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Keep our state healthy!

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This week at the State House, we were back in full force after our two week furlough. One piece of news that I am particularly excited to share is the passage of my bill, H.3204, the Cervical Cancer Prevention Act. The bill, with minor amendments, overwhelmingly passed in the Senate last week, and the House concurred with a vote of 107-1! It will now be sent to the Governor for her signature, after a 7 year-long effort! The bill will allow DHEC to provide a brochure about the human papillomavirus (HPV) to all parents of students entering into 6th grade and allows DHEC to administer the HPV vaccine. This is a monumental step for educating the public about the virus and stopping this preventable form of cancer. Other notable bills discussed this week include a “Safe Harbor for Exploited Minors” bill, a requirement for literacy coaches to be trained for students with dyslexia, and a lengthy debate about our infrastructure and finance reform in South Carolina — the “Roads Bill.”

In response to the most recent revelations concerning the Richland County Recreation Commission, Senator Joel Lourie, Representative James Smith and I have called on Sheriff Leon Lott to coordinate a special investigation of the Recreation Commission, its director and members of the governing commission. We have had concerns for some time now over allegations of misconduct at the Commission, and we trust Sheriff Lott and the Richland County Sheriff’s department will give this case their full attention.

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.



Legislative Updates:

Week of April 3rd, 2016 Furlough Week

Week of April 10th, 2016

H. 5024 – a joint resolution to require that before the 2016-2017 school year, the State Department of Education shall provide all reading literacy coaches and literacy teachers with training on dyslexia, including evidence-based dyslexia screening, instructional methods, and interventions and to impose related reporting requirements on the department. Approved and sent to Senate

H. 4774- a bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976 by adding section 59-152-15 so as to provide the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness is reauthorized until July 1, 2021 and will automatically be reauthorized for five year periods at five year intervals thereafter. Reported Favorable – Education & Public Works Committee

H.3204 – a bill to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina 1976 by adding section 44-29-185 so as to enact the “Cervical Cancer Prevention Act”, to provide that beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, the Department of Health and Environmental Control may offer the cervical cancer vaccination series to adolescent students enrolling in the seventh grade of any public or private school in this state, to provide that no student is required to have the vaccine before enrolling in or attending school, to provide that the department may develop an informational brochure related to offering this vaccination with specific content requirements, to define “cervical cancer vaccination series”, and to provide that implementation of this act is contingent upon receipt of full funding by state and federal funds. Awaiting the Governor’s signature

H.3579 – The House of Representatives amended Senate amendments that includes DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION RESTRUCTURING AND ROAD FUNDING INITIATIVES, and returned the bill to the Senate. The legislation includes a restructuring of the Commission overseeing the South Carolina Department of Transportation that retains the commission’s geographical representation, but provides that legislators would no longer elect commissioners and that all commissioners would, instead, be appointed by the Governor, upon the advice and consent of the General Assembly, by a roll call vote in each legislative house. Commissioners are to serve at the pleasure of the Governor and their terms of service are limited to a maximum of twelve years. Under restructuring, the DOT Commission assumes the responsibility of appointing the Secretary of Transportation, upon the advice and consent of the General Assembly, by a roll call vote in each legislative house. In order to afford the chief internal auditor of the Department of Transportation greater independence, the legislation provides for the department’s chief internal auditor to be appointed and overseen by the State Auditor rather than the DOT Commission. The legislation provides for all of the motor vehicle sales tax revenue to be transferred to the Department of Transportation to be used exclusively for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair. The legislation also provides for revisions to the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank. Before providing a loan or other financial assistance, the Board of Directors that oversees the Infrastructure Bank must, under the legislation, submit its decision to the Department of Transportation Commission for its consideration. The DOT Commission can, in turn, approve or reject the decision or request additional information from the bank’s board of directors. The Infrastructure Bank’s policy of following the SC Department of Transportation’s project priority criteria is established as a statutory requirement. The General Assembly may, however, enact a joint resolution specifically allowing the bank to fund a project without using DOT’s prioritization criteria. The minimum project amount set in Transportation Infrastructure Bank requirements is lowered from $100 million to $25 million. This threshold is lowered to allow more areas to be able to afford local match requirements and take advantage of the bank’s bonding capabilities for financing their transportation projects. Sent back to the Senate

H.5172 – a bill to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, so as to enact the “Safe Harbor for Exploited Minors Act”, to provide for protection of the identity of minor victims of trafficking in persons and provide certain protections to minors charged with certain crimes involving prostitution and coerced involvement in such crimes, among other things. Referred to Judiciary Committee

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