Hewitt: Crossover week report

Good morning. Hope you had a good weekend.

Last Wednesday at 5 pm was the "crossover" deadline for when bills must have passed out of the House and have been sent to the Senate to be considered this year. Bills that didn’t meet the deadline require a 2/3 vote for the House to debate the bill.


The South Carolina Energy Security Act, which I cosponsored, is making rapid progress in the Senate, being passed out of the Judiciary Committee this week. This bill is a comprehensive strategy to ensure our state's energy future is robust and reliable, integrating new gas generation facilities and supporting a diverse energy mix to meet our growing needs.

H.4187, a vital measure to curb organized retail theft, passed the House on Wednesday. This legislation recognizes coordinated theft as a serious felony, reflecting its impact on our communities. Under this bill, involvement in organized retail crime could lead to significant penalties, enhancing security and deterring crime in our retail environments.

In our ongoing commitment to transparency, the House passed H.4622 on Wednesday, ensuring that healthcare providers must provide patients with an itemized bill in plain language within 30 days. This initiative, aimed at demystifying healthcare costs, will empower patients with clear information about the financial aspects of their care.

The Farmers Protection Act, passed by the House, swiftly moved through the Senate Agriculture Committee this week. This legislation protects our farmers from discriminatory financial practices based on environmental policies, ensuring that our agricultural sector remains vibrant and unimpeded by undue restrictions.

There are just four weeks left in the legislative session, we are at a crucial juncture in this session.

As the Senate considers critical bills passed by the House, we are also preparing to reconcile differences in the state budget to finalize our fiscal plans for the coming year. These discussions are pivotal in shaping a prosperous future for South Carolina.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

Hewitt State House Report

Happy Easter Monday. Here’s my legislative report.

It was good to see US Rep. Nancy Mace at the State House last week. When Nancy was in the state legislature, we worked together as the lead sponsors of a bill to outlaw child luring.


On Tuesday, the House passed the South Carolina Energy Security Act, a bill I cosponsored, which is a critical step to ensure our state can meet its growing energy demands. Recognizing that South Carolina's continued growth and economic development hinge on reliable energy, this bill takes a comprehensive “all-of-the-above” approach to enhance our energy infrastructure.

The act facilitates the development of new energy projects, including natural gas, to ensure we have the capacity to power our state's future, restructures the Public Service Commission to make energy regulation more efficient and responsive to our state's needs, and encourages a broad mix of energy sources, focusing on reliability and affordability for South Carolinians.

Wednesday brought the passage of H.4289, a bill that addresses the influence of Diversity Equity and Inclusion or DEI ideology in college admissions and employment decisions. The bill prohibits the use of diversity pledges in college admissions and employment, emphasizing qualifications and achievements, and protects free speech, ensuring all viewpoints are treated equally.

On Thursday, the House passed the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Fund to make liquor liability insurance more affordable for businesses in South Carolina. This move addresses the closure of many small businesses due to high insurance costs. The bill encourages businesses to lower their premiums by implementing staff training on responsible alcohol service and other preventive measures, thus reducing the risk and cost of insurance.

Next week, the House will be on furlough. This pause is not just a cost-saving measure; it allows us to prepare for the crucial period ahead as we approach the April 10 "crossover" deadline for when bills must have passed out of the House and have been sent to the Senate to be considered this year through the normal legislative process.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

Another busy week in Columbia

Good morning. Hope you had a good weekend.

On Tuesday I chaired a House Ways and Means Property Tax Subcommittee hearing on two bills.


H.4912 would allow resident civilian Dept. of Defense employees, who receive orders for a DoD civilian permanent duty or temporary change of station for at least one year, to retain their four percent property tax assessment ratio for as long as they remain on such orders.

H.4294 would allow county councils in rural counties a one-time millage rate increase beyond the rate limitation to replace fees the counties charge to support a fire protection district.

We voted both bills out of committee favorably.

