|SOUTH CAROLINA SENATE UPDATE|
There has been a lot of activity at the statehouse recently with much more to come over the next few weeks. Here's some of what's going on...
Subcommittee work in the senate has been completed and the 2017/18 general appropriation budget is now in front of the full finance committee. I have recently moved to the finance committee having served on the senate judiciary committee for the last four years. According to the records reviewed, this marks the first time a resident Dorchester County senator has served on this influential committee.
I believe that state government, as a whole, is adequately funded. However, I also believe that several of the agencies responsible for core functions of government are not. As we experience revenues like we have never seen before, we have a unique opportunity to reset our spending priorities and instill fiscal discipline to better align our needs and shortcomings.
The debate on the appropriate funding and operation of South Carolina's transportation infrastructure network will begin in earnest in the senate this week. I have addressed this issue many times in this report so I won't belabor the point again other than to point to previous remarks. I remain optimistic that a solution can be reached.
REAL ID Compliance
Soon, federal law require will require REAL ID compliant identifications in order to board commercial aircraft or to gain entrance to federal installations. South Carolina had previously refused to comply with these requirements due to privacy concerns. In a bill passed last week, beginning in October residents will be able to obtain a REAL ID compliant SC drivers license. The READ ID version is optional. Non compliant ID's will remain available for those who chose not to comply.
On the heels of several high profile instances where video surfaced showing teachers and school resource officers attempting to control disruptive students, a bill has been introduced to limit what is considered disruptive behavior. Specifically, it would exclude students from the definition of someone guilty of disruption. I am not supportive of efforts that would prevent administrators and law enforcement from appropriately dealing with disruptive and potentially unsafe students.
A Few Other Issues
Law Enforcement Training (S173) Requires certain law enforcement officers to receive additional training in mental health and addictive disorder crisis intervention. Status: Passed Senate Non Profit Donations (S114) Allows for donations of alcoholic beverages for nonprofit events. Status: Passed Senate C-PACE (S261) Provides a new financing tool for qualified commercial properties to install/improve energy efficiency. Status: Passed SenateSchool Credits (S28) Allows local school districts to accept transfer credits form accredited private schools. Passed CommitteeAlimony (S92) Earnings of a subsequent spouse are not considered when making, modifying, or terminating alimony. Status: Passed Committee