As predicted, the 2018 legislative session has been dominated by discussions and testimony surrounding the failed V.C. Summer nuclear facility. More on that here.
Nevertheless, progress (albeit slow) has been made on several other fronts. Here is a sampling of a few of these items.
South Carolinians now have the option to obtain an ID that meets compliance with guidelines of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. South Carolina Driver’s Licenses will now be accepted as adequate identification to board commercial airlines, access military bases, and other federal facilities. For more on SC Real ID click here
Hurricane Mitigation Program
Expansion of the SC Safe Home Program to include flood damage mitigation. This popular program is limited and makes available grants annually to homeowners looking to make their homes more resistant to hurricane damage. Status: Passed by Senate. Sent to House for consideration
Pharmacy Benefit Managers
This bill is designed to improve both the cost and delivery of quality healthcare in SC. The bill will prohibit pharmacy benefit managers from prohibiting pharmacists from sharing medication costs, alternatives, and information to consumers. It also allows local pharmacies to engage in limited delivery services. Status: Passed by Senate. Sent to House for consideration
Recent shortages of the drugs used in lethal injections has prevented many states from completing sentences handed down by courts to those convicted of our most heinous crimes. This bill changes the default method of execution in SC to electrocution while allowing for lethal injection if the drugs become available. Status: Passed by Senate. Sent to House for consideration
Teacher Appreciation Accounts
Allows for certain public school faculty members to receive payments for unused annual and sick leave that would otherwise be lost. Status: Passed by Senate. Sent to House for consideration
Department of Children's Advocacy
Creates a Director of Children's Advocacy, appointed by the Governor, to ensure children receive adequate protection and care from services or programs offered by various state agencies. Director will also receive and perform investigations complaints of children in the care of the state. Status: On Senate Floor
Expands the practice authority for nurse practitioners - defined as nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwife, clinical nurse specialist and certified registered nurse anesthetist. Requires a portion of these expanded practices to be provided in rural and undeserved areas. This is yet another bill designed to improve both the cost and delivery of quality healthcare in SC. Status: On Senate Floor
Provides penalties for unfair practices targeting vulnerable adults by obtaining money, property or personally identifying information through deception, intimidation, undue influence, or false misleading or deceptive acts or practices. Status: In Committee
Enacts South Carolina Covering Autism Responsibly for Everyone (SC Cares) Act. Establishes a program to provide funding for coverage to provide Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy to autistic children. Status: In Committee
Sets baselines and setback lines for coastal properties and outlines review and reestablishment after December 31, 2013. Changes appeal process to allow property owners to have one year to be granted a review of the baseline and setback line. Status: In Committee
A resolution to urge the Federal Government to work expeditiously to remove barriers to conducting research on the use of cannabis to treat medical conditions and illnesses. Status: In Committee
As always, I invite you to share your thoughts on these or any issues. Your input is invaluable to me in the policy making process.
I conducted several community meetings across the district last month with the popular Pub Politics and Coffeehouse Caucus event series. I really enjoy these casual events as it gives me a chance to take a deeper dive into the specific issues of interest of those who attend. If you weren't able to join us in the past, I hope you will do so in the future.
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.
Senator Sean M. Bennett