Last week was the 12th week of the 2019 legislative session. There are 6 weeks left before the General Assembly adjourns on May 10. Here are the highlights from Senate floor action from last week.
TURKEY HUNTING SEASON – The Senate debated S. 575, a bill that would make changes to turkey hunting season and the bag limits. The bill was amended to ensure stronger preservation efforts for the state’s turkey population and received an important vote to move forward. I’m hopeful the bill will receive a final vote this week.
DEER TAGS – The Senate passed H. 3750, a bill that would provide South Carolina hunters with two, unrestricted tags for antlerless deer (as opposed to the current eight tags that can be used only on specific dates) in addition to the three, unrestricted tags for antlered deer. The House has already passed the bill, so the bill will now go to Governor McMaster.
ANIMAL CRUELTY – The Senate passed S. 105, a bill that would require magistrates and municipal judges to receive training on animal cruelty laws, impose restrictions on tethering animals, and provide standards for animal shelters. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
RELOCATION OF WATER AND SEWER LINES FOR ROAD PROJECTS – The Senate passed S. 401, a bill that would make entities undertaking transportation improvement projects (typically SCDOT or counties) responsible for the costs of moving water and sewer lines that are located in the rights-of-way.
Moving these utility lines are often very costly for water and sewer authorities. The House will now consider the bill.
NEW VOTING MACHINES – The State Fiscal Affairs Authority issued Request for Proposals for a new statewide voting system in December 2018, requiring that those proposals be submitted by March 4. The Senate passed H. 4157, a resolution would extend the deadline for submitting proposals to April 4.
The purpose is to ensure we have sufficient, qualified bids to allow for a purchase and implementation before the 2020 elections. The resolution will now go to Governor McMaster.
YOUTH ACCESS TO TOBACCO PRODUCTS – The Senate passed H. 3420, a bill that would prohibit minors from entering stores that sell primarily nicotine products. The bill would also increase penalties for those who sell tobacco products to minors. The bill will now go back to the House of Representatives.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
Here are few noteworthy issues that I expect to receive attention in the Senate this week:
SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION – The Senate began debate on S. 203, a bill that would require the consolidation of school districts that (1) have fewer that 1,500 students and (2) do not have jurisdiction over the entire county. I expect the Senate to continue discussion of the bill this week and hopefully send it on to the House.
SANTEE COOPER – Last week, the Senate Finance Committee discussed and adopted a resolution that would provide for the sale of Santee Cooper. I expect the full Senate to discuss the resolution at some point in the next few weeks. I will keep you updated.
2019-2020 STATE BUDGET – The Senate Finance Committee will have extended committee meetings this week to consider the state budget. I expect the committee to report the budget to the full Senate, which would allow the full Senate to debate the budget the week of April 15.
CHARLIE CONDON AS CHAIRMAN OF SANTEE COOPER BOARD – Two weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a two-hour confirmation hearing for Governor McMaster’s nominee to be chairman of Santee Cooper’s board, Charlie Condon. The committee will resume its questioning and consideration of Mr. Condon on Tuesday.
TAX BREAKS FOR CAROLINA PANTHERS? – The Senate will likely consider S. 655, a bill that would amend state tax laws to offer tax savings to the Carolina Panthers if the Panthers move their headquarters and practice facilities to York County.
LAST WEEK’S MEETINGS
On Thursday afternoon, I met with a group of teachers at Gilbert High School to discuss education reform efforts. I enjoyed the conversation and really appreciate the teachers sharing their time.
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