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2023-2024 Legislative Update Week 13: Entering the Final Stretch

Updated: May 23, 2023

Overview:

With the deadline quickly approaching for bills to “crossover” to the Senate, House Republicans spent the week pushing legislation over the finish line. I was proud to support bills that prevent ESG influence on our state pension plans, streamline the adoption process, provide paid parental leave to school district employees, and put life saving medication in the hands of school nurses. Next week the House is on furlough, and will reconvene Tuesday, April 18th. From there we have just 4 weeks left of the 2023-2024 session.


Interesting Fact: Each week of furlough for House members saves taxpayers over $66,000!

Be Woke, Go Broke On Wednesday I voted in support of H.3690, the ESG Pension Protection Act. This bill will ensure the $39 billion in SC's pension system will be invested to maximize the returns for the 600,000+ state and local government employees and not be compromised by Environmental-Social-Governance objectives being pushed on us by liberal ideologies. My colleagues and I will not sit back and allow the investment firms to use the power of pension funds to coerce corporate executives to invest in their social objectives. Twenty-five states are currently pushing back on ESG, and this bill enshrines SC’s current investment practices into state law to guard against potential change and protect your pensions. Adoption Reform This week I worked to pass a collection of five adoption-related bills designed to make the process of adopting children in our state less burdensome while ensuring safety and integrity. These bills facilitate family members to become legal guardians when adoption is not an option for minors, eliminate the 90-day waiting time to finalize an adoption, allow family court judges to waive pre- and post-adoption report requirements, speed up the adoption process, and allow permanency planning hearings to include termination of parental rights determinations. These bills passed unanimously and mark some of the most significant efforts to make adoption easier for families. Paid Parental Leave for School District Employees

Allowing new parents to take time off to care for their children without sacrificing their income or job security is critical in retaining experienced teachers and attracting new teachers. On Wednesday I voted in support of H.3908 that will allow teachers who become new parents - either upon the birth or adoption of a child - six weeks paid leave which is the same leave available to other state employees.


Banning the Dangerous “Carolina Squat Truck”

On Tuesday, I voted to pass H.3414, which bans ‘carolina squat trucks’, a dangerous vehicle modification that raises the front end of a vehicle high enough that it impedes a driver’s ability to see over the hood. This endangers pedestrians, especially small children, and creates safety hazards, including large blind spots, braking difficulties, and airbag malfunctions. There have been many fatalities across our state, including a child in Myrtle Beach.

Supplying Life Saving Medication

As the opioid epidemic continues to affect communities across the United States, it is imperative that we make life saving medication available in our schools to respond quickly to an overdose emergency, and potentially save the life of a student or staff member. On Thursday I voted to pass H.4122, which will allow school nurses, in addition to SROs, to stock and administer Narcan. Funding to purchase the medication has already been allocated by DHEC.


The House also unanimously passed H.3691, which allows coroners to stock and administer life saving medication such as Narcan in the event they encounter overdose victims.


Ensuring Integrity in Our Elections

Maintaining election integrity is crucial for ensuring that the democratic process remains fair and transparent, and that the outcomes of elections accurately reflect the will of the people. This week the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee heard two election integrity bills; H.3695 will require voters to register as a party member or as an unaffiliated voter with a particular party at least 45 days before voting in that party's primary, and H.3823 would limit the number of times one person can witness absentee ballot signatures to five.

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