Last week was the 11th week of the 2019 legislative session. There are 7 weeks left before the General Assembly adjourns on May 10. Here are the highlights from Senate floor action from last week.
FLOOD RELIEF FOR HOMEOWNERS – The Senate passed S. 259, a bill that would create a new revolving fund to provide low interest loans to perform flooded-home buyouts and floodplain restoration. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS – The Senate passed H. 3438, a bill that would create a new, cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs. The House will now consider the Senate’s amendments.
SPADEFISH CATCH LIMITS – The Senate passed S. 476, a bill that would set catch and size limits on spadefish. The bill will now go to the House.
CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR VETERINARIANS – The Senate passed H. 3732, a bill that would require veterinarians who are authorized to prescribe certain controlled medications to have continuing education on prescribing and monitoring controlled drugs. The bill will now go to Governor McMaster.
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME – The Senate passed S. 11, a bill that would have South Carolina observe Daylight Savings Time year-around if Congress passes legislation authorizing states to do that. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
ONLINE NOTARIZATIONS – The Senate passed S. 486, a bill that would allow for the electronic notarization of certain documents. The House will now consider the bill.
UPDATED RULES FOR PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS – The Senate passed S. 132, a bill that would update the Physician Assistants practice act. The purpose is to give PA’s more autonomy, while still requiring supervision from physicians, in order to expand access to health care, especially in rural areas. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
CHILDREN’S TRUST FUND – The Senate passed S. 498, a bill that would allow DSS to enter agreements with the Children’s Trust Fund for child abuse treatment and reporting. The bill will now go to the House.
PROTECTIONS FOR SERVICE MEMBERS – The Senate passed H. 3180, a bill that would provide additional protections for service members who are deployed.
As an example, the bill would allow for service members to cancel certain contracts – gym memberships, cell phone agreements, etc. – if they are ordered to deploy for a period of time and cannot benefit from the contracts during their deployment. The bill will go back to the House of Representatives to consider Senate amendments.
MULTISTATE LICENSING FOR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS – The Senate passed S. 573, a bill that would allow the Board of Financial Institutions to enter into multistate agreements for the licensing of financial institutions in multiple states. The House will now consider the bill.
AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE –The Senate passed S. 579, a bill that would require automobile insurers to file rate increases with the Department of Insurance every six months and prohibit increases more than one time per year unless approved by the Department. This bill should limit the ever-increasing automobile insurance rates. The House will now consider the bill.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
SANTEE COOPER – Last week, two resolutions were introduced in the Senate that would provide for the sale of Santee Cooper. The resolutions will be considered by the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees this week. I will keep you updated.
TURKEY HUNTING SEASON – The Senate Fish, Game & Forestry Committee sent S. 575 to the full Senate for consideration. The bill makes changes to turkey hunting season and the bag limits. I have received a good bit of input on this bill, especially from the National Wild Turkey Federation. I expect the Senate to debate the bill this week.
K-12 EDUCATION REFORM – The Senate Education Committee’s subcommittee has held more than 10 meetings so far – including 4 night hearings across the state – to work on revisions and improvements to H. 3759, a bill designed to address education reform issues.
The subcommittee will continue working on the bill with a meeting scheduled for:
Wednesday, March 27
Senate Gressette Office Building
I expect the Senate version of the bill to be different in many respects from the version passed by the House. The full Senate Education Committee will likely consider an amended version of H. 3759 the first week in April, and I hope the full Senate will debate the bill later in April.
LAST WEEK’S MEETINGS
On Monday night, I attended an Aiken County Legislative Delegation meeting.
Wednesday was the annual day for selected Aiken County high school students to come to Columbia to tour the State House and shadow legislators. Every high school in the county was represented, offering a great opportunity for high school students to learn about state government.
On Wednesday night, I spoke at Cherokee Presbyterian Church in Gilbert as part of its “This is Us” series. The series brings in community members with various backgrounds and allows them to share their story as a way of allowing us to get to know each other better. I really enjoyed the visit.
On Friday, I visited Aiken High School and spent some time talking with teachers about ideas to improve and strengthen South Carolina’s educational system.
SCDOT ROAD PROJECTS – SCDOT now has an interactive map to allow citizens to see the road and bridge projects going on around the state. You can see that map here.
HOW IS THE GAS TAX BEING USED? – SCDOT’s website allows you to view a detailed revenue statement and project list that is funded by the Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund (IMTF). SCDOT updates this site monthly as the revenue comes in. You can see that report here.
DO YOU NEED A REAL ID? – SCDMV is now issuing Real ID licenses and identification cards. If you intend to get a Real ID, DMV encourages you to avoid long lines and get the new ID before the September 30, 2020 deadline. See below for frequent questions with answers:
WHY WOULD YOU NEED A REAL ID? – To board any commercial airline flight, enter a secure federal building, or visit a military installation on and after October 1, 2020, you must have a REAL ID or another federally approved identification such as a valid US Passport or military ID.
DO YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR CURRENT ID SOON? – There is no need to rush to DMV now. In fact, unless your driver’s license or ID card is expiring, there is really no reason to wait in line to change your card right now. If you do decide to get a Real ID, make sure you take the correct documentation to change your current license or ID card to a Real ID.
To see the documentation you will need for a Real ID or get more information, please see SCDMV’s Real ID page 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 me to come and 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.
P.O. Box 551
Edgefield, SC 29824
Cell Phone: (803) 480-0419