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390Ratification Number: 103Act Number: 60Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 20010228Primary Sponsor: ReeseAll Sponsors: ReeseDrafted Document Number: l:\council\bills\ggs\22875cm01.docDate Bill Passed both Bodies: 20010523Date of Last Amendment: 20010522Governor's Action: SDate of Governor's Action: 20010619Subject: Firefighter, applicant to undergo SLED and FBI background review; Fire, Law EnforcementHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ ------ 20010629 Act No. A60 ------ 20010619 Signed by Governor ------ 20010605 Ratified R103 Senate 20010523 Concurred in House amendment, enrolled for ratification House 20010523 Read third time, returned to Senate with amendment ------ 20010523 Scrivener's error corrected House 20010522 Amended, read second time ------ 20010517 Scrivener's error corrected House 20010516 Committee report: Favorable with 26 HLCI amendment House 20010501 Introduced, read first time, 26 HLCI referred to Committee ------ 20010430 Scrivener's error corrected Senate 20010427 Read third time, sent to House Senate 20010426 Amended, read second time, unanimous consent for third reading on Friday, 20010427 Senate 20010425 Committee report: Favorable 11 SJ Senate 20010228 Introduced, read first time, 11 SJ referred to Committee Versions of This Bill Revised on April 25, 2001 - Word format Revised on April 26, 2001 - Word format Revised on April 30, 2001 - Word format Revised on May 16, 2001 - Word format Revised on May 17, 2001 - Word format Revised on May 22, 2001 - Word format Revised on May 23, 2001 - Word format
(A60, R103, S390)
AN ACT TO ENACT THE "SOUTH CAROLINA FIREFIGHTERS EMPLOYMENT AND REGISTRATION ACT" INCLUDING PROVISIONS TO AMEND TITLE 40, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS, BY ADDING CHAPTER 80 RELATING TO FIREFIGHTER EMPLOYMENT AND REGISTRATION, SO AS TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS IN REGARD TO FIREFIGHTER REGISTRATION, TO REQUIRE CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS ON FIREFIGHTERS EMPLOYED IN THIS STATE ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2001, TO REQUIRE REGISTRATION OF FIREFIGHTERS WITH THE OFFICE OF THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL, TO REQUIRE THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL ASSIGN IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS TO AND MAINTAIN CERTAIN RECORDS ON REGISTERED FIREFIGHTERS, TO PROVIDE THE CONDITIONS UPON WHICH INFORMATION CONTAINED IN A FIREFIGHTER'S FILE MAY BE RELEASED BY THE OFFICE OF THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL, TO PROVIDE THAT EXCEPT FOR A FIREFIGHTER EMPLOYED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, OR AN INDIVIDUAL ENGAGED IN FIREFIGHTING DUTIES DURING A DECLARED STATE OF EMERGENCY, NO PERSON SHALL BE ALLOWED TO PERFORM FIREFIGHTING DUTIES IN THIS STATE ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 2001, WITH A PUBLIC FIRE DEPARTMENT OR EMPLOYER WITHOUT BEING REGISTERED AS A FIREFIGHTER, TO REQUIRE THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL REGISTER EACH FIREFIGHTER AND MAINTAIN CERTAIN INFORMATION AND RECORDS ON EACH FIREFIGHTER, TO REQUIRE FIRE DEPARTMENTS AND EMPLOYERS OF FIREFIGHTERS TO NOTIFY THE STATE FIRE MARSHAL OF THE SEPARATION OF A FIREFIGHTER FROM EMPLOYMENT; AND TO AMEND ACT 1377 OF 1968, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT BONDS, SO AS TO REDIRECT THE FIRE INSURANCE PREMIUMS TAX IMPOSED FOR DEBT SERVICE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING AND REGULATION TO BE USED FOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS AND SUPPORT AT THE STATE FIRE ACADEMY, IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FIREFIGHTER EMPLOYMENT AND REGISTRATION ACT, REGIONAL SERVICE DELIVERY OF PUBLIC FIREFIGHTER EDUCATION AND TRAINING, FIRE PREVENTION SERVICES, AND PUBLIC GRANTS TO ENTITIES PROVIDING FIRE AND LIFE SAFETY EDUCATION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
South Carolina Firefighters Employment and Registration Act
SECTION 1. Title 40 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 40-80-10. (A) This chapter may be cited as the 'South Carolina Firefighters Employment and Registration Act'.
(B) For purposes of this chapter:
(1) 'Employer' means any fire department or other entity which puts an individual or employee in service as a firefighter or assigns any person to work or to official duties as a firefighter whether or not the firefighter receives financial compensation.
(2) 'Employment date' means the date the fire chief certifies the firefighter is trained and prepared to perform firefighting duties.
(3) 'Fire chief' means the highest ranking officer or official in charge of a fire department, whether or not called by some other title.
(4) 'Fire department' means any organization providing rescue, fire suppression, and related activities including any public or government sponsored organizations engaged in rescue, fire suppression, and related activities.
