Last week

Last week in the House was hectic with efforts to vote on bills that came over from the Senate.

One of the Senate bills we dealt with is the gas tax road infrastructure bill, which differed significantly from our House bill. The House voted against the Senate bill, forcing a conference committee of House and Senate members to work on a compromise.

Late Friday the conference committee reached an agreement that would raise the gas tax by 12 cents over six years, increase car registration fees and sales tax, provide some offsetting tax credits and reductions, and change the way the DOT commission is appointed.

In March, I voted for the House bill after a portion of the tax increase was designated for County Transportation Committees to help upgrade our local roads and Georgetown County remained a “recipient” gas tax county under the bill. It’s estimated the legislation would provide Georgetown County with over $1 million a year in extra CTC funds. So this week I’ll be looking hard at the details of the compromise gas tax legislation to ensure District 108 is treated fairly.

On Thursday, I voted for a Senate bill that passed the House 95-2, which allows out of season shellfish harvesting in mariculture operations that involve the controlled cultivation of oysters and other shellfish. The bill should enhance the availability of fresh local seafood.

Also on Thursday, the legislature recognized and honored the teachers of the year from each school district. It was my privilege to meet Georgetown County School District teacher of the year Ashton Goretzke, who teaches language arts and social studies at Waccamaw Middle School. I greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication of Ashton and her fellow teachers.

This final week of the legislative session begins with the first meeting of the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee on Tuesday morning. I was appointed to the committee by House Speaker Jay Lucas. This summer and fall we’ll be working to find legislative ways to help fight addiction and curb the hundreds of opioid-related overdose deaths in the state. I look forward to taking on this very important task.

I’m privileged to serve in the House. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt