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


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

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