Communique from the SC House GOP Caucus.
Tremendous progress was made on the calendar this week, numerous bills were passed and have been sent to the Senate. This is an extremely busy time during legislative session because we are approaching the crossover deadline. Crossover is the last day for a bill to pass out of the House and move forward for consideration in the Senate. The House has worked proactively and passed many bills that are awaiting consideration in the Senate including:
H. 3759 – The S.C. Education, Career, Opportunity, and Access for All Act
H. 4000 and H. 4001 – The General Appropriations Bill and Capital Reserve Fund (the budget)
H. 4243 – Professional Sports Team Investment Act
H. 3046 – Provide for the Offense of Furthering Terrorism
H. 3659 – South Carolina Energy Freedom Act
Santee Cooper Study Committee’s Next Steps
The House continues to lead the efforts on giving rate relief in the wake of the massive debt accumulated by Santee Cooper from the failed VC Summer nuclear plant. A special Legislative Study Committee (made up of 4 House members, 4 Senate members, and the Governor) has received four proposals to purchase Santee Cooper—each with assurances about rate reductions, employee retention, retirement protections, environmental assurances, and more.
This week the House passed a joint resolution that will take the next step towards negotiating with the four entities who have placed initial “bids” and we are now in the due diligence stage of the process. We will continue to analyze the best next steps for the state-owned utility while making the ratepayers, taxpayers and employees’ top priority.
The Heartbeat Bill, H. 3020, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week after hours of testimony from both sides. The bill protects the rights of the unborn by making it illegal to have an abortion once a heartbeat is detected. There are exceptions for cases of rape and incest that were added into the bill during the committee process.
The legislation is supported without amendments by The Palmetto Family Council and every other leading pro-life group in our state. Republicans have led the Pro-Life effort and have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of babies in the process.
“As a former legislator and current President of the Palmetto Family Council, I encourage legislators to learn from past examples and be aware that amending pro-life bills, like the Heartbeat Bill that’s heading to the floor, only opens new lines of attack from the pro-choice camp. Legislators must be unified and be prepared to give every pro-life bill a clean vote once on the floor.” – Joshua Putnam, President, Palmetto Family Council
Making Rideshare Services Safer
In the wake of the tragedy involving the killing of Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student last weekend, new legislation has been proposed to make it easier for riders to identify Uber and Lyft vehicles. The proposal requires drivers for ridesharing services to display illuminated stickers on their windshields.
Expanding High-Speed Internet Access
In an effort to help rural communities who are struggling for jobs and accessible, affordable health care, I proudly supported legislation to help pay for expanded broadband internet access in poor S.C. counties.
Quote of the Week:
“The House of Representatives made education our number one legislative priority this year. After extensive input from teachers, administrators, and the business community, we’ve produced a bill that will lead to transformative changes statewide. This is the year to bring meaningful education reform to South Carolina. Trying to kill the bill under the guise of deliberative review is unacceptable.” – Jay Lucas, Speaker of the House