A busy week in the legislature

I wanted you to know that this second week of the House session was a busy one.

On Monday, I had my first Legislative Oversight Committee meeting. We heard public testimony from the Departments of Mental Health and Motor Vehicles and the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School.

I had an Agricultural, Natural Resource and Environmental Affairs Committee meeting on Tuesday. We heard testimony from the Department of Natural Resources about the turkey population and proposed changes to the hunting season.

On Wednesday, the Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee met. Our committee recommended seven bills for sponsorship, one of which I’m the lead sponsor. It requires opioid abuse training as part of the continuing education requirements for veterinarians, who are able to prescribe opioids for animals that might fall into the wrong hands.

I cosponsored a bill that would prohibit actions by the state to facilitate seismic testing and the transportation or storage of Atlantic Ocean offshore oil or gas onto the land or waters of our state. We cannot risk our coastal economy and environment on the inevitable oil spills that come with offshore drilling.

I signed on as a cosponsor to a bill to further combat human trafficking. The bill revises the definition of "sex trafficking" to include certain sexual exploitation and prostitution offenses involving minors.

Gov. McMaster released his executive budget this week which includes an extra $1 billion of one-time money and tax revenues the state can expect to collect this year. I support the Governor on many of the issues in his proposed budget, including a five percent across-the-board salary increase for teachers that brings the average teacher salary above the southeastern average and using a part of the surplus for tax relief in the form of a tax rebate.

And finally, this week, I joined my fellow House members in unanimously supporting legislation to exempt federal workers in S.C. from being penalized for not paying their property taxes on time while the federal government is shut down.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in the House of Representatives. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt