Legislative Update
February 22, 2021
Vol. 38, No. 6

South Carolina House of Representatives
James H. "Jay" Lucas, Speaker of the House

Room 212, Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211, (803) 734-3230





NOTE: These summaries are prepared by the staff of the South Carolina House of Representatives and are not the expression of the legislation's sponsor(s) or the House of Representatives. They are strictly for the internal use and benefit of members of the House of Representatives and are not to be construed by a court of law as an expression of legislative intent


The House approved, and the governor signed, S.1, the "South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act," which delays a pregnant woman from having an abortion until a doctor first checks her for a fetal heartbeat using ultrasound equipment. She may view this ultrasound while it is being performed.

Any doctor violating this requirement commits a felony punishable by a ten thousand dollar fine or imprisonment for up to two years, or both. These penalties do not apply in medical emergencies, or when no heartbeat is detected.

Once a fetal heartbeat is detected, no abortion can be conducted unless the pregnancy is the result of a rape or incest event, the pregnant woman's life is at risk, or a fetal anomaly has presented, and the fetus has gestated for less than 20 weeks. Doctors are required to report rape or incest events to their county sheriff within 24 hours of performing those abortions. Doctors also have to tell pregnant women that they are making a report to the county sheriff. Doctors have to document these conversations.

Nothing in this Act prohibits the sale, use, prescription, or administration of any drug, device, or chemical for contraceptive purposes.

No pregnant women can be criminally prosecuted for violations of this Act. They are instead able to file a civil cause of action for Act violations, and recover their damages, attorney fees, and costs.

The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H.3707, a joint resolution making appropriations for the state's public health response to the COVID-19 virus, including vaccinations. The bill was ratified (R 4).

Under the legislation, a total of $208 million is appropriated from the Contingency Reserve Fund. $63 million is allocated to the Department of Health and Environmental Control and $45 million is allocated to the Medical University of South Carolina to allow DHEC and MUSC, in consultation, cooperation, and collaboration with the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Primary Care Association and any other Federally Qualified Heath Centers, and other appropriate entities and associations, to: (1) expand statewide vaccination capacity; and (2) continue to administer the statewide COVID-19 testing plan. The use of these funds includes costs related to COVID-19 such as vaccination, continued testing and contact tracing, personal protective equipment and medical supplies, personnel costs, education and marketing campaigns, quarantine, transportation and storage, and mobile health units. Participation in contact-tracing programs shall be solely on a voluntary basis, and data collection must comply with confidentiality requirements and be limited to public health information. DHEC, in coordination with MUSC, the South Carolina Hospital Association, the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare, and other relevant stakeholders, shall implement a plan to reach rural and underserved populations who are eligible to be vaccinated. $100 million of the Contingency Reserve Fund appropriation is deposited in a COVID-19 Vaccine Reserve account that is created to pay for administering COVID-19 vaccines, addressing costs associated with such issues as staffing, facility rental, security, traffic control, storage, transportation, and mobile health units. Of these reserve account funds, up to $75 million is allocated to hospitals, or political subdivisions partnering with them, and up to $25 million is allocated to other COVID-19 vaccination providers that are enrolled and activated by DHEC, or political subdivisions partnering with them. In approving expenses, DHEC must give priority to hospitals and other providers with a high demand for the vaccine and the ability to administer the vaccine in high quantities. No reserve account funds may be released to any vaccine provider that is not offering vaccine appointments to the public. On the first day of each month, the Executive Budget Office must provide a detailed accounting of vaccine reserve account funds in a report that is to be transmitted to the Governor and the General Assembly and made available on the Executive Budget Office website. Additionally, any recipient must provide an accounting of the expenditures to DHEC and the agency must post the accounting on its website.

