Statehouse Report

//Statehouse Report

Statehouse Report

2017-03-27T11:59:35+00:00March 28th, 2017|Legislation|Comments Off on Statehouse Report

Each week, the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police releases it’s Statehouse Report detailing legislation which impacts law enforcement.

 

H.3014 PRIVATE INFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA Rep. McKnight Anyone harmed by the malicious publication of photographs on a social media website could file a lawsuit under the provisions of this proposed bill.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

H.3187 FIRST RESPONDER HANDGUN CARRY Rep. Burns Grants emergency medical service providers, firefighters, and other first responders, working during an emergency, an exemption from the offense of unlawfully carrying a handgun, under certain delineated circumstances.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

H.3206 (Similar S.87) ASSAULTING LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS Rep. Pope Assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature would include assaults on a federal, state, or local law enforcement officer or corrections officer in the discharge of, or because of, their official duties under this criminal offense.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

H.3231 SPARTANBURG POLICE AND FIRE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION Rep. Tallon Creates a Spartanburg Police Department and Fire Department Civil Service Commission under such terms and conditions as the General Assembly shall set. Spartanburg City Council shall establish the terms, conditions, membership, and procedures of the commission for the benefit of the police and fire departments. Repeals 1936 Act 612, 1965 Act 345; 1966 Act 991, and 1992 Act 618, all relating to a police and fire departments civil service commission for Spartanburg.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

2/8/17 Meeting scheduled for 9am in Room 511 Blatt (withdrawn from agenda)

2/28/17 Committee Report: Favorable Spartanburg Delegation

3/1/17 House Calendar: Read the second time

3/2/17 House Calendar: Read the third time and sent to the Senate and read a first time and referred to Senate Judiciary committee.

H.3240 NATIONAL CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMIT RECIPROCITY ACT Rep. Clemmons Would enact the “National Concealed Weapons Permit Reciprocity Act.” Valid out-of-state concealed weapons permit holders must be allowed to carry their permitted weapon in our state.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

2/14/17 Discussed in House Judiciary Committee (passed out favorably)

2/21/17 House Calendar

3/1/17 Debate Adjourned

3/28/17 Bill remains on contested calendar.

H.3259 (similar to S.117) LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER MENTAL EVALUATION REQUIREMENTS Rep. King All law enforcement officers would be required to undergo a mental health evaluation before they could be certified or recertified. These evaluations must be conducted under the direction of the Law Enforcement Training Council.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

H.3409 FREE ADMISSION TO M– USEUM Rep. Huggins

Bill provides that a SC resident who is a constable, reserve officer, police officer, member of the state guard, or volunteer firefighter may enter the State museum without charge.

1/11/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Ways and Means

H.3523 WORKERS COMPENSATION – PTSD Rep. McCoy

This bill revises the definitions of “injury” and “personal injury” in workers’ compensation law to modify the requirements for first responders seeking workers’ compensation for personal injury caused by post traumatic stress disorder arising from his direct involvement in a significant traumatic experience.

1/18/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

H.3879 ACCIDENTAL DEATH BENEFIT INCREASED THROUGH WORKERS COMPENSATION by Reps. Davis, Yow and Thayer. In Section 42-9-290 outlining amount of compensation for death of employee due to accident, the section has been amended to increase the maximum amount payable for burial expenses under Workers’ Compensation for accidental death from $2500 to $7500. Amended from $2500 to $10,000

3/2/17 Introduced and read the first time and referred to House LCI.

3/8/17 House LCI subcommittee meeting @ 9am in Room 403 Blatt.

3/13/17 House LCI full committee meeting @ 9am in room 403 Blatt (reported out favorably)

3/21/17 Read a second time as amended (amended to increase accidental death expenses from $2500 to $10,000)

3/22/17 Read a third time and sent to the Senate where it was introduced the first time and referred to Senate Judiciary.

H.4033 HIGHWAY SAFETY by Reps. Hixon, Taylor, Blackwell, Clyburn, Allison, Daning, Yow, Erickson, B. Newton, Bennett and Arrington. Creates the offense of “Endangerment of a Highway Worker” along with penalties for this offense. The legislation speaks to “highway worker” which includes law enforcement and fire fighters, an emergency medical services provider, or any other authorized person, who removes hazards from bridges, roadways, shoulders, medians, and associated rights-of-way, or who responds to accidents and other incidents on bridges, roads, shoulders, medians, associated righter-of-way, or in highway work zones.

3/22/17 Introduced and read the first time and referred to House Education and Public Works

3/28/17 Transportation subcommittee to meet @ 10:30am in room 433 Blatt to discuss the bill. Subcommittee members: Daning (Chair), Bennett, Bradley, Cogswell and Govan.

3/28/17 Full Education to meet 1.5 hours in room 433 Blatt after adjournment to discuss the bill.

S.6 HYCO’S LAW (similar to H.3243 by Rep. Collins) Senator Bryant

This bill provides increased penalties for injuring or killing a police dog or horse to more closely align with federal penalties. Also provides for restitution and community service options when sentencing.

