Representative Bill Hixon, District 83 – Newsletter

Legislative Update    February 24,  2016

Dear Friends,
While we were off last week, Donald Trump came to visit North Augusta at a packed River View Park Recreation Center. Over 2,000 people filled a gym and those who couldn't fit into that gym were moved to another! Mr. Trump went on and won Aiken County, and also the state of South Carolina.  Following Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are in a tight second and third place. Last night, Trump also won Nevada with 45% of the votes.
I am frequently asked when am I going to get reciprocity with Georgia on the concealed weapons permit passed. My legislation (H-3799) passed in the House last year 101 to 5 and is now in the Senate. Senators Young and Massey are trying to get it through the Senate, but the SC Sheriffs Association and the Fraternal Order of Police are opposed to this bill and have spoken against it. They seem concerned with the crime rates increasing if this CWP bill is passed. Seventeen states that South Carolina has CWP agreements with now recognize Georgia's CWPs. Criminals always find a way to carry guns. I am trying to make it easier for good citizens to protect themselves against those criminals. Call the SC Sheriff's Association at 1-803-772-1101 and let them know what you think. Senator Young, Massey, and our delegation are working hard to get this bill passed.
$40 million in Flood Aid to Farmers
SC farmers who lost most of their crops in last fall's flooding could be eligible for up to $40 million in total grants to help them recover under a bill approved unanimously by the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill would allow farmers in disaster-declared counties to apply for grants from a newly-created Farm Aid Board. The bill (H-4717) heads to the House floor for a vote.



Road Wrangling in the Senate
SC's Secretary of Transportation warned senators that unless the state starts putting more money into repairing roads soon, it will end up costing much more to rebuild them. Christy Hall cited the example of a simple resurfacing project recently on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg. It was discovered the highway was so deteriorated that it had to be rebuilt. She says that can increase the cost of a project up to ten times. Meanwhile, the senate continues to wrangle over various road funding plans. They have been stalled for nearly a year. The House passed its road funding plan last spring now leaving it to the Senate.


Jim Harris Honored
The Aiken Legislative Delegation honored Jim Harris, who just retired as Director of Veterans Affairs for Aiken County. He served in that position for 11 years. We thanked him for his dedicated service
House on Furlough
The SC House of Representative was on furlough last week allowing the Senate to play catch up. It's my fervent hope their "deliberative" body shows more action. The House furlough week saves taxpayers $77,000 and helps shorten the very long legislative session.
In order for me to have a strong voice in Columbia, I have to communicate with my constituents. And that is you! My website, newsletters, mailers, and Facebook are the communication tools that I use. It takes extra time, staff, and campaign funds to maintain these tools. 



If you would like to contribute, please mail a check to Hixon for House, P.O. Box 7927, North Augusta, SC 29861.

I hope that you find this update helpful and informative. If I can help you with an issue, please let me know. Thank you for reading and allowing me to serve you. 


