Governor Nikki Haley last week signed several bills into law that we’ve followed for you this session.
Perhaps the one that got the most attention is one that will make illegal to perform most abortions beyond 19 weeks of pregnancy in South Carolina.
The law took effect immediately.
The only exceptions are if the mother’s life is in jeopardy or if a doctor determines the fetus can’t survive outside the womb.
It does not provide an exemption for pregnancy due to rape or incest.
The bill had opposition in both the House and Senate but it wasn’t near enough to kill the bill.
Among the bill’s sponsors are Representatives Heather Crawford (R-Socastee), Stephen Goldfinch (R-Murrells Inlet), Mike Ryhal (R-Carolina Forest), Murrell Smith (R-Sumter), Richie Yow (R-Chesterfield), Greg Duckworth (R-North Myrtle Beach) and Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach).
Some have predicted legal challenges over the new law.
In fact, during the debate stage a couple of weeks ago, Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia) said, “in every case it’s been challenged it has been held to be unconstitutional. There’s no circumstance where it’s been challenged under these constitutional principles and it’s been upheld.”
However, one of the sponsors, Rep. Donna Hicks (R-Spartanburg County), countered, “In every situation, you always fight to get the courts to change the mind. I mean, in the civil rights issue, if we had ever stopped where would we be today? Because the courts were against that at one point.”
To read the bill, click here.
Governor Haley also signed a bill into law that that would make any health care provider who provides free health care services immune from liability.
It was a House bill.
Among the sponsors are are Representatives Richie Yow (R-Chesterfield), Robert Ridgeway (D-Manning), Murrell Smith (R-Sumter), Stephen Goldfinch (R-Murrells Inlet) and Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach).
Another bill that is now law will, with some exceptions, limit the number of foster children who get full-time care in a foster home to five.
Those exceptions are:
(1) to keep a sibling group together;
(2) to keep a child in the child’s home community;
(3) to return a child to a home in which the child was previously placed;
(4) to comply with an order of the court; or
(5) if it is in the best interest of the children as determined by the court.
There is more to the bill/law and to read it, you can click here.
No signature (or veto) yet from the Governor on another bill was enrolled last week that, among other things, would raise the definition of a “child” or “juvenile” in South Carolina law from a person “less than 17” years old to a person “less than 18.”
However, that does not automatically apply to a 17-year-old who is charged with a Class A, B, C or D felony.
One of the sponsors of the bill is Sen. Gerald Malloy (D-Hartsville).
Several weeks ago (5/11) a bill that passed in the House unanimously failed in the Senate.
That bill would have added two new family court judges in the state, elected at-large without regard to their county or circuit of residence.
The state already has six such judges.
This bill would have raised that number to eight.
This past Thursday (5/26) it failed to pass in the Senate again, albeit by a slightly closer margin.
The first time, the Senate rejected it by a vote of 35-6. This time it lost, 24-15.
A bill to allow for mobile barbershops moved quickly through the House back in the winter but stalled in the Senate in the spring and, likely, will not become law this session.
That bill would have allowed for “mobile barbershops” in the state.
The bill would allow the state barbers’ board to issue the necessary permits and regulations for “shops” that can be moved, towed or transported from one spot to another.
The bill’s two sponsors are Representatives Richie Yow (R-Chesterfield) and Pat Henegan (D-Bennettsville).
Another bill that will likely die would make it easier to catch drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus.
Current law requires a law enforcement officer to witness the violation or the video from the bus has to clearly show the driver of the vehicle that passed the bus.
Those restrictions mean about 30 violations are written per year, although the State Department of Education estimates a couple of thousand violations happen every day.
If true, that means more than 99.99% of violators never get cited.
It appears as if current law will continue.
To read the bill, click here.
And another bill that passed the House unanimously hasn’t moved much in the Senate.
This one would, basically, prohibit law enforcement agencies in South Carolina from having a quota system for traffic tickets and citations.
One of the bill’s sponsors is Rep. Pat Henegan (D-Bennettsville).
The Senate passed a resolution last week that would name the 4/10-of-a-mile portion of Highway 76 in Marion County from its intersection with South Canal Road to Main Street in Marion the “Bishop R.F. Davis Highway.”
That stretch of road is now known as West Liberty Street.
Among other things, the Bishop Davis is the Executive Chairman of Greater Highway Church of Christ, a building which he bought 50 years ago and which stands along the stretch of Highway 76 aforementioned.
Sen. Kent Williams (D-Marion) is the sponsor.
The resolution is now in a House committee.
And another road-naming resolution moved forward last week.
The Senate adopted the plan to name the portion of Highway 76 from the Timmonsville town limit to Interstate 95 (exit 157) the “Reverend Dr. Henry B. Peoples Highway.”
That’s a stretch of about three miles.
Rev. Peoples has served a number of churches in the Pee Dee over the past 45 years and also served as mayor of Timmonsville for 12.
Sen. Kevin Johnson (D-Manning) sponsored the resolution.
It’s now in a House committee.
And this past week a portrait of the late Sen. Clementa Pinckney was unveiled in the Senate chamber.
Rev. Pinckney, of course, was one of the nine people gunned down last June during a Bible Study at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston.
The Senate adopted two resolutions last week to further honor Sen. Pinckney.
One would name a bridge and intersection on I-95 in Jasper County for Pinckney.
The other would name the proposed new Ocean terminal in Jasper County in Pinckney’s honor.
Both proposals were sent to the House.