Workers’ comp for COVID-19 and execution changes — How 9 Horry County bills fared this legislative session

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A highway may be renamed near Loris, and executions may begin again in South Carolina after two bills proposing the changes were passed by state lawmakers this year.

The two bills were only some of more than a dozen filed by Horry County state representatives and senators during the 2021 legislative session. Most of the bills never made it out of committees and onto the floor for a vote.

Some of the proposed bills, if passed, would have extended benefits to foster care children, banned fireworks on public beaches and required people accused of domestic violence to wear a GPS ankle monitor.

Among the locally-proposed legislation this year was the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act, which would have legalized medical marijuana for certain ailments. The bill never came to a vote, but its sponsor, Sen. Tom Davis, hopes it will pass next year.

Here’s how some local bills ended the season:

Banning fireworks on public beaches

Bill number — S.0196

Sponsor — Sen. Greg Hembree

Purpose — The bill would have revised the term “fireworks prohibited zone” to include public beaches or public beach accesses.

Status — The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, but never went to a vote.

Execution changes

Bill number — S.0200

Sponsor — Sen. Greg Hembree

Purpose — The bill amends state law to change South Carolina’s default method of execution from lethal injection. Instead, death row inmates would choose between dying by firing squad or the electric chair.

Status — The bill was passed by both the House and the Senate. It was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster on May 14.

Renaming part of U.S. Hwy 70 to honor former mayor

Bill number — S.0179

Sponsor — Sen. Greg Hembree

Purpose — The resolution asks the South Carolina Department of Transportation to rename U.S. Hwy 70 one mile north and south of the highway’s intersection with Loris city limits to the Henry L. Nichols Highway.

Status — The bill was adopted by both the House and the Senate. 

GPS monitors for domestic violence offenders

Bill number — H.3417

Sponsor — Rep. William Bailey

Purpose — The bill would have placed a GPS monitor on domestic violence offenders while they are out on bond. The monitor would allow the case’s victim to know where the offender is at all times.

Status — The bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on Jan. 12, but never went to a vote.

Workers’ compensation for first responders who contract COVID-19

Bill number — H.3192

Sponsor — Rep. Russell Fry

Purpose — If passed, the bill would have allowed a first responder, health care provider or correctional officer who contracts COVID-19 to receive workers’ compensation benefits. It would have also provided temporary total disability benefits if the employee is required to isolate due to the virus.

Status — The bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on Jan.12, but never went to a vote.

Increased penalties for prostitution

Bill number — H.3224

Sponsor — Rep. Russell Fry

Purpose — The bill would have amended state law to increase the penalties for solicitation of prostitution, creating or running a brothel or house of prostitution and causing another person to participate in prostitution. The bill would have also created defenses for survivors of human trafficking, and would have increased penalties if the trafficked person had a mental disability.

Status — The bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on Jan. 12. In February, more than a dozen lawmakers had their names added as a sponsor. The bill never left the committee.

Drug dealers charged with involuntary manslaughter

Bill number — H.3364

Sponsor — Rep. Russell Fry

Purpose — The bill would have amended state law to allow for drug dealers to be charged with involuntary manslaughter if they sold the illegal substance that caused a person’s death.

Status — The bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on Jan. 12. Two other lawmakers added their names as sponsors in late January, joining 12 other members of the House. The bill never left the committee.

Doctors have to offer opioid reversal drug

Bill number — H.3366

Sponsor — Rep. Russell Fry

Purpose — If passed, the bill would require doctors to offer a prescription for naloxone — which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose — to patients “under certain circumstances and for other purposes.”

Status — The bill was referred to the House Committee on Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs on Jan. 12. Two additional sponsors requested for their names to be added to the bill, bringing its number of sponsors to 10. The bill never left the committee, but a similar bill was passed by the House and Senate, and then signed by the governor, in April.

Extending foster care benefits

Bill number — H.3509

Sponsor — Rep. Russell Fry

Purpose — The bill would have amended state law to allow for an extended foster care program to serve children until they turn 21. Benefits previously only applied until they were 18. The extension of benefits would have been voluntary or court-ordered.

Status — The bill was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on Jan. 12. Several sponsors added their names to the bill, but it never made it out of the committee.

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