The legislation provides that all vaccines received by the state must be allocated to the four DHEC public health regions in a per capita manner with considerations taken into account for such factors as poverty level, infection rates, age, and high-risk populations. MUSC shall coordinate with DHEC and partner with local healthcare providers to ensure that gaps in statewide vaccination delivery are covered, with priority given to rural and underserved areas. Under the planning process, available vaccines must be administered to South Carolinians as rapidly as possible, to ensure that no doses are permitted to expire, and to position South Carolina favorably in the event that any future federal allocations to states may be based in part upon a state's ability to administer the vaccine expeditiously. DHEC is charged with record-keeping responsibilities and daily reporting requirements to keep the public informed of vaccine availability, doses administered, and progress towards attaining the state's vaccination goals.

The legislation includes temporary authority for a wide array of health care professionals to administer COVID-19 vaccines that includes retired physicians and nurses, students at medical schools and nursing schools, as well as licensed dentists and optometrists who have completed COVID-19 vaccine training. These temporary exemptions from professional scope of practice provisions are set to terminate when South Carolina is no longer under a declared public health emergency concerning COVID-19.

The House gave second reading to H.3610. This bill would provide revised accountability measures available to the state Superintendent of Education for public schools and public school districts, with provisions for assistance and intervention.

The following definitions are used throughout the bill:

"Turnaround plan" outlines goals for a school or district's educational improvement. Plans must have specific strategies for improving student achievement.

"Underperforming school," means:

An elementary school or middle school where fewer than twenty-five percent of its students are at " meets" or "exceeds expectations" on the English/language arts and mathematics SC READY assessment works or its successor.

A high school where fewer than twenty-five percent of its students receive a grade of "D" or better on the End of Course assessments in English and mathematics, or fewer than twenty-five percent of its students fail to achieve at least a "bronze" level on the career readiness assessment.

"Underperforming district" means a district in which sixty-five percent or more of the schools in the district are considered an "underperforming school" (as defined in the "underperforming school" definition, see above).

"Chronically underperforming" school:

An elementary school or middle school where fewer than twenty-five percent of its students are at "meets" or "exceeds expectations" on the English/language arts and mathematics SC READY assessment works or its successor assessment for three consecutive years. (Emphasis added)

A high school where fewer than twenty-five percent of its students receive a grade of "D" or better on the End of Course assessments in English and mathematics, or fewer than twenty-five percent of its students fail to achieve at least a "bronze" level on the career readiness assessment for three consecutive years. (Emphasis added)

The bill creates a tiered system for assistance, professional development, and monitoring. The Superintendent must annually report to the General Assembly about the system's progress relating to assistance provided to schools.

Once a school and district is determined to be underperforming, the State Department of Education must immediately place the school and district into a tiered status and provide assistance. The legislative delegation, parents, and students must be informed of the rating, and a public meeting must be held. The district must create a turnaround plan containing specific and measurable goals, and broad-based community input is required. The school and district's strategic plan must be reviewed and revised. After the local school board adopts the plan, SDE must also approve. Plans must be posted on the SDE, district, and school websites, and parents must be informed of the school or district rating and turnaround plan. The Superintendent may seek a state-of-education emergency declaration for a school or school district. The state board must approve the declaration.

The following are the reasons and steps for the respective measures:

School Takeover

Chronic underperformance, denial of accreditation, or an insufficient turnaround plan (or district refusal to submit a turnaround plan).

Notification to the Governor, General Assembly, local board and superintendent.

Assume management of the school.

Appeal to administrative law court is available.

State Board may end the emergency if the school sustains improvement for at least three years.

District Takeover

Underperformance for three consecutive years or for five out of the last seven years. A year in which a report card was not issued shall be disregarded and not included in determining whether a declaration is authorized.

Accreditation denial, turnaround plan is insufficient or fiscal emergency.

Notification to the Governor, General Assembly, local board and superintendent.

Assume management of the district.

Local board is dissolved; Superintendent assumes authority and responsibility of the district.

If there is a sustained improvement for at least three years, the State Board may appoint an interim local board. The interim board must serve for a minimum of three years.

After the emergency, SDE shall develop a plan and timeline for returning management to a local board.

Fiscal authority (taxing and millage) is transferred to the county council until the emergency is over.

