Budget week equals hundreds of House votes

I wanted you to know that I cast 231 votes on the House floor this week.

It was budget bill week, where hundreds of sections of the bill and amendments were debated and voted on. We began on Monday and then had a marathon 15-hour session that started on Tuesday morning and ended at nearly 1 am on Wednesday morning with the amended bill passing 115-3. The bill is now in the Senate.

The $8 billion General Fund budget, which does not increase taxes, includes extra funding for educational purposes such as $100 million for upgrading K-12 schools with a high poverty index, $38 million in additional K-12 per student funding and $10 million for new school buses.

The budget also includes $5 million for statewide beach renourishment to repair damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

I voted against the renewal of the Competitive Grants Program, which many, including former Gov. Mark Sanford, have called a “pork-barrel slush fund.” The program would have given $6 million to a grants committee to dole out as they choose, without the transparency and accountability of going through the state budget process.

Budget week coincided with the Alzheimer's Association’s "State House Day" on Tuesday. I was privileged to meet with area representatives who were concerned about adequate funding for the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Respite Program, which helps caregivers take a needed break from caregiving so they can attend to their own physical, mental and emotional well-being.

The budget that passed did include the $900,000 respite program funding the association asked for, plus an additional $200,000 was included for family caregiver services, both of which I supported.

The next few weeks will be devoted to getting bills out of committee and on to the House floor for a vote to meet the April 10th crossover deadline. Any legislation that clears either the House or Senate after April 10th requires a two-thirds majority vote to even be debated by the other body this year.

Since I’ve talked about a lot of House votes this week, I hope you’ll visit my official House webpage by clicking here, where you can see my voting record and bills that I have sponsored or cosponsored.

It’s a privilege to represent the citizens of District 108 in the House. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt