Weekly Update - March 8, 2020
Overview The week began with a huge development for the future of our state-owned utility Santee Cooper. I encourage you to read House Speaker Jay Lucas’s op-ed in the Post & Courier here that summarizes how the House is working towards making the best decision for ratepayers and taxpayers. Other pieces of legislation making big strides this week are the Convention of States resolution that puts constitutional limits on the federal government and a bill that would close a current loophole for inmates on death row. Currently, state law allows death-row inmates to pick lethal injection or electrocution but mandates using lethal injection if inmates do not make a choice. Manufacturers that make lethal injection drugs have stopped selling them to prisons so this bill fixes the loophole by making the electric chair the default method. Next week, my colleagues and I will be working on the state budget. I will update you throughout the week and welcome you to follow along starting on Monday here. Education Update After eight weeks of debate and over 300 amendments, the State Senate passed their education reform legislation. It addresses many of the same issues which were covered in the education reform legislation I voted for last year. I look forward to the upcoming debate on this bill and will work tirelessly with Governor McMaster, the Senate, and my colleagues in the House to ensure we pass a comprehensive education reform bill. Other Legislative News: We sent the following bills to the Senate this week:
H.4710 amends the Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act of 2006, adding vaping to the definition of smoking and requiring vaping to be covered under existing Tobacco-Free campus policies.
H. 4663 would allow registered pharmacists to administer flu vaccines without a prescription. The bill currently awaits a hearing in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.
H. 4724 would create a Veteran Study Committee to study the issue of homelessness among military veterans. The bill currently awaits a hearing in the Senate Family and Veterans’ Services Committee.
H. 4776 would not allow anyone who has worked for a public utility company to be appointed to the state’s Public Service Commission, which regulates utility companies and approves rate requests, until at least three years after they have left those jobs. The bill currently awaits a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Health Governor McMaster met with state and public health officials earlier this week to address concerns over COVID-19 and review South Carolina’s response and preparedness plans. Currently there are six presumptive cases of coronavirus in SC. DHEC has been closely monitoring the situation and has information on what each of us can do to best protect ourselves and others. How is coronavirus prevented? (Many of these are common sense but please still follow them)
Wash your hands often.
Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid contact with sick people.
Stay home while you are sick; avoid others.
Cover mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
Visit www.scdhec.gov/COVID19 for more information. Also if you believe you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, visit MUSC's virtual health care website, MUSC.care. Once there, create an account if you don't already have one, then follow the prompts to set up your screening. Once you reach the payment screen, enter the code "COVID19," and your screening will be free.
Special Guest The House met in Joint Session with the Senate on Wednesday to hear from Bill Oxford, the National Commander of The American Legion. He praised South Carolina’s efforts to support veterans as well as it’s long legacy of service to country and freedom, noting that the state is home to eight military bases and has over 50,000 men and women currently serving in the military. He also pointed out that 38 Medal of Honor recipients have been South Carolinians. We should be proud of those who have answered the call of duty and stand behind them. Spring Forward The time changed last night! The House passed a bill earlier this year to ask Congress to stop this practice. We’ll continue to push for this. Keep up with the SC House GOP Caucus on Facebook and Twitter.