The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3017, a bill that would provide that two-year institutions of higher learning and technical colleges be among institutions of higher learning whose students may be eligible for Palmetto Fellows Scholarships. Currently the Palmetto Fellows scholarship is available only to students attending an eligible four-year institution in South Carolina. The bill specifically deletes the current exclusion of two-year and technical institutions. Moreover, a student who uses the Palmetto Fellows scholarship to attend eligible two-year institution shall receive a maximum of four continuous semesters and may continue to use the scholarship to attend an eligible four-year institution.

The House approved (as amended) H.3501, which creates a special commemorative license plate for the two hundred fiftieth (250th) year anniversary of the American Revolution. The biennial fee for this commemorative license plate is the regular license plate fee. The South Carolina Revolutionary War Sestercentennial Commission shall submit the design, emblem, seal, logo, or other symbols it desires to be used for this special license plate to the DMV for approval. The bill exempts this special plate from the requirement of a $6,800 upfront fee from the sponsoring individual or organization before seeking issuance of the plate. The bill's effective date is January 1, 2022. This would provide sufficient time to design and implement the plate. The production of this plate will cease January 1, 2033.

The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3689 (regarding the international registration plan). This bill would provide that if a commercial motor vehicle is registered through the international registration plan and is operated under a United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) number assigned to a person other than the vehicle's owner, then the person to whom the US DOT number is assigned may register the commercial motor vehicle by submitting the appropriate application and fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This bill codifies existing agency procedures.

The House approved (as amended) and sent to the Senate H.3029, a bill that would require the Midlands Technical College Enterprise Campus Authority to file certain documents with the Fiscal Accountability Authority regarding the sale of surplus property. The exemption provided only applies to the sale of the college enterprise authority property when the sale price is not less than market value and the transfer of title is by quitclaim deed. This bill would permanently authorize Act 189 of 2018 and repeal the sunset provision.

The House approved and sent to the Senate H.3900, a joint resolution that went without reference. The resolution authorizes certain podiatrists to administer premeasured doses of the COVID 19 vaccine. The bill provides for podiatrists who have successfully completed the COVID 19 training programs available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs

The Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Environmental Committee met on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, and reported out several bills.

The committee gave approval to H.3548, 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 and traps.

H.3549, a bill that authorizes the Department of Natural Resources to offer a hunting or fishing license in the form of a durable hard card, was given a favorable recommendation by the committee. This hard card license is made of plastic or similar material in order for it to be more durable than the paper version. This is optional and those persons who select this option are subject to a six-dollar fee of which the issuing vendor may retain one dollar. In addition, the bill allows a person hunting or fishing to show their license, permit or stamp by use of a mobile electronic device.

The committee gave a favorable recommendation to H.3684, a bill that adopts the federal regulations for the management of cobia into state law. For many years, cobia have been managed by the federal government and now the federal government will allow states to manage. This transfer does not change anything currently under the law.

H.3308, a bill that increases the watercraft idle speed wake distance limit from 50 feet to 100 feet of a moored or anchored vessel or person in the water, was given a favorable recommendation by the committee. The lakes are Lake Greenwood, Lake Hartwell, Lake Jocassee, Lake Keowee, Lake Marion, Lake Monticello, Lake Murray, Lake Robinson, Lake Russell, Lake Secession, Lake Thurmond, Lake Wateree, Fishing Creek Reservoir, Parr Reservoir, or the portion of the Savannah River from the Interstate 20 Savannah River Bridge to the New Savannah River Bluff Lock and Dam. The bill also revises the idle speed wake distance on Lake Wylie from 50 feet to 150 feet, which mirrors North Carolina's limit.

H.3765, a bill that exempts campgrounds and RV parks from the "Residential Landlord and Tenant Act," was given a favorable report by the committee. The bill gives innkeepers the ability to use law enforcement for ejectment of guests, visitors or trespassers. In addition, the bill provides ten days for those guests who are ejected to make a valid claim for any property that was allegedly left behind. Once the notice is issued to the innkeeper, the guest has ten days to collect the property.

