It’s been another busy week at the State House. Legislation has begun moving to committees and House members are busy holding hearings to consider some of the over 500 bills which have been submitted by legislators. Here’s what we’ve been up to this week:
This week several different groups made trips to the State House. It was great to be able to meet with each of them and discuss many of the important issues that we’re dealing with this session. On Tuesday, teachers from across the state came to talk about education reform, with many of them talking about teacher pay, fewer mandatory tests and finding ways to allow them more time to teach. UofSC impact day was on Wednesday when students visited the Higher Education Subcommittee to discuss issues important to colleges and technical schools. We also welcomed EMT’s, the National Guard and high school students this week as well.
Working On Education Reform
The House K-12 Education Subcommittee, which I Chair, held its first public hearing for the comprehensive education reform bill on Wednesday. Speaker of the House Jay Lucas was the first to testify before my subcommittee, explaining that the bill is a starting point and asked for the public’s input to fine-tune this important legislation.
Members of K-12 education subcommittee listened to compelling testimony from county officials, teachers and parents across the state to find ways to incorporate their ideas into the bill. We will hold more hearings on this bill over the next couple of weeks to get more input from the public about this vital legislation. I will also be providing regular updates on this legislation as we continue working on it.
To read this legislation: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/billsearch.php?billnumbers=3759
The Senate made strides towards education reform this week as well. Their bills, which will soon head to the House, will reduce the amount of paperwork for teachers and students in an effort to improve quality time in the classroom.
Public Input Needed!
House Speaker Jay Lucas is requesting public input for the education reform bill with a hearing scheduled at the State House for February 12 at 5 pm. Holding this hearing after work hours is intended to give teachers and the general public a better chance to attend, watch and make their voices heard. If you’d like to attend, let me know!
If you cannot attend, please fill out this survey: https://goo.gl/forms/AoM1yVpyr7hR43a02
Distracted Driving Legislation
The DUI-E (Driving Under the Influence of Electronics) bill, currently in the committee process, will prohibit drivers from handling their phone or other electronic devices while they are on the road. Distracted driving contributes to a significant number of accidents on S.C. roads and has raised insurance premiums over ten percent in recent years.
More information: https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article225205685.html
Protecting teens from vaping
A bill to protect teens from vaping passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and will go to the House floor for a vote. This bill bans vaping on public school property and makes it illegal for children under 18 to enter a vape shop without an adult.
More information: https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article225231520.html
Tax Cuts for South Carolina Military Retirees
In an effort to attract more military retirees to South Carolina the House Ways and Means Committee has proposed a bill that exempts retirement income for more than 38,000 retired veterans from being taxed. By giving veterans a tax cut, the state revenue could potentially increase as the economy grows with more retirees and their families moving to the state.
More information: https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article225007580.html
Exceptional Needs Children Tax Credit
On Thursday, a bill to increase the tax credit for exceptional needs programs was scheduled for a third reading. This bill aims to increase funding for programs that help families with children that have special needs to seek out the educational opportunities that best fit their kids.
Let Me Hear From You!
As with any job, feedback is important, so please keep in touch with me. You can reach me with your questions any time at 803-547-6715. You can follow me online by visiting my website: VoteRaye.com, via Facebook at facebook.com/VoteRaye or on Twitter at twitter.com/FortMillRaye.