October legislative update

I wanted to make you aware of what has happened in the last month.

I’ve worked hard to extend the comment period on proposed updated beachfront jurisdictional lines from SCDHEC that will impact first and, in many cases, second row properties regarding the structures that can be built or rebuilt according to where these lines are established.

SCDHEC is required by law to review these lines every 7 to 10 years based on the average annual erosion rates for all beachfront land. The comment period will end on Nov. 6th, but I’m seeking an extension because so many property owners are still unaware of the proposed changes. I’m pleased that Gov. McMaster is also calling for an extension of time. Click here for media coverage.

I was honored to host the freshman state House members (Republicans and Democrats) for a get together in Murrells Inlet over the Oct. 14-15 weekend. They stayed in the inlet and experienced our dining, fishing and golf. While all had a great time, there were meetings to discuss lessons learned from our first legislative session and plan for the upcoming session in January.

Last week I introduced a bill to the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that would vastly expedite the regulation of synthetic opioids or “designer drugs” by SCDHEC.

Rogue chemists slightly change the chemical structure of these synthetic opioids such that they circumvent drug laws. Currently, when a new unregulated synthetic opioid shows up on the market it takes SCDHEC at least two weeks to be able to list it as a controlled substance, while in the meantime it continues to be sold legally and subject to abuse. My bill would allow the SCDHEC Director to immediately list it as a controlled substance, allowing law enforcement to immediately crack down on its sale. Click here for committee video of the introduction.

Also last week I was in Columbia for the second meeting of the House Offshore Drilling Ad Hoc Committee. We heard from SCDNR, SCDHEC, Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic (N. Litchfield’s Peg Howell), S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute. I pointed out in this committee video that 5.1 billion barrels of oil have been spilled from offshore drilling, an amount that exceeds the estimate of oil off the Atlantic Coast.

We cannot afford to risk harming our economy and environment by effectively playing Russian roulette with oil rigs off our coast. Sooner or later our coast will catch a bullet in the form of a major oil spill disaster.

It’s great to be able to serve the district in the House of Representatives. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt