Hewitt Report: House legislative session ends

I hope you’re doing well.

As the gavel fell at 5 pm last Thursday, the House adjourned the 2023-2024 legislative session. The final week was a whirlwind of legislative activity.

Our discussions on the FY 24-25 state budget bill were intense and productive. The budget bill will go to a conference committee to work out the differences in the House and Senate versions. I will continue to share updates as more work is completed on the budget in the coming weeks.

We’ve taken a significant step towards safeguarding our children online with the passage of the Child Online Safety Act. This pivotal legislation, which now awaits Gov. McMaster's signature, mandates age verification on websites displaying pornographic content to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate material.

The Judicial Merit Selection Commission reform bill, S.1046, reached a critical phase as it moved into a conference committee where both chambers will work through their differences. This reform seeks to enhance the transparency and accountability of our judicial selection process in electing judges, responding directly to the overwhelming 91% of Republicans in our Presidential Primary who demanded these changes.

Last week, we continued to champion the Ten-Year Energy Transformation Act, a pivotal bill aimed at ensuring South Carolina's long-term energy independence. Although the Senate returned the bill with amendments, we remained committed to our comprehensive approach. The bill has now moved to a conference committee, where we will work diligently to reconcile differences and finalize a plan that truly reflects our vision for a sustainable energy future for our state.

I was honored to support the passage of S.969, which significantly increases the daily subsistence allowance for our law enforcement officers, firefighters, and EMS personnel. This legislation also raises the maximum tax deduction for first responder volunteers from $3,000 to $6,000 annually, acknowledging the sacrifices made by those who ensure our safety. These changes underscore our deep appreciation and firm commitment to supporting the brave individuals who protect our communities.

It's a privilege and honor 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: Just three days left in legislative session

Hope you had a good weekend.

As we approach the end of this legislative session -- there are just three days left -- I want to update you on several key issues that have been at the forefront of our discussions at the State House.

My bill to outlaw child luring, H.4825, was reported favorably out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with an amendment. It will now go to a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions.

This is a bill that passed the House 113 to 0 in February after years of effort and grassroots support that generated over 17,000 petition signatures in favor of this important legislation that will help protect the young from luring and kidnapping.

Last week, significant strides were made with the “Help Not Harm” bill, aimed at regulating gender transition procedures for minors. The Senate passed this bill with amendments that include a provision requiring schools to inform parents if a child uses a name or behaves in a manner inconsistent with their sex. This bill aims to protect minors from irreversible decisions. It now returns to the House for concurrence on the amendments.

The House Judiciary Committee moved forward with S.1, creating a felony offense for fentanyl-induced homicide. This legislation is crucial as we combat the devastating impacts of fentanyl in our communities. The bill differentiates penalties between dealers and individuals sharing fentanyl, reflecting the seriousness of each scenario. I stand behind this bill as it progresses through the legislative process, reinforcing our stance against the opioid crisis.

The House agreed on S.1126, which clarifies voter qualifications in our state constitution, ensuring that only registered citizens can vote. This resolution is essential for maintaining the integrity of our electoral process, and I am pleased to report its progression towards ratification.

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 legislative report - Week 16

Good morning. Here’s my report for the 16th week of the legislative session.

On Thursday, I was pleased to see Ray Funnye, founder and volunteer Executive Director of The Village Group in Plantersville, presented with the Governor’s Volunteer Administrator of the Year Award. Ray, who also serves as Georgetown County’s Public Services Director, has greatly impacted his community with his volunteer efforts and is very deserving of the award.


Ray was nominated for the award by the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation. Executive Director Geales Sands, far left, and Senior Director Ashley Nelson, far right, attended the award ceremony.

Also, on Thursday, I was glad to introduce Dr. Michael Bohan of OrthoSC in Murrells Inlet as Doctor of the Day for the House of Representatives.


Last week marked the completion of the Senate's discussions on our state budget bill. The bill has been returned to the House for further debate. In the coming weeks, we’ll work diligently to finalize the budget, ensuring it aligns with our state’s fiscal goals and priorities.

The House Judiciary Committee worked to merge House and Senate versions of bills to create the Executive Office of Health and Policy in an effort to streamline healthcare services, improve coordination across various agencies, and enhance the governor's oversight in public health emergencies.

The House Judiciary Committee has approved an amendment to ensure that only registered citizens can participate in our electoral process. This move is crucial for maintaining the integrity of our elections and ensuring that every vote cast is lawful and valid.

The Senate has prioritized the "Help Not Harm" bill. This legislation, initially passed by the House, seeks to regulate gender transition procedures for minors, aligning with our commitment to safeguard the well-being of South Carolina's youth. The bill prohibits healthcare professionals from administering gender transition procedures to individuals under eighteen.

I was proud to vote in favor of H.4042, which formally adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism into state law. This critical legislation, now awaiting the governor's signature, reinforces our firm stance against antisemitism and our commitment to safeguarding the Jewish community from hate crimes.

There are just two weeks left in the legislative session.

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: 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.