The House finalized action on dozens of bills and sent them to the Senate before May 1 — the “crossover” deadline for House bills to reach the Senate. Any House legislation sent to the Senate after the deadline needs a two-thirds Senate vote to be debated on the Senate floor.
The following key bills were amended, approved and sent to the Senate before the deadline:
H 4665, which received unanimous House approval, would increase oversight over child care facilities in the state. Under the bill, the state Department of Social Services would be authorized to make unannounced inspections of child care facilities once a year. DSS also would be required to conduct an unannounced inspection whenever the agency received a regulatory complaint. In addition, the bill would make it illegal for day care personnel to administer medication to a child unless a parent first signed a consent form. Medication could be administered in a medical emergency, however.
H 4791, the “Electronic Data Privacy Protection Act,” would require state law enforcement officials and agencies to obtain court orders or search warrants before searching the contents of electronic devices, such as smartphones or laptop computers, found during an arrest. However, the restrictions would not apply if parents of minors or legal guardians of vulnerable adults gave their consent for the search.
H 3435 would amend the S.C. Comprehensive Health Education Act to require local school districts to publish on their websites the title and publisher of health education materials adopted and used in classrooms. In addition, each local school district would be required to include information about its comprehensive health education curriculum in its annual district report. The state Department of Education would be directed to withhold 1 percent of funding allocated to that district until the report is filed.
H 4346 would establish a temporary Foster Care Study Committee, composed of senators and House members, to review procedures regarding foster children, foster parents and the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect. Recommendations would be due on January 1, 2015.
H 4805 would authorize the State Election Commission to supervise the conduct of county boards of election and voter registration and ensure they comply with state and federal voting law requirements.
The House agreed to Senate amendments on H 4259, the “S.C. Military Service Integrity and Preservation Act,” which will soon be sent to Gov. Nikki Haley for her review. The legislation would make it a misdemeanor crime for someone to intentionally lie on his or her resume or other communication about serving in the Armed Forces or to falsely claim to have received a medal or ribbon.
The House also approved H 4061, which provides for age-appropriate instruction in sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention in public schools. The state Board of Education would be required to develop instructional units for each age level from 4-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade. Districts would be required to provide instruction on these units beginning with the 2014-15 school year.
The Legislature meets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from January through mid-June. If you need to reach me on those days, please contact the Columbia office, at 803-734-2999, 333C Blatt Building, P.O. Box 11867, Columbia, S.C. 29211. My email address in Columbia is email@example.com. On days when we are out of session, please contact the Chesterfield County Legislative Delegation Office at 843-623-5001, 200 W. Main St., Chesterfield, S.C. 29709, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.