2019 Opinions

November 15, 2019

Opinion on whether the Hagood Mill Foundation is a public body for purposes of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.   Requested by The Honorable David R. Hiott, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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November 14, 2019

Opinion addressing the legality of using a third party delivery service to deliver alcoholic beverages to persons placing orders through an online platform.   Requested by The Honorable Beth Bernstein, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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November 14, 2019

Opinion regarding appeals of municipal parking violations.   Requested by The Honorable P. Alesia Rico Flores, Administrative Judge, City of Charleston Municipal Court.   Read full opinion.

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November 8, 2019

Opinion on the impact of 2018 Act No. 186 on South Carolina chartered credit unions’ ability to expand other fields of membership to include community groups and whether a federal credit union may merge with an out of state credit union and expand membership in South Carolina.   Requested by The Honorable Curtis Loftis, State Treasurer.   Read full opinion.

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November 7, 2019

Opinion addressing a county’s authority to deduct the cost of hiring a consultant to perform functions of an elected official from the official’s budget.   Requested by Mr. Steve Willis, Lancaster County Administrator.   Read full opinion.

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November 6, 2019

Opinion on whether two South Carolina municipal corporations can agree to a municipal boundary adjustment (Section 5-3-40, South Carolina Code of Laws).   Requested by Carl L. Holloway, Jr., Esquire, City Attorney, Forest Acres.   Read full opinion.

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October 29, 2019

Opinion on  whether an executive session must be noticed on an agenda, the requirements to amend it to add an executive session, and whether not acting on an agenda item results in a FOIA violation.   Requested by The Honorable Bill Woolsey, Mayor, Town of James Island.   Read full opinion.

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October 24, 2019

Opinion concerning the jurisdiction of professional licensing boards granted by Chapter 1 of Title 40 of the Code of Laws.   Requested by The Honorable Richard J. Cash, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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October 23, 2019

Opinion on whether the board of directors created by the Underground Facility Damage Prevention Act is a public body for purposes of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.   Requested by The Honorable Thomas E. Pope, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion

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October 21, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding (member of Orangeburg City Council and Felton Laboratory Charter School Board).   Requested by Mr. Kalu A. Kalu, Orangeburg.   Read full opinion.

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October 21, 2019

Opinion on the Beaufort County Board of Education’s potential liability if confidential information discussed in executive session is disclosed due to a security breach resulting from electronic participation by an individual board member.   Requested by Wendy Bergfeldt Cartledge, General Counsel, Beaufort County School District.   Read full opinion.    

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October 17, 2019

Opinion addressing procedures for the receipt of public comments at meetings governed by FOIA including how those comments shall be treated in regard to a published agenda.   Requested by Ms. Lynette B. Fryar, Chairperson and Mr. L. Scott Harvin, Vice-Chairperson, Colleton County Board of Voter Registration and Elections.   Read full opinion.

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October 8, 2019

Opinion on Part 1B of Section 75.2 of the State Accident Fund relating to the Military Disability Program Proviso.   Requested by Amy V. Cofield, Esquire, Executive Director, South Carolina State Accident Fund.   Read full opinion.

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October 8, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding (member of the General Assembly and serve in an administrative capacity, such as a president at a college or university).   Requested by The Honorable Jerry N. Govan, Jr., Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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October 8, 2019

Opinion on whether a municipality must obtain a three-fourths majority vote to amend an ordinance requiring a three-fourths majority vote to amend or change a zoning regulation or map.   Requested by Mr. Daniel S. McQueeney, Jr., Assistant Corporation Counsel, City of Charleston.   Read full opinion.

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September 30, 2019

Follow-up opinion on the appropriate procedure to pursue enforcement of the Hemp Farming Act with respect to hemp grown in violation of the Act where the grower has consented to seizure of such hemp.   Requested by Mark A. Keel, Chief, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.   Read full opinion.    

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September 30, 2019

Opinion on the Beaufort County Board of Education’s authority to discipline its members or remove its members from office.   Requested by Wendy Bergfeldt Cartledge, General Counsel, Beaufort County School District.   Read full opinion.

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September 24, 2019

Opinion on the required number of members on the South Carolina Commission on Disabilities and Special Needs necessary to constitute a quorum.   Requested by The Honorable Margaret Poole, State Director, South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs.   Read full opinion.

