Tort Reform Bill Gets Hearing,
Does it Stand a Chance?

Fair Share Bill (H.3758), Comprehensive Education Reform (S.419), and Retail Curbside Pickup of Beer and Wine (S.290), led session discussions this week.

Quote of the Week:

“It is not an attempt to cut the legs out from municipalities. It’s an effort to add fairness and efficiency to a process that lacks both of those.” 

Rep. Jay JordanSpeaking on BLT Reform at the SC Chamber's Business Speaks Legislative Forum
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Bills We're Watching

Fair Share Bill (Tort Reform)


Known as the “Fair Share Bill," this bill will clarify parties involved in a tort action should pay their fair share of damages, and not more.This bill has been buried in the House Judiciary Committee since the beginning of the 2019 session.

In 2017, a Supreme Court decision found inconsistencies in the 2005 Joint and Several Liability law. This decision has allowed for parties – who are less than 50% at fault in an action – to pay up to 100% of any awarded damages. Currently, a business found to be even as little as 1% at fault could potentially pay more than their fair share of damages. This has led to rising legal feels and insurance costs for all businesses. South Carolina is one of only a few states that has this unfair system, making us uncompetitive with neighboring states. The House Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee held its first hearing and took limited testimony on H.3758.

Chamber Position:Support

Comprehensive Education Reform


The Education Reform Bill is still set for special order in the Senate. Senators stalled on the "Teacher Bill of Rights" amendments over the last two weeks, but were able to make some progress and passed four amendments this week:
1. One amendment added education majors to the current majors that can receive the Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholarship STEM Enhancement.

2. The next amendment added the “Educator Fundamentals for Professional Excellence” – these are seven items from the former Teacher Bill of Rights, but according to the testimony, it no longer allows grounds for legal action. A separate amendment that would allow mediation and arbitration was not adopted.

3. Another amendment clarified that any information or data collected on students must be confidential and maintained in accordance with state and federal privacy laws. 

4. The last amendment deleted a section requiring a seven-year cyclical approval evaluation process for alternative route providers and programs.

Debate is expected to continue through at least the end of the week.
Chamber Position: Support passage of a comprehensive bill that addresses Chamber priorities including:
  • Supporting strong intervention in under-performing schools
  • Strengthening Read to Succeed
  • Support efforts to consolidate school districts
  • Supporting Schools of Innovation

Retail Curbside Pickup of Beer and Wine


Currently, retailers can offer customers a service to order groceries online and have them bagged and ready to be picked up curbside at a designated time. This bill would allow retailers to offer their customers curbside pickup of beer and wine and, importantly, sets parameters to ensure that alcohol is not sold or picked up by anyone under the age of 21. Twenty-six states allow for beer and wine pickup. This bill passed out favorably from Senate Judiciary Committee.

Chamber Position: Support
2020 Competitiveness Agenda
The Chamber unveiled its 2020 Competitiveness Agenda after input from businesses, Chamber Committees, investors, and local chambers. Have you seen it?
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