Since we are approaching the end of the 2017 session, there was a good bit of action last week. Here are the highlights from last week in the Senate:
ROADS AND BRIDGES – A conference committee of House and Senate members worked last week to resolve differences between the different versions of H. 3516. The committee reached an agreement on Friday night. While I have read media reports and reviewed a summary of the agreement, I have not yet had an opportunity to read the full report.
I want to read the final bill before I make a decision on how to vote, but I am leaning toward voting “no” based on what I have read. My concern is that the conference committee appears to have reduced and time-limited the offsets. If that is the case, I will not be able to vote for the conference agreement as I have consistently said I would support more revenue for SCDOT as long as the bill includes sufficient tax offsets for working South Carolinians and reform at SCDOT.
The Senate returns for a special session on Monday to take up the conference report. I will keep you updated and explain my vote in next week’s email.
MILITARY VOTERS – The Senate passed H. 3150, a bill designed to ensure overseas military voters have sufficient time to vote in special elections. Governor McMaster signed the bill into law last Thursday.
WORKERS COMPENSATION PAYMENTS – The Senate passed H.3441, to ensure persons receiving workers compensation benefits can receive payments by check or direct deposit.
INDUSTRIAL HEMP – The Senate passed H. 3559, a bill to create the South Carolina Industrial Hemp Program and allow farmers to grow the crop under specific conditions.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES RIGHT TO PARENT ACT – The Senate passed H. 3538, a bill designed to ensure parents with disabilities are not denied parental rights solely because of a parent’s disability.
REALTOR RECIPROCITY – The Senate passed H. 3861, a bill to ensure realtors in South Carolina can attain reciprocal licenses in Georgia, and vice versa.
DRONES OVER MILITARY BASES – The Senate passed S. 109, a bill to prohibit persons from flying drones over or near military installations.
TEEN DATING VIOLENCE – The Senate passed S. 169, a bill that would require schools to provide education about teen dating violence and allow teen victims to pursue restraining orders against their abusers.
PRODUCE SAFETY – The Senate passed H. 4003, a bill that would allow the South Carolina Department of Agriculture to inspect larger produce farmers’ products for safety. This bill was necessary to ensure South Carolina’s farmers are inspected by state regulators rather than USDA regulators.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY SCHEDULE – The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on Thursday, May 11. We will then return May 25-27, if necessary, to consider gubernatorial vetoes. The legislature should adjourn for the year by Memorial Day.
SCDOT PROJECTS – SCDOT Secretary, Christy Hall, recently appeared before the Senate Transportation Committee to present an annual State of the SCDOT. You can view Secretary Hall’s power point presentation here.
WANT TO SEE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ACTION? – The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 2:00, Wednesdays at 12:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday mornings, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and committees here.
OUR SENATE DISTRICT – Senate district 25 consists of all of Edgefield County and parts of Aiken, Lexington, McCormick, and Saluda Counties. If you’d like to see the district map, go here.
SPEAKING WITH GROUPS – Several groups, clubs, and classes around our Senate district have invited me to attend their meetings and provide legislative updates. If you would like for me to come speak with your group, please let me know.
EMAIL UPDATES – If you know of people in or around District 25 who do not receive my updates but would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me. You can also forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for the updates at www.senatormassey.com.