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September 19, 2019

Opinion on whether the powers afforded to the State Inspector General of South Carolina under Section 1-6-50 of the South Carolina Code extend to the State Inspector General’s staff.   Requested by Mr. Brian Lamkin, Inspector General, State of South Carolina.   Read full opinion.      

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September 19, 2019

Opinion on the power of the City of Columbia to enact an ordinance that attempts to regulate homemade firearms created without serial numbers commonly known as “ghost guns.”   Requested by The Honorable Jonathon D. Hill, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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September 18, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding (Board Member of the Jasper County Election Board and apply for position as a Board Member of Palmetto Breeze).   Requested by Mr. John Kemp, Bluffton.   Read full opinion.

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September 17, 2019

Opinion on the validity of a municipal ordinance imposing a durational residency requirement on candidates for mayor and city council.   Requested by The Honorable J. Todd Rutherford, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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September 13, 2019

Opinion regarding the secondary sale of South Carolina Lottery tickets after a ticket is a known winning lottery ticket.   Requested by The Honorable Garry R. Smith, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives, The Honorable Gary E. Clary, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives and The Honorable Wes Climer, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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September 11, 2019

Opinion on whether a licensee under the Perpetual Care Cemetery Act may continue their exemption from the acreage requirements under the Act if they fail to timely renew their license.   Requested by The Honorable William E. Sandifer, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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September 11, 2019

Opinion on whether the South Carolina Conservation Bank is required to be named as an insured on a title insurance policy when it awards grant funds.   Requested by Mr. J. Raleigh West, III, Executive Director, South Carolina Conservation Bank.   Read full opinion.

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September 9, 2019

Opinion about whether a South Carolina-registered Certified Public Accountant (CPA) must be associated with a South Carolina-registered CPA firm to perform tax preparation services while holding out as a CPA and whether such a restriction is prohibited by the First Amendment.   Requested by Melina Mann, General Counsel, South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.   Read full opinion.

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August 26, 2019

Opinion on whether committee meetings are meetings under FOIA requiring notice pursuant to Section 30-4-80(A) of the South Carolina Code.   Requested by Craig Witherspoon, Ed.D., Superintendent, Richland One School District.   Read full opinion.

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August 23, 2019

Opinion on whether the S.C. Auctioneer’s Commission is prohibited from reissuing the same license number to an auction firm after a license renewal application demonstrates the firm has a change in a licensed auctioneer listed on its license renewal application.   Requested by The Honorable Bill Sandifer, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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August 22, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding (board member on the SC Research Authority, member for the Technical College of the Lowcountry and run for city councilman for the City of Walterboro).   Requested by Mr. David M. Smalls.   Read full opinion.    

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August 20, 2019

Opinion as to whether local voter registration and election boards may combine precincts and whether they may use a single polling place for multiple precincts.   Requested by Ms. Marci Andino, Executive Director, South Carolina Election Commission.   Read full opinion.

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August 19, 2019

Opinion on whether the dual office prohibition would preclude a certain municipal employee from also serving as a Railroad Police Officer.   Requested by The Honorable John Elkin, Chief of Police, F&N Railroad Police Department.   Read full opinion.

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August 8, 2019

Opinion on the appropriate procedure to pursue enforcement of the Hemp Farming Act with respect to hemp grown in violation of the Act.   Requested by Adam Whitsett, General Counsel, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.   Read full opinion.

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August 8, 2019

Opinion on the appropriate charge for a person operating a moped while their moped license is under suspension.   Requested by The Honorable B. Lee Miller, Municipal Judge, City of Greenwood.   Read full opinion.

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July 31, 2019

Opinion on the interpretation of Section 48-23-295 of the South Carolina Code (2008) to allow the State Commission on Forestry to provide services to contractors hired by landowners to perform reforestation services.   Requested by Mr. Tom W. Patton, Deputy State Forester, South Carolina Forestry Commission.   Read full opinion.

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July 30, 2019

Opinion on how a public body may add items to an agenda for a public meeting and whether a catchall agenda item complies with the public notice requirements of the S.C. FOIA.   Requested by Karen Blair Manning, Chief Legal Counsel, South Carolina Department of Commerce.   Read full opinion.

