State House Review Week 7

Education Reform, Other Action, and a Judicial Update

The House adjourned Wednesday due to inclement weather, shaving a legislative day from the calendar, but not before we moved on education reform, considered some bills, and received an update on the state of South Carolina’s judicial system. On Tuesday, House Speaker Jay Lucas set priorities and expectations for the work the House Education Policy Review and Reform Task Force is undertaking. The diverse task force, made up of citizens, business leaders and elected officials, begins work to develop recommendations that will lead to long-term substantial education reform in South Carolina. The group is required to submit a report of their findings to Speaker Lucas by the beginning of next legislative session.

The House approved and I supported the following bills:

S.342 and enrolled the bill for ratification (by the Governor). The legislation equips the Department of Insurance with AUTHORITY TO INVESTIGATE INSURANCE HOLDING COMPANIES. The changes are necessary for South Carolina’s Department of Insurance to maintain its accreditation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

H.3575, legislation revising the definition of “solid waste” under the state’s Solid Waste Policy and Management Act to exclude STEEL SLAG, a product of the electric arc furnace steelmaking process, so long as the steel slag is sold and distributed in the stream of commerce for consumption, use, or further processing into another desired commodity and is managed as an item of commercial value in a controlled manner and not as a discarded material.

H.3646, a bill that deals with PASSIVE SOIL-BASED ON-SITE DISPOSAL SYSTEMS used to collect, treat, discharge, or reclaim wastewater or sewage. Current law allows soil dispersal systems to be sized two-thirds of that required for a conventional gravel trench. Current law also requires manufacturers to maintain financial assurances, provides for installer certification programs, and limits installation to single-family dwellings. As a result of these systems being used successfully for the past ten years, the legislation increases trench sizing from two-thirds to three-quarters of that required for a conventional gravel trench and repeals, as unnecessarily burdensome, requirements such as financial assurances, installer certification, and single-family dwelling limitations.

H.3264, a bill providing authority for the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue AMERICAN RED CROSS SPECIAL LICENSE PLATES.

The last three bills will go to the Senate for their consideration.

Each year the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court is tasked with giving the State of the Judiciary to a joint session of both House and Senate lawmakers. Chief Justice Toal delivered her remarks on Wednesday primarily focusing on the innovation instituted in the judicial process over the past decade. State courts that previously didn’t have internet access now operate with high-speed internet access, and large portions of the judicial branch now operate in a secure web-based cloud through a partnership with Clemson University.  A new pilot program begins this year in two counties that will test an online system used to file legal paperwork, streamlining the process for the citizens of South Carolina.

As always, thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me at home at (864) 366-4112 or by email at

About Craig Gagnon for S.C. House 11 (Abbeville and Anderson Counties)

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