Hewitt Report: Beachfront lines, unemployment benefits, support for veterans

I hope you had a good weekend.

In 2018 my bill for fixing the process for determining beachfront jurisdictional lines by the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management was signed into law by Gov. McMaster. The bill improved property owner notification, expanded the public comment period and allowed owners one year from the date of line implementation to appeal.

Determined every seven to ten years, these lines affect 20,000 property owners statewide and impact first, and in many cases, second row properties regarding the structures that can be built or rebuilt.

Last week, I made the news when I questioned when OCRM can start the process of resetting the beachfront jurisdictional lines. The agency is wanting to start the process this year, however the law controlling where the lines are set requires OCRM to delay data collection for 18 months if the beaches have been impacted by a storm system. I’m working to ensure OCRM follows the law and delays the current review because the coast has been impacted by significant storm systems including Hurricane Ian within the last 18 months.

On Wednesday and Thursday, two important bills I cosponsored were overwhelmingly passed by the House.

H.4710 passed 113 to 1 on Wednesday and indexes our state’s unemployment benefits to seasonal adjusted statewide unemployment rates. By modifying the duration of unemployment benefits to reflect current job market realities, this legislation actively promotes re-engagement with the 161,000 job opportunities currently available across our state. Moreover, this reform will lead to savings for small businesses on their unemployment taxes. The bill now heads to the Senate.

The Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption bill passed 112 to 0 and came out of the Ways and Means Property Tax Subcommittee I chair. I had the privilege Thursday of presenting the bill and the Senate amendments from the House well. The bill extends property tax exemptions to permanently and totally disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. I believe it’s important that we honor and support our veterans and their families. The bill now heads to Gov. McMaster’s desk for his signature.

I hope you’ll visit my official House webpage, where you can find bills that I’ve either sponsored or cosponsored, view my voting record, search for bills, and access video feeds of the House sessions and committee meetings.

Have a good week. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt

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