Legislative Update: Week 1, 2020
The House has officially begun the second session of the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly. I am very excited to get back to work on our conservative agenda we began last year. On Monday, Governor McMaster released an overview of his budget priorities. I am looking forward to next Wednesday, when he will lay out his entire plan during his State of the State address. The Governor is expected to talk about continuing the efforts we started last year to reform education and cut taxes. His plan will also include his ideas on using a portion of this year’s budget surplus to send back to hardworking taxpayers. I am confident that the House and the Governor will work together this session and I look forward to another great session at the State House.
Our Conservative Agenda
Republicans are united in our desire to provide South Carolinians government that increases the quality of life for every resident. In 2018, 186,500 people moved to South Carolina in one year – enough population for 5 current House seats. People are flocking to South Carolina because of our great business climate, low tax rates, and strong Republican leadership. In order for South Carolina to continue to prosper there are important reforms and legislation that need to be passed.
a. This summer we traveled the state to talk with teachers about their concerns, ideas, and solutions for education reform. In total, we talked with more than 60 Teachers of the Year and have taken many of their ideas into consideration this year.
b. We are also joining the Governor in proposing a $3,000 across the board pay increase (7% pay raise) for teachers. We need to make a substantial investment in teacher salaries – and finally reaching our goal of bringing SC teacher salaries above the southeastern average.
2. Bolstering our reserves
a. Our reserve funds (currently $614 million) need to be higher because sooner or later, a recession will occur. Our goal is to bolster this amount to around $1 billion.
a. The reason we ended fiscal year 2019 with a $1.9 billion surplus is because South Carolinians are successful. This amount of money is made up primarily of 2 consecutive fiscal cycles where the state did not spend all of the money it had available and an economy that continues to be stronger than expected. We’ve never had more people living and working in SC, more individuals who are being successful in their jobs, and more companies earning and paying more to their employees.
b. It’s our job to be good fiscal stewards to send some of this money back to the taxpayer so they can continue investing in our economy.
4. Santee Cooper
a. We will soon receive information regarding the bids and the recommendations from the Dept. of Administration regarding Santee Cooper. Our Caucus and the entire House are dedicated to working with the Governor to ensure we get the best deal for ratepayers and taxpayers.
I was proud to stand with the Governor and hundreds of pro-life advocates on Wednesday outside the House and Senate chambers. The purpose of the rally was to call on the Senate to pass the Fetal Heartbeat Bill the House passed last session that bans most abortions once a heartbeat can be detected.
The House and Senate both passed a bill this week that will make daylight savings time permanent. By passing this legislation, South Carolina joins five other states who no longer want to change their clocks twice a year. This legislation will not go into effect until Congress passes their version of the bill and the President signs it into law.
Addressing Human Trafficking and Prostitution
The House passed a Senate bill on Thursday that strengthens human trafficking and prostitution related offenses in our state. The House added an amendment to directly address human trafficking laws by giving the Attorney General more tools to combat it among other things. Last year South Carolina was considered the most improved state in the country in addressing human trafficking laws.
Fact of the Week:
The top 6 states people are leaving to move to South Carolina are North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, New York, California and Maryland.
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.
Keep up with the SC House GOP Caucus: