ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BLUE ALERT PROGRAM
PASSED – H. 4636 –Reps. Tallon, J. R. Smith, Hixon, Pope, Delleney, Corbin, Bedingfield, G. R. Smith, Lucas, Hamilton, Stringer, Ryan, Owens, Horne, Pinson, Thayer, Putnam, Murphy, Pitts, Spires, Brannon, Chumley, Lowe, Allison, Anthony, Quinn, Bingham, Ballentine, Bannister, Hearn, D. C. Moss, Hardwick, Parker, Cole and Forrester: The bill establishes the blue alert program that is designed to apprehend a suspect that allegedly kills, seriously injures, or abducts a law enforcement officer by rapidly disseminating information regarding the suspect. Representative Tallon introduced H.4636 and asked that the House of Representatives allow the Blue Alert Bill to go without reference January 19, 2012. Governor Haley, Representative Tallon, the SCFOP, Chief Keel, Director Smith and law enforcement from around the state held a press conference on the State House steps Tuesday, March 6, 2012 to celebrate the passage of the Blue Alert legislation.
RETIREMENT – H.4967 (Retirement Bill)
H.4967 was amended by the Senate Finance Committee and reported out of committee favorably Thursday, May 3, 2012 (see matrix developed by Senate Finance Committee staff). H.4967 is not yet on the Senate Calendar.
SENATE FINANCE VERSION
The Senate Retirement Subcommittee unanimously passed its version of retirement legislation Thursday morning. The Senate Finance Committee took up the bill Thursday afternoon and gave it a favorable report. The Committee staff developed a matrix which is provided below – the first column is current law, the second is the House version of H. 4967, and the third column is what was adopted by Senate Finance Committee.
The package was designed to minimize the chance of a lawsuit invalidating changes made by the bill. Some of the key changes in the Finance version of H. 4967 are:
- COLA’s for both PORS and SCRS are a guaranteed 1% per year, capped at $500 per year, with the possibility of a higher “ad hoc” COLA if investment earnings are significantly higher than the assumed 7.5% return on investment.
- Average Final Compensation (AFC) – remains at 3 years for current employees in PORS and SCRS.
- Service Purchase – Starting July 1, 2012, the bill requires actuarially neutral service purchase for new and existing employees.
- Employer Contribution Rate - increases will be dampened from current projections and placed on a set schedule:
- Employee Contributions Rate – for both SCRS & PORS will increase 1/2% each year for 3 years.
- Return to Work - For people who are retired and return to work the pension payment is suspended for the balance of the year once they earn $10,000 in a calendar year if they return to work with an employer covered by the retirement system. This return to work earnings cap does not apply to elected officials or appointed positions confirmed by the Senate (magistrates, cabinet officials…). Those who retire from SCRS after age 62 and PORS after age 57 are also exempt from the return to work earnings cap.
- The TERI program is terminated on 6/30/18, but anyone may participate in the program for 5 years or less until that time.
- Public Employee Benefit Authority – The Retirement System is placed under an independent board (the Public Employee Benefit Agency or PEBA) instead of being made a part of the cabinet agency called the Department of Administration or DOA.
- COLA – (Benefit Adjustment) – PORS members are included in the benefit adjustment to be granted unless certain revenue triggers are not met. COLAs are not guaranteed. A 7.5% rate of return on investments must be met based on 5 year average in order to receive a COLA (now referred to as a benefit adjustment). Percentage not to exceed 2.5%.
- AFC – Average Final Compensation calculation changed.
(1) Three Years to Five Years - Starting July 1, 2012, the average final compensation (AFC) for new and existing employees will be computed using the 5 highest years rather than the current 3 highest years of compensation.
(2) Leave – Starting July 1, 2012, new and existing employees will no longer be able to include his or her annual leave pay out in the AFC calculation and sick leave will no longer be used to add additional service credit.
- Service Purchase – Starting July 1, 2012, the bill requires actuarially neutral service purchase for new and existing employees.
- Employee Contribution Rate – the bill increases the employee contribution rate by 1%. Rate will increase from 6.5% to 7.5% over a two year period. (Phase-in over 2 years).
- Employer Contribution Rate – As adopted by Budget & Control Board on November 3, 2011, the bill increases the Employer Contribution rate by 1%. The bill sets a floor for employers at 12.3% (PORS).
