State House Report


This past week was “Crossover Week”. This is historically the week that signifies the last week to pass a bill out of one chamber and send it to the next for it to have a chance at passing before the official final day of this year’s session ends. Bills are brought to the floor in droves. The past two weeks on the House floor was no exception as the floodgates opened and many bills were placed on the calendar, debated and sent to the Senate. 

I voted in the affirmative for the following bills with one notable exception. Remember, these bills are not laws yet. They must pass through the Senate and, if passed by both chambers, receive the Governor’s signature to do that.

H. 4060 passed and was sent to the Senate. The bill addresses improvements in the delivery of workforce education in K-12 and higher education.

H. 3295 was amended, passed, and sent to the Senate.  The bill allows the State Board of Education to waive applicable laws and regulations if a district is successful in its application to start a competency-based school.

H. 3843 was passed and sent to the Senate. The bill amends statutes regarding students attending public schools outside their attendance zone and school district. The bill also directs school boards to adopt an open enrollment policy by the 2023-24 school year  that is based on the requirements set forth in the legislation, and the State Department of Education (SDE) must develop a template to assist.

H. 4023 passed and was sent to the Senate. This bill deals with changing the First Steps to School Readiness Act, making it permanent and stating that future reauthorizations are not required. Future Executive Directors of the Office of First Steps to School Readiness must be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.  Directors serve at the pleasure of the First Steps Board of Trustees. The bill revises the composition, appointment process, and terms of membership for local First Steps Partnership Boards (as well as provides for the termination of certain current board members and the transition of certain tasks by local partnerships). 

H. 3682 passed and sent to the Senate. This bill facilitates Levying on Seized Animals for Care Costs in the ill-treatment of animal cases. As amended, animal owners found innocent of any ill-treatment of animal charges made against them would receive full reimbursement of all related care costs they fronted during the pendency of these charges.

H. 4066, State Executive Committee Election Protests, passed the House and headed to the Senate. This bill would limit state conventions to a maximum of 943 delegates. The state executive committee would hear all election protests and could require protest bonds to be posted by anyone contesting an election. Before doing so, however, they would have to pass an appropriate resolution prior to that election being held. Bonds are proposed to be capped at $750.  Successful protests would mean any bond posted would be returned to its poster.

H. 3359 passed and was sent to the Senate.  House amendments made minimal changes regarding highway crossing and helmet requirements.  H. 3359 extensively addresses the subject of utility terrain vehicles (UTV).  This bill defines the term utility terrain vehicle and provides for the registration and operation on highways and streets (to include side-by-side, four-wheel drive, off-road vehicle, transporting individuals and cargo or both, tires, width, steering, and seating). The bill also addresses speed and engine power parameters to ensure they are over the size of UTVs designed for young people.  UTVs must be registered like passenger vehicles. They would be exempt from county property tax and subject to registration renewal biennially among many other requirements.

H. 3952, a bill revising the administrative authority of the Department of Consumer Affairs relating to motor vehicle dealers under the state’s Consumer Protection Code was passed and sent to the Senate.

Amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 3782, a bill revising statutes governing telephone, cable television services, and other telecommunications public utilities to specify that video streaming services are not subject to the franchise fees that local governments charge for the use of public rights of way.

Approved and sent the Senate H. 3977, a bill facilitating property and casualty insurance policies that are posted on a website.

The House concurred with Senate amendments and enrolled for ratification H. 3312, legislation that creates the Child Food and Nutrition Services Study Committee. The committee shall make a report of its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by January 1, 2024, at which time the study committee terminates.

Amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H. 3951. This legislation gives landowners another option for protection by creating the Working Agricultural Lands Preservation Program.

H. 4120 passed and was sent to the Senate.  This bill would create an “Illegal Immigration Enforcement Unit” within the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  

H. 3414 passed and sent to the Senate. This bill is referred to as the “Anti Carolina Squat” bill. It prohibits motor vehicle modifications that result in the motor vehicle’s front fenders being raised four or more inches above or below the height of the rear fenders.

H. 3514, the “South Carolina Equine Advancement Act” passed and was sent to the Senate. Among many things, this bill would set up a South Carolina Equine Commission.  It would be chaired by our Department of Revenue Director.  They will select and oversee up to three entities in South Carolina that would operate pari-mutuel betting entities for equestrian activities. I did not support this bill as it creates another Government agency (as well as more gambling) and very little of the proceeds benefit the State General Fund. 

H. 3865 was passed with no opposition.  It sets out Additional Optional Coroner Candidate Qualifications. This bill would add anyone with three years’ experience as a licensed paramedic as an additional qualification to become a coroner.

H. 3553 a bill to remove Adoption Waiting Periods was passed without opposition. This bill would eliminate the existing statutory 90-day waiting period. Adoptions of special needs children would be allowed up to twelve months for completion.

H. 3138, a bill dealing with the disposal of abandoned aircraft by an airport manager was passed without opposition. The bill provides requirements for the notification and sale process for an airport manager of a publicly owned or public-use airport when it is determined an abandoned aircraft, or a derelict aircraft is located on the premises of the airport.

H. 3691, legislation stating that a coroner, deputy coroner, or coroner’s designee may administer an opioid antidote in accordance with the requirements of the “South Carolina Overdose Prevention Act” passed without opposition. 

H. 3681, a bill that prohibits municipalities from enacting laws, ordinances or rules pertaining to ingredients and flavors of tobacco products such as cigarettes or electronic smoking devices, and vapor products passed 98-4 and sent to the Senate.

H. 3690, the “ESG Pension Protection Act.”  “ESG” refers to “Environmental, Social, and Governance.”  The bill revises provisions governing the state’s retirement system funds to require decisions about investing and managing assets to be based on pecuniary factors.

