Capitol Report: Bill spells out rules for ‘utility-terrain vehicles’ in S.C.

by Rep. Robert Williams,
House District 62

The House set H. 5150, the General Appropriation Bill, and H. 5151, the joint resolution making appropriations from the Capital Reserve Fund, for special order on March 14, to begin its consideration of the Fiscal Year 2022-2023 State Government Budget on the House Floor.
Approved by the House, and sent to the Senate, was H. 4601, County Minimum Ambulance Service Standards. County councils would need to have at least one licensed ambulance service operating within its county under this proposal. They will not have to fund them if the private sector provides the service. Cities could set up, or contract for, these services as well. Mutual agreements are permitted to ensure these minimum service levels are met.
The House returned S. 1090 to the Senate with amendments. The bill explicitly reaffirms the Department of Employment and Workforce’s authority to set a weekly maximum amount of unemployment benefits that an individual may receive in a week for the legitimate legislative purpose of ensuring the solvency of the unemployment insurance trust fund and that there are adequate funds to pay unemployment insurance benefits to individuals unemployed through no fault of their own.
The maximum weekly benefit amount set each year by DEW within the range established in statute must be published on the Department’s website. The legislation identifies the statutory procedure for reconsideration of benefit determinations as the sole and exclusive procedure and remedy for disputing the Department’s determination of an insured worker’s weekly benefit amount.
After adopting the proposed Committee amendment, the House amended and sent H. 3600 to the Senate. Those House amendments made minimal changes regarding highway crossing and helmet requirements. H. 3600 extensively addresses the subject of utility terrain vehicles (UTV).
This bill would define the term utility terrain vehicle and provide for the registration and operation on highways and streets (to include side-by-side, four-wheel drive, off-road vehicle, transporting individuals and cargo or both, tires, width, steering and seating).
The bill also addresses speed and engine power parameters to ensure they are over the size of UTVs designed for young people. UTVs must be registered like a passenger vehicle. They would be exempt from county property tax and subject for registration renewal biennially.
They are subject to user fees for electric, hydrogen, and fuels other than motor fuel. Other requirements are: unobscured license plate, registration, proof of ownership, liability insurance and a ten-dollar biennial fee.
UTVs may only travel on roads with a 55 mph speed limit or less, but UTVs may cross at an intersection where the road has a posted speed limit of more than 55 miles an hour. It may be operated on an island road not accessible by a bridge designed for use by automobile.
Operator must be at least 16 years old and hold a valid driver’s license. The operator must have in his possession while operating on a street or highway: license plate and registration certificate, proof of liability insurance and driver’s license. If the operator is 16 and holds a conditional driver’s license, the vehicle may only be driven during daylight hours.
Registered UTVs may not be operated by anyone who holds a beginner’s permit holder, even if accompanied by a licensed driver, a moped operator’s permit, a temporary alcohol license, a route restricted license, a provisional driver’s license; or solely a motorcycle license. No child under 8 may be a passenger in a registered UTV while operated on a road.
Drivers and passengers are required to have helmets and goggles. Registered UTVs must be equipped with Type 2 seat belt assembly (pelvic and upper torso restraints), operable headlights, brake lights, taillights and turn signals. Drivers and passengers of a registered UTV, while being operated on a roadway, must wear a fastened safety belt.
SCDMV must not register or renew the registration of a UTV unless a certificate of title has been issued to owner or application delivered by owner to SCDMV. The SCDMV may require a bill of sale, invoice, or other sales document to properly title. Certificates of titles issued under this subsection must be branded “off road use only.” UTVs are exempt from the State Infrastructure Tax, but subject to sales tax.
The Senate has been sent H. 3509 after the House amended it further and gave it third reading. This proposed legislation could extend foster care past age 18. Certain children still in S.C. Department of Social Services custody on their 18th birthday could continue to receive these services and support until they turn 21.
They include students still pursuing secondary, post-secondary or vocational education. Also included are alternately-abled children, those in vocational rehabilitation, or those working at least eight hours per month. It also expands the definition of what would be considered a “foster family home.”
In order to extend their foster home residency, these children would have to make written application to S.C. DSS. Children disqualified from receiving services past 18 would have to be informed of their right to appeal to the agency, unless they already have a case pending in the family court that can hear this issue.
Children without private attorneys could request one from the Commission on Indigent Defense. It was amended further to make its effective date contingent upon funding being budgeted.
If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be of assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call your legislative office in Columbia (803-734-3142), or my home (843-395-9408). Thank you for the opportunity to serve you in the House of Representatives.

Author: Stephan Drew

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