The committee gave a favorable (with amendment) recommendation to H.3539. In order to address a growing concern for farmers, this bill deals with the transportation of feral hogs (swine). The bill outlines that transported hogs on public roads or waterways requires proof of identification from a state veterinarian. Live hogs transported without identification are presumed to have been taken from the wild. The bill further states that it is unlawful for a person to misuse or alter a permit, tag, or other form of identification or attempt to obtain a permit, tag, or form of identification by fraud or misrepresentation. A person who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor. Pigs that do not leave the premises of the swine owner are not subject to the identification requirement.

The bill clarifies that it is unlawful to import, possess, buy, sell, offer for sale, transfer, or transport a live member of the family Suidae (pig) taken from the wild; or release a live member of the family Suidae (pig) into the wild.

Education And Public Works

This committee did not meet this week.


The committee issued a favorable report on H.3696, proposed legislation to add additional circuit and family court judges. This bill seeks to add a circuit court judge in the ninth, fourteenth, and fifteenth circuits. It also would add a family court judge in the first and sixteenth circuits.

Another favorable report was given to H.3214, a bill seeking to allow fictive kin as foster parents. It would define "fictive kin." Then, it would make fictive kin eligible to become foster parents under the Kinship Foster Care Program. It also would allow relatives, and fictive kin, to foster children before being licensed as kinship foster care providers under certain circumstances. See S. 222.

The committee gave a favorable report with amendment to H.3509, proposed legislation extending foster care past age eighteen. This legislation would enable certain children still in SC DSS custody on their eighteenth birthday to continue to receive these services and support until they turn twenty-one. In order to do so, they would have to provide written authorization to SC DSS. Children disqualified from receiving services past the age of 18 would have to be informed of their right to appeal to the agency, unless they have a case pending in the family court that can hear this issue. See S. 221.

A favorable report was given to H.3567 that is proposed legislation covering qualified residential treatment programs. After adding a clear definition of a "qualified residential treatment program" and other terms, this proposal would require assessment, case planning, and judicial review for children placed in qualified residential treatment programs.

Receiving a favorable report, with amendment, was H.3772 covering beer and wine deliveries. As amended, this bill would allow beer and wine retailers to use delivery services, employees, or independent contractors to deliver beer and wine to customers so long as certain guidelines are followed. It also has a declared legislative intent to limit, rather than expand, legal sales of alcoholic beverages.

A favorable report, with amendment, was given to H.3575 allowing curbside or drive-through beer and wine sales. It is a bill that would give qualifying retailers permission to offer limited curbside delivery or pickup service of beer or wine in an area abutting, adjacent, or in close proximity to their licensed premises.

Also receiving a favorable report, with amendments, was H.3444, proposed legislation to reconstitute the state election commission. It would reconstitute the state election commission and revise its composition to nine members, with five members appointed by the governor. Of these five appointed members, up to four could be members of the governor's political party. The Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate would appoint the remaining members.

The committee issued a favorable report, with amendments, to H.3262 regarding party affiliation certification. This proposed legislation would require all candidates from political parties in this state to pay a filing fee, to affirm they participated in at least three of the last four statewide party primaries, or, in certain circumstances, pledge that they are bona fide members of the political party whose nomination they seek. A certification fee of $100 could be collected from these candidates. It also would designate the state chairperson to be the final authority to resolve questions regarding bona fide party membership.

A favorable report was issued on H.3263, expanding state board of canvassers executive committee authority. This bill would expand state executive committee authority to hear protests and contests by county officers, and less than county officers.

One final bill receiving a favorable report was H.3264 proposed legislation to waive newspaper published notices of county conventions. It would eliminate any requirement that county committees publish certain notices regarding county conventionsin newspapers having general circulation in the county.

Labor, Commerce And Industry

This committee did not meet this week.

Medical, Military, Public And Municipal Affairs

This committee did not meet this week.

Ways And Means

This committee did not meet this week.


Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs

H.3889 Operation of Airboats Rep. Hiott

The bill prohibits the operation of an airboat on certain rivers in Georgetown and Horry Counties during the season for hunting duck.

