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Budget Week

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

The week beginning March 21st, the House debated the 2016 General Appropriations bill for the 2016-17 fiscal year — “Budget Week”. We worked several late nights on this bill, which will take effect on July 1, 2016, if passed.

While I am extremely disappointed by the lack of funding devoted to fix our crumbling roads, we were able to send a budget to the Senate which included allocating several million new dollars to public K-12 education and pay increases for our teachers and state employees. You can read all the details here or below for a more complete look at what we’ve done the last couple of weeks.

As always, I am interested in hearing your thoughts and concerns on the issues.

Thank you for electing me to serve you and our community at the State House.


Beth Bernstein


Legislative Updates:

Week of March 15th, 2016

H.4554 – establishes new provisions for the regulation and oversight of money transmission services. The legislation is offered as a means of rectifying South Carolina’s current status as the only U.S. state with no regulatory authority over money transfers of smaller amounts which has made the state a center for money laundering activities that facilitate organized criminal enterprises and terrorist activities. Approved and sent to Senate

H. 4521 – requires the state’s public institutions of higher education to maintain a report detailing student misconduct investigations related to fraternity and sorority organizations formally affiliated with the institution. Approved and sent to Senate

H. 3848 – requires the State Board of Education and Education Oversight Committee to incorporate instruction on the founding principles that shaped the United States into the required study of the United States Constitution and the South Carolina Social Studies Standards upon the next cyclical review. Approved and sent to the Senate.

H.3265 – includes within Comprehensive Health Education Programs new requirements for public high school students to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) At least one time during the entire four years of grades nine through twelve, each student must, under the new requirements, receive instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Approved and sent to the Senate.

H. 3999 – revises the prioritized list of those who are authorized to make health care decisions for patients who are unable to provide consent to include as a lowest, tenth, priority a close friend of the patient who is an adult and reasonably is believed by the health care professional to have a close personal relationship with the patient. Approved and sent to the Senate

Week of March 21st, 2016 H. 5001 & H. 5002 – 2016 State Government Budget

$415 million is devoted to the state’s roads. Of that total, $316 million is appropriated to the State Highway Fund for paving, rehabilitation, resurfacing, and reconstruction of the primary road system, $49 million is allocated to the Department of Transportation to address road repair costs from the October 2015 flood damage, and $50 million in nonrecurring funds is distributed among the County Transportation Committees to use for resurfacing, reconstructing, and repairing roads and bridges in the state‑owned secondary road system.

For K-12 public education, $218 million is used to increase the base student cost by $130 to arrive at an estimated $2,350 per pupil. A 2% increase in teacher’s salaries is also included.

The Department of Agriculture is afforded $1 million from the Capital Reserve Fund for consumer protection equipment and $500,000 in recurring funds to expand “Certified SC” marketing of the state’s produce.

The Department of Health & Environmental Control receives $661,500 in recurring funds to enhance its dam safety inspection and permitting program.

The budget accommodates the $40 million appropriation from the 2014-2015 Contingency Reserve Fund for the “South Carolina Farm Aid Fund”, created to assist farmer who suffered extensive damage in the October 2015 floods.

Week of March 29th, 2016

Furlough Week

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