Last week was the 13th week of the 2019 legislative session. There are 3 weeks left before the General Assembly adjourns on May 9.
Senate action last week was devoted to debate on the 2019-2020 State Budget. Here are the highlights:
- The 19-20 General Fund totals more than $8.2 billion. That includes increases in $498 million in recurring revenue and $344 million in one-time revenue from 2018-2019. The total state budget – General Fund, federal funds, other funds (fines, fees, tuition, etc) – totals just over $29.5 billion.
- $15 million to increase the Base Student Cost.
- $159 million to increase teacher pay. The statewide minimum salary would be set at $35,000 (up from $32,000 this year). 4% increase for all teachers with at least 4 years’ experience. Teachers with less than 4 years’ experience would receive more than 4% depending on education levels.
- $65 million to help with capital improvements in poor, rural school districts.
- $509 million from the SC Lottery to various scholarships and educational programs, including $19.4 million for new school buses.
- $17 million to provide free technical college for low-income students statewide.
- $36 million in additional funding to universities to mitigate tuition increases.
- Maintains 2018-2019 funding for John De La Howe School.
- Nearly $8 million for pay increases for judges, solicitors, and public defenders.
- $61.4 million to increase pay for state employees by 2% plus an additional $600 bonus for employees who earn less than $70,000/year.
- A little more than $2 million for the 2020 presidential primary.
- $61 million to provide a $50.00 rebate to income tax filers.
- $162 million to the Capital Reserve Fund.
- $406 million to the General Reserve Fund.
If you have questions about specific items in the budget, please let me know.
COMING UP THIS WEEK
SANTEE COOPER – The Senate will begin debate on the future of Santee Cooper on Tuesday. I expect extended discussion about selling Santee Cooper, hiring another utility to manage Santee Cooper, and keeping Santee Cooper but instituting significant reforms.
I do not expect a final vote next week, as the discussion could very well last several days. If you have suggestions, please let me know. I will keep you updated on the progress of the debate.
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