This past week, the SC House of Representatives passed landmark legislation giving parents more control over their children’s education by providing them with options for learning.
Providing Choice in SC Education
Because of the determined work of Republicans, the House passed legislation that has been two decades in the making to ensure parents have more options about how their children are educated.
The Education Scholarship Trust Fund (ESAs) will provide eligible elementary and secondary students with scholarships to cover their education expenses that best fit their learning abilities because all children learn differently. This bill (S.39) allows for the purchase of instructional materials, specialized tutoring, computer hardware, assessments, transportation or tuition, and fees to a school of their choice.
Opponents hysterically scream that ESAs will rob public schools of money. THAT’S NOT TRUE! ESAs will be funded directly from the state budget, meaning no money is being directly taken from the current K-12 education budget or existing public schools.
Those opponents are enabled by liberals in the legacy media who blare headlines like this:
That headline presents an either/or proposition. If you favor school choice, you must be against public schools. Again, NOT TRUE! I’m highly supportive of public education, but I also want parents, who know their children best, to have options and encourage their abilities to do what is right for their child.
While this bill is limited in scope and by eligibility requirements, this is a pilot program. It starts with only 5,000 Medicaid-eligible children, grows to 15,000 students in three years, and provides up to $6,000 per pupil for annual education costs.
The ESTF is a critical step towards creating a more equitable education system in South Carolina as it recognizes the importance of school choice for families and allows every student the opportunity to succeed. We will continue to work and make progress on this issue until more parents are in control of their children’s education.
The legislation will be on Governor McMaster’s desk this week, and he says he will sign it. But don’t rush to sign up because the program will most certainly be challenged in court, and it will likely be up to the state Supreme Court to decide its fate.
Pro-Life Bill Falters in Senate
SC will remain the only abortion-destination state in the southeast following days of debate in the state Senate. Senators spent the week debating a House bill that would outlaw nearly all abortions. Senators voted 22-21 to “continue” the bill, which means it can’t be taken up again until next year. The Senate does not have the votes to pass a total abortion ban. However, they have sent the House their latest version of the Heartbeat bill, which would ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected, usually about six weeks into a pregnancy.
While the legislative volleying continues, SC’s abortion numbers are rising as women from neighboring states come here to end their pregnancies. Nearly half of the almost 3,000 women provided abortions in SC during the first three months of this year came from another state, according to DHEC.
Honoring Jay Lucas
There was a momentous moment at the SC Statehouse this past week. In a grand ceremony, the portrait of former Speaker of the House Jay Lucas was unveiled. It is a much-deserved honor. The portrait will adorn the walls of the House with others who have led this great state.
$42.5 Million Coming to Aiken County!
This week, the SC Rural Infrastructure Authority awarded nearly $1.5 billion to local governments and public water and sewer utilities. The General Assembly authorized these funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The 219 grants will modernize and upgrade critical facilities that will have far-reaching impacts for years. (learn more)
Eight grants totaling more than $42.5 million were awarded to the county, various towns, and public utilities in Aiken County:
Creating Positive Change from Tragedy
It is a parent’s worst nightmare – a child takes their own life because they were targeted with sexually explicit images or videos they had shared online. The perpetrator threatens the victim with extortion for money, sexual favors, or other benefits. The House unanimously passed H.3583, a bill that creates the new crimes of ‘sexual extortion’ and ‘aggravated sexual extortion.’ With passage by the Senate, SC will be the 19th state to have this type of cybercrime law.
The passing of this bill is significant because one of my colleagues, Rep. Brandon Guffey (R-Rock Hill), recently lost his son to this senseless crime. His tragic loss highlights the urgent need for this legislation, which will provide recourse for victims and send a strong message that sexual exploitation in any form is a serious crime that will not be tolerated. It also gives law enforcement the tools to hold perpetrators accountable and bring justice to victims.
Reforming Child Custody
As your Representative, I am committed to advocating for the safety and well-being of all citizens, so I am pleased to report that two bills designed to protect our children were before the House this past week. The Uniform Unregulated Child Custody Transfer Act (H.3217) strengthens penalties for violators and requires child placement agencies to share specific information with adoptive parents. It passed 105-1.