H. 4116 passed and was sent to the Senate. This bill makes revisions relating to the licensure and regulation of funeral directors and other licensed funeral service providers. 

S. 604, a joint resolution authorizing American Rescue Plan Act appropriations was amended and sent back to the Senate. The legislation appropriates $586 million to the Rural Infrastructure Authority ARPA Water and Sewer Infrastructure Account to be used towards fulfilling existing grant applications.

H. 4087 was passed and sent to the Senate. The legislation expands the corporate income tax credit provisions for establishing a corporate headquarters in South Carolina. Batteries, solar panels, turbines, and related structures are included in the definition of “postconsumer waste material” for recycling facilities.

H. 4124, a bill restructuring the Department of Health and Environmental Control.  The legislation makes comprehensive reform provisions to replace the Department of Health and Environmental Control with a newly created Department of Public Health to assume DHEC’s health‑related functions and a newly created Department of Environmental Services to assume DHEC’s environmental‑related functions.

H. 4020, a bill enhancing motion picture production company tax rebates. The legislation revises the tax rebate provisions for certain motion picture production companies by increasing the total annual limit from ten million to thirty million dollars and by allowing the use of rebates for certain additional expenditures and expenses.

H. 3737, the “Short Line Railroad Modernization Act” (which I cosponsored) was passed and sent to the Senate. This bill makes provisions for an income tax credit equal to fifty percent of an eligible taxpayer’s qualified railroad reconstruction or replacement expenditures as a means of encouraging the rehabilitation of certain comparatively small rail lines.

H. 3563 passed unanimously and was sent to the Senate. The bill establishes a sales tax exemption for feminine hygiene products including tampons, sanitary napkins, and other similar personal care items for use in connection with the menstrual cycle.

H. 3908 passed without opposition and was sent to the Senate. This bill addresses paid parental leave for school district employees. The legislation establishes provisions under which school district employees are eligible to receive paid parental leave upon the birth of a child or initial legal placement of a foster child or a child by adoption.

This week, the General Assembly was hosted by our firefighters with a luncheon on the State House grounds. I met with members of the Abbeville County Fire Commission. Among them were Chief Tim Williams and Paul Parnell.

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State House Report

As the session moves along, there have only been a few bills acted upon in the State House. However, behind the scenes, many committees and subcommittees are meeting to get many other bills to the floor.

Two weeks ago, the House passed H.3774 the Human Life Protection Act after a protracted debate only brought to an end by invoking “cloture”. When cloture is invoked, no additional amendments are allowed, bebate is limited to 10 minutes per amendment and then one hour is allotted for debate in favor of and one hour in opposition to the bill. Ultimately, the bill overwhelmingly passed the House by a vote of 77-31 with only 2 Republicans and 29 Democrats voting “no”. The bill will allow a licensed physician to perform an abortion only in cases where a pregnancy results from incidents of rape or incest, when a fatal fetal anomaly is present, or when the life of the mother is at risk. It also protects contraception, in vitro fertilization [IVF], and other assistive reproduction technologies. In addition, biological fathers will be responsible for paying 50 percent of the birth mother’s pregnancy expenses from the time of conception as well as child support to be calculated from the date of conception.

This week, an equally contentious bill, H. 3594, the “Constitutional Carry” bill passed the House, and been sent to the Senate for consideration. It, too, invoked a cloture motion to limit debate.

It declares that law-abiding South Carolina citizens have a constitutional right to carry their firearms anywhere in South Carolina except in any facility clearly marked with a sign complying with state specifications that disallows firearms on those premises.  They also could store their firearms anywhere within their motor vehicles.

Anyone openly carrying their firearm in compliance with this proposed legislation would not give any law enforcement officer or official with arrest powers either a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to be searched, detained, or arrested for doing so.

Also as amended, first time violators of these prohibitions would face up to 5 years in jail, second time offenders would face from 5 to 20 years in jail, and third time or more violators would face 10 to 30 years in jail.  Anyone convicted of a crime punishable by up to one year in jail would be prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Firearm owners would have to report the loss or theft of their guns to an appropriate law enforcement agency within 30 days after discovering it.  The General Assembly encourages all gun owners to receive appropriate gun safety training before carrying their firearms.  CWP holders would have to report losing their permits within 48 hours, and pardons that are granted could ban gun possession, transport, or sales if this bill is enacted.

The House approved H. 3340, Gold Alerts,and has sent it to the Senate for deliberation. This proposal would add anyone with an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disability diagnosis to the list of people eligible for inclusion in the State Law Enforcement Division’s Endangered Person Notification System.

H. 3802, a bill that reduces the membership of the Board of Trustees for the Veterans’ Trust Fund of South Carolina from nineteen to eleven, was amended, approved, and sent to the Senate.  The Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints the Board. The Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs shall serve as the executive director of the trust fund and an ex officio nonvoting member of the board.

H. 3797 was approved and sent to the Senate.  The bill would enact the “Military Temporary Remote School Enrollment Act” outlining requirements (including to districts) for school enrollment for children of military personnel who are transferred to a military installation within the state of South Carolina while on active military duty (a pupil would be considered a resident of the school district). 

The House approved and accepted a motion on Thursday to give third reading the next day to H. 3505The bill removes certain possession restrictions (unlawful to possess more than two blue catfish greater than thirty-two inches in length in any one day) for blue catfish.

It was a great pleasure to have as a guest this last week the FFA from Calhoun Falls Public Charter School at the state house. Ms. Nancy McCannon does a wonderful job with the youngsters in her program.

As always, 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 at home at (864) 366-4112 or in Columbia at (803) 212-6934 or by email at

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State House in Review

January 31-February 2, 2023

The House passed on third reading, and sent the Senate, H. 3503, with amendments, a bill to establish and enhance criminal penalties for trafficking or distributing fentanyl, or fentanyl-related substances, which would be considered Schedule I drugs.  Anyone possessing over 4 grams of fentanyl would trigger these new criminal enforcement penalties.

As amended, first time offenders with four grams or more, but less than 14 grams, of fentanyl would face mandatory minimum jailtime sentences of 10 years, and maximum incarceration for 25 years.  A fine of $50,000 would also be levied.  Second and subsequent offenders trafficking these amounts potentially face a minimum of 25 years in jail and a fine of $100,000.

Second or subsequent, offenders with 14, but less than 28, grams of fentanyl would face a minimum 25 years in jail and a fine of $100,000.  Subsequent offenders with 28, or more, grams of fentanyl would face a minimum of 25 years in jail and up to a maximum of 40 years incarcerated once convicted.  All these categories of subsequent offenders also would be fined $200,000.

No part of any of these listed sentences or fines could be suspended by a judge.  Judges also could not put these offenders on probation.

The House of Representatives approved S. 381, providing for the ratification of the State Constitutional Amendment enhancing financial reserve funds, and enrolled the bill for ratification.  The legislation provides for the ratification of the amendment to the South Carolina Constitution approved by the state’s voters at the 2022 general election to enhance the state financial reserve funds that are used to cope with revenue shortfalls.  The amendment provides for the state’s General Reserve Fund, currently set at 5 percent of General Fund revenue of the latest completed fiscal year, to be increased each year by 0.5% until it equals 7 percent of such revenue.  The amendment increases the state’s Capital Reserve Fund from 2 percent to 3 percent of General Fund revenue and provides that the first use of the Capital Reserve Fund must be to offset midyear budget reductions.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H. 3605, a bill addressing the screening of applicants for professional and occupational licenses and the investigation of complaints filed against those who hold such licenses.  The legislation provides that a professional or occupational board under the authority of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation may not solely or in part deny a license to an applicant because of a prior criminal conviction, unless the criminal conviction directly relates to the duties, responsibilities, or fitness of the occupation or profession for which the applicant is seeking a license.  Boards are prohibited from using vague or generic terms, such as “moral turpitude” or “good character”, nor may they consider charges that have been dismissed or dropped or that have resulted in a finding of not guilty as a justification for denying an applicant a license.  An applicant who has submitted a completed application may not be denied a license because of a prior criminal conviction unless the licensing board has given the applicant an opportunity to appear at a hearing to determine the applicant’s fitness for the occupation or profession.  When a license is solely or in part denied because of the applicant’s prior criminal history, the board must, within thirty days of the hearing, issue a written final order that includes the grounds for denial and notification that appeals are to be made to the Administrative Law Court.  The legislationrevises provisions governing the investigation of professional and occupational licensees when complaints have been filed against them.  Within 30 days after an investigation is initiated, the LLR Director is responsible for sending: (1) a letter advising the licensee that a complaint has been filed, an investigation has been initiated, and the licensee is requested to respond in writing within 14 days; (2) a copy of the complaint; (3) the name of the complainant, unless the board believes good cause exists to withhold the name; and (4) all materials filed with the complaint.  In any case where an investigation prompts a licensing board to recommend a formal complaint, the legislation requires a procedural review in which the LLR Director is charged with verifying that notification requirements have been fulfilled and that any response from the licensee has been included and considered in the investigative file.  Any procedural defects that the Director finds during the review must be rectified before a formal complaint can be issued.

The House approved and sent the Senate H. 3614, the “Rate Payer Protection Act, which affords employees of public utilities whistleblower protections so that they might not refrain from reporting wrongdoing out of fear of retaliation.  The legislation prohibits a public utility from dismissing, demoting, or taking other adverse employment actions against an employee who has, in good faith, reported waste, fraud, abuse, or other wrongdoing by the public utility to the Office of Regulatory Staff.  Remedies are established should a public utility retaliate against an employee who acts as a whistleblower.

The House gave third reading, and sent to the Senate, H. 3122, a bill repealing outdated statutory requirements for the Attorney General to inspect local county offices and to approve all easements or other access agreements to be signed by officials with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

Third reading was given to H. 3209 permit expiration extensionsIt would allow permits by the South Carolina Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Department of Health and Environmental Control, the State, other agencies, or subdivisions of South Carolina that were issued on January 1, 2018, or later, and set to expire during the COVID-19 declared emergency, to remain in effect until December 31, 2023.  As amended, covered permits also include development approvals for providing water or wastewater removal services, and air quality permits.

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State House Report

House Week in Review – February 22-25, 2022

The State House convened this week and had a number of bills on the floor for deliberation. Many more are on the way, including the state budget bill which was passed out of Ways and Means and will be taken up the week of March 14th.  

Among the most important bills was H. 4880, a bill providing for income tax relief. This legislation restructures the state income tax brackets ultimately saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of their tax dollars. The bill collapses several tax brackets as well as lowering the top tax bracket making South Carolina among the lowest in the southeast. It also exempts all military retirement income from South Carolina individual income tax, regardless of the taxpayer’s age. I supported this bill as it has important safeguards against a major downturn in the economy. It passed unanimously. The bill might be in for some further scrutiny in the Senate, however, as Senate Finance Committee Chairman Harvey Peeler vows to out-do any tax reductions offered by the House.

The House approved and sent the Senate H. 3347, a proposed state constitutional amendment for increasing state financial reserve funds that are used to cope with revenue shortfalls. The Resolution raises the State’s reserve fund from the current 5 percent to 7 percent over the next few years. I support this resolution. The voters will have the final say-so on at the ballot.

The House gave third reading and sent to the Senate H. 4939, a bill requiring the Department of Agriculture to develop a “Certified S.C. Raised Beef”designation.

The House gave third reading (which I voted for) and sent to the Senate H. 4778, a bill that adds that an entity that has contracted for the right to store water in a reservoir owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers has exclusive rights to any return flows generated to that reservoir under the “Water Resources Planning and Coordination Act.” The bill further outlines that the “return flow” means water that is discharged directly or indirectly to a reservoir from a water recovery facility. This will help many areas bordering the Savannah River.

The House gave third reading (again, I voted for) and sent to the Senate H. 3598, a bill that creates the “Veterans Service Organization Burial Honor Guard Support Fund.”  The purpose of this fund is to help offset the costs paid by South Carolina chapters of congressionally chartered veterans service organizations that provide well-equipped and properly trained honor guard burial details at the funerals of qualifying South Carolina veterans.

The House unanimously approved H. 4143, as amended by the committee, gave third reading and sent to the Senate, legislation dealing with the warning lights on tow wreckers. This bill outlines that a wrecker must use a mounted oscillating, rotating, or flashing light at an emergency scene and at any time when rendering roadside assistance.

The House unanimously approved H. 3538, as amended by the committee, gave third reading and sent to the Senate, legislation that requires the Department of Natural Resources to set conditions under the Alligator Management Program for the humane taking and disposition of alligators. 

The House unanimously gave third reading and sent to the Senate H. 4904, legislation that allows the Department of Natural Resources to obtain and utilize Schedule III Nonnarcotic and Schedule IV Controlled Substances for the capture and immobilization of wildlife. 

The House unanimously gave third reading and sent to the Senate H. 4905, a bill that includes the referenceof hybrid bass in the striped bass statutes.

The House unanimously passed, gave third reading and sent to Senate H. 4906. In an effort to prevent the introduction or distribution of a disease, in particular the chronic waste disease, that affects the deer population.

The House unanimously passed, gave third reading and sent to Senate H. 4907, legislation that updates the freshwater game fish laws to include other specifies of bass, such as the Alabama bass, and trout hybrids.  The legislation outlines that it is illegal to sell certain game fish in this state.

The House unanimously passed, gave third reading and sent to the Senate H. 4600, a bill that modernizes the code of laws pertaining to persons authorized to make healthcare decisions for a Department of Mental Health patient unable to consent so as to be consistent with 2019 legislative changes to a statute governing care for all adults unable to provide consent for treatment.

The House unanimously passed, gave third reading and sent to Senate H. 4597, a bill that outlines that an individual who is in need of an anatomical gift shall not be deemed ineligible to receive an anatomical gift solely because of the individual’s physical or mental disability.

The House approved by 103-3 (which I voted for) H. 3599, as amended by the committee, gave third reading and sent to Senate, a bill that enacts the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact. This bill allows South Carolina to enter into a multistate licensure compact to provide for the reciprocal practice of occupation therapy among the states that are part of the compact.

The House approved 103-3 (which I voted for) H. 3833, as amended by the committee, gave third reading and sent to Senate, a bill that allows for South Carolina Board of Examiners in Psychology Board to enter into the Psychology Inter-jurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT).  This bill permits eligible psychologists to practice telepsychology and temporary in-person psychology across state boundaries. 

After informing the House that it non-concurred in the amendments proposed by the House toS. 203 (on the subject of the removal of school district trustees and filling of vacancies) a conference committee was appointed to iron out the differences.

On Wednesday, I was honored to meet with several FFA members from Abbeville, Dixie and Calhoun Falls High Schools. I grateful to Ms. Finley from AHS, Mr. Murdock from Dixie and Ms. McCannon from Calhoun Falls Charter for teaching these fine students and taking time to visit the State House.

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help with any state agency, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me at home at (864) 366-4112 or in Columbia at (803) 212-6934 or by email at

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State House Report


The House spent little time on the floor this week, but did the bulk of their work in committees. The House is anticipating a busy schedule however as we deal with the Santee Cooper issue and the upcoming budget debate. The Ways and Means Committee is tasked each year to assemble the State Budget by reviewing every state agency and their funding requests. The committee begins working on the budget as early as September. The FY 2020-21 budget passed out of Ways and Means and is now on the calendar for floor debate starting March 10.

Among the proposed budget items:
⁃ $128 million will be refunded directly to taxpayers in an income tax credit ($100 per return)
⁃ Funds to bring the total reserve fund to almost $800 million in case of recession or natural disaster
⁃ $77 million for immediate, accelerated, and expanded road repairs on shovel ready projects for farm-to-market roads in every county
⁃ $23 million for repairs and maintenance of state-maintained roads ($500,000 per county)
⁃ $120 million devoted to lowering the income tax rate from 7% to 6.8%
⁃ $213 million for an across-the-board pay raise to our teachers, ranking SC in top 25 for teacher pay
⁃ $165 million to ensure college tuition rates are frozen so that college is more affordable for in-state students
⁃ $138 million to the Department of Corrections to fund safety upgrades
⁃ $40 million to provide pay raises based on merit for state employees
The budget will assuredly look different as it goes to the Senate and the Governor for their approval/amending.
In the few bills that were discussed on the floor. The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3197, the “Student Loan Bill of Rights Act”, which establishes consumer protection measures for those who obtain loans to finance postsecondary education or other school-related expenses. The legislation provides for the licensure and regulation of student loan servicers by the Department of Consumer Affairs. A list of prohibited activities is established for student loan servicers. I voted against this bill as I feel that federal law already covers this issue and it will cost the state at least $166,000 per year to have a full time “student loan ombudsman”.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3455, a bill that provides for the licensure and regulation of swimming pool installers by classifying them as residential specialty contractors. The legislation adds swimming pool installers to the list (which already includes HVAC installers, stucco installers, plumbers and electricians) of those classified as residential specialty contractors, who are independent contractors who contract with licensed residential builders, general contractors, or individual property owners to do certain construction work, repairs, improvement, or restoration which requires special skills and involves the use of specialized construction trades or craft.

As always, 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 at home at (864) 366-4112 or in Columbia at (803) 212-6934 or by email at

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State House Report

In the State House the Week of March 4th, the following bills were acted upon. I voted in the affirmative for the following:

The House approved S.326 and ordered the legislation enrolled for ratification. The joint resolution directs the State Law Enforcement Division to distribute two hundred fifty thousand dollars to the South Carolina State Firefighters Association to provide for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder insurance and programs for firefighters.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3294, a bill increasing the age limit in Safe Havens for Abandoned Babies provisions that designate locations, such as hospitals, police stations, and fire stations, where someone may leave an infant under certain circumstances without criminal penalty. The legislation provides that the safe haven provisions apply to infants who are up to one year old rather than the current standard of no more than sixty days old.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3973, a bill establishing the crime of female genital mutilation. The legislation establishes felony criminal provisions that apply to the mutilation of the genitalia of females who are under the age of eighteen or older females who are unable to consent to the procedure. The legislation also revises the Children’s Code to add female genital mutilation to provisions addressing child abuse and harm.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3263, the “Armed service Members and Spouses Professional and Occupational Licensing Act”. The legislation establishes a protocol that allows the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to expedite the issuance of professional and occupational licenses to spouses of military personnel transferred to South Carolina when the spouse holds a professional or occupational license issued by another state that has similar requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3200, the “South Carolina Lactation Support Act”. The legislation requires employers to make reasonable efforts to provide workers with reasonable unpaid break time and space to express milk at work. The legislation does not require employers to compensate employees for breaks taken to express breast milk unless the employer already provides compensated breaks and does not require employers to create a permanent or dedicated space for use by pumping employees.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3586, a bill revising and updating the Coordinated Statewide 911 Emergency Telecommunications System.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3601, a bill establishing a procedure that allows a court to grant a conditional discharge for a first-time offender charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3029, a bill expanding state political party executive committee jurisdiction to include county officers. The legislation expands political party state executive committee authority so that it includes hearing protests and contests in county officer, and less than county officer, elections. The legislation repeals provisions for hearings by county executive committees and appeals from decisions of county executive committees.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4157, a joint resolution to extend the deadline to submit offers for a solicitation for a statewide voting system solution for the South Carolina Elections Commission and to create a special evaluation panel to evaluate and score each proposal for new voting machines.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4054, a joint resolution to allow for the submission of less than three qualified applicants to the Governor to serve as executive director of the Department of Employment and Workforce.

The House rejected (I voted no) H.3031, a bill revising voter registration deadlines. Although current voter registration deadlines are quite cumbersome, the efforts to move the deadline to 25 days prior to an election from the current 30 days are a rather sticky business. The deadline should be moved to 35 prior to elections, not moved up. However, the Federal Election Laws prohibit making the deadline greater than 30 days prior to the election.

This past week was “Budget Week,” the weeklong debate on the $8.7 billion 2019-2020 budget. After going through the budget line by line and working past midnight, we successfully sent this year’s budget to the Senate with only one “nay” vote.

After months of working with Gov. McMaster, building consensus, and many hours of debate, we passed our General Appropriation Bill for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. This year’s budget is focused on investing in education and workforce development by increasing teacher pay, providing tuition assistance, and funding for workforce training programs.

Not only does the budget not increase taxes, it actually provides tax relief in the form of a rebate for everyone who pays income tax.

Many amendments were proposed, one of which was to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. Last year’s Planned Parenthood budget amendment (de-funding Planned Parenthood) was not crafted well and it backfired and ultimately cost SC taxpayer $2 million. This year’s amendment was crafted well and will wait for the Governor to receive a waiver from the Federal government before any de-funding takes place.

The budget will now go to the Senate for their consideration.

The House budget contains:

• Nearly $160 million to provide every teacher a pay raise, helping to ensure that we recruit and retain the very best teachers. 30% of the budget surplus from last year will be devoted to raising teacher pay.
• $50 million for high-poverty school districts to use for building renovations and upgrades.
• $20 million for new and improved textbooks and instructional for our schools.
• $10 million to hire 120 more school-resource officers for schools that don’t already have one and cannot afford them.
• $41 million to raise state employee salaries.
• $49.7 million to cover state employee health and dental insurance increases.
• $32 million for retired state employees, who are covered by the state’s retirement system, to return to work without facing a $10,000 salary cap as long as they have been retired for a year.


