A new House of Representatives session

I hope you’re doing well.

The 2021 session of the SC House of Representatives started on Tuesday.

I was pleased to be reappointed to a House leadership position, as a Majority Whip, and especially honored to be appointed by House Speaker Jay Lucas to a coveted seat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

So far, over 900 bills have been prefiled and many were introduced this week. Here are some of the bills I’ve refiled from the last session:

H 3430: Makes it illegal to lure a child into a vehicle using things like candy or puppies. Surprisingly, this is not already a crime in South Carolina.

H 3368: Vastly expedites the regulation of synthetic opioids or “designer drugs” by the S.C. Dept. of Health and Environmental Control. My bill would allow the SCDHEC Director to immediately list it, allowing law enforcement to immediately crack down on its sale.

H 3429: Makes entering into anyone’s dwelling, during a declared state of emergency, an upgraded charge of felony burglary in the first degree. This is in response to break-ins that occurred in the district during evacuation orders.

I was pleased with Gov. McMaster’s State of the State address on Wednesday. I joined him in praying for and honoring the members of law enforcement that we have lost this year and thanking the many frontline workers who have made huge sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor spoke about the goal of having students back in the classroom five days a week as soon as possible, expanding broadband internet to rural areas, better law enforcement funding and putting an end to the corruption behind Santee Cooper.

On Wednesday, COVID vaccinations began for those 70 or older. You can find a location to receive the vaccine through this online locator tool: www.scdhec.gov/vaxlocator or by calling the DHEC Care Line at (855) 472-3432.

I know Tidelands Health in our area is working diligently to do what is necessary to bring in extra staff and equipment to speed vaccinations. However, a major issue is a vaccine shortage in South Carolina, which is slowing vaccinations.

Our state is not getting its fair share of the vaccine. South Carolina’s allocation of vaccine doses is only 28 doses per 1,000, while the overall country average is 46 doses per 1,000. That’s just not acceptable.

Myself and other local legislators are reaching out to U.S. Senators Lindsay Graham and Tim Scott and Congressman Tom Rice for immediate assistance in solving this very critical problem that imperils lives.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent District 108 in the House. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt