Last week, I introduced you to THE PUSHBACK AGENDA — the legislative effort in South Carolina to put the brakes on federal government overreach that is crushing our liberty. There is also the severe challenge of BIG TECH’S censorship, a blatant effort to silence American’s who don’t ascribe to Liberal/Socialist beliefs. The 1st Amendment prevents the government from censoring citizens, so BIG TECH is performing that function.
The response to THE PUSHBACK AGENDA has been amazing! The agenda has received national exposure, and I have heard from folks here at home, across the state, and around the nation. (Learn more here & here) Here’s a sampling of what people are saying:
The legislative response has also been very positive. This week, I explained to my Republican colleagues THE PUSHBACK AGENDA is their plan, not mine. There are 20 pieces of legislation that many different legislators have filed. These bills pushback on multiple fronts — making SC a 2nd Amendment sanctuary state, using lawsuits to stop social media censorship, ensuring religious freedom during states of emergency, ensuring vaccines are voluntary and not mandatory, etc.
Nullifying Executive Orders
So far, Joe Biden has issued more than 40 Executive Orders. In his first week alone, he signed 24. That dwarfs the first week of Executive Orders by former presidents: Trump (5), Obama (5), and Bush and Clinton (0).
This week, 30 of my colleagues joined me in cosponsoring H.3869. This bill requires our SC Attorney General to review the constitutionality of Presidential Executive Orders, and if they are unlawful or unconstitutional, the Executive Order could be nullified or not enforced in SC at the discretion of the General Assembly.
Fighting for Life
A bill aimed at protecting unborn’s lives advanced out of a House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 15-8, on party lines. That sets up one final debate on the Fetal Heartbeat Bill on the House floor next Wednesday before my Republican colleagues, and I vote to approve it and send it to the Governor to be signed into law. The House has passed similar bills in past sessions only to see them die in the Senate. This time, S.1 originated in the Senate.
Fortifying Our 2nd Amendment Rights
With recent protests across the nation, calls to defund the police, the pandemic unrest, and the uncertainty of a new Democratic presidential administration, gun sales are at an all-time high. I joined Rep. Bobby Cox in sponsoring a bill that would allow for open carry of a firearm once a person qualifies for a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP). This would bring SC in line with the gun rights of 45 other states. A House panel approved this bill on Wednesday. I anticipate much debate about this on the House floor in the next few weeks, where it will quickly pass.
Teachers: The Senate passed a measure this week to push teachers into the current phase of vaccine doses — Phase 1A. The bill heads to the House, where it will likely run into headwinds. Gov. McMaster is opposed to teachers moving ahead of senior citizens who need more doses because they are at the highest risk of dying from COVID.
School Aid: SC’s public and private schools will get an extra nearly $900 million to help make classrooms safer for students, teachers, and staff as the state’s education chief and governor push to reopen classrooms five days a week during the COVID-19 pandemic. The state received more than $846 million in one-time federal grants to help reopen public schools and nearly $40 million for private schools that will not need the Governor’s approval to spend. Right now, 682 schools have reopened face-to-face, and 553 schools are still using a hybrid model — a mix of in-person classroom instruction and online virtual learning. 31 schools are still teaching students strictly online
Vaccine Stats: As of, February 8th, people in SC aged 65+ began receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. To date, SC has received 970,250 vaccinations from the Federal government; 548,214 have been administered.
Rural Aiken County Receives Vaccine
Windsor residents are grateful — vaccinations delivered! Often, rural communities are overlooked. Not Thursday! Several weeks ago, I asked Aiken Electric Coop if they would assist in the process of getting vaccine help to an area they serve. They teamed up with Aiken’s Rural Health Center and nursing students from Aiken Tech to administer the COVID vaccine to more than 200 people at the Windsor fire station. Job well done!
Improving South Carolina Schools
Each week, more legislation is introduced to subcommittees to improve our state’s education system further. From kindergarten to college, I believe preparing our students to be successful in the workforce is crucial. This week, education bills made their way through subcommittee and will soon be in full committee:
H. 3588 – This bill revises the South Carolina Life Scholarship criteria, requiring successful completion of specific English and Mathematics, or Computer Science coursework to qualify.
