Last week was the 15th week of the 2023 legislative session. There are 3 legislative weeks
remaining before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 11, 2023. Here are the
highlights from last week’ Senate action:
2023-2024 BUDGET – This Senate spent last week debating the 2023-2024 state budget H. 4300 FY 2023-2024 South Carolina Budget and H.4301 2023-2024 Bill 4301: Contingency Reserve Fund. You can see a spreadsheet of the entire budget here – SFC – SCD FY24 – SFC_04.06.23_Adopted w Technical Corrections.xlsx . The Senate passed an amended version of the budget and sent it back to the House of Representatives. You can see the recorded vote on each of the 118 sections of the budget here .
LIFE AND ABORTION – This week the Senate will take up H. 3774 , 2023-2024 Bill 3774: Abortion Ban with Exceptions, the Human Life Protection Act. The bill would prohibit abortions with exceptions for the life/health of the mother, rape, incest, and fatal fetal anomalies. Earlier this year, the Senate passed legislation that would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected (usually around 6 weeks after the woman becomes pregnant) with exceptions for the life/health of the mother, rape, incest, and fatal fetal anomalies. The House has refused to take up that bill, refusing to back away from what it believes is a stronger bill for life. The Senate passed the fetal heartbeat bill, though, because there are not enough votes to pass the House bill. In an effort to break the impasse, the Senate has agreed to take up H. 3774 and have yet another vote.
While this has always been a controversial issue, there has been a good bit more interest since
the US Supreme Court’s decision last summer overturning Roe v. Wade. The effect of that
ruling was to allow states to make these decisions individually. Currently, South Carolina law
allows abortions, without restriction, for up to 22 weeks or about 5 ½ months. That law is the
most lenient in the Southeast, and, consequently, South Carolina has become an abortion
destination state. Our abortion numbers have doubled from 2021, and those numbers will almost certainly continue to increase with Florida recently enacting a fetal heartbeat law. While I understand there is wide disagreement about what the law should be, I am convinced most South Carolinians do not believe the current law allowing abortion on demand for 5½ months of the pregnancy is acceptable. It is also clear to me most South Carolinians do not support a complete ban. My hope is that the House and Senate will agree on legislation that sets an acceptable public policy.
My position now is the same as what I have taken to voters in each election: I support
prohibiting abortions with exceptions for the life and health of the mother, rape, and incest. I
will not vote for a bill without those exceptions. With that being said, it is pretty clear to me the
Senate does not have the votes to adopt that policy. We will find out again this week if that is
still the case. If that is the case, I am hopeful the House and Senate will agree on a policy that
saves the most lives and is representative of where South Carolinians are on the issue.
SCDOT ROAD PROJECTS
SCDOT has an interactive map to allow citizens to see the road and bridge projects going on around the state. You can see that map here.
How is the gas tax being used? – SCDOT’s website allows you to view a detailed revenue
statement and project list that is funded by the Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund (IMTF).
SCDOT updates this site monthly as the revenue comes in. You can see that report here.
WANT TO SEE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ACTION?
The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 12:00, Wednesdays at 1:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and some committees here South Carolina Legislature Online – Broadcast Video .
OUR SENATE DISTRICT
Senate district 25 consists of all of Edgefield County and parts of Aiken, Lexington, McCormick, and Saluda Counties. If you’d like to see the district map (effective with the 2024 general election), go here South Carolina Senate H.4493 .
If you’d like to see how I’ve voted on issues, go here. Scroll down to “Voting Record” on the right side of the page. You can always check to see how I vote by going to my website, and clicking on the “Voting Record” tab.
SPEAKING WITH GROUPS
Several groups, clubs, and classes around our Senate district have invited me to attend their meetings and provide legislative updates. If you would like for me to come speak with your group, please let me know.
If you know of people in or around District 25 who do not receive my updates but would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me. You can also forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for the updates at