Legislative session ends, budget still being negotiated

When the clock struck 5 pm this past Thursday, it marked the end of the legislative session for the year.

Up to the last minute, my colleagues and I fought to push many of our conservative agenda items over the finish line. Our successes this year will make South Carolina a better place to live, work, and raise a family for years to come.

I recently reported how the Senate killed the House’s strong, bipartisan election reform bill that passed the House unanimously back in March. Thanks to the work of the House leadership and election reform champions, last week the Senate agreed to a bill which included much of the House’s election integrity language, and on Friday, Gov. McMaster signed the bill into law.

A conference committee was appointed last week to finalize school choice legislation to give thousands of low-income families educational freedom. This legislation aims to provide scholarships to eligible students to put towards tuition, books, transportation, and other school expenses involved in attending the private school of their choice.

On Tuesday, my colleagues and I approved the Senate's tweaks to a bill that saves women’s sports. This bill requires student athletes to only compete in sports based on their biological gender. The bill will soon be sent to Gov. McMaster for his signature.

We had to fight again last week for a bill to outlaw Critical Race Theory indoctrination from our classrooms and give parents more insight into what their children are being taught. Unfortunately, our original House bill never made it out of the Senate, so our original language was incorporated into a different Senate Bill and sent back for approval.

The House will reconvene on June 15th to finalize the state budget and review any gubernatorial vetoes.

Our budget centered around 4 R’s: increasing reserves, roads and infrastructure, raises for teachers and first responders, and over $1 billion in tax relief. It passed the House and was sent to the Senate, where they developed their own version. Given the differences, the House and Senate will each send three delegates to meet in a conference committee where they will reconcile the differences to write a final budget.

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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