Legislators are back in Columbia Tuesday. Here is a quick rundown of what’s happening at the Capitol and what’s on the calendar.
–Last week, the House unanimously passed a bill requiring a family court judge to look more into joint custody for both parents in a divorce case. It now heads to the Senate.
–Longtime state Sen. Phil Leventis (D-Sumter) announced Friday that he will not seek reelection. Leventis has served in the Senate for 32 years. He is a former pilot in the Air Force and Air National Guard who also works as an aviation consultant.
–A Judiciary subcommittee will meet to reappoint State Law Enforcement Division chief Mark Keel. Keel was appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley last year to fill the remainder of previous chief Reggie Lloyd’s term, which expired in January… The panel will also look at several bills, including legislation by Sen. Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) which would change the definition of “missing child” to include 18-year-olds.
–A Property Taxation subcommittee will hear public testimony on several bills, including one by Sen. Mike Fair (R-Greenville) that would give the state Department of Revenue the power to file electronic documents with county Clerks of Court.
–A Sales & Income Tax subcommittee will hear testimony on another bill from Sen. McConnell. The “Taxpayer Fairness Act,” which the Senate President pro tempore has been pushing for years, would require the Department of Revenue to narrowly interpret the state’s tax laws.
–And, the full Senate Judiciary will try to pick up where it left off last week with a half-dozen bills on its agenda. That includes legislation from Sen. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston) that would create the offense of “home invasion,” on top of burglary, assault, or other crimes that would happen during the act.
–The House Judiciary committee has a handful of bills on its plate, including a bill by Rep. Eddie Tallon (R-Spartanburg) that would not allow an unemployed worker to receive jobless benefits if that person failed a drug test while applying for a job. Under the bill, employers could submit the results anonymously. Opponents say it should include an appeal process that allows the worker to continue receiving benefits.
–A Business and Commerce subcommittee will hear a bill by Rep. Rita Allison (R-Lyman) that would regulate the “music therapy” industry. The bill would create a Board of Music Therapy within the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation that would license therapists who have clinical training, a baccalaureate degree in the field, and are national board certified. Currently, there is no license required in South Carolina for the emerging field.