Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve in the State House for District 99. With the first session of the 124th General Assembly of the South Carolina House of Representatives ending recently, I wanted to share an update on the accomplishments and progress made.
This year was challenging and out of the ordinary in many ways. We worked to navigate uncharted waters as the pandemic challenged our state’s public health system, schools, economy, and small businesses in ways we could not have fathomed.
Despite these challenges, we held strong to our state’s motto: “Dum Spiro Spero,” meaning “While I breathe, I hope.” While not all the bills that passed the House were signed into law, it was a very successful year. Below are a few major accomplishments and highlights from this year’s session:
1. A Conservative Budget.
The 2021-22 budget is built on the foundation of protecting taxpayers with a renewed commitment to being resourceful and efficient with tax dollars, funding core functions of state government, and providing value for every dollar spent. There is also a new sense of awareness and preparedness for disasters, whether we face a weather-related natural disaster or health emergency.
2. Keeping Families Safe and Backing the Blue.
We passed a budget that includes STEP pay raises for law enforcement officers in the state. We set out to significantly improve law enforcement quality for every South Carolina citizen without “defund the police” radicalism.
Appreciating sacrifices made by all first responders and veterans, the House worked hard at “Protecting Veterans Services” (H 3416) from being cut, offering “College Tuition Discounts for Veterans” (S 241), and providing “First Responder Workers Compensation” (H 3939) for PTSD and stress-related mental illness caused by trauma in the line of duty.
3. Better Schools by Fighting for Our Students and Teachers.
We focused on creating a better environment for our students and teachers. I proudly supported increasing pay for teachers “Restoring STEP Teacher Pay Increases” (H 3609) and fought to get our children back to school five days a week.
Schools of Innovation: After considerable work H 3589 passed and was sent to the governor to allow school districts to create public-private partnerships that cut red tape and give teachers more freedom to teach.
4. Second Amendment.
The “Open Carry with Training Act’’ is the strongest Second Amendment legislation to pass out of the General Assembly in over 25 years.
5. Beach Parking.
S. 40 passed the House and the Senate and was signed by Gov. Henry McMaster. This bill, filed in response to local overreach, requires that a municipality receive prior approval from the South Carolina Department of Transportation BEFORE establishing, altering, or restricting the use of parking facilities on a state highway. This ensures that everyone can afford a day at the beach.
6. Protecting the Unborn.
In South Carolina, it is our top priority to stand up for life. The Fetal Heartbeat Bill is a historic pro-life law that protects a baby-in-utero once a heartbeat is detected. Exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomaly, and the life of the mother are included.
7. Cutting Taxes.
It is always a priority of mine to cut taxes in South Carolina. As we do every year, we passed a conformity bill to streamline the state and federal tax code for tax year 2020. We also passed a state and local tax (SALT) deduction, which allows S-corporations, partnerships, and LLCs to deduct state income taxes on their federal tax return. In addition, we extended the abandoned buildings tax credit, offering tax credits to incentivize the rehabilitation of abandoned buildings. Overall, this legislation makes South Carolina a better place to live and do business.
8. Election Integrity.
I was proud to sponsor a bill to ensure elections are run consistently across the state with new standards and accountability measures. H. 3444 passed the House, was amended by the Senate, and then sent back to the House for consideration of amendments. The House will work to finalize the bill in next year’s session and send it to the governor’s desk.
9. Checks and Balances.
We passed a bill that provides that after 30 days, the power to extend, modify, or discontinue a State of Emergency order falls into the hands of the legislature. The Speaker of the House and President of the Senate may call the legislature back, or 10 of our 46 county legislative delegations can elect to come in to modify the order.
This important bill acts as a check on the executive branch and holds elected officials more accountable to the desires of their constituents.
10. Getting Down to Business.
This year, we worked hard to ensure businesses not only reopen after the pandemic but can also thrive in South Carolina. We passed the COVID-19 safe harbor liability act, giving businesses that follow appropriate safety guidelines immunity from certain liabilities. This was an important step in getting South Carolina “back to business.”
The House will return in the fall later this year for “redistricting” work once the updated and final U.S. Census numbers are officially released and made available. Redistricting happens every 10 years.
As your state representative, I am honored to serve you in Columbia and am humbled by the trust you have placed in me. Please never hesitate to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
or call/text me on my cell phone, 843-442-8371.