SC Statehouse Report – March 21, 2016

This past week, one bill at the Statehouse became law.

Governor Nikki Haley signed that into law a bill that establishes a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee in each of the state’s 16 Solicitor Circuits.

This one was one of the recommendations from the Governor’s Domestic Violence Task Force’s Report.

Under the new law, Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committees will identify and review deaths linked to domestic violence and make recommendations to the State Domestic Violence Advisory, which was created by the 2015 Domestic Violence Reform Bill.

Committees will be made up of local domestic violence advocates, law enforcement professionals, medical professionals, and others with expertise in investigating domestic violence cases.

Gov. Haley said, “this is the beginning of what is going to be South Carolina reforming herself to say that survivors matter, victims matter, and that domestic abuse is part of the past, and not part of the future of South Carolina.”

Among the sponsors of the bill were state representatives Kevin Hardee (R-Loris), Cezar McKnight (D-Kingstree), Jay Jordan (R-Florence), Wayne George (D-Mullins), Robert Ridgeway (D-Manning), Pat Henegan (D-Bennettsville) and Jackie Hayes (D-Dillon).

To read the bill, click here.

South Carolina regularly ranks high nationally when it comes to the number of criminal domestic violence cases and the rate of men who kill women.

Before last Tuesday (3/15), South Carolina was just one of nine states that did not have a domestic fatality review team.


A bill introduced last Tuesday would require public buildings owned by the state or any agency, office, department, division, commission, or institution, to supply feminine hygiene products in each female public restroom, free of charge.

In this case, “feminine hygiene products” means tampons, sanitary napkins, and other similar items.

Some question the cost of such service but one of sponsors of the bill, Rep. Cezar McKnight (D-Kingstree), told News13 “I find it ironic the first thing everybody asks is, ‘What does it cost?’ Well no one asks what toilet paper costs, so why are we asking what this costs?”

Another sponsor is Rep. Grady Brown (D-Bishopville).

The bill is now in a house committee.


The South Carolina House passed a bill last week that would add moving a temporary road closure sign to the list of crimes that include altering or destroying such signs, along with traffic lights and railroad crossings.

A conviction could mean up to five years in prison. However, if injury occurs because you move a sign, it could mean ten years. If someone dies, it could mean 30 years in prison.

Among the bill’s sponsors is state representative Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach).

The bill is now in a senate committee.


The South Carolina House passed a bill designed to make fraternities, sororities and other social organizations at state colleges more accountable.

The bill is called the “Tucker Hipps Transparency Act,” named for a Clemson student whose family contends, in a lawsuit, died in September 2014, when he fell into Lake Hartwell after he was forced to walk along a narrow bridge railing.

While Clemson and the fraternity (Sigma Phi Epsilon) deny most of the allegations, the bill would require the schools to maintain reports of investigations and other related information of organization members, and make those reports available to the public.

The bill is now in a senate committee.

To read the bill, click here.


The South Carolina senate gave key approval to a bill that will increase the legal size limit for flounder.

The current law prohibits you from taking a flounder that is 14 inches long or shorter.

The new law would increase that to 15 inches.

The second reading vote was 40-1 in favor. The only “no” vote came from upstate Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg).

After an obligatory third reading, the bill moves to the House.


If you want to run for a South Carolina House or Senate seat, you have until March 30 to do so.

All Senate and House seats are up this Fall (all constitutional officers, including the Governor are not).

Filing started on March 16.

The primaries are June 14.

Any runoffs will take place June 28.

The general election is November 8.

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