Dear Friends,
I hope everyone is having a great summer. It has been hot but thank the good Lord for the rain. I have been waiting to send out my newsletter to see what the House was going to do about the Governor’s vetoes. However, it looks like we are not going back to deal with the vetoes until sometime in September. So here are some of the things we passed this year.

I’m up for re-election this year and I have an opponent. I need your help, support, and vote. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the House District 83.

If you would like to contribute, please mail a check to Hixon For House, P.O. Box 7927, North Augusta, SC 29861 or by this link: Contribute to Representative Hixon’s Campaign

We will be getting my yard signs ready for those who want to place one in their yard. Click Here to get one.

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



Local Road Updates

Local Road and Bridge Projects Update: To see the road and bridge projects update from my June 27 district email, go here.

Old Edgefield Road/Lecompte Avenue Intersection Improvement Project – North Augusta: SCDOT provided the following:

  • Senator Young called AT&T again last week and AT&T reported to SCDOT on Thursday that it will finish relocating utilities by September 30, 2018;
  • Project is currently delayed 22 months;
  • Utilities were notified of utility relocation in writing 18 months before the project’s contractor started work. To see the timeline from SCDOT, go here.

SCDOT Road Project Link: SCDOT’s interactive map to allow citizens to see the road and bridge projects going on around the state can be seen here.



Government Reorganization And Reform:

H.4977 – Governor And Lieutenant Governor Restructuring

Formalizes the 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment that ends the practice of electing the governor and lieutenant governor separately. 2018 will be the first year in which the party nominees for governor will select a lieutenant governor candidate as a running mate.
STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

S.27 – Appointment Of State Superintendent Of Education By Governor
Places a constitutional question on the ballot that asks voters if they approve of granting the governor the authority to appoint the state Superintendent of Education instead of keeping it as an elected position.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.3352 – Office Of Freedom Of Information Act Review
Closes loopholes in the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which will promote increased transparency in state government.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.3209 – Record Expungement Act
Provides eligibility for expungement of offenses that meet certain criteria established by law. This measure allows low-level offenders greater opportunities when re-entering the workforce.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and vetoed by the governor. Gubernatorial veto overridden by House and Senate, which resulted in the legislation becoming law

S.499 – Driver’s Licenses
Eliminates the $50 fee criminal offenders have been forced to pay to have an identity code placed on their driver’s licenses. The identity code will still be required to appear on driver’s licenses of offenders, but the fee is eliminated. The passage of S.499 is expected to resolve a lawsuit over the $50 mandate.
STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.3358 – South Carolina REAL I.D. Act
Allows the state to comply with federal REAL I.D. requirements, while also allowing citizens to opt out of REAL I.D.
STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.4683 – Beachfront Management Reform Act
Establishes a beachfront setback line at the most seaward of the established 2012 line, or the line established through a review or appeal of the proposed 2017 line. The law also states data cannot be used to determine new lines from an erosion zone within eighteen months of it being impacted by a storm system named by the National Weather Service. Additionally, the law sets procedures and notices for DHEC to use for any future baseline and setback line establishment cycles, including a clarification of an appeals process.
STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor



Public Safety

H.4496 – Enhanced Ban Of Sanctuary City Policies
Authorizes circuit courts to determine if a political subdivision has intentionally violated the provisions of this law that prohibit interfering with the enforcement of state or federal immigration policies. If a political subdivision is found to be in violation, it will be barred from receiving Local Government Fund appropriations for at least three consecutive years.
– STATUS: H.4496 was not passed by the Senate, but its language and enforcement mechanisms were added to the budget

H.3208 – Increased Penalties For Acts Of Terrorism
Mandates prison sentences of not more than 30 years for individuals who plan an act of terrorism and not more than 20 years in prison for anyone who supports an act of terrorism, including financial assistance.
– STATUS: Blocked by the Senate

H.3548 – SC Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act
Bans dismemberment abortion procedures in which a physician uses forceps to pull apart the unborn child before removing it in pieces.
– STATUS: Filibustered by the Senate

H.4033 – Work Zone Safety Act
Strengthens penalties for those who endanger the life of highway workers. The bill was proposed by the Aiken County legislative delegation in response to hit-and-run deaths of two Aiken County SCDOT workers.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.3329 – Human Trafficking Penalties And Detection Measures
Expands definitions and penalties for convicted human traffickers and enacts harsher punishments for those trafficking individuals under the age of 18 to provide that a first time offender will be convicted of a felony and imprisoned for not more than 30 years. A second or subsequent conviction carries a sentence of not more than 45 years. This legislation grants the Attorney General’s office and the Human Trafficking Task Force the flexibility and law enforcement resources needed to appropriately address concerns.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

S.805 – Creation Of Children’s Advocacy Department
Creates the Department of Children’s Advocacy to ensure children under the care of a state agency, particularly children served by the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, receive timely, safe, and effective services and to receive and investigate complaints related to the provision of services for children.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor



Consumer Protection

S.105 – Automatic Stay Reform
Shortens the amount of time environmental groups are able to hold up construction of important business development projects in administrative law court.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor



