Hope you had a good weekend. Here’s my legislative report.
On Thursday, as chair of the Ways and Means Property Tax Subcommittee, I held my first subcommittee meeting.
We passed out three bills, one of which, H. 3072, I sponsored that protects the four percent property tax assessment rate after a property owner dies until the decedent's estate is closed, upon the recording of a deed or deed of distribution out of the estate, or after December 31st of the year following the date of death, whichever occurs first, which I think is only fair.
Last week we passed landmark legislation that will ensure parents have more options and choices about how their children are educated.
S. 039, which establishes the Education Scholarship Trust Fund, will provide eligible elementary and secondary students from low income families with scholarships to cover their education expenses at the school of their choice -- expenses such as tuition and fees, instructional materials, tutoring, computer hardware, assessments, and transportation. These scholarships will be funded directly from the state budget, meaning no money is being directly taken from the current K-12 education budget or from existing public schools.
These scholarships are a critical step towards creating a more equitable education system in South Carolina as it recognizes the importance of school choice for families and gives every student an opportunity to succeed.
On Wednesday, we passed H. 3583, a bill that specifically targets the use of sexually explicit images or videos to extort money, sexual favors, or other benefits from a victim. South Carolina is now the 19th state to have its own laws against this type of cybercrime, which is an important step in protecting our citizens and deterring potential offenders.
The passing of this bill is particularly meaningful because one of my colleagues, Rep. Brandon Guffey, R-York, recently lost his son to this senseless crime. His tragic loss highlights the urgent need for this legislation, which will provide recourse for victims and send a strong message that sexual exploitation in any form is a serious crime that will not be tolerated.
I hope you’ll consider participating in “Palmetto Giving Day” this Tuesday and Wednesday, May 2-3. The Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation organizes this annual thirty-six hour online giving event that benefits nonprofit organizations in Georgetown County. Many of these organizations have matching donation opportunities during this event that will essentially double your donation.
For more information about Palmetto Giving Day and to make donations please visit PalmettoGiving Day.org.
Have a good week. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Rep. Lee Hewitt