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July 29, 2019

Opinion addressing the interpretation of the recently amended filing fee statute (Section 8-21-310, South Carolina Code of Laws).   Requested by Mr. Dale Butts, Secretary/Treasurer, South Carolina Association of Clerks of Court and Registers of Deeds.   Read full opinion.

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July 22, 2019

Opinion on whether two proposed bond referenda questions meet the requirements of Ziegler v. Dorchester County and other provisions of state law.   Requested by The Honorable Sean M. Bennett, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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July 22, 2019

Opinion on the interpretation of a contract between the Charleston Public Works and Sullivan’s Island.   Requested by Jennifer C. Blumenthal, Esquire, attorney for Charleston Public Works.   Read full opinion.

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July 15, 2019

Opinion on what activities are considered a “meeting” according to S.C. Code Ann. Section 7-5-10(B)(3).   Requested by Mr. Andrew C. Marine, Vice Chairman, Aiken County Registration and Elections Commission.   Read full opinion.

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July 12, 2019

Opinion on whether the 5 day notice requirement was violated regarding the meeting of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees (SC Code of Laws, Section 59-117-50).   Requested by The Honorable Stephen K. Benjamin, Mayor, City of Columbia.   Read full opinion.

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July 10, 2019

Opinion on The Hemp Farming Act (Act 14 of 2019).   Requested by Mr. Mark Keel, Chief, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.   Read full opinion.

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July 2, 2019

Opinion on whether a county council must meet in each calendar month.   Requested by Mr. Larry C. Smith, Attorney for Richland County.   Read full opinion.

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June 28, 2019

Opinion on whether law enforcement and emergency medical personnel are considered “caregivers” under the Omnibus Adult Protection Act.   Requested by The Honorable Katrina F. Shealy, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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June 28, 2019

Opinion on whether a member of a school district board of trustees must file a S.C. FOIA request for financial documents of the school district to which he or she was elected.   Requested by the Honorable Cal Forrest, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives and the Honorable Darrell Hudson, Member, Lexington County Council.   Read full opinion.

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June 28, 2019

Opinion on reimbursement for salary and benefit costs of mandatory law enforcement training pursuant to Section 23-23-120.   Requested by Angela B. Mulholland, General Counsel, College of Charleston.   Read full opinion.

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June 28, 2019

Opinion on the appropriate charging statute for operating a moped without a license.   Requested by The Honorable B. Lee Miller, Municipal Judge, City of Greenwood.   Read full opinion.    

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June 28, 2019

Opinion on whether certain high-level drug trafficking offenses should be treated as “day-for-day” offenses or instead are subject to the “eighty-five percent” rule.   Requested by Mr. Brian P. Stirling, Director, South Carolina Department of Corrections.   Read full opinion.

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June 25, 2019

Opinion on the jurisdiction of summary courts over seventeen-year-old persons charged with certain offenses under Section 63-3-520.   Requested by Mr. Robert L. McCurdy, Deputy Director, South Carolina Court Administration.   Read full opinion.

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June 21, 2019

Opinion on whether proof of U.S. citizenship is required to receive the homestead exemption for property taxes.   Requested by The Honorable Jerry N. Govan, Jr., Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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June 19, 2019

Opinion on whether the definition of “prearranged ride” in the Transportation Network Company Act prevents SCDHHS from permitting a nonemergency medical transport broker to contract with a transportation network company.   Requested by The Honorable Lawrence K. Grooms, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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June 18, 2019

Opinion on when a decrease in a mayor’s salary can be made effective following a change in the form of municipal government.   Requested by Lawrence E. Flynn , Jr., Esquire, Attorney for City of Union.   Read full opinion.

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June 14, 2019

Opinion on the disposition of forfeited funds and property including accounting requirements.   Requested by The Honorable Jason Elliott, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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June 14, 2019

Opinion on issues arising from implementing new prospective tax billing system for boats, boat motors, and watercraft in 2018 Act No. 223.   Requested by Mr. James Holly, Attorney for Aiken County and Mr. Chris Harmon, Lexington County Auditor.   Read full opinion.

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June 4, 2019

Opinion on the constitutionality of enforcing certain provisions of the South Carolina Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act of 1991 with regard to political parties, as that term is defined in the Act.   Requested by Ms. Meghan L. Walker, Executive Director, State Ethics Commission.   Read full opinion.

