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  • Writer's pictureSCHRC

2023-2024 Legislative Update Week 11: Mid-Session Update

Overview:

In January the House Republican Caucus outlined our agenda for the 2023-2024 Legislative session, which focused on five main pillars: bolstering statewide economic development, reforming education, limiting government through fiscal discipline, increasing personal freedom and conservative values, and prioritizing public safety and making law and order a top priority. Our agenda was aimed at creating a strong and prosperous state with a focus on preparing students for the workforce, reducing government intervention, promoting conservative values, and creating a safe and stable community.


I am proud to report that we have made great strides in each of these areas, passing strong legislation and strengthening the foundation for South Carolina’s success. I’ve outlined some key legislation and progress made on each of our pillars below, and I look forward to returning next week to get back to work for the people of our great state.


✅ Improve statewide economic development to ensure prosperity:

Thanks to the diligent work of Gov. Henry McMaster, the SC Dept of Commerce, and the State Legislature, Scout Motors, a US EV manufacturer backed by Volkswagen Group, will be establishing their first US-based manufacturing plant in the Midlands. At this site, the company will build all-electric, next-generation trucks and rugged SUVs hearkening back to the iconic Scout vehicles produced from 1960 to 1980. The $4 billion total investment, with $1.291 billion coming in the form of incentives from the state, has the potential to create 8,000 or more permanent jobs and an economic impact of over $15 billion by 2029. Scout chose South Carolina for our committed workforce, our business-friendly environment, and our infrastructure. I am committed to ensuring our state is appealing for economic investments like the Scout project, and that we are prepared when great opportunities come along. Read more about this project here.


✅ Reform our education system so students are better prepared for the workforce:

Preparing students for the workforce, and for finding high-paying jobs, is crucial for their future success and the growth and competitiveness of our economy. Our education system plays a critical role in developing the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes for students to succeed in the workforce, making workforce preparedness an essential component of education. I have worked hand in hand with my Republican colleagues this session to pass legislation that requires more transparency in curriculum, increases accountability for those entrusted with our children, and ensures our schools are preparing students for a prosperous future.


A few key pieces of legislation that we have passed this session include:


H.3726, the Statewide Education and Workforce Development act, will deliver value-added services to business customers by collaborating with them to address skills shortages for good-paying jobs in priority industries and address obstacles to employment to increase labor participation. The goal of this bill is to eliminate duplication, improve efficiencies, and achieve a more coordinated approach in our workforce and education pipeline.


H.3728, the Transparency and Integrity in Education Act, will make sure our students learn a broad scope of history and will not be indoctrinated through the lens of liberal leaning teachings like Critical Race Theory.


H.3591, is a joint resolution that would amend the SC Constitution, which currently prohibits the state from providing direct aid to certain private educational institutions. Repeal of the ‘Blaine Amendment’ will give parents flexibility in making the best choice for their child's education, help provide South Carolinians the best education opportunities possible, and help protect many state funded programs, such as the SC Tuition Grants Program, LIFE Scholarship, Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, CERDEP/CDEPP (full day 4K programs), and the Office of First Steps. As with any effort to amend the State Constitution, the General Assembly must pass a resolution that puts this question on a statewide ballot for voters to decide in the next General Election. Accordingly, the House voted to put this question on the 2024 ballot.


✅ Limit government by implementing fiscal discipline and responsibility:

South Carolina’s ability to be competitive while remaining a great place to live, work, and raise a family, is critically dependent on fiscal conservatism, discipline, and limited government involvement. One of the most important responsibilities of the legislature is passing a balanced state budget. I am proud to have supported the 2023-2024 state budget, which focused on lowering tax burdens for working families, budgeting for people and not programs, increasing our savings and reserves, investing in our infrastructure and economy, and taking care of the hard working individuals who serve the people of South Carolina. This budget positions our great state for continued economic growth and will ensure our people have opportunities to prosper. View the budget here.


✅ Increase personal freedom and encourage conservative values:

As one of the most conservative states in the nation, and also one of the fastest growing, it is imperative that we fight to ensure conservative values and ideology remain the foundation of how we govern. Defending the Second Amendment, protecting life, and electing conservative judges were top priorities for the House this session.


A few key pieces of legislation that we have passed this session include:


H.3594, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, ensures that South Carolinians who can lawfully own a firearm have the right to carry it openly or concealed, except with limited restrictions. The bill also increases penalties for felons in illegal possession of a firearm and gives law enforcement additional tools to do their jobs and protect our communities.


H.3774, the Human Life Protection Act, declares that life begins at conception and restricts abortion procedures, except in emergency situations. The bill will not prevent a licensed physician from performing an abortion in cases where a pregnancy results from incidents of rape or incest, when a fatal fetal anomaly is present, or when the life of the mother is at risk.


Electing conservative judges is critical to protecting our personal freedoms and conservative values. In a Joint Assembly of the Senate and House, members voted for several open and contested races for judges throughout SC. Perhaps the most important election was for an open seat on the SC Supreme Court. Except for just 3 Republicans and 1 Democrat, we elected Justice-Elect Gary Hill to our Supreme Court. I am proud to have cast my vote for Gary, who will replace the justice who was the deciding vote on that court’s recent 3-2 opinion to strike down our state’s Fetal Heartbeat law. Congratulations to Gary Hill.


✅ Prioritize public safety and make law and order a top priority:

When citizens feel safe in their communities, they are more likely to engage in activities that promote social and economic growth. By supporting law enforcement and implementing policies that prioritize public safety, communities can prevent and reduce crime and create an environment where individuals can thrive. We have worked hard to take crucial steps towards building a stronger and more secure state by cracking down on fentanyl trafficking, stopping catch and release for repeat criminals, and supporting law enforcement with additional funding and resources.


A few key pieces of legislation that we have passed this session include:


H.3503, the Trafficking in Fentanyl bill, declares fentanyl a Schedule 1 drug and increases the penalties on dealers who sell it. This bi-partisan bill provides a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and sends a strong message to drug dealers and those trafficking fentanyl that South Carolina will no longer tolerate their dangerous activity in our state.


H.3532, the Bond Reform bill, will help make South Carolina a safer place for us all to raise our families by stopping the revolving door for repeat criminals. This bill creates sentence and bond enhancements for a person convicted of a violent crime while out on bond for a previous violent crime.


Ensuring our law enforcement officers are competitively compensated and have the training and resources they need to keep our families and themselves safe is imperative, which is why I voted to pass the 2023-2024 state budget. This budget raises the base salary for law enforcement officers and helps to recruit new and retain current LEOs. It also provides for the hiring of 188 additional School Resource Officers, meaning every public school in SC will be protected with an SRO on site.



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1 Comment


vcriscone
Mar 29, 2023

Protect the USA Constitution not just encourage conservative values. Protect the values of family and faith. Be aware of nihilism and selective outrage. vcriscone@sccoast.net.

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