We have made it through the first year of the 2023-2024 Legislative Session.
At the beginning of this year, we set an ambitious agenda that included improving statewide job growth, reforming our education system, implementing fiscal discipline, improving healthcare, and prioritizing public safety. As the session finally Adjourns, we made significant strides towards a brighter future for South Carolina and its citizens.
Here are a few highlights:
This year’s state budget keeps the legislature’s promise to continue to cut the state’s income tax. It reduces the state income tax by $96 million in the second year of the income tax reduction plan. It also budgets for an additional $134 million in property tax cuts. In the past 30 years, the General Assembly has passed over $50 billion in tax cuts.
H.3726, the SC Education and Workforce Development Act, aims to prepare for 60% of South Carolinians with postsecondary degrees or industry credentials by 2030 by mandating measures such as preparing high school students for college-level math and reading, and utilizing technical colleges for workforce training.
Raise Teacher Pay & Expand School Choice
I voted to raise the minimum pay of K-12 public school teachers by $2,500. Starting teachers will be paid $42,500- a 33% increase in base pay over the past five years. School safety is a priority. The budget spends $27 million to fully fund a Safety Resource Officer (SRO) in every public school in the state. The Education Scholarship Trust Fund, established by S. 39, will provide eligible elementary and secondary students with scholarships to cover education expenses at the school of their choice, funded directly from the state budget.
Increase Healthcare Access
S. 164 eliminates the Certificate of Need (CON) requirements for healthcare providers. Currently, these regulations require most healthcare providers to obtain government approval before expanding or establishing new healthcare facilities or services. This process is timely, costly, and makes it difficult for hospitals and surgery centers to expand in areas that need it most. CON repeal will lower healthcare costs and expand patient choice.
Stop Violent Crime
H.3532, also known as the Bond Reform bill, will help make South Carolina a safer place for us all to raise our families by stopping the revolving door for repeat criminals. This bill creates sentence and bond enhancements for a person convicted of a violent crime while out on bond for a previous violent crime.
The Legislature passed and Gov. Henry McMaster signed the “Heartbeat Bill”, reaffirming South Carolina’s commitment to safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable among us. The legislation will end South Carolina’s status as an abortion destination state. We will keep working to protect life and the health and well-being of women.
If you have any questions about the legislative session, or any other matter, please call me anytime at (864) 201-8228!