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Caucus News – Gun Rights, Accountability and Juvenile Justice

The following report was prepared by the House GOP Caucus –

Protecting Gun Rights, Increased Accountability & Juvenile Justice

This week in Columbia we hit the ground running strengthening our gun laws, streamlining government, and continuing our work in legislative subcommittees.

Due to a recent South Carolina Supreme Court decision, we had to go back and apply a fix to an existing statute pertaining to the Stand Your Ground law. The fix sets forth the judicial procedure to assert the Castle Doctrine defense. It also strengthens the existing Castle Doctrine which includes provisions that prohibit criminals from using a Stand Your Ground defense while committing a crime. The measure is strongly backed by the pro-second amendment National Rifle Association and it passed the House unanimously.

We also gave more clarification to a 2014 measure passed by a statewide constitutional amendment that allows the governor and lieutenant governor to run on the same ticket. The bill allows the governor to assign duties to the lieutenant governor, very similar to the functional relationship between the president and vice president. This “good government” measure increases accountability in the executive branch and creates important safeguards.

This week a House Judiciary Subcommittee passed a bill that would cause the State Superintendent of Education to be appointed by the Governor instead of elected by popular vote. This would increase the amount of accountability surrounding the office of the Superintendent of Education by allowing the Governor to directly oversee the delivery of public education to South Carolina’s children. Reforms like this one deliver a better return on the taxpayer investment and real results for parents and students.

Finally, the legislative oversight committee continued its inquiry into the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The inquiry surrounds new requests for additional resources from the DJJ to address growing concerns at facilities in our state. It is important the DJJ recognize signs of peril in young offenders and provide them proper rehabilitative structures, thus helping the offender regain control of their life while saving taxpayers from footing the bill for repeat offenders. The committee is engaged in a thorough examination of the DJJ and its operations and will make their findings public when complete.