Five Bills Aimed at Reforming System Now Head to Senate
(COLUMBIA, S.C.) – House Speaker Murrell Smith (District 67- Sumter) issued the following statement after the South Carolina House of Representatives passed a collection of five adoption-related bills, all of which he sponsored. Smith emphasized his commitment to prioritizing adoption-related legislation since the start of his Speakership last year. The passage of these bills marks one of the most significant efforts to pass a collection of adoption reform bills in decades.
“Today, the House passed a package of bills relating to adoption that have been a priority of mine since the beginning of my time as Speaker of the House. Reform in this area has been desperately needed, not to mention a long time coming, and I am proud of the efforts made today to make adoptions in South Carolina less burdensome, while maintaining safety and integrity in the process.”
The bills passed out of the House include:
- H.3553, which eliminates the 90-day waiting period for adoptions.
- H.3554, which allows family court judges the ability to waive pre- and post-adoption report requirements in adoption proceedings.
- H.3555, which is an effort to speed up adoptions and permanent placement of children that have been placed in SCDSS custody.
- H.3556, which modifies existing law to allow permanency planning hearings to also include termination of parental rights determinations at the same time, in the event an infant has been voluntarily surrendered with a safe haven.
- H.3558, which relates to family placement of minors under emergency protective custody, requires a safety plan for the child as well as monitoring requirements before a child is placed outside of their home.