Holding ethics violators accountable

Last week, I cosponsored a bill, H. 3520, that would ban elected officials, who have violated state ethics laws and not paid their fines, from seeking reelection.

It’s wrong for these officials to thumb their noses at paying these fines, some of which are tens of thousands of dollars.

According to a Post & Courier report, there are nearly 400 debtors, many of which currently hold office, that owe nearly $3 million in ethics fines. Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Horry, has sponsored the same bill in the Senate. Tennessee and Missouri have enacted similar laws.

The bill I sponsored, H. 4504, to cap the sales tax on outboard motors at $500 passed the House on Wednesday and heads to the Senate. Currently, you can buy just a boat or a boat and outboard motor together and the sales tax is capped at $500. It just makes good sense that the cap should apply individually to outboards.

An election uniformity and protection bill, H. 3444, I cosponsored was sent back to the House last week, where we amended it to include important reforms to our state election system.

I believe that all votes in all counties should be cast, processed, and counted the same way. This bill provides a streamlined process and necessary oversight. I hope that the Senate will accept our amendment to ensure these protections become law.

Last week, school choice legislation advanced out of the House Ways and Means Committee I sit on. The bill, H. 4879, will provide parents up to $5,000 a year towards the cost of private school, which would be funded by $75 million of the state surplus funds. This 3-year pilot program is a necessary first step in incorporating more parental involvement in our education system.

The Ways and Means Committee also voted to approve a bill that eliminates state income taxes on military retirement.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent District 108 in the House. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt

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