburk: Relating to retail fuel businesses and the definition of “petroleum” and “petroleum products”. Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.
H. 5089 Reps. S. Rivers, Elliott, Cogswell, and others: Relating to career pathways in the construction industry. Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.
H. 5105 Reps. Magnuson, Burns, Long, Elliott, and others: Relating to membership on the judicial merit selection commission. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H. 5106 Reps. Magnuson, Burns, Long, Elliott, and others: Constitutional amendment to require all justices and judges to be appointed by the governor. Referred to Committee on Judiciary.
H. 5109 Reps. Hixon, Taylor, Blackwell, Young, and others: Extends sunset provision relating to exemptions of private, for-profit pipeline companies. Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

SENATE
S. 1085 Senator Grooms: Enacts the “Campus Free Expression Act” relating to outdoor areas of campuses of public colleges and institutions. Referred to the Committee on Education.
S. 1093 Senator Reese: Relating to sales tax exemptions of video streaming over the internet. Referred to the Committee on Finance.
S. 1101 Senators Young, Hutto and Massey: Extends sunset provision relating to exemptions of private, for-profit pipeline companies. Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
S. 1105 Senators Corbin, Davis, Rice, Campbell, and others: Prohibits a current member of the Senate from appearing as an attorney at law in a magistrates court located in a county represented by the senator. Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

 

 

NEXT WEEK
The House of Representatives will begin debate on the state budget beginning Monday at 1 p.m.