Last week was a fast moving one as we prepare to meet crossover to the Senate. Listed are some of the passed and sent to the Senate for them to consider.
On a vote of 100-3 the SC House approved Senate amendments to Real ID bill (H.3358) and sent it to Gov. Henry McMaster for signing.
What This Means for You
Department of Motor Vehicle Director Kevin Shwedo tells us once the bill is signed into law then accepted by the federal government, SC will have 3 years to implement Real ID. That will be Sept. 30, 2020. That timetable should give us ample time to avoid long lines at DMV. In the meantime, your current driver’s license (without the Real ID star) will be compliant with Homeland Security requirements and allow you to use as an ID to fly on commercial airlines and enter federal facilities. DMV is facing tremendous challenges in implementing Real ID.
Director Shwedo says it will take most of this year to accomplish the needed computer programming, so it will likely be next January before Real ID’s can start being issued to those who want one (remember, it’s your option whether you want to get a Real ID because it’s not required). DMV will soon post Real ID FAQ’s on their website which will help guide you through the process. Homeland Security requirements and allow you to use it as an ID to fly on commercial airlines and enter federal facilities. DMV is facing tremendous challenges in implementing Real ID. Director Shwedo says it will take most of this year to accomplish the needed computer programming, so it will likely be next January before Real ID’s can start being issued to those who want one (remember, it’s your option whether you want to get a Real ID, it’s not required).
Anti-Dismemberment Abortion Act
The House of Representatives passed the Anti-Dismemberment Abortion Act (H.3548). We listened to many hours of debate by a handful of liberal legislators on the floor in order to get it done and the majority of Republicans and Democrats ultimately prevailed in its passage. This law restricts what many people view as the immoral procedure of dismemberment of a living fetus and imposes appropriate penalties for any abortion provider that is found guilty of engaging in the gruesome practice.
Fast & Furious
Only three legislative days remain until the crossover deadline. In order for a bill to have a chance of becoming law this year under normal circumstances, it must receive initial passage in at least one legislative chamber (House or Senate) by the end of next week. The House spent long hours of debate to move bills to the Senate to beat the deadline. Here’s a summary of key legislation approved by the House:
Protecting SCDOT Workers
A proposal that would toughen penalties for speeding in a roadway work zone and create a new criminal charge for endangering the lives of highway workers easily cleared a House committee and heads to the House floor for a vote. The measure (H.4033) was introduced less than two weeks ago by Aiken legislators after a hit-and-run driver killed two state DOT employees who were working along a road in Aiken County earlier this month.
Reform of Home Owner’s Associations is long overdue. The House voted unanimously in a bipartisan manner to ensure HOAs operate with added transparency, accountability and fairness. Under this legislation (H.3886), home sellers must tell home buyers at the time of sale if a property is regulated by an HOA. Additionally, this bill adds homeowner protections by allowing more disputes to be settled in lower courts, avoiding the need for expensive legal bills in some cases. The bill requires any HOA to give public notice prior to raising any yearly fees on association membership.
Behavioral “Crimes” in Schools
The House voted to create a study committee that will review SC’s laws on ‘disturbing schools’. Some have complained that classroom behavior has been over-criminalized. The panel of legislators will recommend ways to redirect misbehaving juveniles away from the criminal justice system and more towards school-centered discipline.
Background Checks for Realtors
The House approved legislation (H.3041) to enhance criminal background check requirements for licensing real estate agents both when a license is issued and again when renewed. The SC Realtors Association pushed for this legislation after the arrest of an Upstate Realtor on multiple murder charges.
The House approved legislation (H.3789) affords eligible youthful offenders who successfully complete military and job training programs the opportunity of having nonviolent criminal offenses expunged from their records.
Safe Children’s Act
The House passed (H.3125) that codifies a comprehensive set of best practices for Department of Social Services (DSS) protocol and interventions in cases of suspected child abuse or neglect.
Expanding Drug Take-Back Programs
Under legislation passed by the House drug take-back programs would be expanded. The bill (H.3817) allows pharmacies and certain others to register as collection centers for unused prescription drugs as a means of preventing substance abuse by keeping opioids and other dangerous prescription drugs out of the wrong hands.
The South Carolina Department of Agriculture would have the authority to oversee a new federal safety standards program for certain farm produce in legislation (H.4003) passed by the House. The program ensures that large farmers are handling and packaging produce in accordance with these national food safety standards.
Municipal elections in SC would have to be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in each even-numbered year, the same time when general elections for federal, state, county officers must be held. The legislation (H.3150) establishes a new Uniform Election Procedures Act to apply to municipal elections. I, along with most of the Spartanburg Delegation opposed this bill due to the cost burden to our municipalities and the extended time it will take to cast votes in the General Election.
School Choice Progress
Legislation was introduced by members of the SC House this past week that would enshrine a valuable and popular school choice program into permanent law (H.4077). South Carolina’s Educational Credits for Exceptional Needs Children (ECENC) helps students with special needs attend credentialed independent schools. Parents can choose either tuition tax credits or scholarships funded by Exceptional SC, which relies on tax-credited donations from individuals and corporations.
Bonding Program Moving Forward
A plan that would borrow nearly $500 million through bonds to finance a massive list of maintenance, repairs and upgrades at SC’s public colleges and other state facilities is headed to the floor. The proposed bond bill (H.3722) comes two years after a previous effort failed when former Gov. Nikki Haley threatened a veto. Topping the proposed funding is $30 million for new school busses. USC-Aiken would receive $3.5 million for desperately needed repairs to its Penland Administration Building. (See Full List)
Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. Your feedback and assistance is critical in ensuring your voice is heard in our state government. If you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, or if you need assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at 864-529-2860 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, you can go to www.schouse.gov, click on my name and see how I have voted on each and every issue before the house. You can also see any bills that I have sponsored or co-sponsored.