On Thursday, a bill to expand the Education Scholarship Trust Fund program passed the House.

A one-size-fits-all approach to education falls short of meeting our children's varied needs. This legislative milestone underscores our dedication to providing families with unparalleled freedom in choosing the best educational pathways for their children.

This expansion is about fostering a culture of choice, innovation, and flexibility in education. I’m committed to ensuring that every child in our state has access to an education that not only meets their academic needs but also nurtures their individual talents and aspirations.

It’s important to secure a sustainable energy future for our growing state. Next week the House will debate the Ten-Year Energy Transformation Act, which would diversify our energy sources, with an emphasis on exploring nuclear energy potential and streamline regulatory processes to facilitate the swift development of new energy projects, ensuring our infrastructure can support South Carolina's continued growth.

As the discussion around Diversity Equity and Inclusion or DEI policies unfolds in our educational institutions, the upcoming debate on H.4289 is crucial. This bill aims to ensure that our colleges and workplaces emphasize merit and individual achievement over mandatory diversity pledges and training.

As we prepare to address this legislation, I’m focused on promoting an educational environment where equality and opportunity are not just ideals, but realities for all, aligned with our highest academic standards and federal laws. This approach reinforces our commitment to a merit-based system that truly values the contributions and potential of every individual.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

Report: Hewitt files for reelection, House passes state budget

I wanted you to know that on Saturday I officially filed for reelection to the House District 108 seat.


I’ve been privileged and honored to serve the residents of the district in Columbia. I share the conservative values of Georgetown and Charleston County residents and want to continue representing their interests in the House.

I ask for your continued support.

I’m honored to be the featured speaker at the Waccamaw Neck Republican Club meeting this evening, March 18th, at 7 pm at the Waccamaw Library, 41 St. Paul’s Place, Pawleys Island. Hope you can attend.

Last week was Budget Week. After casting 244 votes, the state budget bill passed the House on Tuesday.

With over $1.4 billion set aside for direct tax relief, critical investments in our aging infrastructure, and focused efforts on teacher recruitment and retention, this budget is a testament to our strategic approach to nurturing economic growth, supporting our educational system, and reinforcing our dedication to veterans and public safety.

This year’s careful budgeting has allowed us to provide over $624 million in new tax relief. This includes a $500 million property tax credit for homeowners, translating to an average savings of $359 per household, and an additional $100 million in individual income tax relief.

The budget allocates $230 million to enhance teacher salaries, setting a new minimum salary of $47,000 for first-year teachers. This $4,500 increase from the current school year, along with $40 million for classroom materials, $35 million for school buses, and $20 million for school safety enhancements, reflects our dedication to fostering a safe and enriching learning environment for all students.

To ensure our rapidly growing state remains both connected and economically vibrant, the budget invests $200 million into critical infrastructure, specifically targeting bridge improvements. These funds are allocated with a strategic, corridor-specific approach to address the most urgent bridge needs.

Veterans and first responders hold a special place in this budget, with over $85 million dedicated to healthcare improvements and facilities to honor their service. Additionally, strategic funding has been allocated to bolster law enforcement capabilities, ensuring the safety of our communities.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

Hewitt State House Report

Hope you’re doing well.

Wednesday was Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day at the State House. I was glad to meet with Ruth Keilen, Patty Younts, and Dr. Jon Bowman to talk about Alzheimer’s related issues, including the important Caregiver Respite Program funded by the state.


More than 95,000 South Carolinians have this terrible disease, with nearly 216,000 family members and friends providing care for them.

Also, on Wednesday, I was privileged to meet with the Georgetown County 4H Club at the State House.


I think the 4H pledge is something we should all strive to live by: “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

I welcome visits to my office in the State House and to attend House sessions and committee meetings. We’re usually in session Tuesday through Thursday. Groups are welcome. Please contact me to schedule a visit.