(5) 'Firefighter' means any person, male or female, paid or unpaid, who engages in rescue, fire suppression, or related activities under the supervision of a fire chief or fire department.
(6) 'Firefighting duties' means duties relating to rescue, fire suppression, public safety, and related activities as assigned by a fire chief.
Section 40-80-20. (A) Prior to employment of any firefighter, paid or volunteer, the fire chief or other employer must ensure that each prospective firefighter undergoes a criminal records check conducted by a law enforcement agency.
(B) The cost of the criminal records check must not exceed eight dollars.
(C) A person who is convicted, pleads guilty or no contest, or otherwise admits guilt, regardless of adjudication, to a felony, arson related crime, use of an illegal substance, or abuse of a controlled substance within the last ten years, shall not be allowed to perform firefighting duties in the State of South Carolina on or after July 1, 2001. After the expiration of the ten-year period, a fire chief has the option and discretion to determine whether or not to hire a person with a criminal record as a firefighter.
(D) A criminal records check is not required for a firefighter employed on or before June 30, 2001.
Section 40-80-30. (A) No later than sixty days after the start of his employment date as a paid or volunteer firefighter, each firefighter must be registered with the Office of the State Fire Marshal by his fire chief or other employer. The criminal background check required by Section 40-80-20 must be conducted before registration.
(B) The Office of the State Fire Marshal must maintain a file on each registered firefighter in this State, that includes all information required to be kept by this chapter, and must assign a firefighter identification number to each registered firefighter which corresponds with the firefighter's social security number.
(C) Upon request the information in the file of an individual firefighter may be released in its entirety to a potential employer as defined in this chapter and may be used as a basis for employment. The requesting department or employer must maintain this information in a confidential manner.
(D) Any registered firefighter may at any time request and obtain a copy of his or her file. The fee for a copy of a firefighter's file is five dollars payable to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Section 40-80-40. (A) No person may be allowed to perform firefighting duties with a public fire department, organization, or employer of a county, municipality, special purpose district, or other political subdivision in this State on or after July 1, 2001, without first undergoing a criminal background check as required by Section 40-80-20 and being recommended for registration pursuant to Section 40-80-50.
(B) A firefighter employed by the United States Government and working in the course and scope of his official duties as a federal employee is not required to be registered under this chapter.
(C) A firefighter who works for or serves more than one fire department must be registered by each department.
(D) A firefighter previously registered with the Office of the State Fire Marshal, but not actively engaged with a fire department or as a firefighter for a period of six months, must apply for registration and must submit a criminal records check as required by Section 40-80-20. Firefighters that are being reinstated to their last registered department within a period of not more than three years are exempted from the provisions contained in this section.
Section 40-80-50. Upon recommendation of a fire chief or other employer, the Office of the State Fire Marshal must register each firefighter subject to the provisions of Sections 40-80-30 and 40-80-40. The Office of the State Fire Marshal must maintain as minimum information on each firefighter the complete name, the date of birth, the social security number, the South Carolina driver's license number, the employer, and the date of employment or membership. The Office of the State Fire Marshal must notify the chief of the employing fire department or other employer of the registration. This notification may be transmitted electronically or in written form. The fire chief must utilize forms as required and provided by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Section 40-80-60. If a firefighter becomes separated from employment or membership or becomes inactive, the fire chief or other employer within sixty days must notify the Office of the State Fire Marshal of the firefighter's separation or inactive status. Notification of separation of a firefighter from employment must be on a form as provided by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Section 40-80-70. Notwithstanding another provision of law, the provisions contained in this chapter do not apply to individuals engaged in firefighting duties during a declared state of emergency."
Debt service on bonds
SECTION 2. Subsections (C), (D), and (E) of Section 2 of Act 1377 of 1968, as added by Act 522 of 1992, are amended to read:
"(C) In addition to the tax imposed pursuant to the provisions of Section 38-7-30 of the 1976 Code, an additional tax of thirty-five one-hundredths percent is imposed annually on the gross premium receipts less premiums returned on canceled policy contracts and less dividends and returns of unabsorbed premium deposits of all fire insurance companies doing business in the State. This tax must be collected by the Director of the Department of Insurance as other taxes on fire insurance companies are collected. All sums collected for this tax must be paid annually by the director to the State Treasurer to be credited to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to be used for capital improvements and support at the State Fire Academy, implementation of the Firefighter Employment and Registration Act established in Chapter 80 of Title 40 of the 1976 Code, regional service delivery of public firefighter education and training, fire prevention services, and public fire safety education, including grants to entities providing fire and life safety education on a statewide basis. Amounts necessary to conduct the fingerprint and background checks required pursuant to Chapter 80, Title 40 of the 1976 Code, must be transferred from the DLLR Fund to SLED and retained, expended, and carried forward for these purposes.
(E) Reserved "
SECTION 3. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Ratified the 5th day of June, 2001.
Approved the 19th day of June, 2001.
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