 Legislative Update   –  February 24, 2016

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3041, a joint resolution for a proposed amendment to the South Carolina Constitution that the state superintendent of education be appointed by the governor, upon the advice and consent of the Senate, rather than elected by the state's voters. Under the proposed state constitutional amendment, the Superintendent of Education would be removed from the list of Constitutional Officers who are elected statewide, beginning upon the expiration of the term of the Superintendent of Education serving in office on January 10, 2019, and the State Superintendent of Education would instead be appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at the Governor's pleasure. The General Assembly would provide by law for the duties, compensation, and qualifications for office, and the procedures by which the appointment is made. Should the legislation be approved by the General Assembly, the proposed amendment to South Carolina's Constitution would be placed before the voters as a ballot question at the next general election.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4666, a bill that makes provisions for local domestic violence fatality review committees by requiring each Circuit Solicitor to establish an inter-agency circuit-wide review committee to assist local agencies in identifying and reviewing domestic violence deaths, including homicides and suicides, and facilitating communication among the various agencies involved in domestic violence cases. These local domestic fatality review committees are also charged with reporting to the state's Domestic Violence Advisory Committee and others regarding recommended improvements to domestic violence response and prevention initiatives.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3653, a bill providing authorization for local governments to enter into a law enforcement multi-jurisdictional task force arrangement in order to share officers and other law enforcement resources. The legislation makes provisions for a multi-jurisdictional task force to be governed by a written contract that must be approved by the appropriate governing bodies of each concerned county, incorporated municipality, or other political subdivision.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4457, a bill doubling the maximum dollar amount of the civil jurisdiction of magistrates court by providing for magistrates to have civil jurisdiction in matters that do not exceed $15,000, rather than the current maximum limit of $7,500.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.4639, a bill relating to interstate reciprocity agreements for post-secondary distance education. The legislation provides that the Commission on Higher Education may enter into interstate reciprocity agreements, such as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, governing the operation of post-secondary distance education programs offered by accredited degree-granting institutions of higher learning in South Carolina. Since colleges and universities that offer online education programs must obtain authorization in every state where a pupil resides, the legislation is offered as a means of making this authorization process less complex and expensive by allowing the institutions of higher learning in South Carolina to make use of a single distance education protocol that applies in all the states that have entered into a reciprocity agreement.
The House approved and sent the Senate H.3420, a bill relating to the issuance of high school diplomas to veterans. The legislation expands provisions crafted for the issuance of high school diplomas to World War II veterans by adding veterans of the eras encompassing the Korean War and the Vietnam War to those who must be issued a high school diploma upon presentation to the South Carolina Department of Education of documentation of school enrollment and honorable discharge from the military.



The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4515, a bill relating to in-state higher education tuition rates for veterans and their dependents. Through the passage of Act 11 of 2015, the General Assembly revised eligibility criteria for in-state higher education tuition rates for veterans and their dependents to ensure that South Carolinians can continue to take advantage of federal G.I. Bill provisions. H.4515 makes further revisions to provide that the three-year post discharge enrollment time limit put in place by last year's legislation does not apply to spouses or children dependents of veterans who are entitled to receive federal educational assistance transferred from veterans so that these individuals may take full advantage of the transferred benefits.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3166, a bill making revisions to conditions that disqualify someone from receiving unemployment compensation, including an additional disqualification from unemployment benefits for those who fail screenings for illegal drugs required by prospective employers as a condition of employment or who refuse to comply with such pre-employment drug tests.


The House approved and sent the Senate H.4857, a bill establishing landfill requirements for coal ash from electrical power plants. The legislation provides that coal combustion residuals that result from an electrical utility, an electric cooperative, a governmental entity, a corporation, or an individual producing electricity for sale or distribution by burning coal must be placed in a Class 3 solid waste management landfill, unless the coal combustion residuals are: (1) located contiguous with the electric generating unit; (2) intended to be beneficially reused; (3) placed into beneficial reuse; or (4) placed in an appropriate landfill owned or operated by the entity that produced the electricity that resulted in the coal combustion residuals. The legislation establishes a five-year sunset date for these requirements, unless they are reenacted or otherwise extended by the General Assembly.



The House approved and sent the Senate H.4447, a bill providing authorization for mobile barbershops that can be transported from one location to another and offer temporary portable barber operations in such settings as a client's home or a nursing home. The legislation makes provisions for mobile barbershop permitting and regulation by the State Barber Board and subjects mobile barbershops to all state and local laws, regulations, and ordinances pertaining to the practice of barbering.


The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4090, a bill revising requirements governing the operation of pawnbrokers. Offered as a comprehensive update of the provisions regulating pawnbrokers, the legislation includes among its revisions an increase in the maximum amount of a loan that a pawnbroker is allowed to make from $2,000 to $15,000.
The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3685, a bill making provisions for the electronic transmission of traffic tickets to bring South Carolina into compliance with federal electronic ticketing provisions.
 As always, thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please do not hesitate to contact me.