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February 22, 2019

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3659, a bill furthering voluntary programs that make use of RENEWABLE ENERGY generation resources, such as solar power, and establishing ELECTRICAL POWER CUSTOMER CONSUMER PROTECTIONS in order to: shield customers from rising utility costs; provide opportunities for customer measures to reduce or manage consumption from electrical utilities in a manner that contributes to reductions in utility peak electrical demand and other drivers of electrical utility costs; and,equip customers with the information and ability to manage their electric bills. The legislation provides that every customer of an electrical utility has the right to a rate schedule that offers the customer a reasonable opportunity to employ such energy and cost saving measures as energy efficiency, demand response, or onsite distributed energy resources in order to reduce consumption of electricity from the electrical utility’s grid and to reduce electrical utility costs. The legislation makes revisions to build upon the successful deployment of solar generating capacity through the South Carolina Distributed Resource Act to continue enabling market driven, private investment in distributed energy resources across the state by reducing regulatory and administrative burdens to customer installation and utilization of onsite distributed energy resources.The legislation removes the cap on the development of solar power generation and other distributed energy resources that has been set at 2% of the previous five year average of an electrical utility’s South Carolina retail peak demand. The legislation requires the adoption of new provisions governing the way in which electrical utilities purchase power generated by renewable energy facilities and new requirements for metering customer generators. In making the revisions, the legislation discontinues existing arrangements where solar power programs are subsidized by all of an electrical utility’s customers, regardless of whether an individual customer is participating in a program. The Public Service Commission is directed to establish a new Community Solar Energy Program for each electrical utility to permit the utility’s customers to participate in a solar energy project that allows for a credit to the customer’s utility bill based upon the electricity generated that is attributed to the customer’s participation in the solar energy project. Provisions are made for neighborhood solar programs to expand access to solar energy options for all South Carolinians, including those who lack the income to afford the upfront investment in solar panels or those that do not own their homes or have suitable rooftops. The Public Service Commission, in coordination with the Office of Regulatory Staff, is authorized to initiate an independent study to evaluate the integration of renewable energy and emerging energy technologies into the electric grid for the public good.The Office of Regulatory Staff, in collaboration with the Department of Consumer Affairs, is directed to develop new consumer protection regulations.A new consumer protection protocol is established that must be followed before construction commences on a new major utility facility for power generation in the state.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3449, a bill enacting the “SOUTH CAROLINA HEMP FARMING ACT” to promote the cultivation and processing of hemp, expand the state’s hemp industry, open new commercial markets for farmers and businesses through the sale of hemp products, and encourage research into hemp growth and hemp products at state institutions of higher education and in the private sector. The legislation addresses the use of the Cannabis sativa L. plant, with federally defined THC level for hemp, for such uses as cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard, plastics, cosmetics, personal care products, food, and any product containing one or more hemp derived cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol. In light of the enactment of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, which classifies hemp as an agricultural commodity, this legislation replaces the state’s provisions for cultivating industrial hemp that were previously enacted and provides for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture is to submit a state plan to the USDA for approval. The legislation eliminates various restrictions that were imposed on the cultivation of hemp, such as the limitations on the number of permits issued and the maximum acreage that could be cultivated. While these maximum limits are no longer imposed, individuals may only cultivate, handle, or process hemp by obtaining a license issued by the Department of Agriculture under the state plan in a process that includes: providing a legal description and location of fields or greenhouses; providing written consent allowing representatives of the department, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and local law enforcement, to enter onto all premises where hemp is cultivated, processed, or stored for the purposes of conducting physical inspections, obtaining samples of hemp or hemp products, or otherwise ensuring compliance with the requirements of applicable laws and regulations; and submitting to a criminal records check.No one who has been convicted of a felony, a drug related misdemeanor, or drug related violation in the ten years prior to the submission of the application is eligible to obtain a license. The state plan must include laboratory testing for delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol to ensure that hemp crops do not contain the high THC levels found in controlled substances. Criminal penalties continue to be provided to address the cultivation of industrial hemp as a means of disguising marijuana production or distribution operations. A violation is a misdemeanor that carries a term of imprisonment for up to three years and/or a fine of up to three thousand dollars.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3180, the “SOUTH CAROLINA SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT”. The legislation aligns South Carolina with federal law that provides for contracts for telecommunication services, Internet services, cable, direct satellite, and other television services, satellite radio services, and athletic club or gym memberships to be cancelled, without early termination charges, when those in military service are deployed or reassigned. The legislation sets out duties for notifying service providers and establishes civil penalties for violations. The Adjutant General is directed to post on the South Carolina National Guard website a list of the rights a servicemember or a servicemember’s dependent has under the South Carolina Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3157, a bill establishing provisions for the licensure and regulation of GENETIC COUNSELORS.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3732, a bill addressing CONTINUING EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS FOR VETERINARIANS WHO PRESCRIBE OPIOIDS. The legislation requires veterinarians who are authorized to prescribe controlled substances to obtain a South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Controlled Substances Registration and complete at least two hours of continuing education every two years related to approved procedures of prescribing and monitoring certain controlled substances. The legislation draws upon the work of the special House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that was appointed by the Speaker of the House to examine the growing misuse of prescription painkillers and recommend legislative actions to counter the epidemic of ruinous addiction and fatal overdoses.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.3760, legislation MERGING THE PATIENTS’ COMPENSATION FUND WITH THE SOUTH CAROLINA MEDICAL MALPRACTICE JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION and establishing it as a market of last resort for ensuring the availability of medical malpractice and other types of liability insurance for health care providersthat it is not in competition with the private insurance market. The legislation addresses governance following the merger, makes provisions to eliminate the accumulated deficit of the JUA and the Patients’ Compensation Fund, and provide for rates for policies issued to be adequate and established at a level that permits the association to operate without accumulating additional deficits over time.

The House approved S.75, a bill providing forINSURER CORPORATE GOVERNANCE DISCLOSURES, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation establishes requirements for insurers and insurance groups to submit an annual disclosure to the Department of Insurance that summarizes their corporate governance structure, policies, and practices.

The House approved S.358, a bill addressing theMERGER OF A SELF INSURER WITH A LICENSED INSURER, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislationprovides that South Carolina Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association provisions do not apply to any claims or losses covered by self insurance that occurred prior to the assumption, transfer, merger, or other acquisition of a block of business by a licensed insurer. The legislation requires the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to secure an actuarial opinion before approving the transfer of a self insurer to a licensed insurer.

The House returned S.360, a bill providing INSURANCE LAW REVISIONS, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation provides for various technical changes, updates, and clean-up provisions for the laws governing insurance and regulation by the Department of Insurance.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3754, a bill addressingVACATION TIME SHARING PLANS. The legislationrevises vacation time sharing plan provisions, so as to define the term “timeshare instrument” and further provides for when a timeshare closing is considered to have occurred. The legislation enacts the “Vacation Time Sharing Plan Extensions and Termination Act”, including provisions to clarify and supplement the procedures and requirements as to how owners of vacation time sharing interests may terminate vacation time sharing plans or extend the terms of these plans.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate to H.3253, a bill authorizing the Board of Examiners to regulate and issue permits for MOBILE BARBERSHOPS that can be moved, towed, or transported to provide barbering services on a temporary basis at such locations as a client’s home, a nursing home, or another institution or location authorized by the board. An exclusion from the provisions is provided for a master haircare specialist or registered barber while providing barbering services in a nursing home or community residential care facility.