The second bill, the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (H.3220), provides a crucial framework and procedures for preventing child abduction in family law cases. Debate on that bill will continue this coming week. Both bills prioritize children’s welfare and best interests, protecting them from unnecessary trauma and unregulated custody transfers.
Sunday Liquor Bill Stalls
On a vote of 2-1, a House panel failed to pass a bill that would allow SC liquor stores to open on Sundays. The bill (H.4231) would allow the state’s urban and tourism-dependent counties to hold referendums to legalize Sunday retail liquor sales. The panel voted to continue the bill, which means it can be brought up next year. Only South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah still require liquor stores to close on Sunday.
Certificate of Need
Tuesday, the House of Representatives is slated to debate the near repeal of SC’s Certificate of Need (CON), which requires healthcare providers to obtain government approval before expanding or establishing new healthcare facilities or services. I support S.164 and have sponsored or cosponsored similar legislation every session since being elected. Repealing these laws will reduce the regulatory burden on healthcare providers, increase access to healthcare in our state, and lower patient costs.
Anti-ESG Pension Bill
On Tuesday, a Senate subcommittee will take testimony on legislation I’m sponsoring to protect our state pension programs from being corrupted by the ESG movement. Our anti-ESG legislative effort got a shoutout from the Foundation for Government Accountability. The ‘ESG Pension Protection Act’ has passed the House and awaits Senate approval.
CLOSER TO HOME
Aiken Republicans United
Conservatives from across Aiken County joined together Saturday at the fairground for the Republican County Convention. My message to the delegates: “TOGETHER WE WIN.”
Congratulations to the Aiken County GOP leadership team: Debbie Epling was re-elected Chair, Jim Oremus was elected Vice Chairman, and Dennis Saylor was elected Executive Committeeman to represent the Aiken County GOP at the state level.
A tip of my cap to the award winners:
- Jane Page Thompson was honored with the first-ever STAR AWARD for her years of dedicated service to the Republican Part.
- Jean Calvert was recognized as the Republican Volunteer of the Year.
- Sunny & Claude O’Donovan received the LEGACY AWARD, recognizing their many years of outstanding service to the Republican Party.
- Margie Shelps was recognized for her service to the County Republican Party.
- And the Cedar Creek Republican Precinct was recognized as the OUTSTANDING precinct in the County GOP.
Help for Aiken County’s Homeless
Friday evening, we packed the Red Barn for an important fundraising event. It was the Aiken Salvation Army’s ‘Table of Hope’ gala. The silent and live auction support the Salvation Army’s homeless shelter in downtown Aiken. One highlight of the live auction was the bidding on footballs autographed by Dabo Swinney and Shane Beamer. I am proud to be of service to this great charity by serving on the Salvation Army Advisory Board.
Did you know that Saturday was ‘RUN UNITED DAY’ in SC? Beginning Saturday’s awards session, Sen. Tom Young, Rep. Bart Blackwell, and I presented Aiken Electric Coop’s CEO, Gary Stooksbury, Gov. McMaster’s proclamation declaring this ‘RUN UNITED DAY’ in recognizing the Coop’s huge annual community project to raise money for the Aiken County United Way.
Final Thought: Only a Matter of Time…
It has been one year since SC passed the Resolution calling for an Article V Convention of States to reign in our out-of-control federal government. As of today, 19 of the 34 required states have passed the COS Resolution calling for the first-ever Article V Convention, where the states will be empowered to propose constitutional amendments to drain the swamp permanently.
But what’s even more critical is that states aren’t stopping there. The Oklahoma legislature just passed a “faithful commissioner” Resolution. Ten other states have already passed “Faithful Commissioner Acts,” and 5 more are considering similar legislation. That means state legislators in 16 states are actively discussing how they will choose the citizens from their state who will serve as delegates at the Convention, how many will be sent, and the rules that will govern their behavior while at Convention.
We will eventually secure 34 states and call this Convention. Progress is being made, which should make those in ‘The Swamp’ very nervous.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
Want to Know More?
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- 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/
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