S.C. Senate Legislative Update Feb. 6-10, 2017

S.C. Sen. Luke Rankin at Sen. Hugh Leatherman's portrait unveiling.

The Senate moved a number of bills forward this week, including S. 6, which increases penalties for injuring or killing a dog or horse used by law enforcement. The bill is known as “Hyco’s Law,” named for an Anderson County K-9 officer killed in the line of duty in October 2015.

On Wednesday, a portrait unveiling was held for Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, who was first elected to the Senate in 1980.

Bills approved by the Senate this week include:

S. 46 - Senators Campsen, Bennett, Young and Alexander: This bill adjusts the state’s tax brackets by full inflation each year with the aim of protecting taxpayers from what’s known as “bracket creep,” which occurs when incomes rise on pace with inflation, but tax brackets remain unchanged.

S. 61 - Senator Hutto: This bill provides that employees, retirees and their eligible dependents of political subdivisions of the state, or a governmental agency or instrumentality of such political subdivision, are eligible for coverage under the state health and dental plan. Currently, participation in the health and dental programs is limited to state and public school active and retired employees and their eligible dependent.

S. 75 - Senator Young: This bill allows a person to maintain the special four percent assessment ratio on their owner-occupied home if they reside in a nursing home. The special four percent assessment ratio would be maintained as long as the owner has the intention of returning to their home and no rental income is attributable to the property.

S. 176 - Senator Sheheen: This bill prohibits drones from flying within 500 feet of a state prison.

S. 218 - Senators Massey, Bennett, Alexander, Bryant, Rice, Gregory, Corbin, Martin, Campsen, Turner and Young: This bill ensures that a political subdivision - such as a municipality, county or school district - may not establish, mandate or otherwise require an employee benefit, which includes, but isn’t limited to health benefits, disability benefits, holidays, vacation leave and retirement benefits.

S. 18 - Senators Campsen and Hembree: Allows victims and members of their immediate family to write statements to the Board of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services that must be considered by the Board in making its determination of parole.

S. 6 - Senators Bryant, Hembree and Campbell: This bill increases penalties for injuring or killing a dog or horse used by law enforcement.


The following bills were read the second time:

S. 365 - Senators Rankin, Hembree and Goldfinch: Allows the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue “Coastal Carolina University 2016 College World Series Champions” special license plates.

S. 181 - Senator Shealy: For purposes of the South Carolina Hazardous Waste Management Act, provides that a responsible party does not include a person who is excluded from liability under the Superfund Recycling Equity Act.

S. 234 - Senator Massey: This bill requires the identities of patients and emergency medical technicians, as well as information and data collected or prepared by emergency medical services, to be subject to subpoena in any administrative, civil or criminal proceeding.

S. 338 - Senators Hembree, Courson, J. Matthews, Setzler and Fanning: Provides that the opening date for students to attend public schools during the 2017-2018 school year may be as early as Thursday, August 17, in the discretion of the school district Board of Trustees.


Look ahead to next week and beyond:

On Thursday, companion bills were introduced in the House and Senate aimed at addressing issues with the state’s pension system. The bills - S. 394 and H. 3726 - represent the first phase of deliberating legislation related to the pension system in both chambers this session. The House bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.

Compiled by South Carolina Senate Pro Tempore Communications Director Michael Ulmer.