Last week was the 14th week of the 2019 legislative session. There are 4 weeks left before the General Assembly adjourns on May 9. Here are the highlights from Senate floor action from last week.
CONSOLIDATION OF SMALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS – South Carolina has more than 80 school districts, resulting in the duplication of many administrative services. Many of the smallest districts are in rural areas that consistently struggle with financial management and student achievement.
To help alleviate those issues, the Senate passed S. 203, a bill that would require school districts with fewer than 1,500 students in the most economically challenged counties to consolidate with another district in their county. Based on current population, the bill would affect districts in Clarendon, Barnwell, Bamberg, and Hampton counties. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
TAX CREDITS FOR PORT USAGE – The Senate passed H. 439, a bill that would give companies along the Georgia border tax credits to use South Carolina’s port when shipping goods overseas. The purpose is to encourage use of the South Carolina port rather than the port in Savannah. The House will now consider the bill.
CHILD ABUSE – The Senate passed S. 189, a bill that would add torture to the list of offenses for which the Family Court could terminate a person’s parental rights. The bill will now go to the House.
ENFORCEMENT OF STATE LAW BY FEDERAL OFFICIALS – The Senate passed S. 413, a bill that would authorize Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agents to enforce state law when requested by local law enforcement agencies or when someone commits a state crime in their presence. The bill will now go to the House.
RESTRICTIONS ON DRONE FLIGHTS – The Senate passed S. 180, a bill that would prohibit the flying of drones within 500 feet of a military installation or the Savannah River Site unless authorized by the facility’s manager. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
RESTRICTIONS ON CHILDCARE WORKERS – The Senate passed S. 595, a bill that would prohibit people who are registered on a federal or state sex offender registry or a child abuse registry from working in childcare facilities. The House will now consider the bill.
FORGIVING MISSED SCHOOL DAYS – The Senate passed H. 3929, a resolution that would forgive some of the days missed by coastal school districts because of hurricanes and flooding in September. These districts have already made up more missed days than would typically be required. The resolution will now go to Governor McMaster.
THREATS OF MASS SHOOTINGS – The Senate passed S. 276, a bill that would create a new crime of threatening mass shootings or destruction of a church, school, or other public gathering place. If a person is charged under this section, the bond-setting judge would be authorized to require a mental evaluation as a condition of the bond. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION FOR ALCOHOL SERVERS – The Senate passed S. 342, a bill that would require those who serve alcohol to receive training to avoid serving underage or intoxicated patrons. The House will now consider the bill.
MISREPRESENTATION OF SERVICE ANIMALS – The Senate passed S. 281, a bill that would make it unlawful for a person to misrepresent that an animal in his possession is a service animal. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMIT HOLDERS – Current law allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry weapons in church services if the church leadership approves it. However, many churches are now leasing school facilities for Sunday services. Since state law prohibits carrying weapons on the person on school property, regardless of the day, those churchgoers are not allowed to carry even with permission from church leadership.
Last week the Senate passed S. 293, a bill that would allow CWP holders to carry their weapons at church services conducted on school facilities as long as the school and church leadership approve it and no school-related activities are conducted on the premises at the same time. The bill will now go to the House.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
The General Assembly’s schedule will change this week to accommodate funeral services for former U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings. Sen. Hollings will lie in state at the State House on Monday, and the funeral will be held on Tuesday in Charleston. Consequently, the General Assembly will not meet on Tuesday.
2019-2020 STATE BUDGET – The Senate will debate the 2019-2020 state budget beginning on Wednesday. You can view the different sections of the budget here and the Finance Committee’s spreadsheet showing how the committee proposes to allocate funding here. You can also view the proposed expenditures from the Capital Reserve Fund here.
K-12 EDUCATION REFORM – A subcommittee of the Senate Education Committee has completed its work on the comprehensive reform legislation. The full Education Committee will consider the legislation on Wednesday, April 24.
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