Here's a new update on recent happenings at the State House. I hope you find it useful and informative. As always, please contact me any time to share your views, concerns and advice. Your input allows me to do the best job possible serving you. Thanks.
Government & history instruction on college campuses.
The S.C. House has passed an amended version of a Senate bill requiring public colleges and universities to offer instruction in American history or American government, including our nation’s founding documents. Under the legislation -- called the Reinforcing College Education on America's Constitutional Heritage Act -- undergraduate students at institutions of higher education that receive state funding must complete three credit hours in such courses. Once the Senate signs off on the final version, it goes to the Governor for his signature.
Returning to in-person classroom instruction.
The S.C. House has passed legislation requiring all S.C. school districts to offer five-day, in-person instruction by April 26. This comes as ample evidence suggests the lack of in-person instruction due to COVID-19 has taken a toll on students’ education.
All House Republicans voted in favor of the joint resolution, which also prohibits school districts from requiring teachers to simultaneously teach both in-person and virtual classes. Just seven Democrats voted against it. It now awaits Senate approval.
House passes “hate crimes” bill.
By a vote of 79-29, the S.C. House has passed a “hate crimes” bill which increases penalties for violent felonies found to be motivated by another’s race or gender. I opposed this bill. While I’d never condone any crime or act of violence against any individual, I believe it was superfluous; laws are already on the books to address criminal acts. And I believe the bill suggests a crime against one person is worthy of greater punishment than the same crime against another.
The legislation advanced to the S.C. Senate and is currently before a Senate judiciary subcommittee.
More Second Amendment protections.
The S.C. House has passed yet another bill to protect South Carolinians’ Second Amendment rights. We had previously passed the Open Carry with Training Act, of which I’m a co-sponsor, to allow trained concealed weapons permit holders to carry firearms openly in most places. Earlier this month, the House voted 69-47 to approve another bill I’ve co-sponsored, the Constitutional Carry Act of 2021, which would scrap concealed weapons permits and allow the permitless carrying of firearms in most places. This is an important step toward safeguarding our constitutional right to self-defense.
Keep an eye on your government.
Transparency helps keep politicians honest. So the more eyes on government, the better. There are several resources available to help you keep an eye on your state government:
The S.C. Comptroller’s fiscal transparency website shows itemized, monthly expenditures by made by state agencies. Click here.
Meetings of the S.C. Fiscal Accountability Authority can be viewed here. This five-member board makes many fiscal and administrative decisions. It must approve any construction projects or by any state agency or public university. It’s meeting schedule can be found here.
Meetings of the Legislature are livestreamed via scstatehouse.org. The S.C. House can be viewed here, and its meeting schedule is here. The S.C. Senate can be seen here, and its meeting schedule can be found here.