Legislative Update – February 7, 2016

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

On Tuesday, February 2nd, the House Judiciary Committee addressed H.3041

H.3041 (Appointing Superintendent) is a joint resolution calling for a referendum to go before South Carolina voters as to whether the State Superintendent if Education should be a position appointed by the Governor, with qualifications for the office to be determined by the General Assembly. The joint resolution received a favorable report.

On Wednesday, February 3rd, the House Education and Public Works Committee addressed the following items:

H.3420 (Korean and Vietnam War Diplomas) provides that a South Carolinian who enlisted in any branch of the United States military while enrolled as a student in any high school of this State during the period the Korean or Vietnam conflicts must be issued a high school diploma upon presentation of documentation of school enrollment and a copy of an honorable discharge or honorable discharge papers (DD-214) to the South Carolina Department of Education. This bill received a favorable report.

H.3657 (School Board Certification) provides that the requirement that elected school board’s terms commence one week following the certification of election results applies in all cases except where otherwise provided by law. This bill received a favorable report.

On Thursday, February 4th, the Education Subcommittee on Regulations and Administrative Procedures addressed the following items:

Document 4586 (IDEA Compliance) strikes the state language regarding Special Needs compliance and replaces it with language stating that the South Carolina Department of Education and all local districts providing special education and related services as outlined in the IDEA follow and comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements of the IDEA. This document was returned to the Department of Education for revisions.

Document 4593 (Removing NCATE) removes all references to National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and replaces them with references to “national standards.” This document received a favorable report.

Document 4603 (NCLB References) removes all references to No Child Left Behind, replacing them with references to “assessment and accountability elements with the measures mandated by federal law.” This document received a favorable report.

Document 4605 (District and School Planning) provides that upon request of a district board of trustees or its designee, the State Board of Education may waive any regulation that would impede the implementation of an approved district strategic plan or school renewal plan. The State Board of Education may delegate to the State Superintendent the ability to waive regulatory requirements for similarly situated school districts and schools. The Superintendent will report regularly to the State Board of Education all waivers issued by the Superintendent. The State Department of Education will maintain a central electronic location of all waivers issued by the State Board of Education and the Superintendent. . This document was returned to the Department of Education for revisions.

Document 4606 (Test Security) provides that students who opt out of assessments does not constitute excluding examinees or exempting from assessment students who should be assessed and therefore does not constitute a breach which would endanger an educator’s contract. . This document was returned to the Department of Education for revisions.

Also on Thursday, February 4th, the Ways and Means Property Tax Subcommittee addressed the following item:

H.4537 (Tax Credit for Exceptional Needs Children) allows a maximum of a $10,000 income tax credit, not to exceed $12 million, for contributions to scholarship funding organizations. The bill specifies the qualifications to receive scholarships, and defines what constitutes an eligible student and an eligible school. This bill received a favorable report. Note that this bill must still receive approval by the House Ways and Means Committee, be approved by the full House and go through the committee and approval process in the Senate.

SENATE

On Tuesday, February 3rd, the Senate Judiciary Committee addressed the following item:

S.1017 (Appointing Superintendent) is a joint resolution calling for a referendum to go before South Carolina voters as to whether the State Superintendent if Education should be a position appointed by the Governor, with qualifications for the office to be determined by the General Assembly. The joint resolution received a favorable report.

On Wednesday, February 4th, the full Senate addressed the following item:

S.1042 (NCLB References) is a joint resolution approving the State Board of education regulations removing references to No Child Left Behind and replacing with references to, to “assessment and accountability elements with the measures mandated by federal law.” This joint resolution received third reading.

S.1043 (Superintendent Waivers) is a joint resolution approving the State Board of Education regulations allowing the State Superintendent to issues to waivers to schools and districts on regulations which would interfere with the implementation of their strategic or school renewal plan, provided a request has been previously approved by the State Board of Education for a similarly situated entity. This joint resolution was carried over.

S.1044 (Test Security) is a joint resolution approving the State Board of Education regulations providing that that students who opt out of assessments does not constitute excluding examinees or exempting from assessment students who should be assessed and therefore does not constitute a breach which would endanger an educator’s contract. This joint resolution received third reading.

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