2023-2024 Legislative Update Week 5: Rockin’ and Rollin’
At the beginning of this year, the House Republican Caucus and laid out our agenda for this year’s session. We outlined 5 pillars for a “Foundation for South Carolina’s Success” which included economic prosperity, education reform, limited government, personal freedom, and law and order. As we end week 5 of session we are proud to announce that we are making tremendous progress as we work through our agenda! Just this week we passed a bill that bans Critical Race Theory in our classrooms, and the Human Life Protection Act made its way out of the Judiciary Committee.
Banning CRT PASSES:
The future of South Carolina is dependent on the next generation, which is why we supported the Transparency and Integrity in Education Act. This bill 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. We are confident that the Senate along with Gov. McMaster are all committed to making sure our students receive a high-quality education that is not clouded by bias, and that parents are assured the utmost input and transparency.
Standing for Life:
On Wednesday, the SC Supreme Court denied Attorney General Alan Wilson’s petition to rehear its ruling that overturned out state’s Fetal Heartbeat Law. Attorney General Wilson declared that “this issue is now in the legislature’s hands”. While we respectfully disagree with the SC Supreme Court’s decision, GOP leaders in the House are not waiting on our courts to rectify this. This week, the Human Life Protection Act, H.3774, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. This bill preserves life and bans abortion while allowing exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Our hope is that next week this bill will be on the floor of the House, and we look forward to supporting the best pro-life legislation South Carolina has ever seen.
Stopping the Revolving Door in our Prisons:
To make South Carolina a safer place for us all to raise our families, it is time we stop the revolving door for repeat criminals. H. 3532, was passed out of the Criminal Laws Subcommittee this week and will be taken up by the full Judiciary Committee next week. This bill creates an additional criminal offense and penalty for committing an additional violent crime while out on bond, and would result in automatic revocation of bond for the first violent crime and a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 5 years.
Strengthening our Second Amendment Rights:
We are fierce defenders of our 2nd Amendment rights, and are taking steps to ensure anyone who can lawfully own a firearm has the right to carry it openly or concealed, except with limited exceptions. H.3594 keeps the concealed weapons permit process in place to allow for reciprocity carry in other states, but removes the need for a permit to carry a firearm in SC. The bill was voted on in subcommittee and sent to full committee this week. It is scheduled to make its way to the House floor later this month.
On Wednesday, a Joint Assembly of 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. We are proud to have cast votes 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.
Coming From the Senate:
Our Senators have also been hard at work over these last 5 weeks. After several weeks of debate, the Senate passed a School Choice bill, S.39, that offers $6,000 to parents to cover tuition, fees, course materials, transportation, and or other qualified expenses to aid in their child’s education. The Senate also created and passed the State Health Facilities Licensure Act which would repeal the current Certificate of Need Programs. By repealing the Certificate of Need Program, patients can have more access to healthcare with less cost barriers. Both of these bills have been assigned to their respective committee in the House for us to begin working on.