Back to School, Abortion, Labor Day and other musings...
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
August typically brings a fresh new perspective as we end summer and begin fall with a new school year. This year in particular brought many new changes for me personally. I moved one daughter into college at Tulane University in New Orleans, and my other daughter started high school. Important milestones but I know they both are prepared for the new challenges ahead because of the teachers who have been so instrumental in their education.
As you send your children or grandchildren off to school this month, I wish you much success. I also would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the educators, support staff, and other school district employees for their hard work and dedication to our children and all the children in this state.
In light of the Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade along with 50 years of precedent, we returned to the State House this week to debate the total abortion ban bill (H5399), which bans all abortions at conception. While I fought vehemently against this ban, I, along with most of my democratic colleagues a one Republican colleague from Charleston in a vote of 67-38, were unable to defeat this bill. The only exceptions to the total ban are (1) when the dire health of the mother is at risk or (2) in cases of rape and incest, prior to 12 weeks of fetal development, although a criminal report detailing the victim's name and contact information must be reported to law enforcement within 24 hours of the procedure. There is no exception for fetal anomalies or when the fetus is not compatible with life. The bill is now in the Senate chamber where debate will begin on September 7. Please contact your Senator to give him/her your input on this terrible bill.
I've included some video clips of me on the House floor arguing against its passage. As I stated then, I don't believe this is what the majority of South Carolinian's want.
Regular legislative session ended in May, and I am attaching a copy of my End of Year Legislative Update for those who did not receive it in the mail or who would like another copy. As you can see, in this year's state budget, we had an unprecedented amount of money coming from the federal stimulus package to invest back into our communities and state. On a personal note, I am most proud of the paid family leave bill which Senator Darrell Jackson and I were the primary sponsors in our respective chambers. This will provide 6 weeks paid leave to state employees who give birth to a child and 2 weeks paid leave for the non-birthing parent. The Governor signed it into law effective October 1, 2022. Please read the update to see more on this bill and several others.
As a female member of the General Assembly, I am able to provide a $1,000 one-time scholarship to a female high school senior, residing in my house district, who will be attending a South Carolina university, college, or technical college in the fall. The scholarship is based on several criteria including, but not limited to, academics, leadership skills, and extra-curricular activities. This year’s recipient of the Beth Bernstein Women’s Leadership Scholarship award is Rai Megha. Megha is a Spring Valley High School graduate who will be attending the University of South Carolina.
I end this newsletter by wishing you a safe and happy Labor Day holiday weekend! Thank you for giving me the honor and privilege of serving you and our community at the State House.