Close to the end of the legislative session

I hope you’re doing well.

Another week in Columbia has come to an end and we only have three legislative days left until the end of the regular session. This week will be marked by long days on the House floor with a plethora of bills trying to make their way through the legislative process before the end of session.

In the coming weeks and into the summer, we have the finalization of the budget process to look forward to. Weeks ago, we passed our House version of the budget which focused on the four R’s: Reserves, Raises, Relief, and Roads. The Senate has come up with its own version of the budget which is drastically different from ours. These differences will be reconciled over the summer to ensure that we have an appropriate budget that properly serves the people of South Carolina by our deadline of July 1.

The House has already passed an impressive state income tax overhaul that restructured our state's convoluted and outdated tax bracket system. It provides significant relief to almost all taxpayers with a focus on relief for the working middle-class. Once fully phased in, this plan will cut over $1 billion in taxes for taxpayers and exempts all military retirement from taxable income.

Our tax plan differs from that of the Senate. When comparing the two plans, our plan saves more money for more South Carolinians -- period. We’re not focused on just bringing down the top tax rate, but rather, we’re focused on lower rates for the middle-class -- where most South Carolinians find themselves. That’s why last Thursday, as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I voted with the committee to strike the Senate language and insert our tax plan, sending it to the floor for a vote.

The House passed the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which bans biological men, despite sexual identity, from participating in women’s sports. Upon passage in the House, it was sent to the Senate for approval. The Senate passed the bill with some tweaks, which will soon be back in the House for review. I look forward to supporting this legislation once again to outlaw these dangerous situations in our daughters' locker rooms and sports teams from taking place.

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. Oftentimes, teachers are so much more than educators: they are role models that truly shape the lives of our children. My sincere thanks to all of our teachers for their tireless efforts!

I hope you have a good week. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt

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