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State House Daybook: Jan. 16, 2020
State House Daybook provides you with the information you need to navigate the South Carolina General Assembly. Each edition provides a snapshot of the legislative day with meeting schedules, agendas, news and other resources in one place.
Follow reporter Gavin Jackson's Twitter for the latest legislative coverage.
The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Environmental Subcommittee voted to advance a bill that would prohibit permitting of onshore infrastructure to support offshore drilling. Language in S. 870 is already on the books thanks to a proviso (a temporary, year-long authorization) in the current budget. Approval of this bill would codify that into law—something that seems likely with the broad, bipartisan and gubernatorial support the bill has. It now goes to the full committee for debate and a vote. Subcommittee members Sens. Paul Campbell, Stephen Goldfinch (chairman), Greg Gregory and Vincent Sheheen voted in favor of the bill; Sen. Dwight Loftis opposed it.
Senate passed S. 656 and it approved several appointments to the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs commission. Senators began discussing the Senate education bill, S. 419, which is in the special order slot for debate priority. “K-12 education is probably the most complicated problem we struggle with,” Greg Hembree, Senate Education Committee chairman, said. Twenty-two meetings over the past year, a massive House-approved education bill and a 10,000-strong Statehouse protest last year have led senators to this debate.
Hembree outlined each section of the massive bill that primarily tweaks current law. Some changes included in the bill’s current form are: the removal of a social studies test and math test, the addition of reading interventionists, making sure reading coaches are only used to help teachers improve their reading curriculum, extending the calendar by five professional days for teachers (but only if money is included in the budget to do so), allowing a school to experiment (if approved by the state) with different techniques such as year round school, moving the school start date to August 8, empowering the state Department of Education to remove school boards in districts the state takes over, requiring high school seniors to stay on campus all day unless they have work or other commitments off campus, among other provisions.
The Senate will likely begin amending the bill on the floor next week.
The Senate Family and Veteran’s Services Committee unanimously approved Connie Munn to lead the S.C. Dept. on Aging. Her nomination now heads to the full Senate for its approval.
The House approved S. 11 and then spent the rest of the day moving bills to the contested calendar or recommitting bills. The move cleared the way to wrap up business before 4 p.m. allowing House Ways and Means subcommittees to meet.
Gov. Henry McMaster participated in a pro-life press conference at the Statehouse in support of the fetal heartbeat abortion bill. The bill would outlaw virtually all abortions in South Carolina by prohibiting the medical procedure after a heartbeat is detected at around six to eight weeks. The House-approved bill is expected to be debated at some point in the Senate, but Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) told reporters bluntly last week there are not enough votes to end a Democratic filibuster. You can watch that entire rally here.
Gloria Tinubu, a Democrat, announced that she was dropping out of the U.S. Senate race during a Statehouse press conference. She was joined by South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Trav Robertson and Senate frontrunner Jaime Harrison who she said she was supporting. Harrison, the former chair of the state party and works for the Democratic National Committee, has raised millions of dollars in his challenge against Sen. Lindsey Graham. The seat, however, has been ranked as solidly Republican.
Combined meeting schedule
8:30 a.m. House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee, Blatt Room 410, Live Broadcast
9:00 a.m. House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, Blatt Room 403, Agenda Available
Immediately upon adjournment of the House, Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Blatt Room 305, Agenda Available
Episodes of This Week In South Carolina
UofSC Insights Index: Buttigieg inching closer to Biden University of South Carolina
S.C. senators endorse McMaster’s pick to run Aging agency after rejecting 1st choice The Post and Courier
Lindsey Graham poised to face Jaime Harrison after other Democrat ends S.C. Senate bid The Post and Courier
Clemson, USC top 2020 rankings of online degrees, U.S. News & World Report says The State
SC supporters of abortion restrictions vow to keep fighting The Post and Courier
Sanders campaign escalates attacks on Biden’s race record in SC to sway black voters The Post and Courier
Charleston GOP chair quits after 11-minute tirade: ‘I cannot work with my executive board’ The Post and Courier
SC AG blasts Dominion for trying to recoup VC Summer legal costs from Santee Cooper The State
South Carolina BMW plant sets all-time production record for 2019 Greenville News
SC lawmakers pass bill in favor of ending daylight savings time The State