S.C. Legislative Report with Rep. Burns: Budget update, rideshare safety, heartbeat bill, more...

By S.C. Dist. 17 Rep. Mike Burns:


I hope each of you had a great spring break and Easter weekend. With two weeks left of session and the crossover deadline behind us, we have a busy two weeks ahead as we begin to takeup bills from the Senate.

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Heartbeat Bill Passes:

The Heartbeat Bill, H. 3020, passed out of the House on Wednesday after many hours of debate on the House floor. The bill bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected by a physician. The exceptions to the bill are in the case of a medical emergency, rape, or incest.

South Carolina will be one of a few states to hold the most conservative stance on this issue. I’m proud of this huge step made and I hope the Senate will get on board with the House and the Governor to pass this into law.

“We appreciate the leadership of those elected officials who continue to affirm that life is worth protecting. The South Carolina General Assembly has worked tirelessly for many years on a great deal of affective pro-life pieces of legislation, and we support their continued efforts to extend the God-given right to life for persons within the womb.”

-Joshua Putnam, Palmetto Family

Budget Update:

The Senate passed their version of the state’s $9.3 billion budget last week. The House and Senate will meet over the next few weeks to negotiate the differences between the two budgets and come up with a final version. Unlike the federal government, South Carolina has a balanced budget requirement. To see a link to all of the budget information as passed so far by both the Senate and House, go here.

From the Senate Budget Additions:

Ban on Oil Drilling Infrastructure Construction: The Senate added a ban on offshore drilling and construction. This directs that DHEC, local government entities, and special purpose districts may not approve a plan, permit, or license application for the construction of infrastructure or other activities for which the principal purpose is to explore, develop, or produce oil or gas from the territorial waters of South Carolina or in the Atlantic Ocean off the state's coast.

State Support to Public Schools: The House version of the budget would give $150 million, at no cost to local districts, for teacher pay raises. The Senate added $15 million to the Base Student Cost but requires the local district to match the funds. 

 Taxpayer Rebate: The Senate changed the $50 tax rebate to per return and not per taxpayer with an income tax liability.

 State Employees Raises: The Senate added a $600 one-time bonus for state employees earning less than $70,000 per year on top of the 2 percent across the board pay increase for state employees the House had in the budget. 

Farm Aid -- Hurricane Devastation: The Senate added $25 million to set-aside for a grant program to assist famers who suffered devastating crop losses as a result of the flooding associated with Hurricanes Michael and Florence in Fall 2018.

Rideshare Safety Update:

The Senate has taken recommendations from popular rideshare companies and replaced the House version of the Samantha Josephson Rideshare Safety Act with their own proposal. Instead of light-up signs on Uber and Lyft vehicles, the bill now requires rideshare drivers to display license plate numbers on the front of their cars.

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.

– Rep. Mike Burns

Cover image: Via Wikipedia here. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


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