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    First week

    I wanted to let you know about this first week of the new legislative session in Columbia.

    We had an unusual start: voting on about 40 vetoes issued by Gov. McMaster back in June. Usually, the legislature deals with vetoes in the same session in which they are issued, but the House and Senate leadership decided to wait in this case.

    While I voted to sustain most of the governor’s vetoes, I voted to override his vetoes of $20.5 million for new school buses. I couldn’t support his vetoes of the bus funding in light of the fire hazard of our aging bus fleet. According to a report in The State, “Seventeen buses have caught fire or dangerously overheated since August 2015…some with children aboard.” The problem has to be fixed.

    On Tuesday, the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee, which I was privileged to serve on, issued its final report and recommendations to House Speaker Jay Lucas and effectively introduced a number of bills to address the addiction epidemic. One of the bills is one I cosponsored, H. 4487, which would vastly expedite the regulation of synthetic opioids or “designer drugs” by SCDHEC.

    For eight months, the committee held public hearings and working group meetings where we received in-depth testimony from several state agencies, healthcare providers, and families affected by opioid addiction. While there is no silver bullet to end the addiction problem, I believe our recommendations are a big step in the right direction.

    On Wednesday, Gov. McMaster committed to ask the Trump administration to exempt our state from the Dept. of Interior’s offshore oil drilling plan, just as Florida was exempted. I applaud the governor’s stance. Offshore oil drilling is a huge threat to our coastal economy and environment and this plan would allow drilling as close as 3 miles to our beaches.

    Click here for media coverage of my comments.

    Also on Wednesday, I participated in a meeting of the S.C. Energy Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators who are working to ensure our homes and businesses have access to affordable energy options and focusing on correcting institutional deficiencies that led to the V.C. Summer nuclear project spending disaster. The meeting focused on reform legislation and the need to better plan for our state’s future energy needs.

    I hope this information is helpful.

    It’s an honor to serve District 108! Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    Rep. Lee Hewitt

    P.S. I’m up for reelection this year, and according to this news report, county Democrats are committed to putting up challengers for all seats, including my House seat. I hate to ask for money, but my campaign needs to raise more money to help fend off challengers. Please help by clicking here today and donating the largest amount you can afford to my campaign. Thank you in advance!

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  • Featured News

    New Year

    I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and have fared the ice and snow safely.

    Another session of the General Assembly starts Tuesday and I’ll be making my weekly treks to Columbia for the next six months.

    It’s a privilege to represent the citizens of District 108 in the House and I look forward to the session as I believe there is much to accomplish.

    I’m working on legislation to change the process for how the beachfront jurisdictional lines are determined. These lines determine whether structures can be built or rebuilt according to where the lines are established and, in many cases, affect even second row properties.

    Many property owners were unaware of proposed beachfront line changes last year and we were able to successfully get SCDHEC to delay line changes until the legislature had a chance to consider the issue.

    I’m committed to cosponsoring bipartisan legislation with Rep. Russell Ott, D-Calhoun, that would oppose offshore oil and gas drilling and seismic testing off South Carolina. We cannot afford to risk harming our coastal economy and environment by effectively playing Russian roulette with oil rigs off our coast. Sooner or later our coast will catch a bullet in the form of a major oil spill disaster.

    Last Wednesday, I was in Columbia for a House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee meeting, where we finalized our recommendations for combating the opioid addiction epidemic. While there is no silver bullet to end the addiction problem, I believe our recommendations are a big step in the right direction.

    One of the committee recommendations is to pass a bill I have cosponsored and pre-filed, H. 4487, that would vastly expedite the regulation of synthetic opioids or “designer drugs” by SCDHEC.

    Currently, when a new unregulated synthetic opioid shows up on the market it takes at least four weeks to be able to list it as a controlled substance. My bill would allow the SCDHEC Director to immediately list it, allowing law enforcement to immediately crack down on its sale.

    One of the biggest issues is the failed V.C. Summer nuclear reactor project involving SCANA and Santee-Cooper. In addition to supporting the protection of ratepayers in this spending disaster, I supported the House leadership in asking for a S.C. Law Enforcement Division investigation of SCANA.

