Good morning. Here’s my legislative update.
On Wednesday, it was a privilege for Rep. Carl Anderson, D-Georgetown, and I to meet with members of Georgetown County Council at the State House. Left to right: Rep. Anderson, County Attorney Jay Watson, Clint Elliott, Stella Mercado and Council Chairman Louis Morant.
I had three days of Ways and Means Committee meetings that were focused on developing the state budget bill. One of the important focuses was on education and improving teacher retention.
South Carolina has a record 1,400 vacant teaching positions. The committee approved a $2,500 increase in the state’s starting teacher salary, from $40,000 to $42,500. This puts the state on a path to bring starting teacher pay up to $50,000 by 2026, a goal established by Gov. McMaster.
I cosponsored the “Statewide Education and Workforce Development Act,” H. 3726, along with my colleagues on the Economic Development and Utility Modernization Ad Hoc Committee.
This bill establishes a state workforce readiness goal of at least 60 percent of all working age South Carolinians having a postsecondary degree or recognized industry credential by 2030.
To reach this goal, the bill includes these three measures:
*The State Dept. of Education must ensure that all public high school students are prepared for college-level math and reading.
*State colleges and universities must develop articulation agreements for uniformity in recognition of earned college credits.
*A report is required to the General Assembly on the best way to utilize the state’s technical colleges for those seeking new opportunities through workforce training and post-secondary credentials.
I expect this bill to move through committee and be taken up on the House floor in the coming weeks.
I’m a cosponsor of H. 3014, the “Clementa C. Pickney Hate Crimes Act,” which allows criminal courts to impose additional penalties on criminals convicted of a felony who target their victims based on their race, or other listed factors. On Thursday the bill passed the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee and will head to the full Judiciary Committee this week.
As one of only two states that hasn’t addressed this issue, it’s imperative we get this to the House floor this session.
I’m honored to represent District 108 in the House. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Rep. Lee Hewitt