Last week was the final week of the General Assembly’s regular session for 2016. The House of Representatives will return on June 15 to consider Governor Haley’s vetoes, and the Senate will return on June 16. The legislature should then be adjourned for year.
Since the Senate will not be in session this week, I probably will not send an update next week.
There were lots of bills passed last week, and I have tried to provide updates on most of the major ones below. If you have questions about any others, please let me know.
ROADS AND BRIDGES The Senate and House agreed on language in S. 1258, and passed the bill to begin the process of fixing our roads and bridges.
The bill will:
- Allow the governor to appoint all 8 members of the SCDOT commission
- Transfer many of the commission’s powers to the Secretary
- Require the new commission to review and vote on all projects proposed by the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank. This essentially gives the new commission a veto on all SIB projects.
- Invest more than $4 billion to roads and bridges over the next ten years.
There are parts of the bill I don’t particularly like, but I do think it is a big step in the right direction.
CWP RECIPROCITY WITH GEORGIA – The Senate passed H. 3799, a bill that would require SLED to recognize Georgia concealed weapons permits, resulting in Georgia recognizing South Carolina’s permits. Governor Haley signed the bill into law on Friday.
ETHICS – H. 3184, the bill that would require independent investigations of ethics complaints about legislators, and H. 3186, the bill that would require all candidates to disclose the sources of their private income, are still in a conference committee. I hope we can get a vote on these bills when we return on June 16.
MOPEDS – The House and Senate passed H. 3440, a bill that requires moped drivers to be licensed. The bill also makes it unlawful for a person operating a moped to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
TEACHER DISMISSALS – The House and Senate passed H. 3560, a bill to aid school districts in the dismissal of bad teachers. SC
STATE UNIVERSITY LOAN FORGIVENESS – The House and Senate passed S. 1166, a resolution forgiving most of the loans issued to SC State University of the past few years.
A SHORTER LEGISLATIVE SESSION – The House and Senate passed S. 267, a bill to shorten the legislative session by at least three weeks each year and ensure that all legislative business should be completed by Memorial Day. Governor Haley signed the bill into law on Friday.
AUTOMOBILE CLOSING FEES – The House agreed with the Senate’s amendments on H. 4548, a bill that would set parameters for the type and amount of closing fees car dealers can charge on vehicle sales. Governor Haley signed the bill into law on Friday.
MILITARY RETIREMENT PENSION AND STATE INCOME TAX – The House and Senate passed H. 3147, a bill that will phase in an income tax exemption for military retirement pensions.
OPIOID PRESCRIPTIONS – The House and Senate passed H. 5193, a bill to allow physicians to write prescriptions for opioid antidotes and to allow pharmacists to fill those prescriptions. Opioids are synthetic pain relievers that have been unlawful.
EMINENT DOMAIN AND PALMETTO PIPELINE – The House and Senate passed S. 868, a bill that will impose a moratorium on private, for profit, unregulated companies taking land by eminent domain for 3 years. This is especially important to folks in Aiken, Edgefield, and McCormick Counties who have been dealing with Kinder Morgan’s attempt to construct a petroleum pipeline via eminent domain.
TWO NEW FAMILY COURT JUDGES – The House and Senate passed H. 4877, a bill that will add two additional Family Court judges.
SENATOR MIKE GAMBRELL – Mike Gambrell (R-Anderson) was sworn in last week as the Senate’s newest member. Senator Gambrell won a special election to replace former Senator Billy O’Dell (R-Greenwood) who passed away in January.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Thursday night, I attended Midland Valley High School’s graduation.
On Friday afternoon, I attended Gilbert High School’s graduation.
On Friday night, I attended graduation at Strom Thurmond High School.
On Saturday, I attended Lexington High School’s graduation
DEVIL’S BACKBONE ROAD IN LEESVILLE – SCDOT and DHEC will hold a community meeting to provide updates on the status of reopening Devil’s Backbone Road in Leesville. The meeting will be held at Batesburg-Leesville Town Hall on Wednesday, 6/8/2016, at 5:00 pm.
VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICERS – Each county has a Veterans Affairs Officer whose purpose is to assist veterans and their families with filing, presenting, and prosecuting all claims which they have for money compensation, hospitalization, training, and insurance benefits under federal law. If you have questions about veterans’ benefits or the services these officers provide, you can contact the officers at:
304 Gray Street
PO Box 236
Edgefield, SC 29824
Donald D. Moss
610 South Mine Street
P.O. Box 276
McCormick, SC 29835
108 South Rudolph Street
Saluda, SC 29138
Phone: (864) 445-4500 Ext. 2268
Fax: (864) 445-2808
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.
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.