- Inactive Accounts - Interest will not accrue on inactive accounts.
The House Ways and Means Committee retirement information to date can be found at http://www.scstatehouse.gov/committeeinfo/Ways&MeansRetirementAdHocStudyCommittee/hwmretirestudycomm.php .
All Senate Finance Special Retirement Study Committee information to date can be found at http://www.scstatehouse.gov/committeeinfo/SenateFinanceSpecialRetirementSubcommittee/sfinretiresubcomm.php Members of the Senate Special Retirement Study Committee are: The Honorable Thomas Alexander, Co-Chairman; The Honorable W. Greg Ryberg Co-Chairman; The Honorable Nikki Setzler; the Honorable Phil Leventis; The Honorable Darrell Jackson; and The Honorable Daniel “Danny” Verdin.
CREATION OF A DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION
H. 3066 General Bill (Department of Administration) Reps. G.R. Smith, Daning, Ballentine, Harrison, Allison, Hamilton, G.M. Smith, Bingham, Long, Henderson, Erickson, Horne, Willis, Weeks, McLeod, Pope, Simrill, Lucas, Norman, D.C. Moss, Clemmons, Harrell, Atwater, Bedingfield, Funderburk and Edge. This bill creates the Department of Administration as a cabinet agency to perform several services currently performed by the Budget and Control Board and the Governor’s Office. The Senate passed the restructuring bill with the elimination of the Budget and Control Board and the creation of several additional agencies. NOTE: H.3066 creates the Public Employee Benefits Authority which will house the Retirement Division and the Insurance Services Division. Employer and Employee increases for Retirement were also approved in Senate amendments. The House returned H3066 to the Senate with amendments 5/2/12. Most notable amendment was the elimination of the Public Employee Benefits Authority (PEBA). Senate Finance added the PEBA language to the Retirement Bill.
S 0035 General Bill, By McConnell and Verdin
This bill provides that a driver when signaled by law enforcement to stop may proceed to a reasonably close and safe location before stopping. Bill was referred to Senate Judiciary 1/11/11. Referred 3/7/11 to a Subcommittee: Senator(s) Rankin (ch), Campsen, Coleman, Davis, Nicholson.
S 0254 General Bill, By Cleary, McConnell and Hutto
This amends laws relating to gambling and lotteries to add definitions for the regulation of gambling and to make penalties for unlawful lotteries and gambling. This bill allows exceptions for games of cards or dice in a private residence or home and monies paid for gambling are be recoverable by a debtor. Bill is on Senate Calendar with Senators Hayes and Bright desiring to be present.
S 0255 General Bill, By Cleary, McConnell, Hutto and Rose
This bill authorizes qualified religious, charitable, educational, and other eleemosynary organizations to operate and conduct raffles and casino night charity games through registration with SC Sec. of State. Proceeds are required to be used for religious, charitable, educational, or other eleemosynary purposes. Bill was referred to Senate Judiciary 1/11/11. S.0255 passed the Senate and was sent to the House of Representative where it was referred to House Judiciary 2/10/11.
S 0256 (H3061) Joint Resolution, By Cleary, McConnell, Hutto and Rose.
This bill is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the constitution. This bill provides that the General Assembly may authorize raffles to be operated and conducted by religious, charitable or nonprofit organizations. Bill was referred to Senate Judiciary 1/11/11. Bill is on Senate Calendar with Senators Thomas and Bright desire to be present.
S 674 Joint Resolution (Dual Office Holding Exemption), by Knotts
This bill is a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the constitution. This bill provides that the prohibition against holding two offices of honor or profit does not apply to commissioned law enforcement officers, corrections officers, or deputy coroners who hold public office in a political subdivision other than the one in which they serve as a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or deputy coroner. The bill was introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary 3/9/11.
S 676 (Dual Office Holding Exemption), General Bill, by Knotts
This bill provides that the prohibition against holding two offices of honor or profit does not apply to commissioned law enforcement officers, corrections officers, or deputy coroners who hold public office in a political subdivision other than the one in which they serve as a law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or deputy coroner. The bill was introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary 3/9/11. Met with Senate Judiciary staff regarding movement of a bill. Working on a re-write.