On Thursday, Gov. McMaster signed into law the Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act, which I strongly supported. South Carolina is now the 29th state in the country with constitutional carry. This act not only expands Second Amendment rights for law abiding citizens, it also ensures stringent penalties for those who violate the law to enhance public safety across our state.

Our resolve to empower parents with greater control over their children's education took a significant step forward with the introduction of H.5164, a bill to expand the Education Scholarship Trust Fund, which offers scholarships to eligible families to meet the education needs of their children. This bill passed favorably out of committee, and I expect it to be on the House floor in the coming weeks.

Next week promises to be pivotal as we're set to debate the state’s budget , H.5100. This comprehensive budget not only reflects our state's economic success but also reaffirms our dedication to prudent fiscal stewardship. This budget thoughtfully addresses essential areas such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic development, ensuring that our growing needs are met while maintaining our commitment to efficiency and fiscal responsibility.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

Bills advance to cut government bureaucacy, save taxpayers money, improve education

Good morning. Hope you had a good weekend.

After a week off, the House was back in session last week – a week was full of significant legislative advancements reflecting our commitment to reducing government bureaucracy, saving taxpayers money, and improving education through parental choice.

On Wednesday, I had the honor of introducing Jeff Massey, the SC Farm Bureau Farmer of the Week, from the House floor. Jeff owns Livingston’s Bulls Bay Seafood in McClellanville, a third-generation seafood business specializing in farm-raised oysters and clams, wild-caught shrimp and soft-shell crabs. He also serves on the board of the SC Shellfish Growers Association. Jeff is an outstanding representative of mariculture in our state.


The House made significant strides in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of our state's health services with the passage of H.4927, a bill I cosponsored that consolidates five healthcare agencies with overlapping services into one streamlined agency called the Executive Office of Health Policy. This bill will help achieve cost efficiency and enhance healthcare quality and accessibility. The new Secretary of Health and Policy, will be appointed by the Governor and serve in his cabinet.

One of the most significant achievements this year has been the successful launch of the Education Scholarship Trust Fund Program (ESTF), a testament to our commitment to enhancing educational opportunities. I was proud to have voted for and passed this bill last year and now coming full circle, this initiative offers eligible families $6,000 scholarships to tailor their children's education. With the March 15th application deadline approaching, I encourage interested families to apply by clicking here.

Last week, the House leadership joined Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver to announce a proposal for universal school choice aimed at expanding the ESTF program. This new legislation seeks to grant universal eligibility to all families by the 2026-27 school year, enhancing educational opportunities across our state.

Our South Carolina Constitution requires a balanced state budget. I believe the United States Constitution should also require Congress to pass balanced budgets after the federal government has accumulated over $34 trillion in debt.

In a decisive step towards ensuring fiscal responsibility and long-term economic stability, SC House Republicans, including myself, proudly passed legislation on Thursday that advocates for a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution, addressing the critical need to rein in federal spending and combat the escalating federal debt.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

Hewitt Report: NIL law, heathcare cost efficency, safeguarding 2nd Amendment rights

Good morning.

It was a pleasure to meet Dallas Cowboy star and NFL Hall of Famer Randy White at the State House. Randy testified before our Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee for more funding for opioid addiction treatment.


He spearheads a prevention program called “Coaches versus Overdoses,” designed to reduce overdoses through education and empowerment. Randy told the committee about the tragedy of his son-in-law, Jesse Dempsey, a professional snowboarder, who died in 2018 at age 42 after ingesting a single pill a friend gave him that he thought was an approved painkiller, but was laced with fentanyl.

I was honored to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony at Brookgreen Gardens for the new welcome center and conservatory called The Purdy Center. I appreciate the cultural and educational resources and conservation efforts that Brookgreen Gardens brings to our community.


On Wednesday, I was proud to support and ultimately pass H.4957, a landmark bill designed to empower college athletes in South Carolina with the ability to profit from their name, image, and likeness -- NIL.

This move, strongly supported by coaches from our state's top universities, promotes fair and equitable opportunities for student athletes, ensuring our state aligns with national standards in collegiate sports.