H. 3610 – This bill revises accountability measures for public schools and public school districts in our state.
H. 3609 – Last week, the House passed legislation that unfreezes the state salary schedule and retroactively awards $50 million step increases to teachers for the 2020-21 school year. The bill is now in the Senate Finance Committee, where it is expected to advance quickly. I am proud to be a cosponsor of this bill, which will be a huge step in raising South Carolina teacher pay above the national average.
For the next few weeks, the House of Representatives’ focus will be reviewing and restructuring the Governor’s Executive powers, strengthening 2nd amendment rights, laying out a state budget, and most pressing, passing the Heartbeat Bill.
— BONUS SECTION: PUSHBACK AGENDA EXPLAINED —
Our nation is changing – and not for the better. Most sensible folks, and particularly those who have been around awhile, shake their heads in disbelief. The unimaginable is becoming a reality. The federal government is in ‘command & control’ mode often using the pandemic for its rationale to issue edicts. Personal liberty be damned. Meanwhile, Big Tech censorship is cancelling those who don’t fall in line with their thinking.
This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue – it’s a BIG government, BIG Tech issue. In Washington, the three equal branches of government are a myth. The executive branch showers we lowly ‘subjects’ with Executive Orders while federal bureaucrats thrust down strangling regulations. The legislative branch (Congress) squabbles among themselves wallowing in raw politics. The third branch, the federal courts, have become highly politicized and fail to be impartial referees using the Constitution as their guidebook.
Who can step on the brakes and stand up to a federal government that bullies its citizens? State legislatures. That’s what our founders intended – they intended a limited federal government and strong state governments. Historically, state legislatures have provided better representation because it’s government closer to the people and better understand unique local and regional issues.
THE PUSHBACK AGENDA
Thankfully, state legislatures across the country are stepping up to assert their rightful authority. Hopefully, it’s not too late. In the South Carolina General Assembly individual legislators have filed numerous bills addressing the many problems. This week I researched those bills and pulled them together in what I call ‘The Pushback Agenda’. Check out the key legislation:
Limiting the Powers of the Federal Government
H. 3205: Article V Convention of the States – Rep. Taylor(47 cosponsors).
Someone said this week that this is “The needed rebellion without bullets.” This legislation is the lawful path to rein-in the federal government. It was given to us by our founders in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. S.C. would join many other states in proposing amendments to the Constitution that would impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and provide for term limits on Congress and federal judges.
H.3869: Nullifying Illegal Executive Orders – Rep. Taylor (30 cosponsors)
This legislation would mandate South Carolina ignore illegal White House Executive Orders that are unconstitutional. This bill requires the S.C. Attorney General to review the constitutionality of Executive Orders and if they are unlawful or unconstitutional, the Executive Order would be nullified and not enforced in S.C. Remember, liberal-leaning states have been doing this for years (i.e., illegal alien sanctuaries, etc.)
To Be Filed: Rejecting Lawless Federal Government Actions – Rep. Chumley
The legislation reaffirms the 1789 Kentucky Resolution, which rejects lawless federal government actions. It was penned by Thomas Jefferson and is a compact among states to reject undelegated powers of the federal government.
Limiting Federal Efforts to Enact Gun Control
H. 3710: No Right to Keep or Bear Arms Restrictions – Rep. Burns (6 cosponsors)
This proposal would amend our State Constitutional provisions allowing every citizen to keep and bear arms, to clarify that it as a fundamental and inalienable right, especially in defense of oneself or our State. Furthermore, any attempts to restrict this right would be subject to strict scrutiny review standards.
H.3094: Open Carry with Training Act – Rep. Cox (66 cosponsors)
This would allow those with a concealable weapon permit (CWP) to carry a concealable weapon openly on their person instead, if they choose to do so.
H.3450: Stopping Social Media Censorship – Rep. Burns (7 cosponsors)
This bill was the first to be filed of its type and now 13 other states have followed. The digital public square on the major social media sites must encourage a free flow of political and religious ideas in robust debate. This bill gives South Carolinians the ability to take legal action against the large social media sites that censor them.
Resisting Federal Moves to Expand Abortions
H.3163: South Carolina Stands for Life Act – Rep McCravy (66 cosponsors)
Similar to S.1 (The Heartbeat Bill which has passed the Senate) this legislation requires testing for a detectable fetal heartbeat before an abortion could be performed on pregnant women and prohibit the abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, a fetal anomaly is detected, or there is a high likelihood the health of the mother would be dangerously compromised by the pregnancy.
