Joe S. Jones
This legislative year has been somewhat strange. The SC General Assembly began the session Jan. 14 and has already taken two weeks off due to extraordinary weather conditions. However, the House of Representative had scheduled a furlough for one of those weeks.
The Senate has been slow on floor action because of the bills that were set for special order last year. They are controversial and numerous senators want to speak for or against these bills. The first bill set for special order deals with the rewrite of the State Ethics Law and has dominated much of the Senate’s time this session.
Dealing with ethics, Governor Haley submitted six candidates to the Senate to serve on the State Ethics Commission. The six candidates were referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for review. Ethics Commissioners must be approved by the Senate before being seated. Some candidates were for terms ending in 2018 while others were for shorter terms.
As usual, the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee has been hard at work preparing the state appropriations bill.
However, both the House and Senate have found time to introduce an industry exemption bill. The bills were read and sent to the respective Labor Commerce and Industry Committee. The bills were introduced at the behest of the SC Manufacturers’ Alliance.
The bills reflect the language and intent the manufacturers presented to the Industrial Exemption Committee which was established by the SC State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Surveyors. This committee met three times over the last seven months attempting to reach a compromise on an industry exemption bill; however, the two groups – the engineers and surveyors and the manufacturers could not come to an agreement.
A hearing on H. 4604, the industrial exemption legislation, was held by the House Labor Commerce and Industry Business and Commerce Subcommittee Feb. 18. The bill was reported out of the subcommittee as it was introduced and is headed to the LCI Committee.
(See the Industry Exemption Story for more details.)
A senate subcommittee held a hearing last week on a bill that passed the House last year which would eliminate the requirement for state buildings to be either LEED certified or Green Globe certified. The American Chemistry Council is the advocate for passage of this bill. Environmentalists as well as the design community have opposed this bill. The bill was carried over and another hearing is expected.