Greg Duckworth | V.C. Summer, Human Trafficking, Opioid Abuse Prevention, and Budget Priorities
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26 Feb V.C. Summer, Human Trafficking, Opioid Abuse Prevention, and Budget Priorities

This past Wednesday the SC House received a Senate resolution that extends the period of time the South Carolina Public Service Commission has to review a proposal by Dominion Energy to purchase SCANA Corporation. While an extension of time to review an acquisition bid may be merited, the House believes the main priority of the legislature should be addressing the existing 18% nuclear surcharge which SCANA forces its customers to pay every month for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. The House has taken the position that the nuclear surcharge should be reduced to zero while the acquisition bid is being reviewed. Concerns about existing language of the Senate resolution will be addressed this week by the House Judiciary Committee.

This past week, by unanimous vote, the House passed H. 3329 – a bill I am glad to have cosponsored – dealing with human trafficking. This bill clarifies provisions in our current law and takes the next step in helping minors who are victims of human trafficking. A huge thank you to the primary bill sponsor and my colleague, Rep. Russell Fry, as well as the Attorney General’s Office, and the SC Children’s Law Committee for working on this issue to make the bill even stronger. Next step, the Senate, where we hope they will take up the issue without delay and send the bill to Gov. McMaster.

H. 3820, a bill supported by the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee, was passed by the full House Thursday. The legislation requires instruction in grades 9-12 on prescription opioid abuse prevention with an emphasis on the prescription drug epidemic. The bill passed with overwhelming support in the House, 107-1, and will now be taken up by the Senate. This is one of several opioid abuse prevention bills the House hopes to advance over the coming weeks. I urge my Senate colleagues to pass this critical legislation immediately and send it to the governor for his signature.

There were also several House funding priorities added to the budget this week by the House Ways & Means Committee that will improve the lives of South Carolinians.
The House has chosen to prioritize education funding, retirement benefits, tax relief, and opioid abuse prevention. Specific budget additions include a 2% teacher pay increase, $32 million increase in education funding, $50 million for higher education capital project needs, a 1% pension contribution increase for state employees, $600 million in tax relief, and $11.35 million for opioid abuse prevention measures. These budget priorities will be voted on by the full House during the week of March 12.
Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me.