Rioting & Mob Violence
H. 3491: Citizen and Taxpayer Protection Act – Rep. Burns (15 cosponsors)
Peaceful protests are welcome; mob violence isn’t. This bill makes it a criminal offense to unlawfully obstruct public highways and roads. Assault and battery by a mob would raise a presumption of premeditation. Attempting to take a motor vehicle by a mob would be a criminal offense. Instigating, aiding, or participating in a riot would invoke a mandatory order of restitution to victims upon conviction. This sets up a legal defense for anyone being confronted by a mob if they feel they need to show their gun to defend themselves.
Restraining COVID Edicts
H.3105: South Carolina Religious Freedom Act – Rep. Yow (19 cosponsors)
South Carolina Religious Freedom Act deems religious services as essential services during states of emergency, which would allow them to continue operating.
H.3217: Vaccines are Voluntary – Rep. Chumley (15 cosponsors)
This bill allows South Carolinian’s to opt-out of vaccinations for infectious or contagious diseases during a pandemic should the federal government order mandatory vaccinations.
H.3218: Voiding Federal Face Covering Mandates – Rep. Chumley (8 cosponsors)
This legislation prohibits state officials from participating in the enforcement of any unlawful federal mask mandate.
H.3597: South Carolina COVID‑19 Liability Safe Harbor Act – Rep. Taylor. H.3698: South Carolina COVID‑19 Liability Safe Harbor Act – Rep. Pope
These bills are similar to S-147 that affords some civil liability protections for health care providers and businesses that follow public health guidance in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
H.3443: Oversight of Governor’s Emergency Powers – Rep. Lucas (19 cosponsors). H.3556: Limiting Governor’s Emergency Powers – Rep. Taylor (5 cosponsors)
These bills establish more General Assembly Oversight of Gubernatorial Emergency Orders. After 30 days of an order’s date, the General Assembly could meet at the call of the House Speaker and Senate President and the order could be terminated, altered, amended or consented to at this called meeting.
H.3410: Absentee Ballot Witness Information – Rep. Long
This proposed legislation requires a witness signature confirming an absentee ballot. The witness’s SC driver’s license number or voter registration number must be included for verification.
H.3813: Protecting the Electoral College – Rep. Taylor
This bill makes clear that South Carolina continues to endorse use of the Electoral College and rejects the move to join the National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact which has been proposed in two bills filed by SC House Democrats.
Heritage Protection & Civic Education
H.3249: Protecting SC’s Monuments & Memorials – Rep. Taylor (10 cosponsors)
This legislation withholds state funds from local governments that remove historical monuments in violation of the Heritage Act. If monuments are illegally removed, the bill provides for local historical organizations to sue local governments for damages. These monuments and memorials are not only part of our historical landscape, but many are valued works of art. What has taken well over a century to acquire must not be destroyed on a whim.
H.3002: Restore America’s Foundation Act – Rep. Bennett
In addition to preparing our students for the workforce, we must prepare them to be informed American citizens. Starting in the sixth grade and continuing through the twelfth grade, this bill requires approximately one quarter of history classes be devoted to the study of America’s founding, including the causes for independence, the Revolutionary War, the founding documents, and how the founding principles shaped future events.
H.3326: Historical Accuracy – Rep. Long
Historical plaques should provide the key facts and allow the reader to form their own opinion. There are ongoing efforts, both across the nation and in SC, to turn historical plaques and markers into editorial pages for activist viewpoints. This bill requires all historical plaques and markers to be approved by the State Department of Archives and History and for the department to certify their historical accuracy free of opinionated statements.
Standing For South Carolina – A Mighty Agenda
There are those who will agree with much of this agenda. Others may disagree and ask why is this necessary? Still others will complain this is too little, too late and why bother, we’ve already lost.
My answer – America is worth saving. It was founded on principles the world never experienced. Our nation is the beacon of liberty for the world and we must do everything possible to ensure the flame of liberty is not extinguished.
Join the battle. Tell your state Senator and Representatives you want them to help lead the fight to Pushback!
Join the battle. Tell your state Senator and Representatives you want them to help lead the fight to Pushback!
I’m Available and AT YOUR SERVICE
It is my honor to be of service. If you need assistance during these trying times, navigating though the flow of information on COVID-19, navigating state government or have any thoughts or concerns about what the legislature, please do not hesitate to contact me.
In Your Service,
South Carolina General Assembly
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