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June 4, 2019

Opinion on whether a member of a school district board of trustees may revoke a tendered resignation before it is accepted.   Requested by Mrs. Bonnie Knight, Member and Acting Board Chairperson for Anderson County School District No. Two.   Read full opinion.

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May 28, 2019

Opinion on whether South Carolina job applicants whose criminal records have been expunged must disclose an arrest, charge or conviction on a job application.   Requested by The Honorable Ashley Trantham, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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May 23, 2019

Opinion on the legality of the City of Rock Hill’s policy of transferring utility revenue to its general fund when it lacks sufficient reserves.   Requested by The Honorable John Richard C. King, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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May 21, 2019

Opinion on the application of S.C.’s school trespass statute to administrative building owned by the school district where school board meetings are held (Section 16-11-620, Code of Laws of South Carolina).   Requested by The Honorable Calvin Collins, Chief of Police, City of Bishopville.   Read full opinion.

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May 16, 2019

Opinion on the Administrative Procedures Act (S.C. Code Ann. Section 1-23-10 et seq.).   Requested by Ms. Ashley Harwell-Beach, Code Commissioner and Director, S.C. Legislative Council.   Read full opinion.

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May 16, 2019

Opinion on whether a proposed sewer utility rate subsidy paid to low income residents for the purpose of offsetting a rate increase that is paid out of a county general fund would violate the prohibition against using public funds for a private purpose.   Requested by Mr. Larry C. Smith, Attorney for Richland County.   Read full opinion.

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May 15, 2019

Opinion on whether the Joint Resolution, 2018 Act No. 272, continues to be binding and controlling authority for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Dam Safety and Reservoirs Program.   Requested by The Honorable David R. Hiott and James M. Burns, Members, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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May 3, 2019

Opinion on how a special purpose fire district may raise its millage rate and how two special purpose districts may be merged.   Requested by The Honorable Glenn G. Reese, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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April 29, 2019

Opinion on whether a school resource officer may be assigned to a private, nonprofit school.   Requested by John G. Frampton, Esquire, Attorney for Dorchester County.   Read full opinion.    

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April 23, 2019

Opinion on whether an entity other than the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy would be authorized to provide basic law enforcement training in this State.   Requested by Director Lewis J. Swindler, Jr., South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.   Read full opinion.

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April 23, 2019

Opinion on whether certain test questions used by the SCCJA to evaluate certificate eligibility of LEO candidates must be disclosed in response to a FOIA request.   Requested by Director Lewis J. Swindler, Jr., South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.   Read full opinion.

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April 22, 2019

Opinion on whether sick leave, annual leave, and attendance log of public employees may be exempted from disclosure under the S.C. FOIA.   Requested by Stephen F. Morris, Director, South Carolina Department on Aging.   Read full opinion.

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April 17, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding and master-servant.   Requested by Joseph T. Mathis, Esquire, General Counsel for Cherokee County.   Read full opinion.

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April 12, 2019

Opinion on the interpretation of S.C. Code Ann. Section 63-13-20(4)(e) relating “to exemptions from the definition of a child care facility as relates to what is commonly called summer camps.”   Requested by The Honorable Shannon Erickson, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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April 8, 2019

Opinion on which State agency has jurisdiction over the New Savannah Bluff Lock & Dam.   Requested by The Honorable W. Dean Moss, Jr., Chairman, Savannah River Maritime Commission.   Read full opinion.

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April 3, 2019

Opinion on whether the Pickens County Water Authority may provide water service in areas where municipalities also provide water service outside of their corporate limits.   Requested by The Honorable David R. Hiott, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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April 1, 2019

Opinion on prohibition on masking convections (49 C.F.R. 384.226).   Requested by the Honorable Jimmy A. Richardson, II, Solicitor, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit.   Read full opinion.

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March 29, 2019

Opinion on a political subdivision’s liability for “costs” upon submitting an excessive millage rate to a county auditor.   Requested by Andrea E. White, Esquire, Counsel to the Abbeville County School District.   Read full opinion.

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March 27, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding (part time police officer for Town of Chesterfield and director of Chesterfield County Animal Services).   Requested by Mr. Carlos G. Perez V., Director, Chesterfield County Animal Services.   Read full opinion.