Opioid Abuse Prevention

H.3819 – Prescription Requirements For Minors
Establishes requirements related to prescribing opioid analgesics to minors.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.3822 – Controlled Substance Schedules
Adds the Code Commissioner for Controlled Substance Scheduling Updates.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.3826 – Tamper Proof Prescription Pads
Requires written prescriptions for any Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substance to be written on tamper-resistant prescription pads that contain one or more industry-recognized features.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.4117 – Drug Court Access To Prescription Monitoring Program
Revises confidentiality provisions for the Prescription Monitoring Program maintained by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to provide program data to a presiding judge of a drug court pertaining to a specific case involving a designated person.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.4487 – DHEC Reforms
Updates Title 44 based on the recommendations of the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s review and study of DHEC.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.4488 – Confidentiality Exceptions For Coroners And Deputy Coroners
Expands the list of persons to which the DHEC’s Bureau of Drug Control may provide prescription monitoring program data so that it also includes a coroner, deputy coroner, medical examiner, or deputy medical examiner who is involved in an official inquiry into the cause and manner of a person’s death.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.4600– Community Distribution Of Opioid Overdose Antidotes
Authorizes pharmacists to dispense opioid overdose antidotes to certain community organizations to distribute to a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose or to a caregiver of such person.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.4601 – Licensure for Addiction Counselors
Requires an addiction counselor to be licensed by the Department of Labor, Licensure, andRegulation. After October 1, 2018, an addiction counselor applicant must have a master’s degree or higher and meet the other licensure requirements imposed on professional counselors and marriage and family therapists.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

S.918 – Opioid Prescription Limits
Provides the components of Prescription Report Cards and sets an initial opioid prescription supply limit at 7 days for acute pain treatment and post-operative pain treatment.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

S.302 – Opioid Related Education
Requires opioid related education in the Department of Education’s health standards as well as requires students at higher education institutions with degrees in health care professions that allows the person to prescribe Schedules II, III, and IV controlled substances to complete coursework on the prescription and monitoring of Schedule II, III, and IV controlled substances, including coursework on the prescribing of Schedule II controlled substances to treat or manage pain, and strategies that can be employed to recognize signs of and reduce the likelihood of patient addiction.
-STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor




H.3427 – Computer Science Curriculum In Public Schools
Requires the State Board of Education to adopt and incorporate grade appropriate computer science standards into the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum.
– STATUS: Blocked by the Senate

H.3343 – School Facilities/Capital Infrastructure
Allows economically challenged school districts that do not have the financial ability to secure school maintenance bonds to seek bonding approval. The bill requires school districts to institute reforms in order to have their bond request backed by the state.
– STATUS: Blocked by the Senate

H.3034 – In-state Tuition For Veterans And Their Dependents
Complies with updated federal requirements and qualifies veterans and their dependents who use the G.I. Bill and certain other benefits the ability to pay in-state tuition at South Carolina public institutions of higher learning.
– STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor

H.3035 – Increasing Access to Higher Education for Veterans
Eliminates the 12-month waiting period for veterans and active duty service members to establish residency in order to obtain in-state tuition rates at colleges and universities.
– STATUS: Blocked by the Senate



Ratepayer Protections Addressing the VC Summer Nuclear Project Fallout

H.4375 and S.954 – Conference Committee Reports
A joint House and Senate conference committee met to iron out differences and solidify reports on two bills passed this session to address the VC Summer nuclear facility fallout. The agreed upon provisions included in bills H.4375 and S.954 are as follows:

  1. Reduces the nuclear surcharge from over 18% to 3.19% by removing every SCE&G rate increase approved after 2010
  2. Repeals the Base Load Review Act
  3. Reforms the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS)
  4. Creates a consumer advocate for ratepayers
  5. Allows for long term rate relief by defining the terms of “prudent” and “imprudent”
  6. Gives ORS the tools needed to access confidential documents of utilities and subpoena powers
  7. Eliminates the July 12, 2018 deadline whereby the PSC must make a decision on the SCANA-Dominion merger
  8. Establishes a new timeline for the PSC to make a decision by December 21, 2018

-STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and either signed by the governor or veto overridden



Highlights Included in Fiscal Year 2018-2019 State Budget

The House and Senate worked together this year to craft a responsible budget that provides for South Carolina’s basic needs and services. Provisions included in the appropriations bill are as follows:
1) School Safety

  • Appropriates funding for door locks, security cameras, medical detectors, and student resource officers (SRO)

2) Education

  • Increases base student cost to better assist teachers and help meet students’ needs
  • Provides additional funding for school buses
  • Allocates monies for technical schools to train and equip students for skilled industry jobs

3) Public Safety

  • Provides additional funding for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) laboratory for enhanced forensic testing capabilities, which will help decrease the backlog of evidence testing in pending criminal cases
  • Increases pay for correctional officers in order to fill much-needed positions
  • Gives the Department of Corrections additional flexibility within its budget for critical security upgrades

4) Workforce and Job Creation

  • Creates an information technology system to better align educational system needs with employment opportunities through analysis of data. The project will combine program data from multiple state agencies to evaluate the state’s education system and support the development of a trained workforce*
  • Allocates funding for opioid abuse prevention legislation passed during the session

-STATUS: Passed by the House and Senate and signed by the governor with the exception of *. The House will meet before the legislative year concludes to consider this item and various other budget vetoes.



Tax Conformity

H.5341 – South Carolina Income Tax Reform
Reinstates personal income tax exemptions that South Carolina taxpayers have benefited from for decades. Historically, South Carolina has conformed its state income tax structure to the federal Internal Revenue Code. However, the tax reform package Congress passed last December could result in severe financial consequences for South Carolina taxpayers if a bill is not passed in 2018 to address concerns.
-STATUS: Stalled in the Senate, but included in the Sine Die resolution to allow consideration in a Special Session