The House amended, approved, and sent the SenateH.3750, a bill dealing with DEER HUNTING. Currently, a resident purchasing a SC Hunting License and a Big Game permit is issued three unrestricted individual antlered deer tags and eight date-specific individual antlerless deer tags which are valid only on specified days. This bill provides, instead, that a resident receives, in addition to the three antlered deer tags, two antlerless deer tags that are not date-specific with the purchases a hunting license and permit. As a result, the bill eliminates any reference to the minimum number of days for the taking of antlerless deer in Game Zones 1, 2, 3, and 4.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3092, a bill authorizing REGULATEDSHOOTING AREAS (RSA) FORMALLARD DUCKS. In an effort to help Department of Natural Resources with mallard duck identification, the legislation provides DNRto issue permits for regulated shooting areas for privately owned, captive-raised, mallard ducks. No person may release mallard ducks for the purpose of hunting unless there is a regulated shooting area permit for mallard ducks except for bona fide dog training or field trial purposes. The fee for an annual permit is two hundred dollars and existing shooting preserves with mallards are not required to pay that fee. The permit owner must make a report annually that should include, but not be limited to, the number of captive-raised mallard ducks released and killed on the regulated shooting area and any outbreaks of avian influenza or other diseases in the captive-raised mallard ducks raised, released or taken on the regulated shooting area. A Violations is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine of two hundred dollars or imprisonment for not more than thirty days for each offense.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3699, a bill regarding the CONSTRUCTION OF PRIVATE RECREATIONAL DOCKS ON THE ATLANTIC INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY. The legislation provides that for permit applications to construct private recreational docks on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Federal Navigation Project in a county where more than eighty percent of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is outside of the critical area, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shall defer to the United States Army Corps of Engineers in determining the total allowable dock square footage of the structure.

The House reconsidered the vote by which H.3845 was given third reading approval and adjourned debate on the legislation until March 19. This joint resolution authorizes the transfer of certain Education Improvement Act carry-forward funds to the South Carolina Public Charter School District to provide FUNDS FOR THREE AND FOUR YEAR OLD CHILDREN WITH A DISABILITYwho are eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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Vote Tuesday!

I want to encourage you to go to the polls on Tuesday! I humbly ask for your vote!

To quote Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing”

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Election 2018

It’s that time again! General Elections are here. Thank you all for your support these last 6 years. They have been exciting. I wish to continue working for you, the people of the 11th House District.

Please help me to do this. I am asking for your support on Election Day – November 6th. You can even vote absentee vote now if your schedule doesn’t permit you be in town on that day.

Thank you for the opportunity of serving you in the State House. It has been a great honor and pleasure. I look forward to winning re-election as your representative in Columbia.

Encourage everyone to come out and vote!

