By S.C. Dist. 17 Rep. Mike Burns:
The House gaveled to a close last week after dozens of bills and the Sine Die Resolution passed both the House and Senate. This was the first year of a two-year session that focused primarily on transformative education reform, presenting a balanced and efficient budget, solutions for Santee Cooper, and the pro-life ‘Heartbeat’ legislation. Although regular session has ended, we will continue to work over the next few weeks in conference committees. We will return in two weeks for a special session to discuss Santee Cooper, vote on the budget, and receive any vetoes from Governor McMaster.
We passed dozens of bills this week, here are some of the highlights. Be on the lookout over the next few weeks for a full legislative wrap up.
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We continue to put forward sound policy that allows South Carolina to combat the opioid epidemic. We have passed numerous bills this week that will aid in this effort. One of the bills establishes a prescription monitoring program that will give data to doctors in an effort to battle opioid addiction. Another bill will require the use of e-prescriptions in South Carolina which will help eliminate fraudulent prescriptions.
Reducing Class Size
This week a Bill was passed that addresses school classroom size. Districts can ask for a waiver that allows them to go over the max student to teacher ratio, but they have to prove they have neither the teacher capacity nor the money to do it. Other education legislation that passed this year will increase teacher pay ensuring we attract and retain our best and brightest teachers. However,my belief is that this does not solve the desire for small class sizes...Only hiring more teachers will do this… Which includes teacher pay raises… Especially new teachers with 0 to 5 years of service
The Energy Freedom Act passed the legislature this week and now heads to the Governor’s office to be signed into law. This bill Expands rooftop solar energy by removing the existing 2% net-metering cap, allows solar customers to be compensated for the energy they produce and send back to the grid, establishes a regulatory structure for future solar energy to compete with larger utility companies. The passing of this legislation will save more than 3,000 solar jobs already created in our state.
In the wake of the tragedy involving the killing of Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student, the legislature has passed The Samantha Josephson Rideshare Safety Act which mandates certain new safety components for riders protections.
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
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