The SC public pension system is underfunded by nearly $21 billion dollars. The reasons are many but include poor investment performance, expanding benefits, unsustainable rate assumptions, U.S. monetary policy, and many others. The solution must include both shoring up the existing pension to ensure the promises we have made to public employees are kept, and reforming the structure itself to ensure sustainability into the future. This week the Senate passed a bill to accomplish the first of these objectives. This action will place us on a path to a healthy and modern public pension.
Joint Election of Governor & Lt. Governor
Beginning in 2018, South Carolinians will elect the Governor and Lt. Governor as a ticket. In preparation for that, the General Assembly must set the procedures for that election as well as clarify how the role of the Lt. Governor, who currently presides over the Senate, will change going forward.
Secretary of Education
The General Assembly is debating a bill that will remove the Superintendent of Education as a state officer which the Constitution requires to be elected. Instead, the position would be appointed by the Governor. If passed by the General Assembly, the people of SC would then have to approve this change through a statewide referendum. Specific qualifications would also be required for any nominee. The change is proposed to take place in 2023.
A Few Other Issues
Insurance Fraud Prevention (S269) Neighboring states are more active in insurance fraud investigation which has resulted in SC becoming a target for this criminal activity. This bill will double investigative and enforcement efforts within the Attorney General's office. Status: Passed Committee Expand Nursing Practices (S345) The goal of improved health care should be access to and reduced cost of quality health care delivery. This bill will expand the practice areas of licensed nurse practitioners for this purpose. Status: In Committee SAFE Home Program Enhancements (S315 & S11) This program provides grants to individuals in order to mitigate weather related risks to primary residences. This bill will change eligibility and expand those risks eligible for mitigation. Status: Passed Committee/In CommitteeHuman Trafficking (S168) Increases penalties for those who solicit prostitution and those who induce individuals to engage in prostitution. Status: Passed SenateAuto Stay (S105) Establishes a designated time frame for which a hearing must be held for those construction projects which are challenged for environmental concerns. Status: Passed Committee
Please reach out to me if you have further questions about these or any other issues. I am happy to take a deeper dive with you.
And as always, thank you for your support. It is a great honor for me to serve the people of Dorchester, Berkeley, and Charleston Counties. I thank you for this opportunity.