Public School Safety, Prison Security Measures, Homeowner Association Transparency Requirements, & State Schools Chief
The House took a major step on Thursday to make our public schools safer by making it easier to hire school resource officers. There are currently 590 public schools in South Carolina that do not employ a school resource officer. The lack of available officers and hiring restrictions have made it difficult for school systems to hire more new officers. Many retired law enforcement officers have expressed interest in using their previous training to work as a school resource officer; however, current state law caps salaries of retired state employees who wish to serve to $10,000 a year. To fix this problem, the House lifted the $10,000 cap so retired state workers can apply for the many open school resource officer positions. $15 million dollars of state lottery funds will pay for other school safety measures as well including metal detectors, security cameras, and door locks. State dollars will be allocated for poor school districts that cannot afford to hire school resource officers.
In response to the recent violence among inmates in our state prison system, the House increased its original budget for corrections officer raises and other security measures.
In a move to increase transparency of homeowners associations (HOAs), Horry County Representative Heather Crawford sponsored House Bill 3886, which was passed in the House last week and then passed in the Senate this week. Issues and disputes regarding HOAs are an ongoing issue for homeowners across South Carolina. H.3886, the S.C. Homeowners Association Act, is an important first step in providing uniformity, transparency, and relief for homeowners across the state. The bill provides for the recording of the governing documents with the Register of Deeds or Clerk of Court, notice to the homeowner when there is any increase in the annual budget, notice on the seller’s property disclosure statement that the property is governed by an HOA, and allows magistrates concurrent jurisdiction to handle monetary disputes. H.3886 also creates a Homeowners Association Ombudsman within the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. This legislation would implement consistent guidelines that encourage good governance among HOAs and protect homeowners’ interests. Having now passed both the House and Senate, the bill currently awaits ratification and a signature from the governor.
The House voted this week to place a constitutional question on the ballot that asks voters if they approve of granting the governor of South Carolina the authority to appoint the state superintendent of education instead of keeping it as an elected position. If voters vote in favor of this proposal, the final election for the position will be in 2018 with the governor having the power to appoint the position after the conclusion of that four-year term. The appointee would need to be confirmed by the Senate and have obtained a minimum of a master’s degree and experience in public education or operational and financial management in finance, economics, accounting, law, or business.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.