A month ago, I introduced the SC PUSHBACK AGENDA with this statement: “Our nation is changing – and not for the better. 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 canceling those who don’t fall in line with their thinking.”
Who can step on the brakes and stand up to a federal government and Big Tech that bullies citizens? State legislatures! Our nation’s founders intended a limited federal government and strong state governments. That’s why Republicans at the Statehouse are pushing back.
Here’s the update on THE PUSHBACK AGENDA:
PUSHBACK Victory – Election Reform
Election integrity is a priority. In SC, the 2020 General Election showed election procedures vary from county-to-county. Employing inconsistent election processes is unacceptable. The House passed legislation (H.3444) that empowers the State Election Commission’s oversight and power over how those counties conduct elections and internal matters. We must ensure elections are run consistently across the state, and every South Carolina voter has confidence their vote is treated correctly. Republicans favor election reform; Democrats not so much. The vote approving the bill was 84-36, mostly along party lines. Gov. McMaster was vocal in his support of this election reform.
PUSHBACK Victory – Religious Freedom
The ‘South Carolina Freedom of Religion Act’ passed the House on a vote of 86-29. Praise the Lord! This legislation (H.3105) labels religious services as ESSENTIAL and reinforces our First Amendment Right to worship, even during a State of Emergency when we need it most. South Carolina isn’t California, Oregon, and Washington State! While SC government didn’t order churches closed during the pandemic, this legislation ensures that won’t happen. When it becomes law, any future state of emergency churches will be deemed essential, as they should be. Closing would be a decision made by each church.
PUSHBACK – Saving the ‘Story of America’
I proudly stood with Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. James Livingston and my dedicated legislative colleagues as we unveiled the “Story of America” legislative package at a Statehouse news conference. We’re pushing back on the “Cancel Culture” and “Woke Mob” that seeks to erase history and dumb down the education of America’s founding principles. The 3 bills would:
- Mandate teaching America’s founding documents for all sixth through 12th graders.
- Require all markers and plaques certified by the state Department of History and Archives to be “factually accurate and free of opinionated statements.”
- Withhold state aid for any community that removes memorials and charge elected officials with misconduct in office if they violate SC’s Heritage Act.
Teaching Students Constitutional Heritage
The House Education Committee is preparing to take up The REACH Act (S.38). The Senate recently passed this bill requiring all public high school students to complete a course covering the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Federalist Papers to graduate. Additionally, the bill would require all public college and university students to complete at least three credit hours in American history, American government, or an equivalent class that includes the students’ reading of the United State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and at least 5 essays from the Federalist Papers.
Legislative News Brief
Salary Increases for Teacher
SC’s public school teachers will be receiving their annual salary step-increase of approximately 2%. The House concurred with the Senate amendment to (H.3609) and sent the bill to Gov. McMaster. The automatic step-increase was suspended during the pandemic until it was certain there are enough tax revenue to fund those increases. Teachers will receive the full allotment in one lump-sum payment before mid-June.
Homeschool Students Can Participate in Interscholastic Sports
This bill, proposed by Education Committee Chair, Rep. Rita Allison, allows for more homeschool students to participate in public school interscholastic activities, such as sports. I voted in favor of this bill, which then passed by a vote of 104-1.
Alcohol Bills Approved
The House approved a pair of bills that make it easier to have beer and wine delivered to homes and pick up alcoholic drinks with curbside service. Both proposals were put forward by the changing way people eat out and shop during the pandemic. One bill (H.3772) allows beer and wine to be delivered to homes on the same day they are ordered. Forty other states have similar laws. The delivery driver would need to check and scan the buyer’s identification to confirm they are over age 21 and make sure they are not intoxicated. It also prohibits delivery to college dorms and requires the delivery driver to be over age 21. The second bill (H.3575) allows restaurants to include alcohol when delivering meals as part of curbside pickup.
Curbing Catalytic Converter Thefts
To stop the rash of catalytic converter thefts plaguing the state, a committee on which I serve advanced a bill prohibiting sales of the valuable component inside catalytic converters if they’re detached from vehicles. The bill (H.3991) is similar to the sale restrictions placed on copper sales from stolen air conditioners. That law has worked well.
“Move Over” Law
Admit it, you, too, are frustrated with slow drivers hogging the left lane on an Interstate or other 4 lane road. The House passed a bill that ensures slower traffic must move to the right lane while driving on a two-lane street (where both lanes are moving in the same direction.) This promotes safety and efficiency on our roadways, and it unanimously passed by a vote of 108-0.
Hate Crimes Bill Debated
A House Judiciary panel met twice this week before advancing legislation (H.3620) to enhance penalties for so-called hate crimes. The committee removed sexual orientation and gender as protected classes, believing the bill is too expansive. The remaining protected classes are race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and physical or mental disability.
Barbershop on Wheels
This week, the House passed a law that allows mobile barbershops to operate upon acquisition of a permit. This opens a new avenue of business, which is important considering the personal services industry’s hardships during shutdowns. This passed by a vote of 85-29.
Helping Small Businesses
This past year has been challenging, but it has been an especially challenging year for small businesses. I voted in favor of a bill (H. 3726) that reduces certain sales taxes that businesses have to pay. Currently, businesses have to pay taxes on income they have not earned when buying marked-down wholesale items. This bill relieves businesses from this tax burden.
A House subcommittee advanced a bill (H. 3366) that requires medical professionals to offer a prescription for the opioid overdose treatment drug Naloxone (commonly referred to as Narcan) under certain necessary circumstances.
Military Special License Plates
I joined my fellow Representatives in voting to pass a bill that allows for special military license plates to be issued, including those to recognize “Wartime Disabled Veterans.” This bill is a small way that we can honor the huge sacrifices made by our military personnel.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
We said our earthly farewell this week to an American Patriot. Roy Stone was a Vietnam veteran who suffered the maladies of war. He loved America and liberty. I was blessed to be asked by his family to speak at his funeral. Roy was my dear friend and one of my strongest political supporters. There were no limits on what he would do for his family, whom he dearly loved, and for his friends. Roy was deeply troubled by where America is heading with Marxists/Socialists in control in Washington. My final words
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
Newsletter not paid using taxpayer funds.
Legal Notice: This newsletter is not a solicitation for contributions to any SC registered lobbyist.