Dear friends and neighbors, 

2024 Week 8 – Visionary Reforms and Empowering Parents

After our week of furlough for House members, a time we used to strategically plan for what lies ahead, I returned to Columbia this week energized and ready to continue making progress on several key bills and initiatives. This week was full of significant legislative advancements, each reflecting our deep commitment to the prosperity and well-being of every South Carolinian. We tackled groundbreaking healthcare reforms and introduced innovative solutions to support our local businesses. My dedication to improving the lives of all our citizens drives every action I take. I’m eager to share this week’s accomplishments with you, highlighting our joint efforts towards building a brighter future for our state.

Historic Health Policy Reform to Streamline Services and Enhance Care

This week, the House made significant strides in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of our state’s health services with the passage of H.4927, which establishes the Executive Office of Health Policy.  This bill is a bold step towards restructuring South Carolina’s fragmented health service delivery system. By consolidating five agencies that previously provided overlapping services, we aim to reduce inefficiency and improve the quality of healthcare for South Carolinians. Spearheaded by House Republicans, this bi-partisan effort ensures a more accountable and streamlined state government. The new Secretary of Health and Policy, who will be appointed by the Governor and serve in his cabinet, will lead this centralized framework, marking a significant advancement in our goal for a unified and responsive health care system. This reform is essential for delivering high-quality care and addressing the evolving needs of our citizens, paving the way for a healthier South Carolina. Lastly, this bill lays the groundwork for other government restructuring efforts, which not only is one of my top priorities in Columbia, but is one of the foundational tenets of the Republican Party Platform.

Supporting Small Businesses with Affordable Liquor Liability Insurance Solutions

This week, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.5066, the “Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Fund,” which aims to provide an affordable liquor liability insurance option for businesses and individuals required to hold such coverage. Over the past few years, South Carolina has seen a huge uptick in the number of small businesses that have been forced to close because of the skyrocketing premiums they were being required to pay. This initiative seeks to alleviate the financial burden on these small businesses and ensure compliance with state laws. This legislation is set to move to the House floor next week, representing a proactive approach to supporting our local businesses while maintaining public safety and responsibility.

An Exciting Milestone for Education Choice

One of the most significant achievements this year has been the successful launch of the Education Scholarship Trust Fund Program (ESTF), a testament to our commitment to enhancing educational opportunities. I was proud to have voted for and passed this bill last year and now coming full circle, this initiative offers eligible South Carolina families $6,000 scholarships to tailor their children’s education. With the March 15th application deadline approaching, I encourage interested families to apply and take advantage of this innovative program designed to expand educational freedom and choice.

And the application process is as easy as 1-2-3…

  1. Complete the simple online application. You will need:

    1. Proof of guardianship (tax return with dependents listed, birth certificate, etc.)

    2. Proof of income (2022 or 2023 tax return documentation. If you don’t file taxes, you’ll need to provide information on income.)

    3. Proof of residency (driver’s license or state-issued ID, utility bill, etc.)

  2. Your application will be reviewed to verify eligibility and you will receive an email notifying you of the eligibility decision. The application review process and notification may take up to 14 days. To learn more about eligibility criteria, check out this handy FAQ.

  3. Learn how to access and use scholarship funds.

    1. Once a student is approved, you will receive a welcome email providing you with the next steps on how to access scholarship funds as well as allow you to access ongoing support and answer any questions you may have about how the program works.

As a reminder, families can use these flexible funds to pay for tuition, textbooks, curriculum and educational materials, as well as for tutoring, online courses and even a wide range of educational therapies including speech, physical, occupational and vision.

Building on this program, just this week, House leadership joined Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver to announce a proposal for universal school choice aimed at expanding the ESTF program. This new legislation seeks to grant universal eligibility to all families by the 2026-27 school year, enhancing educational opportunities across our state. This initiative underscores our commitment to empowering parents and students with more choices and better access to educational success, building upon the foundation laid by last year’s landmark legislation.

Advocating for a Balanced Federal Budget

In a decisive step towards ensuring fiscal responsibility and long-term economic stability, SC House Republicans, including myself, proudly passed H.3676 on Thursday. This pivotal legislation advocates for a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution, addressing the critical need to rein in federal spending and combat the escalating US federal debt, now over $34 trillion and growing. My commitment to fiscal prudence and sustainable government finances is reflected in this effort to mandate balanced federal budgets, safeguarding the economic future of our nation and its citizens.

South Carolina’s Thriving Economic Landscape

In the coming weeks, the House will debate next year’s state budget that reflects South Carolina’s thriving economic landscape and our commitment to fostering a vibrant state. This preview of the $13.19 billion General Fund budget focuses on sustainable growth, fiscal responsibility, and efficient resource allocation. It includes over $1.4 million in tax relief to ease the financial burden on South Carolinians, substantial increases in state aid for teacher salaries to support our educators, continued investment in veterans’ nursing homes, and an additional $200 million towards improving our deteriorating bridges. This budget aims to match our growth with the necessary expansion of state services, ensuring a brighter future for all South Carolinians.


Bill Hixon 
South Carolina House of Representatives
District 83
(803) 734-3022