Dear friends and neighbors,
The 2021-2022 Legislative Session came to a close on Thursday, May 12. This close yielded RESULTS for our Republican Caucus Agenda, which aims to slash government red-tape, cut taxes, and make a more efficient government that works for the people — one that makes South Carolina a better place to work, go to school, own a business and raise a family.
This newsletter highlights some of the important legislation passed, and what will be headed to a conference committee to work out differences between the House and the Senate.
The Budget and Tax Cuts:
The House’s budget centered around 4 R’s: increasing reserves, improving our roads and infrastructure, securing raises for teachers and first responders, and over $1 billion in tax relief. Conferees will meet to address differences between the House and Senate’s budgets. A conference committee will also meet to address differences with S. 1087, the “Comprehensive Tax Cut Act of 2022”. Legislators will return on the 15th to pass a finalized version of the budget.
Raising our state general reserve fund was a priority for the House this year, which helps prepare South Carolina in the face of financial uncertainty. A bill that will gradually raise reserves from 5% to 7% and increase capital reserve funds from 2% to 3% was passed in the House this year, but will go to a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate.
No Room for Voter Fraud in South Carolina:
Safeguarding our elections has been the #1 priority of many lawmakers after questions were raised about the integrity of votes in 2020. It is of utmost importance that each vote cast in an election is COUNTED, and counted only once. The South Carolina House was proud to usher through legislation to ensure that will always be the case. Signed by the Governor on May 13th 2022, this bill fortifies our South Carolina election system. This law makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat.
Here are a few of the protections in the legislation, many of which affect this year’s Statewide Primary on June 14th:
Establishes early voting in South Carolina for the two weeks preceding any election
A county’s size determines the number of early voting locations
Standardizes and strengthens the absentee vote-by-mail system and requires a verifiable witness signature
Limits candidates to only one party nomination and listing on any ballot
Requires affidavits and the last four digits of their social security number to early vote or to vote absentee
Enhances penalties for violating election laws
WE THE PEOPLE – Convention of States:
A conference committee has been appointed to work out differences in the House and Senate versions of S. 133, which calls for the US Congress to hold a Convention of the States. A Convention of States’ purpose is to propose new amendments pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution. It would require balanced federal budgets each year, holding the Federal Government to the same standard as State Government. You and I have to balance our checkbooks and live within our means – why shouldn’t the Federal Government have to? South Carolina would be state number 28 of the 34 needed to call for a federal balanced budget amendment.
“Workforce Enhancement and Military Recognition Act”:
This legislative session has been dedicated to supporting and bettering the lives of our veterans. One bill which allows all military retirement income to be deducted from an individual’s South Carolina income taxes, has been signed into law. I was proud to support this bill to eliminate the heavy burden of taxes for our veterans.
Veterans Burial Honor Guard Support Fund:
A conference committee was appointed for S. 968, a bill to establish the “Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund.” The fund offsets the costs to provide honor guard burial details at funerals of qualifying South Carolina veterans.
Patriotism in South Carolina Schools:
S. 969 was signed into law by the Governor. This allows the state Board of Education to require the display of patriotic emblems (such as flags or mottos) of the United States of America and the State of South Carolina in our schools. I look forward to bringing American patriotism back to our classrooms!
Minimum Age for Corrections Officers:
S. 1092 was ratified [R. 243], which goes to address the shortage of correctional officers in South Carolina. This ensures that detention and correctional officer candidates in South Carolina are at least eighteen years old, rather than the former minimum age of twenty-one years old.
Volunteer Firefighter Grants:
Keeping our firefighters prepped and ready with the resources and gear they need is crucial to upholding public safely. The Governor signed into law legislation which simplifies the authority of the State Fire Marshal and enhances the Volunteer Strategic Assistance and Fire Equipment (V-SAFE) Program – a program that awards grants to volunteer fire departments.
H. 3050 was ratified [R. 246], which limits non-certified law enforcement officers hired after July 1, 2022 from performing their duties unless they are accompanied by a certified law enforcement officer for one year in order to keep both the officer and our communities safe. It also limits the use of chokeholds, use-of-force continuum, no-knock warrants, and more.
‘Save Women’s Sports Act’:
The Governor signed the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’, a bill which originated in the House. This bill aims to maintain the competitive advantage for female athletes in sports. The new law is fairly straightforward: it requires, by proof of a birth certificate, that those who were designated ‘male’ at birth solely participate in men’s sports, rather than participate in sports designated for females.
Real School Choice for South Carolina:
Giving families in South Carolina real school choice and educational freedom is long overdue. A conference committee was formed to address differences between the Senate and the House’s school choice bill. The House bill establishes a three-year “Parental Choice in Education Program”, where five thousand public school students who are financially disadvantaged or part of an active duty military family can qualify for a scholarship of up to $5,000 to attend the school of their choice.
Transparency & Integrity in Education:
S. 945 seeks to promote public access to school board meetings by requiring school boards to live stream meetings. S. 945 was read a third time and returned to the Senate with amendments. The committee added language from H. 5183, the Transparency and Integrity in Education Act earlier sent to the Senate, which was not sent back. This language calls for closer scrutiny and say in the curriculum taught to our children.
Evaluating New Teachers:
The Governor has signed a bill to improve the means for evaluating educator preparation programs by developing and publishing an online report card known as the “South Carolina Teacher Preparation Report Card”. This evaluates the ability of educator preparation programs to train new teachers so as to guide and improve future educator training programs.
Birth Certificates for Adopted Individuals:
H. 5000 allows adopted individuals to access their original birth certificate at the age of 18, provided they have the consent of their biological parent or proof that their biological parent is deceased. This has been ratified as R. 226 by the General Assembly and the Governor signed it into law on May 16.
Cutting Property Taxes:
In the South Carolina House, we are dedicated to reducing the heavy tax burden on South Carolinian families. The House made appointments to a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S. 233, a bill allowing a real property tax exemption extension. Among other things, the legislation proposes that when a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse could receive a property tax exemption if the surviving spouse owns the house and meets certain qualifications. The legislation also helps support one of our state’s largest industries: the agriculture industry, by establishing a property tax exemption for all farm buildings and agricultural structures owned by a producer in this state.
I’m at your service!
It is my honor to be of service to you and to serve District 83. If you need assistance navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me!
District 83 – SC House of Representatives
For more information or have questions or comments on what I am doing in Columbia? Give me a call!
Home Phone: (803) 278-0892
Business Phone: (803) 279-8855
Columbia Phone: (803) 212-6898
Contact your Representatives
United States Congressman Joe Wilson — (202) 225-2452
United States Congressman Jeff Duncan — (202) 225-5301
SC Senator Shane Massey — (803) 480- 0419
SC Senator Tom Young — (803) 212-6000
SC House of Representative Bill Hixon — (803) 279-8855
Follow these links for more information about your state and national level representatives.