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2019 Statehouse Report #16

Legislative Update
Week 17

The countdown is on as the final week of this legislative session approaches. Three legislative days remain however the good news is this is the first year of a two-year session and there is much more we hope to accomplish.

This week thousands of teachers from around South Carolina visited the State House to express their concerns and offer input on South Carolina’s education system. I was proud to vote for the education bill, now being deliberated in the Senate, that includes raising teacher pay, reducing the number of state required tests, giving teachers 30-minute duty free time, and providing resources for mental health officers.

We appreciate the teachers who remained in their classrooms on Wednesday and value the input all teachers who are on the educational frontlines every day. Under the leadership of Speaker Jay Lucas, the House continues to push comprehensive and bold education reform and we hope to continue working with teachers, parents, and community leaders to bring South Carolina’s education system into the 21st century.

Senate Update on Santee Cooper
The Senate voted Thursday to seek serious, binding offers from companies interested in purchasing or managing Santee Cooper in the wake of the massive debt accumulated from the failed VC Summer nuclear plant. Santee Cooper would also be allowed to submit its own offer explaining how it would improve itself if allowed to maintain ownership. The Senate’s proposal asks the State Department of Administration to evaluate offers from companies who want to buy or manage Santee Cooper and bring the best ones to the General Assembly to consider.

The House passed a joint resolution weeks ago, supported by the Governor, that would allow the special legislative committee to proceed with the process of analyzing bids and making recommendations on offers to purchase the utility. The House will consider the Senate’s proposal next week while continuing to make the ratepayers, taxpayers, and employees’ the top priority.

Education Workforce Analytic System (H. 3757)
On Thursday, the House passed a bill supported by Governor McMaster to merge the existing workforce and education data oversight committees in order to make our kindergarten through workforce education pipeline more efficient. The purpose of this bill is to centralize information that agencies are already collecting into a more secure database. The data collected will only be used internally to ensure our state resources are being efficiently used. By using this modern analytical system, South Carolina will be joining 37 other conservative states in improving the ability to respond to critical workforce needs now and in the future.

Governor Makes New Cabinet Agency
This week the Governor signed into law a bill to elevate the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs to a cabinet level agency. This bipartisan bill reflects South Carolina’s strong military tradition and shows appreciation to our veterans.

Quote of the Week
“We don’t have to fix it in one year, but we have to make a clear, major start on fixing it, then we can take other steps to make it even stronger in succeeding years. They [the Senate] can get it done if they have the will to get it done.” -Governor McMaster on passing education reform this session

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