Legislative Report: April 22

After the fast and furious week of meeting the crossover deadline, this week, the House returned to work… much of the work being done in committees and subcommittees. Here are a few highlights from legislation we dealt with. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments about what we are doing in Columbia, please feel free to contact me.

Back to School

Representative Chip Huggins District 85 Serving Chapin and Irmo Chairman, Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee

On Wednesday, the House passed a joint resolution that requires all school districts in South Carolina to give an option for 5 days a week, in-person learning by April 26. Providing an in-person option allows parents to decide what learning format is the best fit for their student. Additionally, this bill suspends the earning limitation for retired teachers. This ensures retired teachers can come back to school and teach without fear of too little compensation during these unique times.

Teaching the Constitution

Ensuring that our children are educated about our Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, and other important American documents is the first step in shaping civically responsible citizens. S. 38 provides that students in public high schools in South Carolina, and in some cases, undergraduate students, to study these constitutional documents as a requirement for graduation. I voted in favor of this bill on Thursday, which then passed the House.

Revitalizing South Carolina

“The South Carolina Abandoned Buildings Revitalization Act” qualifies taxpayers who make certain investments into rehabilitating and revitalizing abandoned property in the state to receive tax credits. This bill is a great incentive for people to bring life to abandoned and run-down areas of our State. This act was set to expire, but we voted unanimously to renew it on Wednesday.

Law Enforcement

H. 3939 received a favorable vote in a Judiciary Subcommittee meeting on Thursday morning. This bill extends workers compensation for law enforcement officers in deadly-force situations to PTSD, or other injury caused by stress or mental illness. It is important and necessary that we provide officers with these lifesaving resources, so they can safely and healthily serve our communities.

Protecting SC Seniors

H. 3180, also known as the Vulnerable Adult Maltreatment Registry Act, passed out of a Judiciary Subcommittee on Thursday morning. This act aims to protect our most vulnerable, elderly populations from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This bill would create a registry for these populations, creating further protections for them in places like nursing homes.

Election Reform

Reforming our elections to ensure they are free and fair is always a priority, as is making sure that voting is accessible to as many Americans as possible. In a Judiciary Subcommittee meeting Thursday morning, Rep. West Cox introduced a bill that ensures that any Special Purpose Tax District Referendums be voted on during General Elections rather than Special Elections. With voter turnout being historically higher for General Elections in comparison to Special Elections (sometimes by 70 percent or more) this simply increases the amount of voter participation when dealing with these issues.

Weekly COVID-19 Update

⁃ South Carolina is in Phase 1C of the vaccination process. Under these guidelines, anyone 16+ is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with an appointment.

⁃ Visit https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine to make a vaccination appointment at a provider near you.

⁃ 38.1 percent of South Carolina citizens have started the vaccination process. 24.3 percent of SC citizens are fully vaccinated. 2,467,232 vaccines have been given to South Carolina residents to date.

⁃ Want to see how your area is doing in the fight against COVID-19? Visit the interactive ‘Vaccination Dashboard by following this link, https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccination-dashboard.

*Numbers updated April 15.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the South Carolina House of Representatives and please feel free to contact me via email at [email protected] or my 24-hour phone line at 803-331-8468.