1/10/17 Introduced and referred to Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

1/26/17 A Full Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting in room 209 Gressette @ 10am RECOMMENDED ADOPTION OF S.6. The bill moves to the floor of the Senate.

2/9/17 Passed the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives

2/14/17 Referred to House Judiciary

S.54 SUBSISTENCE DEDUCTIONS Senator Bennett, Campbell, Turner and Hembree: A bill to amend several tax sections which includes increasing the subsistence deduction by one dollar (from $8 to $9) a day for federal, state, and local law enforcement officers paid by a political subdivision, the government of the state, or the federal government, for each regular work day in a taxable year.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Finance

S.61 STATE HEALTH PLAN Senator Hutto: A bill to amend SECTION 1-11-720 relating to eligibility for participation in the State Health Plan, so as to allow employees and retirees, and their dependents, of any political subdivision of the state to participate in the State Health Plan.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Finance

1/31/17 Senate Finance will discuss the bill at 11am in room 308 of the Gressette Building

2/7/17 Passed Senate and sent to House

2/8/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Committee on Ways and Means

S.164 (similar S.174) POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER Senator Malloy: A bill providing the definitions of “injury and personal injury in workers’ compensation and provides a definition for first responder and modifies the requirements of such an employee seeking PTSD arising from the first responder’s direct involvement in a significant traumatic experience.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

S.174 (similar S.164) POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER Senator Sheheen: A bill providing the definitions of “injury and personal injury in workers’ compensation and provides a definition for first responder and modifies the requirements of such an employee seeking PTSD arising from the first responder’s direct involvement in a significant traumatic experience.

1/10/17 Introduced and read first time and referred to Judiciary

S.565 (similar to H4033) CREATES THE OFFENSE OF “ENDANGERMENT OF A HIGHWAY WORKER”

along with penalties for this offense. The legislation speaks to “highway worker” which includes law enforcement and fire fighters, an emergency medical service provider, or any other authorized person, who removes hazards from bridges, roadways, shoulders, medians, and associated rights-of-way, or who responds to accidents and other incidents on bridges, roads, shoulders, medians, associated righter-of-way, or in highway work zones.

3/21/17 Introduced and read the first time and referred to Senate Transportation

3/22/17 Added to subcommittee and passed out favorably.

3/28/17 Pending: Full Senate Transportation meeting to be scheduled.

FUNDING OF THE RETIREMENT SYSTEMS

H.3726 and S.394 – Pension Reform Bills (PORS and SCRS): Both the House and the Senate have passed their respective bills and sent to each other. The Senate version was amended several times; however, the most notable amendment reads: When there is no longer an unfunded actuarial accrued liability (UAAL) of the system as determined by the annual actuarial valuation, all new employees must participate in a defined contribution retirement plan.

1. Effective July 1, 2017, lowers the current assumed annual rate of return from 7.5% to 7.25% and the scenario includes a 7% annual rate of return July 1, 2019. See Chart.

2. Decouples employer/employee contributions in current statute.

3. Changes employer and employee contribution rates beginning July 1, 2017 (FY 18). See Chart.

4. Reduces the funding period (or amortization period) of unfunded liabilities. After 30 years of PORS members contributing 9.75% in employee contributions and 21.24% in employer contributions, the system will still have roughly a $373 million unfunded liability. SCRS members, on the other hand, will pay off their funded liability completely in approximately 27 years based on the 9% employee contribution and 18.56% employer contribution. PORS members enjoy certain benefits that SCRS members do not enjoy – such as a 2.14% annuity factor (as opposed to a 1.82% factor for SCRS members), disability retirement (SCRS members must meet the Social Security Disability standards), early retirement at age 55 (as opposed to age 60 for SCRS members), and the salary cap exemption at age 57 (as opposed to age 62 for SCRS members). These benefits create greater costs for PORS members than SCRS members. Therefore, our members must pay more in order to maintain those benefits. The fact that SCRS can pay off over $18 billion in unfunded liabilities more than 3 years faster than PORS members can pay off $2.2 billion in unfunded liabilities is tough to grasp, but we have to understand that the disparity in benefits justifies the disparity in contribution rates.

SCRS PORS SCRS PORS SCRS PORS Rate of
Employee Employee Employer Employer (years) (years) Return
July 1, 2016 8.66% 9.24% 11.56% 14.24% 23 20 7.50%
July 1, 2017* 9 9.75 13.56 16.24 25 24 7.25
July 1, 2018 9 9.75 14.56 17.24 24 23 7.25
July 1, 2019 9 9.75 15.56 18.24 26 26 7
July 1, 2020 9 9.75 16.56 19.24 24 25 7
July 1, 2021** 9 9.75 17.56 20.24 22 23 7
July 1, 2022 9 9.75 18.56 21.24 21 24 7
July 1, 2023 9 9.75 18.56 21.24 21 23 7
July 1, 2024 9 9.75 18.56 21.24 20 23 7
July 1, 2025 9 9.75 18.56 21.24 19 22 7
July 1, 2026 9 9.75 18.56 21.24 18 21 7
July 1, 2027 9 9.75 18.56 21.24 17 20 7
July 1, 2028***

 

* PORS Employee contribution rate is higher because PORS members have disability retirement benefit while SCRS members do not.

