This is the official House Republican Caucus report on the weekly activities at the Statehouse. Mere publication on this website does not suggest my complete endorsement of all events described within.
There are nine days left in the legislative session for 2014. Last week, we wrote a bit about the House’s conservative achievements for the year.
This week marked the final week of committee meetings in the House, as we reserved the final three weeks of the session for floor work and conference committees. We were heartened to see the Senate approve its version of the state budget this week – raising expectations that we could have the state budget finalized, and vetoes considered, before June 5th.
As this time, there are 242 pieces of House legislation still awaiting action in the Senate. We’re certainly not calling for the Senate to pass all of them. But as the House Republicans have contentiously worked on passing a conservative agenda during the 2013-2014 session, we have once again witnessed much of that progress stall in the Senate.
This isn’t something new. Since the voters gave Republicans control of the House in 1994, we have voiced frustrations with the Senate’s inability to get conservative reforms passed. Term limits, a shorter session, numerous tax cuts, regulatory reform, and government streamlining have all repeatedly met their end in the Senate.
We approved a Department of Administration – giving the governor control of the executive branch – for 5 years before it was finally signed into law earlier this year. Shorter session legislation has been approved in every legislature for 20 years. Even this year’s attempt to shorten the session by one lone week remained marooned in a Senate committee.
So, as time winds down, what is still pending?
- Legislation that prevents unauthorized search and seizure of your smartphones without a warrant, especially now that our phones carry sensitive personal information that the government has no inherent right to seize;
- Legislation requiring drug-tests for people receiving unemployment benefits;
- Legislation prohibiting the implementation of Obamacare in South Carolina;
- Legislation establishing accountability-based funding for our colleges and universities;
- Legislation to allow the voters to decide if our Adjutant General should be appointed and not elected (legislation promoted by the current Adjutant General);
- Legislation allowing the dependents of our service men and women to receive in-state tuition at our public colleges;
- Legislation that will make our roads safer by putting new restrictions on texting while driving;
- Legislation expanding criminal background checks for childcare workers;
- Legislation reauthorizing the First Steps program;
- Legislation reforming our antiquated school funding formula;
- Numerous pieces of legislation to protect and enhance our state’s charter schools;
- Numerous pieces of legislation restricting the use campaign funds; and
- Legislation requiring a fiscal impact statement be computed for new regulations.
We have good, hard-working conservative colleagues in the Senate who feel the same frustrations, and this is not a criticism of their efforts to promote these reforms. The House worked hard, with much input from our constituents, to get these bills to the Senate. We hope the Senate will consider these bills in the time they have left.