2023-2024 Legislative Update Week 15: Calling All Committees
Updated: May 23
This week, despite debating just a few bills on the House floor, we still made significant progress on several important bills in our subcommittees and committees. The committee process is an essential part of developing, and ultimately passing, good legislation on the floor. The committee process allows for thorough debate, public input, discussion between members, and amendments to bills before they move to the full House for a vote. While it may not always make for flashy headlines, the committee process is a crucial aspect of our work in the House, and I am proud of the progress we made this week. Expect to see many of these bills make their way to the House floor soon as we wrap up the first year of the 2023-2024 session.
Repealing CON for Better Healthcare:
On Tuesday a subcommittee of the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee passed S.164, which would eliminate our state’s Certificate of Need (CON) requirements for most healthcare providers. Currently, these regulations require healthcare providers to obtain government approval before expanding or establishing new healthcare facilities or services. Repealing these laws will reduce the regulatory burden on healthcare providers, increase access to healthcare in our state, and lower costs for patients. This bill also creates a study committee to examine the impact of the repeal of the CON program on the quality and quantity of access to healthcare in rural areas. Ultimately, by eliminating unnecessary government regulations, we can encourage innovation, improve the overall health of our citizens, and contribute to the economic prosperity of our state. The bill, which I fully support, now heads to the full House 3M committee next week.
Improving Access to Telehealth and Telemedicine:
Another healthcare related bill discussed in a 3M subcommittee this week is H.4159, the South Carolina Telehealth and Telemedicine Modernization Act. This bill will improve access to healthcare services for all South Carolinians, especially those in remote or underserved areas. With the implementation of telehealth services, patients can receive quality medical care without having to visit a doctor's office in person. The bill defines and specifies requirements for healthcare professionals who provide telehealth services, ensuring that patients receive high-quality care from qualified professionals. I strongly believe that telemedicine is a critical tool in today's digital age as it helps to bridge the gap, especially for those in rural areas of out state, and provide access to quality medical care. I plan to fully support this bill as it will help modernize our healthcare system and make quality care more accessible to all South Carolinians.
Protecting Our Children:
Two bills designed to protect our children passed out of the House Judiciary Committee this week and will head to the House floor in the coming weeks. H.3220, the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act, provides a crucial framework for preventing child abduction in family law cases. With procedures in place to address and prevent abduction, this bill prioritizes the welfare and best interests of children, making sure that child custody determination orders from other states can be registered and enforced efficiently. This is an important step in protecting our most vulnerable citizens and ensuring that families and children are not unnecessarily traumatized. H.3217, the Uniform Unregulated Child Custody Transfer Act, strengthens criminal penalties for violators and requires child placement agencies to share specific information with adoptive parents. This bill ensures that children placed for adoption are not subjected to unregulated custody transfers and that they receive the financial support services they need. As your Representative, it is my duty to advocate for the safety and well-being of all of our citizens, and I intend to support both of these bills.
Municipal Election Reform Bill:
On Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee discussed H.3734, a bill aimed at improving the election process for municipal elections in South Carolina. By requiring the use of a state-approved voting system, we will have a consistent and more-secure voting process for town and city elections, which is essential for maintaining the integrity of our democracy. Additionally, the changes made to the terms of office for mayors and council members, and the establishment of certain dates for municipal general elections, will provide a more predictable election schedule for voters. Furthermore, requiring special elections to be held at the same time as general elections, and extending the time frame for declaring election results means more transparent municipal elections. Overall, this bill is a significant step towards ensuring that the will of the people is accurately represented and that the election process is fair and transparent for all.
Election of Comptroller General:
This week, the House passed H.4324, a Concurrent Resolution to set May 3 for election of college and university boards of trustees and to elect the successor of the Comptroller General to fill the unexpired term of that office.
From the Senate:
H.3774, the Human Life Protection Act, was set for special order next week in the State Senate.
H.4300, the General Appropriations, and H.4301, the Capital Reserve Fund, were amended and passed in the Senate. They now come back to the House for final changes.
H.3728, the Transparency and Integrity in Education Act, received a favorable report in the Senate Education Committee and will head to the Senate floor in the coming weeks.