H.3892 Construction Permits for Solid Waste Management Facilities Rep. Yow

The bill prohibits the Department of Health and Environmental Control from issuing any permit for the construction of a solid waste management facility or for mining activities if located within a certain proximity to a public park or other public natural area.

Education And Public Works

S.201 Intervention and Assistance Sen. Hembree

This bill relates relating to intervention and assistance under the Education Accountability Act. A related house bill is H. 3610.

H.3890 Instruction Required in the Comprehensive Health Education Act Rep. J. Moore

This bill would provide that the state Board of Education shall revise such requirements concerning instruction in reproductive health education, family life education, pregnancy prevention education, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual assault and abuse.

H.3901 Social and Emotional Learning Rep. Brawley

This concurrent resolution expresses support for programs that facilitate social and emotional learning and the professionals necessary to meet the physical and mental health needs of all students during and beyond the COVID-19.

H.3909 Supplemental Teaching Scholarship Rep. Collins

This bill would provide that a student who is eligible for the Palmetto Fellows scholarship and is enrolled in the South Carolina Teaching Fellows Program is eligible for a supplemental teaching scholarship. The bill would provide that a student shall commit to teach a public school for seven years after graduation, and provides that if a student does not teach in a South Carolina public school for the first seven years after graduation, the student shall return a certain amount of the supplemental teaching scholarship.

H.3917 Removing Certain Misdemeanor Offenses from Disqualification for Certain Scholarships and Grants Rep. Stavrinakis

This bill relates to certain disqualifications regarding Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, Carolina Tuition Grants, and the Legislative Incentives for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarships. The bill would remove convictions for misdemeanor alcohol-related or drug-related offenses from those offenses which disqualify persons from receiving these scholarships and grants.

H.3925 Waivers Regarding Homeschool Student Eligibility and Interscholastic Activities Rep. Allison

This joint resolution would waive certain provisions relating to limitations on homeschool student eligibility to participate in public school interscholastic activities for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.


H.3893 Revised Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act Rep. W. Newton

The "Revised Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act," among other things, proposes updated terms, sets forth powers of unincorporated nonprofit associations, spells out association liabilities, and prescribes out how legal actions against these associations would be processed.

H.3898 Richland-Lexington Airport District Membership Rep. Caskey

Under this proposed legislation, the Richland-Lexington Airport District membership would increase by two members. These two new members would have to be residents of either Cayce, West Columbia, or Springdale. They would be appointed by the Lexington County Legislative Delegation. The two members currently being appointed by Columbia city council would end. Instead, two members appointed by the Richland County Legislative Delegation would have to be Columbia city residents.

H.3918 Law Enforcement Using Biometric Surveillance Systems Rep. Stavrinakis

Law enforcement agencies, and their officers, could not install, activate, or use a biometric surveillance system in connection with any data collected by any officer's camera or body camera. Also proposes penalties for violations.

H.3919 Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Rep. Stavrinakis

Proposes ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment of the US Constitution, first proposed in 1972.

H.3920 Limiting Lobbying Rep. Stavrinakis

Lobbying activities with members of the public service commission, or the office of regulatory staff, would be prohibited under this bill. Specifically, this bill would prohibit members or employees of the public service commission, or office of regulatory staff, from receiving anything of value from a utility, company, corporation, entity, joint venture, or person whose business, enterprise, operations, or activities are regulated by a governmental regulatory agency. Similar restrictions apply to campaign donations or support of candidates, or General Assembly members.

H.3922 The "South Carolina State Employee Equal Pay for Equal Work Act" Rep. Stavrinakis

The "South Carolina State Employee Equal Pay for Equal Work Act" proposes to prohibit discrimination by gender in compensating all state employees for same kind, grade, and quality of state employment. Sets out proposed definitions, exceptions, and would prohibit specific employer actions with regard to the enforcing this act.

H.3926 Heirs' Property Study Committee Rep. J. Moore

A proposed Heirs' Property Study Committee would examine current, and prospective, methods for handling heirs' property issues. It would be expected to file its report with the General Assembly.

