Last week was the 4th week of the 2020 legislative session. There are 14 legislative weeks remaining before the General Assembly adjourns on May 14, 2020.
Here are the highlights from last week in the Senate:
K-12 EDUCATION REFORM LEGISLATION – The Senate continued discussing S. 419, a comprehensive bill with many K-12 education reform ideas. In the debate last week, the Senate:
- Adopted an amendment requiring districts to adopt a streamlined template for teachers to use when preparing student learning objectives. This amendment is an attempt to reduce the paperwork burden and is in response to input I had from many teachers.
- Adopted an amendment to allow districts flexibility in setting school start date. I expect additional amendments on this issue, though.
- Adopted an amendment to require elementary school teachers to have at least 30 minutes duty free each day to plan, eat, etc.
- Adopted an amendment to require first-time principals and assistant principals participate in and successfully complete a training program
- Adopted an amendment to ensure districts can have multiple Schools of Innovation with super-majority support from the school board.
- Rejected an amendment that would allow two, private teaching associations to select members to the state school board.
- Maintained a provision that would require schools to offer computer science courses.
- Adopted an amendment that would prohibit schools from requiring teachers to perform duties outside the scope of their contracts.
- Adopted several amendments regarding 3rd grade students who are retained because of inadequate literacy performance.
- Adopted an amendment that would have the state pay for costs associated with certification for new teachers.
- Adopted an amendment that would double (from $275 to $550) the reimbursement allowance teachers receive for out-of-pocket expenditures for classroom supplies.
JUDICIAL ELECTIONS – On Wednesday, the legislature met in joint assembly to elect judges. Here are the results:
Supreme Court, Seat 5 – George C. (Buck) James (re-elected)
Court of Appeals, Seat 7 – Stephanie Pendarvis McDonald (re-elected)
Circuit Court At-Large, Seat 11 – Alison Rene Lee (re-elected)
Circuit Court At-Large, Seat 13 – Debbie Chapman. Judge Chapman resides in Lexington County.
Family Court – 3rd Circuit – Ernest Joseph Jarrett
Family Court – 4th Circuit – Michael S. Holt (re-elected)
Family Court – 5th Circuit – C. Vance Stricklin, Jr.
Family Court – 6th Circuit – Debra A. Matthews (re-elected)
Family Court – 9th Circuit – Spiros Stavros Federeigos
Family Court – 10th Circuit – M. Scott McElhannon
Family Court – 14th Circuit – Douglas L. Novak
Family Court – 15th Circuit – Ronald L. Norton (re-elected)
Family Court, At-Large, Seat 1 – Kimaka (Kim) Nichols-Graham
Family Court At-Large, Seat 2 – Timothy E. Madden
Administrative Law Court, Seat 4 – Deborah Brooks Durden (re-elected)
EDGEFIELD COUNTY MAGISTRATE – On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Joseph V. Mosley to be a new magistrate judge for Edgefield County. Judge Mosley succeeds Judge Brenda B. Carpenter, who retired in August after serving Edgefield County for 22 years. Thank you to Judge Carpenter and congratulations to Judge Mosley!
LAST WEEK’S MEETINGS
On Monday afternoon, I met with teachers at Merriwether Elementary School to discuss K-12 education. I enjoyed the conversation and really appreciate their insight.
On Tuesday morning, I participated on a legislative panel hosted the Municipal Association of South Carolina to discuss the 2020 legislative session. Tuesday was the annual day for municipal leaders to come to Columbia to share their concerns with legislators. I was able to speak with many mayors and councilmembers from towns and cities in our district.
On Wednesday morning, I attended Lexington County Farm Bureau’s annual legislative breakfast.
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 for me to come 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