**Scenario includes 7% rate of return although is not statutorily required.

***No later than January 1, 2021, and every subsequent four years, PEBA must submit a proposed annual rate of return which is developed based on the recommendation of its actuary and in consultation with the RSIC, as well as submitted to the Chairmen of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. If the General Assembly fails to enact a joint resolution to enact a rate of return, the submitted rate stands.

****July 1, 2028 (PEBA Board of Directors may adjust the employer contribution rate by no more than .5% in any year based on the actuarial valuation and requires PEBA to notify employers in SCRS of any contribution rate increase required as a result of not meeting the funding period schedule one year before the increase takes effect.

5. Should employer and employee contribution rates be decreased after FY27, and the funded ratio, thereafter, fall below 85% (currently 90%), both employer and employee rates may be increased in equal amounts, subject, however, to the employee contribution rate cap of SCRS 9% and PORS 9.75%. Any increase required after the employee rate equals SCRS 9% and PORS 9.75% must be an increase in the employer rate. If the General Assembly provides a line item appropriation to cover a portion of the required increase in a given year, the contribution rate increase otherwise expected would be reduced accordingly.

6. Should the General Assembly fund the PORS employer rate increases for general fund agencies, the cost would be $6.8 M for FY 18, and an additional $3.4 M for each of the next five years (FY 19-23). The total cost contemplated for both SCRS and PORS is $73.6 M for FY 18, and an additional $36.8 M for each of the next 5 years.

7. There is no reduction in the current COLA allowances for retirees.

2/9/17 H.3726 and S394 were introduced in both bodies and read a first time.

2/14/17 H.3726 House Ways and Means Legislative Committee meeting scheduled to discuss Pension Reform Bill in room 521 one hour after adjournment (passed out favorably).

2/16/17 H.3726 Pension Reform discussed by House Ways and Means and passed out favorably.

2/22/17 H.3726 House Calendar (requests for debate requested)

2/28/17 H.3726 Read Second time in House

3/1/17 H.3726 Read Third time in House and Sent to Senate

3/1/17 H.3726 Read first time in Senate and referred to Senate Finance Committee

2/23/17 S.394 Pension Reform discussed by Senate Finance Committee @ 11am in room 308 Gressette (passed out favorably from SFC and set for Special Order).

3/1/17 S.394 Read second time on Senate Floor

3/2/17 S.394 Read third time on Senate Floor (NOTE: amended to read that once SCRS and PORS are 100% funded, new employees must participate in a Defined Contribution Plan)

3/8/17 H.3726 was polled out of Senate Finance Committee.

3/9/17 Read a second time on the Senate Floor after amending the House version to the Senate version of the Bill.

3/10/17 Read a third time on the Senate Floor and returned to the House with amendments. Pending action by the House of Representatives.

3/29/17 Pending Question: Will the House concur in the Senate Amendments?

62.23 APPROPRIATIONS BILL PTSD Proviso and Funding ($500,000): Funding was not included in the Ways and Means version of the Appropriations Bill. Continue to work with members to retain Proviso 62.23 and current funding pertaining to the treatment of PTSD for First Responders. The proviso reads :

62.23. (SLED: First Responder PTSD Treatment) From the funds provided for First Responder PTSD Treatment, the State Law Enforcement Division shall distribute 50% percent to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program to reimburse law enforcement officers who incur mental injury as a result of a critical incident during the scope of employment for actual out-of-pocket expenses not covered through worker’s compensation claims and/or other insurance and can also be utilized to provide services through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Assistance Program. The State Law Enforcement Division shall distribute 50% percent to the South Carolina State Firefighters Association for the South Carolina Firefighter Assistance Support Team to reimburse firefighters and emergency medical technicians who incur mental injury as a result of a critical incident during the scope of employment for actual out-of-pocket expenses not covered through worker’s compensation claims and/or other insurance and can also be utilized to provide services through the South Carolina Firefighter Assistance Support Team. The State Law Enforcement Division shall promulgate any administrative regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

3/13/17 Proviso adopted; however no funding was included in the Ways and Means

version of the Appropriations Bill. The House will debate the appropriations bill on the Floor of the House this week. The Budget was debated by the House. Funding for the proviso was not provided.

3/15/17 The Senate Finance Criminal Justice Subcommittee will discuss provisos @ 9am in room 209 Gressette. Working with Senators for $500,000 funding for the continuation of the PTSD program.

3/21-3/23 SFC met to debate the State Appropriations bill. 62.23 proviso has been adopted. Funding pending.

3/28/17 SFC to meet upon adjournment of Full Senate (staff working on spreadsheets)

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John Blackmon

A retired law enforcement officer who now serves as the President of the Fraternal Order of Police Tri-County Lodge #3.
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