Legislative Report: May 20

End of Session

This week is National Police Week. Every day, the brave men and women of law enforcement leave their families and put their lives on the line to protect and serve communities around South Carolina. Thank you to police officers for your service.

Rep. Chip Huggins-District 85 Chairman, Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee 202 Blatt Building, Columbia, SC 29201 Serving Irmo and Chapin

Meaningful and conservative legislation meant to protect our constitutional rights, cut government spending and regulations, preserve life, and better our education system was the basis of this year’s session. This was the last week of the 2021 session of the 124th General Assembly. We spent a lot of time on the Floor, trying to get as much done as possible before Sine Die – the end of session.

I am proud of our accomplishments this year, from expanding gun laws, to protecting the unborn, securing the integrity of our elections, and much more. We will return to work in June, although the Sine Die resolution restricts our debate to the budget, to review and vote on conference reports, and begin the once-a-decade redistricting process. Let me know if you have any questions or if I can be of any assistance to you.

Preserving & Fortifying Our Second Amendment
With just one day to spare, the South Carolina House passed H. 3094, the open carry with training act. This is more than about allowing law-abiding citizens to openly carrying a firearm. By voting YES my colleagues and I voted to:

⁃ Block the federal government’s efforts to confiscate or over-regulate our Second Amendment rights by making South Carolina a Second Amendment Sanctuary State.
⁃ Relax the qualifications to become a CWP holder and address the shortage of ammunition by altering the CWP test from 50+ rounds to 25.
⁃ Eliminate the $50 CWP fee, making it FREE to become a CWP holder and responsible gun carrier.
⁃ Allow churches that meet on school property to CHOOSE if they will allow CWP holders to carry during their worship services to defend their congregations.

I proudly supported Constitutional Carry (H. 3096) this year. This is in the Senate waiting on advancement. I will support this bill when the Senate sends it back to us.

This Week In the SC House
In addition to the gun legislation, we passed a lot of legislation out of the House this week as we approached Sine Die at 5 pm on Thursday. Here are some of the big-ticket items:

Convention of States: To amend the US Constitution, Congress can propose changes, but so can a Convention of the States. This week, we passed a bill to join the list of states who wish to participate in the convention process (34 states must pass a law to convene a convention).

Move Over. Left Lane Driving Bill: This week, the House adopted a conference report on a bill that says slower traffic on South Carolina’s roads must move over for faster vehicles on 2+ lane highways.

I love Beach Music Parking: S. 40 passed on Thursday in the House and is now headed to Governor McMaster’s desk. This requires that a municipality receive prior approval from the SCDOT before establishing, altering or restricting the use of parking facilities on a state highway. This ensures that everyone can afford a day at the beach.

Tax Conformity: This week the tax conformity bill passed the House and Senate, which puts the State and Federal tax codes align. This year, many people filed for unemployment in SC due to the pandemic. This bill exempts some of this income, ensuring people are not penalized for the hardships they faced.

Who Let The Hogs Out?: Many people are unaware of the feral hog problem we have in South Carolina… Others, like farmers, are all too familiar with this problem. This week, a bill to outlaw the transportation of pigs on a public road or waterway without identification and to prohibit the transport of a live pig taken from the wild without a permit was sent to the Governor’s desk.

Exceptional Need Tax Credits: The House and Senate passed a bill that allows for public charities to expend extra money on children with exceptional needs and allow for money spent on these children to be claimed as a tax credit.

Great News For South Carolina. – Gov. Henry McMaster’s New Executive Order
This week, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order that did the following: allows parents to decide on masks in schools, restricts local mask mandates, and prohibits vaccine passports. In response, DHEC released a form to provide consent for or on behalf of a student in any public school in SC to opt-out from wearing a face mask. You can access the form here: CONSENT FORM TO OPT OUT OF FACE MASK REQUIREMENT IMPOSED ON STUDENTS BY A SCHOOL OR SCHOOL DISTRICT. For more information, visit the Schools and Childcare Page on the DHEC website: Schools & Childcare Centers (COVID-19).

CDC Relaxes Recommendations
On Thursday, the CDC relaxed their guidance/recommendations for mask-wearing and social distancing while indoors. They say those who are fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did before the pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing. Find more information from the CDC here: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated – Covid-19.

Weekly COVID-19 Update
⁃ In South Carolina, anyone 12+ is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with an appointment. Some locations do accept walk-ins.
⁃ Visit https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-appointments to make a vaccination appointment at a provider near you.
⁃ 43.7 percent of South Carolina citizens have started the vaccination process. 35.2 percent of SC citizens are fully vaccinated. 3,136,260 vaccines have been given to South Carolina residents to date.
⁃ Want to see how our 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.
⁃ For other FAQs regarding the COVID-19, use the DHEC issued fact sheet here: https://scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/CR-012857.pdf
*Numbers updated May 13th.

COVID-19 Resources and Helplines:
⁃ DHEC Care Line: 1-855-472-3432
⁃ COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line: 1-866-365-8110
⁃ Find a vaccine location near you here: https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov
⁃ Information about qualifying for SBA loans: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
⁃ Mental health/substance abuse services related to COVID-19: 1-844-724-6737
⁃ For other COVID-19 resources, visit the Accelerate SC website: https://accelerate.sc.gov
⁃ To see if you may qualify for unemployment, visit: https://dew.sc.gov
⁃ For updates from the Governor, visit https://governor.sc.gov

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.