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State House Report

It was quite a week in the State house this week! There was a 14 ½ hour marathon session on Wednesday, mostly spent debating H. 4950, the General Appropriations bill. The House amended the Senate’s amendments to the Bill in order to return it, for the most part, back to the version approved by the House earlier this year, with notable exceptionsI voted for the following amendments:$15 million is provided from the Education Lottery for School Safety Facility and Infrastructure Safety Upgrades.In order to assist state and local agencies and departments that are experiencing difficulties in hiring needed personnel, earnings limitations are eliminated in the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System for the fiscal year as a means of encouraging retirees in these systems to return to work as school resource officers, classroom teachers, correctional officers, and other crucial positions. Those who retired on or before December 31, 2017, are eligible.$8 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the Department of Corrections for critical security upgrades in the state’s prisons including the installation of window frames and glazing and new door locks for inmate cells.$54 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the State Law Enforcement Division for the construction of a new Forensic Laboratory Building.The Public Service Commission is afforded additional time to make a decision on whether the Base Load Review Act has been properly used to finance the failed nuclear power project in Fairfield County by providing for a PSC hearing on the matter no earlier than November 1, 2018, and requiring a PSC ruling by December 21, 2018.The Department of Health and Human Services is directed to prepare and submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) such waivers and state plan amendments that are necessary to ensure that no family planning funds may be expended to subsidize abortion clinics and none of the funds appropriated may be paid or granted to an organization that owns or is owned by an abortion clinic. Funds must be held until a decision is made as to whether to grant the waiver. If the waiver is not granted, then all funds must be submitted back to CMS. Strengthening South Carolina’s laws prohibiting sanctuary cities that disallow the adoption of ordinances and policies by municipalities and other local governments to prohibit, restrict, or interfere with the enforcement of immigration laws. If a court finds that a political subdivision has violated provisions that prohibit interference with the enforcement of immigration laws, the political subdivision is not allowed to receive Local Government Fund appropriations.$350 thousand is provided from the Education Lottery for a Military Connected Children Program to ease the transition into public schools for students of military families assigned to bases in South Carolina. A definition of anti-Semitism derived from the U.S. State Department is provided for South Carolina’s public colleges and universities to use when reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion.$5 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the State Ports Authority for Jasper Ocean Terminal Port Permitting. I did not vote for the amendment to provide for solar power and other distributed energy resources and net-metering provisions for the electrical power they generate. The legislation increases the cap placed on solar power generation and other distributed energy resources, currently set at 2%, to 4% of the previous five year average of the electrical utility’s South Carolina retail peak demand (that part I agreed with). In a puzzling section, the legislation supposedly discontinues existing arrangements where all of an electrical utility’s customers are subsidizing solar power programs, regardless of whether they are participating in the first programs, by providing that nonparticipants in net energy metering programs are not required to subsidize the costs of customer generators. This made little sense to me as the utility companies will have to absorb the loss they incur from “buying” solar energy from the customer-generators at full retail price. My question is: “How are they going to absorb it?”I voted in the affirmative for the following sections:The Public Service Commission is directed to require public utilities to implement any reasonably achievable cost savings that may be achieved from such resources as renewable power generation. A “Renewable Energy Development Joint Study Committee” is created to make recommendations to lawmakers to support the development of renewable energy resources and production facilities to generate electricity.In a final step on the budget, a conference committee has been appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on to H.4950, the fiscal year 2018-19 General appropriations.In other bills voted on, I supported Senate amendments to H.4705, a bill enhancing requirements for mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect, and enrolled the legislation for ratification.The House approved to S.27 (and I voted against), a bill making provisions for the appointment of the State Superintendent of Education by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. Under the provisions of the legislation, the State Superintendent of Education is no longer to be elected through a statewide vote and is, instead, to be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at the Governor’s pleasure. Qualifications are established for the office of State Superintendent relating to educational attainment and professional experience. Compensation for the position is to be set by the Agency Head Salary Commission. A procedure is established for filling a vacancy in this office.I voted for and the House approved and sent the Senate H.5341, a bill conforming SC’s income tax provisions to federal income tax provisions and making accommodations for the federal tax changes that were enacted by Congress in December 2017 so that these changes at the federal level will not result in increased tax collection at the state level. The legislation continues the practice of conforming state tax provisions to federal provisions to simplify tax preparation, but retains, at the state level, an array of deductions that were eliminated in the federal tax changes of 2017 so that South Carolina taxpayers may still take advantage of these deductions for state income tax purposes.I also voted for and the House approved and enrolled for ratification S.888, a bill authorizing local public school policies that allow teachers to receive pay for unused annual sick leave. The legislation authorizes a local school district board of trustees or, in the case of a charter school, the governing body of a charter school, to adopt a policy that allows classroom teachers and certain other public school faculty member to receive payment at the end of each fiscal year for unused annual leave and sick leave time in excess of ninety days at the rate established for substitute teacher pay or another approved amount. These optional local policies apply only to sick leave and annual leave in excess of ninety days that is accrued after July 1, 2018.The House approved (and I voted for) and enrolled for ratification S.28, a bill addressing the criteria for public schools to award elective credit for Released-Time classes in religious instruction for high school students. Addressing situations where a student is transferring to a public high school from a private high school, the legislation provides that the criteria for awardingthe maximum of two elective credits is satisfied if a school district leaves the evaluation and assessment function for an off campus released time class to an accredited private school, and accepts the off campus released time transfer of credit without individually assessing the quality or subject matter of the class, trusting the private school accreditation process to ensure adequate academic standards.The House concurred (and I voted for) in Senate amendments to H.4672, a bill reinstating vision screening requirements for driver’s license renewals, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation provides that individuals will once again be required to satisfy vision screening requirements in order to renew a driver’s license by either passing a vision test administered at the Department of Motor Vehicles or through the submission of a certificate of vision examination form executed by an ophthalmologist or optometrist. A certificate of vision examination form executed by a certifying ophthalmologist or optometrist must be transmitted to the DMV electronically. These provisions take effect October 1, 2020.I also voted for the following: The House approved S.1042 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises insurance law provisions to define the term “International Major Medical Insurance” and include this form of insurance in the definition for the term “surplus lines insurance”. International major medical insurance is a temporary health insurance policy that covers the expenses associated with illnesses or accidents that occur while traveling or when temporarily residing outside of a person’s home country.The House approved to S.812, a bill making revisions to raffles conducted by nonprofit organizations for charitable purposes, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation modifies nonprofit, charitable organization raffle rules to increase the maximum value of noncash prizes from $500 to $950, and maximum ticket price from $100 to $300.The House approved and enrolled for ratification S.1083, a bill providing authorization for the Department of Motor Vehicles to administer a uniform program for the issuance of temporary license plates for newly acquired vehicles. The program includes provisions for uniform plate design, dimensions, and materials and vehicle identifying information requirements including the date of issue, the date of expiration, the name of the issuing entity, and a unique identifying license plate text that will be assigned by the DMV.The House approved S.337, a bill that revises the authorized activities of Credit Unions so that the state’s credit unions are able to offer services that allow them to be competitive with national credit unions.The House approved S.567, a bill that revises the “South Carolina Amusement Rides Safety Code” so that its provisions govern the operation of concession go karts, but do not apply to “Super-Karts”.The House approved S.1099, a bill addressing SC Mining Act exemptions. The legislation revises provisions governing the application of the South Carolina Mining Act, to add exemptions for the Department of Commerce, Division of Public Railways, and persons acting under contract with the Department of Commerce.The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4807 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides an extension, until July 1, 2019, for wild turkey hunting season and bag limit revisions while the Department of Natural Resources conducts its required study of the state’s wild turkey population.The House refused to concur in Senate amendments to H.4727, legislation restructuring and reauthorizing the SC Conservation Bank on a permanent basis.The House returned S.345 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation revises the scope of practice and supervision requirements for an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). The legislation includes authorization for nurse practitioners to participate in telemedicine.The House amended and approved S.1043, a bill revising tax incentives available for the revitalization of abandoned buildings and textile mill sites.The House amended and approved S.1116, a bill by which the General Assembly ratifies and confirms the actions of the Greenville Health System in entering into the amended Master Affiliation Agreement and the Lease and Contribution Agreement. The House approved and sent the Senate H.4489, a bill that specifies that kidney treatment centers are exempt from Certificate of Need review requirements of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, but these centers are still subject to licensing requirements.As always, 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 at home at (864) 366-4112 or in Columbia at (803) 212-6934 or by email at

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