Also, on Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee passed H.4927, a bill that would merge the Dept. of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services and the Dept. of Mental Health, creating the Executive Office of Health and Policy. This legislation would eliminate healthcare fragmentation, gain cost efficiency, and enhance care quality and accessibility.

The House Republican Caucus remains unified in our commitment to the Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act. On Tuesday, we sent a clean version of the bill back to the Senate, underscoring our dedication to safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of South Carolinians.

Although the House will be on furlough next week, the Ways and Means Committee will meet on Tuesday. We’ll be working on the state budget bill, after conducting numerous subcommittee hearings over the last month to gather information for budget deliberations.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

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

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

SC House focuses on child safety

I wanted you to know that the focus in the House this week was on child safety.

After years of trying to get a bill outlawing child luring passed, it was a great victory for child safety for my bill, H.4825, to pass the House unanimously 113 to 0 on Tuesday.


My thanks for the overwhelming support from my colleagues and for the grassroots support that generated over 17,000 petition signatures in support of this important legislation that will help protect the young from luring and kidnapping.

On Wednesday, we achieved a significant milestone with the passage of the “SC Social Media Regulation Act.” I was glad to support this vital piece of legislation that gives us more control over our children's use of social media. By mandating age verification and requiring parental consent for minors’ accounts, we’re taking proactive steps to shield our youth from potentially harmful online content.

Similarly, we passed the “Child Online Safety Act.” This legislation will protect our children from inappropriate online content, particularly pornographic material. I’m proud to have voted for a law that places a crucial responsibility on commercial entities to implement robust age verification methods, ensuring a safer online environment for children.

The "SC Telehealth and Telemedicine Modernization Act," which I cosponsored, passed the House and Senate on Wednesday and is headed to Gov. McMaster for his signature. This bill will improve access to healthcare services for all South Carolinians, especially those in remote or underserved areas, and ensure telehealth services are provided within the same rigorous standards as in-person care.

On Wednesday, Rep. Carl Anderson, D-Georgetown, and I met with Georgetown County Library Director Dwight McInvaill and members of the Friends of the Georgetown Library -- Bob Willey, Jackie Hoelscher, Rachael Jobin, Vennie Deas Moore, and Pam Toemmes – to discuss statewide public library funding.


I welcome visits to my office in the State House and to attend House sessions and committee meetings. We’re usually in session Tuesday through Thursday. Groups are welcome. Please contact me to schedule a visit.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.

Gov. McMaster's State of the State address, progress on bills in the House

I hope you’re doing well.

On Wednesday I had the honor of attending Gov. McMaster’s State of the State address.

He praised South Carolina's economic growth, focusing on advanced manufacturing and tourism, and outlined a significant plan to modernize our healthcare system by consolidating key agencies.

I commend the Governor’s emphasis on the importance of education and infrastructure, and addressing our commitment to public safety.

A big focus in the House this week was the safety and well-being of our children in the digital age.

The “Child Online Safety Act," passed the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. This bill sets stringent guidelines for website and online application operators, designed to ensure that minors are not exposed to inappropriate content on the internet.

Another important bill, the “Social Media Regulation Act,” aims to require parental consent for minors to create social media accounts and places restrictions on access during certain hours. It will soon be debated on the House floor.

On Thursday I voted in favor of H.3523, which establishes a "Fallen First Responder Survivor Advocate" to assist families of deceased first responders in accessing benefits and support.

The Ways and Means Committee met on Wednesday and we passed a bill I cosponsored, H.4710, which would index our state’s unemployment benefits on seasonal adjusted statewide unemployment rates, which would be a win for our state’s people, businesses, and economy.

On Tuesday I welcomed Dr. Gerald Harmon of Tidelands Heath to serve as “Doctor of the Day” for the House of Representatives. For Dr. Harmon, who is the past president of the American Medical Association, this was his 32nd year serving as Doctor of the Day.

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

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.