Here are the highlights from the last week’s action in the Senate –
Mandatory CPR education – The Senate passed S. 320, a bill that would require high school students to receive instruction on the use of CPR and defibrillators. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.
Tax penalty and interest amnesty period – The Senate passed S.526, a bill that would authorize the Department of Revenue to designate a period where the agency would waive interest and late penalties on taxpayers who owe delinquent taxes if those taxpayers pay their delinquent taxes in full. The General Assembly authorized a similar program nearly 15 years ago; that program resulted in the collection of a significant amount of delinquent taxes. The House will now consider the bill.
Free tuition if you’re over 60 – The Senate passed S. 261, a bill that permits South Carolina’s public universities and technical colleges to offer free tuition to South Carolina residents over the age of 60. The bill is not a mandate, as each school makes the final decision. The House of Representatives will now consider the legislation.
Forgiving school days missed for bad weather – The Senate made changes to and passed H. 3877, a bill that would allow schools districts to forgive up to three school days students missed because of bad weather. However, the schools first would have to make up at least three days before the district could forgive any days. So if a district missed three or fewer days because of weather, the schools would have to make up all days missed. If a district missed more than three days, though, the district would be authorized to forgive the 4th, 5th, and 6th days missed. The bill now goes back to the House for consideration.
Dealing with trespassers – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved H.3226, a bill that codifies the duties landowners owe to trespassers. The bill merely codifies the law as established by the South Carolina Supreme Court, so there is no change in our state’s law. The purpose of the change is to ensure certainty in the law by blunting a movement nationwide to weaken existing laws and treat trespassers more leniently. The full Senate should consider the bill in the next few weeks.
General Assembly’s work schedule – The General Assembly will not be in session this week, so I probably will not send an update next Monday. If you have questions or comments, though, please let me know.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I held a town hall meeting at Midland Valley High School. We discussed Concealed Weapons Permits, roads and bridges, the state economy, and many other issues.
On Tuesday morning, I joined other members of the Aiken County Legislative Delegation in a breakfast meeting at the Aiken County Career Center. Career Centers are not what they used to be; they are preparing students for high-tech . . . and high-paying . . . careers. And they graduate over 90% of their students!
On Tuesday night, I attended Lexington School District One’s Teacher of the Year Celebration. The school winners were extremely impressive and are doing great things for the children in Lexington County. Congratulations to Lexington High School’s Ms. Sheryn Billue for winning Teacher of the Year for the district!
On Thursday afternoon, I was a guest on “Meet Me at the Diner” with Anne Eller on WCRS in Greenwood. Anne and I talked many of the issues facing South Carolina. You can watch and listen to our interview here.
On Friday morning, I attended Edgefield County School District’s Business Appreciation Breakfast.
Town Hall Meetings –Thank you to everyone who attended my recent town hall meetings. Over the past three weeks, I held seven meetings across our district. In total we had a little more than 150 people come out. I really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, update you on what’s happening in Columbia, and, more importantly, hear what’s on your mind. I will try to do another round of town hall meetings in the Fall.
Want to see the General Assembly in Action? – The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 12:00, Wednesdays at 2:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and committees here.
Taxpayer Hero – The South Carolina Club for Growth named me one of its Taxpayer Heroes for 2014. You can read the press release here, see the scorecard here, and see the explanation of scored votes 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.