2022 Statehouse Report #12
Critical Race Theory
Another hot topic this week was Critical Race Theory, or the curriculum which teaches that people of a certain ethnicity or race should be held responsible or blamed for past oppression of other races. A bill to outlaw CRT being taught in South Carolina K-12 schools was on the Floor this week and faced over 200 amendments from the Democrats. Due to the number of amendments, House Republicans made the decision to cloture the bill - ensuring no more amendments which aimed to derail the bill could be added. When we return after Easter, we will continue the debate on CRT, and I look forward to passing a bill to outlaw the curriculum.
I also want to remind you that this year’s budget protects against Critical Race Theory being taught in the classrooms, ensuring nopublic funds can be used for CRT instruction. I hope that the Senate will adopt these protections in their budget, too.
I wrote to you last week about the tax conformity bill, which the House passes each year to ensure that the State and Federal tax codes align. This is an important bill to ensure that when you go to file your taxes, our State rules match those of the Federal Government. This year’s tax conformity bill passed on Tuesday (meeting the crossover deadline) with an amendment that accounts for certain loans received through the American Rescue Plan Act.
Sales Tax exemptions For Elderly
You might have noticed retailers around the state displaying a sign that lets people over the age of 85 know they qualify for a 1% sales tax exemption. This week, the House unanimously voted to lower the age to qualify for this exemption to 78 and older. This bill earned bipartisan support and helps to lower the tax burden on one of the most vulnerable populations in our District and State.
Return to Work for Law Enforcement
I voted in favor of a bill that expands the earnings limitation on retired South Carolina police officers who desire to return to work. This bill increases the amount that may be earned without affecting the monthly retirement allowance from $10k to $50k for certain retired members. This legislation passed the House unanimously, making the crossover deadline, and now must be approved by the Senate.
Property Tax Exemptions for Disabled Veterans
The South Carolina House is constantly working to make the lives of those who served our country easier, including lowering their tax burden. This year, we exempt veterans from state income taxes, and this week, we gave third reading to a bill that exempts disabled veterans from property taxes for the year the disability occurs to allow them to get back on their feet.
Movement in Committee
● Medical Marijuana: The Compassionate Care Act, also known as the Medical Marijuana Bill, passed out of the 3M committee on Thursday. It will likely make its way to the Floor in late April.
● Birth Certificates: This allows adopted individuals to access their original birth certificate at the age of 18, given they have the consent of their biological parent or proof that their biological parent is deceased. This received a favorable report from subcommittee.
● Opioid Recovery Act: This bill would create a South Carolina opioid recovery fund and other necessary funds and authorities to help combat the opioid epidemic in South Carolina. This received a favorable report from committee and is moving forward.