Legislative Update – March 11, 2016

Thanks to the Chamber and to Senator Sheheen, Senator McElveen, Representative Funderburk, and Representative Bales for their part in this morning’s Chamber Legislative Breakfast.  It was a great opportunity for community members to get a first-hand view of what’s happening at the General Assembly. 

It was a busy week at the statehouse. The House K-12 and Education and Public Works Committees met and the Senate passed H.3579 (Transportation Infrastructure Bank) which will take $400 million from the General Fund to pay for road repairs.  As a reminder, any reduction to the General Fund will negatively impact education funding.  The House will now decide whether to adopt the Senate amendments or insist on the original version of the bill.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

On Tuesday, March 8th, the K-12 Subcommittee met to address the following bills:

H.4718 (Retirement Certificate) allows an individual who has previously held a South Carolina renewable, professional educator certificate, is either (i) a retired member of the South Carolina Retirement System or (ii) a current or former participant in the State Optional Retirement Program who would have met the eligibility requirements for retirement under the South Carolina Retirement System had the person participated in that system rather than the State Optional Retirement Program, and who does not hold any other valid educator certificate to request a Retired Educator Certificate which is valid for 30 years. Individuals who hold these certificates are at-will employees and are not exempt from taking part in professional development required by the school district. This bill received a favorable report from the subcommittee and received a favorable report from the Education and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, March 9th.

H.4395 (National Motto) requires each local school board shall display the National Motto of the United States, “In God We Trust”, in the lobby of each school building, provides that this display may take the form of, but is not limited to, a mounted plaque or may include artwork as a result of a student contest that will be prominently displayed in each school building. The bill was tabled.

H.3848 (Founding Principles) requires that the State Board of Education incorporate “The Founding Principles” into the required study of the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Social Studies Standards upon the next cyclical review. The board shall include, at a minimum: the Federalist Papers, the structure of government and the role of the separation of powers and the freedoms of guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. This bill received a favorable report from the subcommittee and received a favorable report from the Education and Public Works Committee on Wednesday, March 9th.

Also on Wednesday, March 8th, the full House considered whether to concur with Senate Amendments on:

H.3265 (Comprehensive Health Education) provides that each student must receive instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation at least once during the entire four years of grades nine through twelve. additionally, it provides that each school district shall use a program that incorporates the instruction of the psychomotor skills necessary to perform CPR developed by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or an instructional program that is nationally recognized and based on the most current national evidence-based emergency cardiovascular care guidelines for CPR and awareness in the use of an AED. Local school districts shall coordinate with entities that have the experience and necessary equipment for the instruction of CPR providing a waiver for this requirement for a student absent on the day the instruction occurred, a student with a disability whose individualized education program indicates such student is unable to complete all or a portion of the hands-only CPR requirement, or a student whose parent or guardian completes, in writing, a form approved by the school district opting out of hands-only CPR instruction and AED awareness. The Senate amended the bill to require a waiver of the requirements if there is a financial impact to the districts. The House adjourned debate on the bill.

SENATE

Both the Senate K-12 Subcommittee and the Education Committee were scheduled to meet. Those meetings were cancelled due to the debate on H.3579.

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