The House of Representatives moved quickly last week, especially on Tuesday, in an effort to get bills over to the Senate to meet the "cross-over" deadline. However, some long hours were spent debating particular bills on the House Floor after the deadline.
Since this is coming up on the end of the first year of a two-year session, bills can carry over into next session beginning in January 2014.
There were three related bills that were passed last year and required subsequent joint resolutions in order for the bills to be implemented and enforced through regulations in the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
The three bills were H. 4026 "Agritourism and Tourism-Oriented Directional Signing," H.4027 "Close Road Petitions," and H. 4028 "Specific Information Service Signing."
All will receive third reading when we return on May 14.
Specifically, H. 4026 provides for placement of signs to direct public to agri-business trying to attract tourists traveling along the highways, i.e., Boone Hall Strawberry Patch. Signage and placement is paid by the business being advertised, with no cost to the state.
H. 4027 was needed to enforce the law passed last year. When DOT has to close a road permanently, it must give notice by positioning a sign of minimum mandatory size, language and specific positioning of signs in order to close any street, road or highway. Regulations were not in place to enforce this legislation.
H. 4028 provides clarification to the criteria for the display of specific service signs and logo sign panels at interchanges under the program.
The House voted to refuse the federal expansion of Medicaid, known as "ObamaCare." Instead, Rep. Kris Crawford, M.D., introduced South Carolina's version of health care in Bill H. 4095.
H. 4095 is designed to expand Medicaid to cover all uninsured residents in the state.
Several key provisions in the bill would incentivize both providers and recipients, unlike the Federal Medicaid Bill. This bill gives the recipient the incentive to carefully research and purchase health care services. It also requires those who receive the benefits to pay something, a minimal cost.
The state will use initial funding of $20 million from the State Medicaid Reserve Fund. In addition, in the House version of the budget, $20 million was set aside for expanding Medicaid to rural hospitals.
The state will create a managed care organization and provide counseling services to recipients so they can choose the appropriate health care provider that fits their needs with overall emphasis on preventative services. The SC program can only be implemented if it receives waiver from the Federal Government. We feel positive we will be able to get the waiver.
H.4095 was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
The House is on furlough the week of May 6.
During our furlough week the Berkeley Delegation will be meeting with employees of Trident Hospital’s Good Government Group to provide updates on legislation and answer questions. The delegation will also attend a luncheon with the members of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce at the Redbank Club to provide updates on legislation.
As always, thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 553-9288 or at the State House at (803) 734-2951 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.