The safety of South Carolina’s children was the prime focus of the House of Representatives this week. We achieved a significant milestone by passing two bills focusing on Internet safety for our kids.
Social Media Regulation Act
Republicans and Democrats join to move this legislation forward on a nearly unanimous vote. The bill (H.4700) is designed to give parents and guardians more control over the social media usage of minors (under 18). It focuses on age verification, content regulation, and the implementation of educational programs about online safety.
- Parental Control & Age Verification: Social media companies must verify ages and need parental consent for accounts held by minors.
- Content Restrictions: Limits minors’ access to content that is harmful or inappropriate, such as advocating violence, self-harm, or displaying sexual conduct.
- Reporting and Enforcement: Mandates reporting of content violations and gives the Attorney General’s office authority to handle complaints and enforce the law.
- Educational Initiative: Introduces educational programs in schools to teach students about the impacts of social media, online safety, and the risks of sharing information online.
Child Online Safety Act
There was bipartisan agreement that places needed guardrails to prevent children under the age of 18 from accessing pornographic materials online. The bill (H.3424) passed nearly unanimously (113-1). It emphasizes the responsibility of commercial entities to use reasonable age verification methods to restrict minors’ access to such content.
- Focus on Protecting Minors: Aims to safeguard minors from exposure to pornographic materials on the internet.
- Age Verification Requirements: Commercial entities that publish or distribute harmful material to minors must implement effective age verification methods.
- Definition of Harmful Material: Material harmful to minors is statutorily defined, focusing on content that is sexually explicit and offensive to community standards for minors.
- Verification Methods: Entities must verify that users accessing the material are 18 or older through methods like digitized identification cards, third-party age verification services, or other commercially reasonable methods.
- Legal Ramifications: The bill allows for private legal action and authorizes the Attorney General to seek injunctive and equitable relief against entities failing to comply with these requirements.
Constitutional Carry Passes Senate
In many legislative sessions, the House has sent the Senate a bill to authorize Constitutional Carry for gun owners. What did we hear? CRICKETS! Not this time. The House passed H.3594 a year ago and sent it to the Senate. After days of debate, the Senate voted 28-15 in favor of the amended bill and sent it back to the House. We will carefully be reviewing the amendments to ensure the spirit of Constitutional Carry remains intact in their amended version of our bill.
Summary: The legislation intends to allow law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional rights under the Second Amendment without interference from the government.
Like in 27 other states with Constitutional Carry, this bill makes obtaining a concealed weapons permit with training and background checks optional. However, CWPs would still be issued, allowing holders to carry their weapons legally in many other states. The bill lowers the age to carry a handgun in public from 21 to 18 and allows gun owners to store their handguns anywhere in their car. It would still be illegal to carry a weapon in gun-free zones like schools and courthouses or in a business with a gun-free placard displayed.
Penalties for Felons: The bill also includes provisions that implement escalating penalties for convicted felons possessing firearms or ammunition, ranging from up to five years of imprisonment for a first offense to 10 to 30 years for a third offense.
Governor’s Endorsement: Enhanced penalties for felons in possession have been a major priority of Gov. Henry McMaster, which prompted this statement from the Governor:
Gun Training: Training gun owners is a high priority for Senators. The amended bill requires that the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) run at least two free training programs monthly in each of South Carolina’s 46 counties. He also included a provision for the state to launch an advertising campaign encouraging people to take the training.
Spotlight on Judicial Reform
Judicial reform is a hot topic in SC, and the promises to prioritize it are being fulfilled. After months of public testimony this week, the House Ad Hoc Judicial Committee finalized its 16 recommendations for a comprehensive judicial reform bill.
Those recommendations include:
- Revising the membership of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission to reduce legislative appointments and add appointments by the Governor
- Providing term limits for JMSC members
- Removing or reducing the cap on the number of qualified judicial candidates that proceed to the General Assembly for a vote
- Establishing a process for reviewing judges mid-term instead of just when their term ends
- Limit the time magistrates may serve past the end of their term in holdover status.
Hopefully, these and other reform recommendations will be considered in legislation soon to be drafted.
Food For Thought – Be Warned!
If you think the out-of-control federal government has only targeted Donald Trump — YOU’RE WRONG. There is a high likelihood that you, too, are being watched and labeled. (Read This)
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
I joined SC Attorney General Alan Wilson, State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, and a host of legislators on the State House steps Thursday to support President Donald Trump in the upcoming SC Primary Election. Biden’s border invasion was the topic, with many specific examples showing his failure to enforce our immigration laws. Americans are dying because of his failures, and billions are being poured over the invaders annually. We have gone from a nearly secure border under Trump to BIDEN’S INVASION of 10 million so far.
Want to Know More?
Do you want to learn more about my positions, bill sponsorships, voting record, and past writings? Here are some handy links:
- About Me: https://taylorschouse.com/about-2/
- My Positions: https://taylorschouse.com/issues/
- Sponsored Bill & Voting Record: http://tiny.cc/b1pouz
- Recent Newsletters: https://taylorschouse.com/category/newsletter/
I’m Available & AT YOUR SERVICE
It is my honor to be of service. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance navigating state government or have any thoughts or concerns about the legislature.
In Your Service,
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