Last week went by very fast for me; we were very busy and I had some dental appointments that had to be taken care of during the day on Thursday. Due to the fact most dentist don’t work on Friday, I had to make arrangements to miss a portion of the Thursday session.
A bill that would allow South Carolina residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit has passed the SC House of Representatives Thursday afternoon. The legislation eliminates the requirement that gun owners get a concealed weapons permit (CWP) in order to carry a pistol. The bill tries not to change any other section of state law regarding how an individual can purchase a gun or where they can carry. The locations that are off-limits for concealed carry now would remain so under the bill. It also bans “open carry”—a term used when a legal gun owner wears their gun in a visible location.
Proponents of “Constitutional Carry”, where the gun must be concealed, argued the eight hours of classroom training currently required to get a CWP is not designed as a basic training class to teach people that have never had a firearm in their hands how to shoot a firearm.
The measure now heads to the Senate, where procedural rules make it highly unlikely to pass before this year’s session ends in June. A Senate committee shot down an “open carry” bill last year, but Republicans in the chamber have shown more favor towards concealed carry.
Next week the House will take up legislation that would recognize Georgia CWP holders in SC. Georgia does not recognize SC citizens who have a license to conceal their weapons. Georgia also does not have a training requirement and only do background checks every 5 years.
Legislative News in Brief
The House Education Committee approved legislation allowing veterans to get in-state tuition at SC state colleges and universities as soon as they become residents. Final passage is urgent in order to bring the state in line with a new federal law. If we don’t take final action next week, the federal government won’t allow military veterans in SC access to GI Bill benefits starting July.
Police Body Cameras
A pair of bills on the use of body cameras by police advanced through Senate and House Committees. The bills are very different. The House version crafts a study that would examine those police and sheriff’s departments in SC already using the cameras, while the Senate version would require all law enforcement agencies to have their own regulations in place within nine months.
Both the House and Senate want to oust SC State’s Board of Trustees because of the financial turmoil at the school. At issue is who would replace them. The Senate wants a new interim five-member board chosen by legislative leaders, while the House proposal would have members of the Budget and Control Board make the appointments. The House passed what is viewed as compromise: instead of five members, the new SC State board would have seven. It would combine both bills so that each elected official in both versions would pick the new panel.
Clemson University received initial permission from the legislative bond committee to buy a private jet to be used primarily for athletic recruiting and fundraising. The cost is an additional $400,000 a year. No taxpayer money is involved. Clemson’s athletic booster group, IPTAY, has committed to pay $4.5 million towards the plane. The school has been chartering the state plane whenever needed. USC already owns its own plane.
Borrowing for Building
A Senate panel approved borrowing $236.7 million for building projects, mostly at SC colleges and technical schools. The Senate bond bill is roughly half the size of a nearly $500 million borrowing proposal defeated last month in the House. The Senate bond bill includes $130.7 million for public colleges and $91 million for technical schools. There are predictions the bond bill could fail on the Senate.
Turkey Hunting Reduced
A bill is on the way to the governor that would decrease the number of male turkeys that can be killed each year from five birds to three. There are warnings that the population of turkeys in SC is declining.
The House voted to ban animal shelters from using gas to euthanize animals. Instead, it would require shelters to use what animal protection groups say are more humane methods to put down dogs or cats when the shelter is no longer able to care for the animals. Little would change since the last shelter in SC to use so-called “gas chambers” ended the practice two years ago.