Today begins the fifth week of our session. As I have mentioned before, when you come back for the second year of a two-year session, your plate is full from the start.

We (the Senate Republican caucus) have accomplished most of our goals in the timeline we set back in December. That doesn’t mean we always agree or have the same goals. But it does mean that most of us understand we are better off working together than working in silos. I also attribute that to the leadership of our Majority Leader, Senator Shane Massey from Edgefield.

The Senate passed five House bills, with no amendments, that have already been signed into law by Governor McMaster. We have also given third reading to several Senate bills that have been sent to the House. Click here for the full list. The bill that I received the most emails regarding (both for and against) was H3594 – Constitutional Carry. We have voted on this issue several times over the last eight years. The last time, it failed in the Senate by a close vote.

Two weeks ago on Wednesday, we stayed in session until almost midnight working on the issue. After a lot of back and forth, a compromise on an amendment was made to pass the bill. Plenty of people on both sides of the issue are mad that a compromise was reached.

The bill was amended to include stiffer penalties for people that aren’t supposed to be in possession of firearms. The Governor encouraged the House to pass the bill with our amendments, and they will vote this week to either non concur or amend the bill and send it back to the Senate.

After the initial vote by the House against the bill, the Governor released this statement:

“The decision today by Republicans in the South Carolina House to reject Senate changes to H3594 keeps the “revolving door” for career violent criminals wide open. For over two years law enforcement and victims of crime have been begging this General Assembly to pass a bill with stricter increased penalties for illegal gun use and possessions. This is how we keep career criminals behind bars and not out on bond shooting and killing innocent South Carolinians. The public is losing confidence. So am I.”

If needed, a conference committee will likely be set up to see if a compromise can be reached, but without stiffer penalties, the bill will not have the votes in the Senate to pass.

We still have a lot of work ahead of us over the next few months, including finishing the split of DHEC (Health and Environmental) and how they will operate, a “revamp” of our Read to Succeed program which strives to have everyone reading on a third grade level in third grade, S533 Tort Reform Bill (making it so you can’t be 1% at fault and pay 100% of the damages as it is now), the Budget, and many more issues.

On another note, don’t forget to vote in the upcoming Republican Presidential Primary. If you need to know where to vote, or want to vote early, I have included a few links below.

As always, thank you for the opportunity to represent District 8 in the South Carolina Senate. It is an honor and privilege that I do not take lightly. If there is anything I can do to help you navigate state government or if you just want to share your thoughts and concerns, please call my Columbia office at (803) 212-6148 and my assistant, Ja’vell Bynoe, will be happy to help you.

South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary Information  
The Republican Presidential Preference Primary will be held on Saturday, February 24.   To find out where you vote, click here.  

For polling site locations, click here.  

Early voting for the Republican Presidential Preference Primary is now open. Click here for dates, times, and available locations.

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