    On Wednesday I’ll participate in a meeting of the S.C. Energy Caucus, a bipartisan group of legislators who are working to ensure our homes and businesses have access to affordable energy options and focusing on correcting institutional deficiencies that led to the nuclear project spending disaster.

    It’s great to be able to serve the district. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    Rep. Lee Hewitt

    P.S. I’m up for reelection this year. I hate to ask for money, but my campaign needs to raise more money to help fend off challengers. Please help by clicking here today and donating the largest amount you can afford to my campaign. Thank you in advance!

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  • Featured News

    Rep. Lee Hewitt: More oil has been spilled from offshore drilling than exists off the Atlantic Coast

    Hewitt_-_Offshore_oil_committee_video.png

    Last week Rep. Lee Hewitt was in Columbia for the second meeting of the House Offshore Drilling Ad Hoc Committee.

    In this committee video, Lee points out to drilling advocate Bonnie Loomis of the American Petroleum Institute that 5.1 billion barrels of oil have been spilled from offshore drilling, an amount that exceeds the estimate of oil off the Atlantic Coast.

    The coast of S.C. cannot afford to risk harming its economy and environment by effectively playing Russian roulette with offshore oil rigs. Sooner or later the coast will catch a bullet in the form of a major oil spill disaster.

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  • Featured News

    October legislative update

    I wanted to make you aware of what has happened in the last month.

    I’ve worked hard to extend the comment period on proposed updated beachfront jurisdictional lines from SCDHEC that will impact first and, in many cases, second row properties regarding the structures that can be built or rebuilt according to where these lines are established.

    SCDHEC is required by law to review these lines every 7 to 10 years based on the average annual erosion rates for all beachfront land. The comment period will end on Nov. 6th, but I’m seeking an extension because so many property owners are still unaware of the proposed changes. I’m pleased that Gov. McMaster is also calling for an extension of time. Click here for media coverage.

    I was honored to host the freshman state House members (Republicans and Democrats) for a get together in Murrells Inlet over the Oct. 14-15 weekend. They stayed in the inlet and experienced our dining, fishing and golf. While all had a great time, there were meetings to discuss lessons learned from our first legislative session and plan for the upcoming session in January.

    Last week I introduced a bill to the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that would vastly expedite the regulation of synthetic opioids or “designer drugs” by SCDHEC.

    Rogue chemists slightly change the chemical structure of these synthetic opioids such that they circumvent drug laws. Currently, when a new unregulated synthetic opioid shows up on the market it takes SCDHEC at least two weeks to be able to list it as a controlled substance, while in the meantime it continues to be sold legally and subject to abuse. My bill would allow the SCDHEC Director to immediately list it as a controlled substance, allowing law enforcement to immediately crack down on its sale. Click here for committee video of the introduction.

    Also last week I was in Columbia for the second meeting of the House Offshore Drilling Ad Hoc Committee. We heard from SCDNR, SCDHEC, Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic (N. Litchfield’s Peg Howell), S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute. I pointed out in this committee video that 5.1 billion barrels of oil have been spilled from offshore drilling, an amount that exceeds the estimate of oil off the Atlantic Coast.

    We cannot afford to risk harming our economy and environment by effectively playing Russian roulette with oil rigs off our coast. Sooner or later our coast will catch a bullet in the form of a major oil spill disaster.

    It’s great to be able to serve the district in the House of Representatives. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    Rep. Lee Hewitt

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  • Featured News

    Rep. Hewitt introduces legislation to Opioid Abuse Prevention Committee to expedite regulation of synthetic ‘designer’ opioids

    Hewitt_-_Opioid_committee_video.png

    A short video of Rep. Lee Hewitt's introduction last week of a bill to the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that would vastly expedite the regulation of synthetic opioids or “designer drugs” by SCDHEC.

    Rogue chemists slightly change the chemical structure of these synthetic opioids such that they circumvent drug laws. Currently, when a new unregulated synthetic opioid shows up on the market it takes DHEC at least two weeks to be able to list it as a controlled substance, while in the meantime it continues to be sold legally and subject to abuse.

    Lee's bill would allow the DHEC Director to immediately list it as a controlled substance, allowing law enforcement to immediately crack down on its sale. 

    Click here for the bill.

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