H.3927 General Sessions Court Case Transfers Rep. Stavrinakis

Criminal cases with penalties not exceeding three years, could be transferred from general sessions court under this bill.

H.3928 Providing SLED with Convictions Information Rep. Stavrinakis

This proposed legislation would have every county clerk of court report to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division within ten days, weekends and holidays excluded, general sessions court case dispositions. They would have to report within forty-eight hours the issuance of a restraining order, order of protection, order for the prevention of possession of a firearm, convictions or orders related to domestic violence, orders related to stalking, intimidation, or harassment, and orders for bond with any limitations listed. Magistrates would also have the same reporting deadlines for these cases within their jurisdiction. Law enforcement agencies would also have similar reporting requirements.

Furthermore, no gun transfers preceded by a criminal background check could be finalized, unless the criminal background check has concluded that the sale may proceed, or until at least five days have passed from the initiation of the background check and the national instant criminal background check system has not reported that the sale would violate state or federal law.

These five-day background check provisions would be sunsetted upon the full implementation of the reporting requirements above, but not later than two years from the effective date of the bill.

S.221 Extending Foster Care Past Age 18 Sen. Shealy [Similar to H. 3509]

This legislation would enable certain children still in SC DSS custody on their eighteenth birthday to continue to receive these services and support until they turn twenty-one. In order to do so, they would have to provide written authorization to SC DSS. Children disqualified from receiving services past the age of 18 would have to be informed of their right to appeal to the agency.

S.441 Limiting SCDSS Residential Treatment Placements Sen. Shealy

This bill sets out circumstances when children could not be placed in qualified residential treatment programs. Tightens assessment, case planning, and documentation requirements for children placed in these programs.

S.526 Allendale County Board of Education Candidates Sen. Hutto

Allendale County Board of Education candidates seeking election would have to submit a statement of candidacy, rather than signed petitions, under this bill.

Labor, Commerce And Industry

H.3908 Safeguards against the Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults Rep. Sandifer

This bill establishes authority for a broker dealer, investment adviser, or qualified individual to delay certain financial transactions in cases of the suspected financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Records disclosed under these provisions are nonpublic. The legislation establishes authority for financial institutions to decline certain financial transaction requests in cases of the suspected financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

H.3916 Swimming Pool Installers Rep. Stavrinakis

This bill revises the definition of a residential specialty contractor, so as to include swimming pool installers among the areas of residential specialty contracting recognized by the Residential Builders Commission.

H.3921 Transportation Network Company Act Rep. Stavrinakis

This bill revises the definitions of "personal vehicle" and "prearranged ride" under the Transportation Network Company Act.

Medical, Military, Public And Municipal Affairs

S.222 Kinship Foster Care Program Sen. Shealy

"Fictive kin" means an individual who is not related by birth, adoption, or marriage to a child but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child or the child's family. The bill would provide that fictive kin are eligible to be foster parents under the new Kinship Foster Care Program at DSS

. Also, under certain conditions, relatives and fictive kin may foster a child before being licensed as a kinship foster care provider. See H.3214.

Ways And Means

H.3891 Broadband Service Provider Income Tax Credit Rep. Murray

This bill establishes an income tax credit for a broadband service provider that provides a discount to families with children who require Internet access for educational purposes or veterans. The tax credit equals the amount of the discounts given in the tax year, and excess unused credits may be carried forward for five succeeding taxable years.

H.3899 Exceptional Needs Child Tax Credit Rep. Elliott

This bill revises Exceptional Needs Child Tax Credit in order to: provide how the proceeds of the fund must be administered, by increasing the amount the public charity may expend for administration costs to eight percent; appropriate twelve million dollars to the Department of Education so the department may make a donation of twelve million dollars to Exceptional SC; and, eliminate a provision that requires a school to provide certain individual student test scores in its application.

H.3923 Renewable Energy Machinery Sales Tax Exemption Rep. Stavrinakis

This bill provides a state sales tax exemption for the gross proceeds of sales or the sales price of machinery, machine tools, and parts of them, used in the production of electricity from a renewable energy source.