Last week was the 5th week of the 2020 legislative session. There are 13 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 that would require districts to disclose disciplinary data without having that information count against the district’s report card score.
- Adopted an amendment to reauthorize the National Board Certification program for teachers.
CHANGES TO PROCESS OF TABULATING ABSENTEE BALLOTS – The Senate passed S. 867, a bill that would change the process for counting absentee ballots by allowing county election commissions to open the outer envelope of mail-in ballots beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the day before the election. The inner envelope containing the ballot could not be opened until 9:00 a.m. on election day. The bill would also allow counties to begin scanning the in-person absentee ballots at 9:00 a.m. on election day, rather than 2:00 p.m.; those ballots would not be tabulated, however, until polls close at 7:00 p.m. The purpose of these changes is to speed up the tabulation and reporting of election results for the 2020 election. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
SCDNR DIRECTOR – The Senate confirmed Robert H. Boyles, Jr. as the new Director of the Department of Natural Resources.
SANTEE COOPER REPORT – On Tuesday, the Department of Administration released its report and recommendations regarding the future of Santee Cooper. As you recall, the legislature created a process last Spring for the Department to solicit and analyze bids for the purchase of Santee Cooper, the management of Santee Cooper, and a reform proposal from Santee Cooper itself. With the report released on Tuesday, the Department recommended one purchase option, one management option, and submitted Santee Cooper’s reform proposal. You can read the report here.
The House and Senate will now consider the recommendations by holding public hearings to learn more about each proposal. Those hearings begin at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday and are expected to last all of this week and into next week. These hearings will be live-streamed here.
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