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March 27, 2019

Opinion on the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle’s interpretation of Section 12-37-2850 regarding the collection of road use fees due on large commercial motor vehicles and buses.   Requested by The Honorable William M. Hixon, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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March 19, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding (service in the S.C. State Guard is exempt from dual office holder prohibition).   Requested by The Honorable Stephen L. Goldfinch, Member, South Carolina Senate. Read full opinion.    

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March 18, 2019

Opinion on whether a Superintendent of a County School District has the authority to close Islands Academy.   Requested By Herbert Berg, Ed.D. Interim Superintendent, Beaufort County School District.   Read full opinion.

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March 11, 2019

Opinion on dual office holding.   Requested by The Honorable Ronald Young, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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March 5, 2019

Opinion on whether information entered into the ODMAP application by first responders regarding drug-related overdoses violates any state or HIPAA laws concerning protected health information (Sections 44-22-100, 44-115-40, 44-4-560, 44-117-350; and 38-93-40, South Carolina Code of Laws).   Requested by Joseph Y. Shenkar, General Counsel, South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.   Read full opinion.

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March 4, 2019

Opinion on whether, when the elements of the crime of voyeurism set out in Section 16-17-470(B) are met, South Carolina law criminalizes secret video recording by a consensual sexual partner just as if the recording were made by a third party.   Requested by Thomas M. Aiken, Investigator, Furman University Police. Read full opinion.  

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February 27, 2019

Opinion on whether the law related to casino night events was altered by certain amendments to Article XVII, Section 7 of the South Carolina Constitution and Section 33-57-100 et seq., of the Code of Laws which provided for the lawful operation of charitable raffles.   Requested by The Honorable W. Walter Wilkins, Solicitor, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.   Read full opinion.

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February 27, 2019

Opinion on proposed House Bill 3086, regulation of commercial dog breeders and 4th Amendment privacy issues (Section 47-3-1050).   Requested by Ms. Kelsey Gilmore-Futeral, South Carolina State Director, Humane Society of the U.S.   Read full opinion.  

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February 27, 2019

Opinion on the Mayo Area Fire District’s increase of the tax millage rate and elected commissioners serving as volunteer firemen (Act No. 388).   Requested by The Honorable Glenn G. Reese, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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February 21, 2019

Opinion on the applicability of the South Carolina Fair Housing law to the Catawba Indian Nation (Section 31-21-10, South Carolina Code of Laws).   Requested by The Honorable Raymond Buxton, II, Commissioner, and R. Alexander Pate, II, Staff Counsel, South Carolina Human Affairs Commission.   Read full opinion.

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February 15, 2019

Opinion on whether the PRT or any State agency has the right to adopt regulations which restrict the public’s access to the beach on St. Phillips Island.   Requested by The Honorable Tom Davis, Member, South Carolina Senate.   Read full opinion.

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February 11, 2019

Opinion on the City of Charleston’s Municipal Ordinance Section 21-113 (trespass warnings).   Requested by The Honorable P. Alesia Rico Flores, Administrative Judge, City of Charleston.   Read full opinion.

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January 31, 2019

Opinion on pawn loan regulations (South Carolina Code of Laws Title 40, Chapter 39).   Requested by The Honorable Jonathon D. Hill, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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January 31, 2019

Opinion on e-citations (S.C. Code of Laws, Section 56-5-1900)   Requested by Brandy A. Duncan, Assistant General Counsel, S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.   Read full opinion.

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January 28, 2019

Opinion on the property tax appeals process.   Requested by The Honorable Con Chellis, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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January 23, 2019

Opinion on whether individual school districts can be licensed as proprietary security businesses in South Carolina (Section 40-18-60).   Requested by Mark A. Keel, Chief, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.   Read full opinion.    

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January 14, 2019

Opinion on Inclusionary Zoning (S.346 and H.4162).   Requested by The Honorable Marvin Pendarvis, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.    

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January 10, 2019

Opinion on whether the language “unless specifically prohibited by law” in Section 16-23-20 of the South Carolina Code includes prohibitions found in federal law (unlawful carrying of handgun; exceptions).   Requested by Sgt. Mike Lyons, Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office.   Read full opinion.

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January 4, 2019

Opinion on the subpoena power of a standing committee (Sections 2-69-10, -20, -30, -40 and 2-2-50, Code of Laws of South Carolina).   Requested by The Honorable Marvin Pendarvis, Member, South Carolina House of Representatives.   Read full opinion.

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