Legislative Update: Week 2, 2020
January 28, 2020
Legislative Update: Week 4, 2020
February 10, 2020
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Legislative Update: Week 3, 2020

Legislative Update: Week 3, 2020

Overview

The last week of January was a busy one in Columbia filled with committee meetings and teachers visiting the State House! Teachers from around the state visited the Capitol while the Senate was addressing the education bill this week and while the House was debating different education initiatives. It was also Carolina Day on Wednesday which brought all of the UofSC campuses together to celebrate the General Assembly’s efforts to support higher education. I am proud to have supported a bill last year that froze tuition rates for in-state students at 7 of UofSC’s 8 campuses throughout the state. 

Teacher Bill of Rights (H.4753)

This week, I (along with every one of my House colleagues) voted for the Teacher Bill of Rights that addresses many concerns heard from teachers about limitations that have been placed on them in the classroom. This bill addresses student discipline, reducing frivolous lawsuits, cutting out burdensome paperwork, compensation for extra days, providing ongoing professional training, and adding a daily “duty-free” planning period. The bill also enacts a 100% property tax credit for teachers in the I-95 corridor. 

Veterans Nursing Homes

The Joint Bond Review Committee (made up of a group of House members and Senators) approved the building of four new veterans nursing homes across the state. Veteran nursing homes will be installed in four counties; Sumter, Florence, Gaffney and Horry. I am proud to address the huge need for Veteran’s assisted living in the state. South Carolina’s mental health agency currently cares for over 500 veterans in three existing nursing homes in Anderson, Columbia and Walterboro, but there are thousands of more Veterans who need our help. 

Other Legislative News:

Boosting Our Reserves:  The House introduced legislation to raise the state’s reserve limits from 5% to 10% incrementally over the next several years (H.5081 and H. 5082). We have the opportunity to do this because our economy is doing so well but we still need to prepare our reserves for a potential recession in the future. 

More Nurses:   To help meet the nursing shortage and to support veterans seeking post-service employment, I voted for a bill ( H.4404 ) that enables military medics and corpsmen to get credit for their experience as they seek associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in nursing. This bill passed the House and was sent to the Senate for their consideration.

Being Smart with $$$ : Also this week, I voted to expand high school financial literacy program requirements (H.3199) that so that students will learn practical lessons in college and education loans, key loan terms, monthly payment obligations, repayment options, credit, and education loan debt.

Prohibiting Bullying : I also voted this week for H.4403  which provides for a more expansive definition of “harassment, intimidation, or bullying” in schools and establishes procedures for responding to and remediating allegations of bullying.

Know Your Job : Lastly, I was proud to support ( H.4076 ) that requires members of state boards and commissions to sign a document ensuring they have studied and understand their statutory duties and powers. Repeated refusal to sign the required documents constitutes grounds for removal from office by the Governor.

Did you know?? The State House has an interactive app that helps keep you up to date on everything happening in the General Assembly and allows you to live stream committee hearings and session. Download the app today by following this link: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/mobileappinfo.php

Visitors

The Education Committee welcomed Mississippi State Superintendent, Dr. Carey Wright, to the State House on Thursday afternoon to discuss education reform and Mississippi’s unprecedented academic success under her leadership.

Overview

Governor Henry McMaster led South Carolina into the roaring 20’s with his State of the State speech on Wednesday and outlined a bright future for the 5,148,000 who call our state home. The Governor laid out a sincere plan to move SC forward and I am ready to work with the entire General Assembly to turn it into reality. 

The State of the State

Governor McMaster’s agenda prioritizes public education and returning money to taxpayers. On the education issue, I am excited to work with the Governor and am hopeful that the Senate will soon pass their own comprehensive education reform bill like the House passed last session. In addition, I also support the Governor’s plan to expand 4-year-old kindergarten programs, increase teacher pay again and freeze higher education tuition rates for in-state students and universities. Other highlights from his speech included sending some of the budget surplus back to the taxpayers, upgrading our prison systems, raising the pay for law enforcement and state employees and passing the Heartbeat Bill. 

We are listening to teachers…

I am very pleased to say that Speaker Jay Lucas has proposed H. 4760 which will continue our education reforms efforts by reducing the number of state-mandated tests and assessments. This will allow more time in the classrooms for teachers to teach. The bill successfully passed subcommittee and full committee this week.

Special Guest

Speaker Jay Lucas is hosting the Mississippi Superintendent of Education, Dr. Carey Wright, this Thursday, January 30th. Mississippi has taken big strides in education reform in recent years and I am excited to hear more about Dr. Wright’s experience. She will be addressing the full education committee in Blatt Room 110 at 1:30pm.  The public is encouraged to attend or you can watch Dr. Wright’s testimony at https://www.scstatehouse.gov.

Congratulations

Gov. Henry McMaster has named Rep. Bobby Cox (District 21) to lead South Carolina’s new Veterans’ Affairs Department. Rep. Cox is a former Army Ranger who was elected to the General Assembly in 2018. The Senate will have their hearing this Wednesday to confirm his position. 

Quote of the Week

“This year let us roar into the twenties with renewed purpose. Let us be bold. Let us act on behalf of the sons and daughters of South Carolina, so that they may receive a state as bright with promise as that which we were blessed to inherit.” – Governor Henry McMaster, 2020 State of the State Address

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:

https://www.facebook.com/SCHouseGOP/

Keep up with the SC House GOP Caucus:

https://www.facebook.com/SCHouseGOP

Keep up with the SC House GOP Caucus:

https://www.facebook.com/SCHouseGOP/