24 May Farm Aid Veto Override, Ethics Reform, Protecting Life & New Roads Bill
There are now just two weeks left in the 2015 legislative session and the House worked diligently this past week on getting some Senate legislation through for a vote and tying up loose ends.
The first issue we dealt with was overriding Governor Haley’s veto of the Farm Aid Bill. Her veto was overridden with a near-unanimous and bipartisan vote. When the governor requested federal disaster resources as a result of the 2015 floods she requested funds for homeowners and small businesses but did not include resources for our farmers. By overriding the veto we make certain our state’s farmers and the jobs they provide stay right here in South Carolina and we don’t lose market share to China and Mexico.
My House colleagues and I have continued our commitment to passing strong ethics reform legislation. This week we strengthened and improved legislation providing for independent ethics oversight of all public officials. Unfortunately it was the only bill in our ethics reform package that passed the Senate and was returned to the House for second consideration.
I’m pleased to report final passage was granted this week for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Currently in our state, approximately 28 babies are aborted each year after 20 weeks (5 months). Governor Haley has indicated she will sign the new law which prohibits most abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization, the point when an unborn child can feel excruciating pain when aborted. We now join 17 other states that have also passed similar measures.
Finally, a Senate bill bonding $2.2 billion to repair our dangerous roads and bridges was given final approval by the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill was amended to add in strong SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT) restructuring and accountability measures which were not included in the Senate version. We must have SCDOT reform before any additional taxpayer dollars are given to the dysfunctional agency. It is important to note this bill does not allow for any new roads to be built, but requires the additional funds be used to fix our existing dilapidated roads and bridges. The bill heads to the House floor next week where it will be debated and a vote taken.
It is an honor to serve you and your family in the General Assembly. If you ever find yourself in need of assistance navigating state government, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with my colleagues in the House, don’t hesitate to contact me.