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 firstname.lastname@example.org.