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Happy Birthday, America,! Plus my End of Session Legislative Update

Dear Friends and Neighbors,


We have just concluded the second session of the 2023-2024 term in the General Assembly. It's hard to believe that this is the end of my sixth term and 12th year as your Representative at the Statehouse. While we did not accomplish as much as I hoped this term, I am very pleased that we have made retaining and recruiting teachers and valuing our state employees as two of our major priorities.


The conferees on the Budget Committee for funding state government into Fiscal Year 2024-2025 came to a final agreement which was approved by both chambers on June 26th. Fortunately, we continue to have an unprecedented amount of funding coming from the federal infrastructure bill and other monies to invest back into our communities and state. I have outlined how these funds will be allocated.


While only a small percentage of bills ever make it to the Governor's desk, I am delighted that three of the bills in which I was the primary sponsor were enacted into law. All of these bills are discussed in this newsletter.


I hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July as we remember the freedoms provided to us by our forefathers and the brave individuals, past and present, who have worked so hard to preserve them.


Happy Birthday, America!


As always, thank you for the honor and privilege of representing you and our community at the Statehouse!




  2024 End of Session Legislative Update

Fiscal Year 2024-2025

Budget Highlights


The budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25 consists of $42 billion which includes the following:


$ 13.6 billion Federal Funds

$ 12.4 billion Recurring Funds

$ 2 billion Non-Recurring Funds

$ 14.2 billion Other Funds


  • $200 million in new income tax relief, taking the total income tax relief to $900 million. State income tax rate is reduced from 6.4% to 6.2%. 

  • $200 million toward raising teacher pay to $47,00, an increase of $4,500. 

  • $69.3 million to freeze in-state tuition at public colleges and universities for the 6th year in a row. 

  • $200 million in nonrecurring funds allocated to accelerate the Dept. of Transportation’s schedule for repairing and replacing the state’s bridges. 

  • $41 million in recurring revenue devoted to state employee pay raises. Each full-time employee making not more than $50,000/year will receive a $1,125 increase in base pay and full-time employees making more than $50,000/year will receive a 2.25% salary increase.

Budget Highlights Here Locally


I have successfully requested almost $11 million for several worthwhile projects in our community which will be funded through the state budget, as follows:

  • $1,000,000 - Serve and Connect, a non-profit founded by Kassy Alia Ray to help police and citizens work together as one community.

  • $100,000 - ColaJazz Foundation to help fund educational children's programming.

  • $6,000,000 - Richland County Recreation Commission for a Recreation/Aquatics Center in NE Columbia.

  • $400,000 - The Therapy Place, a nonprofit pediatric therapy center in the midlands.

  • $2,500,000 - City of Forest Acres to help revitalization efforts at Richland Mall property.

  • $50,000 - EMS Closet, a nonprofit committed to helping children in need in Richland County School Districts 1 and 2.

  • $900,000 - Richland County Sheriff's Department for a Mobile Command Post.

Significant Bills Enacted This Year

  • South Carolina Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act of 2024” H. 3594 (Act 111), is comprehensive legislation that, among other things, declares South Carolina citizens have a constitutional right to carry their firearms anywhere in South Carolina (except in specified locations, and except under certain conditions). Gun owners are also able to store their firearms anywhere within their motor vehicles. Anyone openly carrying their firearm in compliance with this proposed legislation does not give any law enforcement officer or official with arrest powers either a reasonable suspicion, or probable cause, to be searched, detained, or arrested for doing so. Violators still will face criminal charges with punishments based on the severity of their violations. Firearm owners have to report the loss or theft of their guns to an appropriate law enforcement agency within 10 days after discovering they are gone. Owners are encouraged to receive appropriate gun safety training before carrying their firearms. Concealed Weapon Permit holders have to report losing their permits within 48 hours. (Please note that I voted against this bill. While I support our 2nd Amendment right to carry, we need to be smart about enacting laws and our focus should be on passing more gun safety laws rather than allowing untrained individuals to openly carry firearms in our community and state. Law enforcement was vocally against this bill, also.) 

  • Antisemitism.* H. 4042 (Act 138) codifies antisemitism as a listed discriminatory act. It incorporates the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism into the South Carolina Code of Laws. This bill does not create a new law or protected class. It implements an objective definition of contemporary antisemitism.

  • Feminine Hygiene Products. H. 3563 (Act 131) relates to sales tax exemptions, providing an exemption for feminine hygiene products.

  • Competency-Based Education (CBE) [H. 3295, Act 127] H. 3295 (Act 127) allows the South Carolina Board of Education to waive certain laws and regulations for districts that successfully apply to operate schools using competency-based education. It outlines core principles for Competency-Based Education, including explicit, measurable, and transferable competencies, personalized and flexible pathways for students, and meaningful assessments. 

  • Property Tax Exemption For Disabled Veterans. H. 3116 (Act 116) revises the property tax exemption process for disabled veterans, allowing them to immediately claim a full-year exemption in the year their disability occurs, among other details.

  • Special Purpose District Property Acquisition and Sales Authority.* H. 4563 (Act 201) clarifies the authority of all special purpose districts created before 1973 (pre-Home Rule) to own, acquire, purchase, hold, use, lease, convey, sell, transfer, or dispose of real, personal, or mixed property. (This was legislation that I sponsored at the request of Richland County so that its special purpose districts can sell real property. Right now, it can only purchase property which created a large inventory of properties not in use.) 

  • Incapacitated Individuals Probate Court Protections.* H. 4234 (Act 200) revises existing probate laws and procedures covering incapacitated people. When more than $15,000 in net aggregate funds per year will be paid or delivered on behalf of incapacitated people, then protective proceedings must be convened on behalf of these individuals. (Representative Weston Newton and I were the primary sponsors of this bill.)

*legislation in which I was the primary sponsor and author


Contact Me

If you have a comment or opinion concerning the matters discussed in this report, or if I may be assistance to you at any time, please feel free to call me at my legislative office (803-212-6940) or write to me at 532-C Blatt Building, Columbia, SC 29211; or

Interested in receiving my legislative updates? You may sign up by visiting my website at


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