Last week was the 17th week of the 2018 legislative session. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 10, so there are just 3 days left in the regular legislative session.
Here are the highlights from last week in the Senate:
SCHOLARSHIPS FOR EXCEPTIONAL NEEDS STUDENTS – In 2013, the General Assembly adopted a temporary proviso to create scholarships for K-12 students with exceptional needs to attend schools of their choice. Last week, the Senate passed H. 4077, a bill that would make those scholarships permanent.
The scholarships are capped at $12 million statewide. Individuals and corporations can receive tax credits for contributing to scholarship organizations.
TELEMARKETERS – The Senate passed H. 4628, a bill that would limit the scope and times of telemarketing calls. The bill should now go to Governor McMaster.
MCCORMICK COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD – The Senate passed H. 5272, a bill that would change the filing period for school board candidates to July 15—August 15. The bill will now go back to the House. I expect the bill will become law and apply to candidates seeking election to the McCormick County School Board this year.
VC SUMMER – The Senate and House of Representatives appointed conference committee members to work out differences on S. 954. I am a member of that committee. The committee met last week and had a good, productive conversation. I expect the committee will meet again this week. I am optimistic that we can reach an agreement that will provide relief to SCE&G customers.
DISMEMBERMENT ABORTIONS – The Senate spent a considerable amount of time last week debating H. 3548, a bill that would prohibit dismemberment abortions except in those cases where the mother’s life is at risk. The Senate considered dozens of amendments, and the bill was ultimately amended to prohibit all abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or the mother’s life or health being at risk.
Opponents filibustered the bill for three days. After five unsuccessful attempts to end the filibuster, the Senate recommitted the bill to committee. I supported the bill and voted to end the filibuster every time. When it became clear after the five attempts that the Senate did not have the votes to end the filibuster, I supported sending the bill back to committee so we can consider other important pieces of legislation this week.
SENATE SCHEDULE – The General Assembly will adjourn at 5:00 on Thursday, May 10. I expect this week to be chaotic with lots of legislation passing both bodies. I expect the legislature will return for 1-2 days in late May to adopt the final version of the budget. Thereafter, the legislature will likely reconvene just after the primaries on June 12 to consider any vetoes Governor McMaster issues.
LAST WEEK’S MEETINGS
On Monday, I attended a retirement celebration for Thurmond Burnett. As I mentioned in a previous update, Mr. Burnett recently received the Order of the Palmetto after retiring as Edgefield County Coroner.
On Tuesday morning, I visited Rocky Creek Elementary School and spent a couple hours with Mrs. Kim Denney’s 5th grade class. I enjoyed talking with several teachers about the demands of teaching. I was impressed by the work these teachers do and the dedication to students’ learning.
On Friday night, I attended an event for Rep. Ronnie Young in Langley.
CONGRATULATIONS TO SARAH ZORN – Last Week, Sarah Zorn of Warrenville officially became the first female to lead The Citadel’s Corps of Cadets. Congratulations, Sarah!
TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK – This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 8. Please take time this week to thank an educator for the work they do to inspire and educate South Carolina’s children.
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.
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P.O. Box 551
Edgefield, SC 29824
Cell Phone: (803) 480-0419