After much excitement from the previous week and having over 700 bills allocated to their proper committee, we began working in our committees and subcommittees to mold legislation to send to the House floor for debate in the weeks to come.
2023-2024 Legislative Agenda:
On Thursday, I stood alongside Speaker Murrell Smith, Majority Leader Davey Hiott, and other members of the House Republican Caucus at a news conference at the Capitol. We highlighted some of our recent successes, and outlined a bold 2023-2024 Legislative agenda built on conservative reform in these five areas:
· Improve Statewide Economic Development to Ensure Prosperity
· Reform our Education System so Students are Better Prepared for the Workforce
· Limit Government by Implementing Fiscal Discipline and Responsibility
· Increase Personal Freedom and Encourage Conservative Values
· Prioritize Public Safety and make Law and Order a Top Priority
We also touched on our commitment to school choice and teacher pay raises; to stopping the revolving door of repeat offenders being let out on bond; and to making sure we recruit, expand, and encourage new economic development opportunities in our state. We will continue to build on our successes from last year while continuing our prosperous relationship with Governor McMaster. I intend to “communicate, collaborate, and cooperate” with my colleagues in the General Assembly to move South Carolina forward.
Prioritizing Public Safety:
Across South Carolina, there has been a rise of fentanyl-related deaths and the trafficking of fentanyl in record numbers. To address this issue, this week the House Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee began taking public testimony on a bill that would increase penalties for trafficking of fentanyl. Due to the overwhelming number of families, law enforcement agencies, and county and city leaders who showed up to testify, the subcommittee will continue to hear testimony next week. I stand with these families and look forward to supporting legislation that strengthens the penalties for fentanyl crimes.
American Rescue Plan Funds:
In a 101-14 bipartisan (and overwhelming) vote, I joined my House colleagues and voted to support a bill that will allocate our state’s portion of the American Rescue Plan. This money will be used to fund important investments , with a specific focus on updating and building water and sewer infrastructure for towns and cities related to economic development projects around the state. Additionally, we built into the legislation increased transparency and accountability measures to ensure that no member of the General Assembly will be able to personally benefit from the distribution of these funds.