H 3126 General bill, by Rutherford and GM Smith
This bill requires that certain statements made during a custodial interrogation must be video recorded. It also provides that a court must instruct a jury that it may draw an adverse inference for a law enforcement officer who fails to video record a statement relating to a crime. The bill also provides the circumstance in which a person’s statement may be used for impeachment purposes, the circumstances when a statement obtained in another state or by the federal government is admissible in this state and the circumstances when an inaudible portion of a video recording does not render it inadmissible in a judicial preceding. Bill was referred to House Judiciary 1/1/11.
H 3161 General Bill, by Sellers
This bill provides that a person who has been issued a concealed weapons permit may secure his weapon under a seat in a vehicle or in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle’s passenger compartment; and to revise the definition of the term “luggage”. Bill referred to House Judiciary 1/1/11.
H 3194 General Bill, by Pope, Tallon, Hixon, DC Moss, GR Smith and Simrill
Similar to H3193. This bill outlines deductions allowed from South Carolinataxable income of an individual for purposes of the South Carolinaincome tax act, so as to allow a maximum three thousand dollar a year deduction for volunteer state constables designated by the state law enforcement division as state constables and to provide the eligibility requirements for this deduction. Bill was referred to House Ways and Means 1/1/11. H.3194 passed the House and sent to the Senate 4/29/11. Referred to Senate Finance Committee 5/3/11.
H 3265 General Bill, by D.C. Moss
This bill makes it unlawful for a person to flee from a law enforcement officer and provides penalty for doing so (misdemeanor and imprisoned for not more than 90 days). Bill referred to House Judiciary 1/1/11.
H 3292 General Bill, by Pitts, Cooper, Delleney, D.C. Moss, Huggins, Bingham, Hixon, Barfield, Patrick, G.R. Smith, Loftis, Umphlett, Bowen, Owens, Murphy, Hiott, Bikas, Sandifer, White, McCoy, Hearn, Parker, Erickson, Long, Henderson, Taylor, Quinn, Bannister, Hamilton, Bedingfield, Forrester, Herbkersman, Simrill, Young, Pope, Willis, G.M. Smith, Weeks, Viers, Clemmons and Knight
This legislation makes numerous revisions relating to carrying handguns and firearms. Among other things, this legislation provides a list of locations where certain persons are prohibited from carrying a handgun, whether concealed or not. The legislation includes provisions for the transportation and storage of firearms in a locked vehicle; the legislation provides that certain persons may not prohibit an individual from transporting or storing legally-possessed firearms or ammunition in the individual’s privately-owned motor vehicle. The legislation provides that it is unlawful to carry a handgun, whether concealed or not, with the intent to use it unlawfully against another person. The intent to use a handgun unlawfully against another person shall not be inferred from the mere possession, carrying, or concealment of a loaded or unloaded handgun. The legislation revises the circumstances upon which a person can carry a firearm on school property. The legislation revises the circumstances upon which it is unlawful to carry a deadly weapon. Relating to additional penalties for carrying a firearm onto the premise of a business that sells alcoholic beverages, the legislation revises the penalties and the circumstances upon which they must be imposed. The legislation deletes the provision that requires a permit holder to have his identification card in his possession whenever he carries a concealable weapon and inform a law enforcement officer that he is a permit holder under certain circumstances. The legislation revises the locations upon which it is lawful to carry a concealable weapon with and without a permit, and it revises the circumstances upon which a valid out-of-state permit to carry a concealable weapon must be honored. Relating to the carrying of concealable weapons upon the premises of a business or a residence, this legislation revises the circumstances upon which it is lawful to carry a concealable weapon on these premises. Penalties are provided for various violations. Introduced 1/12/11 and referred to House Judiciary. The president of the SCFOP sent a letter to Rep. Viers regarding the FOP’s opposition to the legislation. Bill was sent back to subcommittee.
H 3500 General Bill, Rep. Pitts
This bill provides that political subdivisions of this state employing full-time law enforcement officers shall grant a total of at least one hundred eighty days of paid administrative leave for an officer who suffers bodily injury when physically attacked while in the performance of official duties. The legislation provides that this paid administrative leave applies before the officer is required to use any sick leave. Referred to the Ways and Means Committee 1/27/11.
H 3501 General Bill, Rep. Pitts
This bill revises provisions authorizing a payroll deduction for dues of the State Employees’ Association, South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association (SCLEOA) and the South Carolina Troopers’ Association, so as to also authorize a payroll deduction for dues of the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police. Referred to Ways and Means Committee 1/27/11.