Dear Friends and Neighbors:
This is my Legislative Update for March. The House passed a Budget this month and it is now in the Senate for review. Here are all of the highlights from the month. As always, I am interested in hearing your thoughts and concerns on the issues.
Thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you in the South Carolina House of Representatives.
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW March 11, 2013
The House Passed a Budget:
The SC House passed the 2013-2014 FY Budget this week, authorizing $22.7 billion worth of spending. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Medicaid Expansion Fails All attempts to fully participate in Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act failed this week. Expanding Medicaid would have provided health insurance to more than 250,000 people. Under the program, the Federal Government would pay 100% of the costs of the enhanced coverage for the first three years.
Local Government Funding Lawmakers authorized $182 million in funding to local governments, about $35 million less than state law requires. The House recently passed a resolution to suspend the statutory requirement for local government funding to permit this level of funding in the budget.
Cyber-security The SC House authorized $45.2 million in spending on cyber-security protections this week following the data breach of the Department of Revenue. This money will pay for two years of credit monitoring and any money left over would help enact a statewide cyber-security plan.
Prison Funding The House put $18 million in new money in this year’s budget for the Department of Corrections. This money includes a 3% pay raise for officers at the state’s most dangerous prisons.
Education Funding Lawmakers spent $175 million in new money on K-12 Education, increasing per-pupil spending by $89 from last year’s budget. That is still far below the $2,771 that state law requires under our current funding model.
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW March 18, 2013
Raffles and Games A bill, S. 3, passed the House this week that legalizes certain types of raffles in South Carolina while also banning sweepstakes machines. The bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for signature.
Restructuring the Adjutant General’s Office A bill, H. 3541, that amends the South Carolina Constitution to delete the Office of the Adjutant General from the list of state offices, which are required to be elected, passed the House this week. The bill is now going to the Senate. Another bill, H.3540, was also approved and sent to the Senate, that gives the power of appointment of the Adjutant General to the Governor, in the event that the necessary constitutional amendment is approved by the state’s voters and ratified.
The High School League The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3229, a bill addressing reforms to the manner in which the South Carolina High School League’s oversees interscholastic athletics in K-12 education.
Concussions The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3061, a bill establishing a protocol for addressing student athletes, including cheerleaders and concussions in K-12 education.
Tuition Rates for Veterans The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3086, which enhances in-state tuition rate eligibility for veterans and their dependents.
FOIA Bill A bill, H. 3163, clarifying standards in South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act law, was recommitted to the Judiciary Committee this week. The bill seeks to strengthen the current law as it pertains to state agencies charging for public documents, as well as who is subject to the law itself.
Brewery Regulations A bill, H. 3554, passed the House this week requiring breweries in South Carolina to offer no more than sixty-four ounces in samples to customers. It also reads that the alcohol content cannot exceed fourteen percent. The bill will now go to the Senate.
HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW March 25, 2013
The House of Representatives will be on furlough for two weeks through April 5, 2013. The next regular session day will be on Tuesday, April 9, 2013.