The 2019 Legislative session is off to a surprisingly fast start. I think we have been much more organized in the start of this two-year session after realizing how little time we have since we shortened the session a couple of years ago (a decision that in hindsight doesn’t look as good as it did when we passed it).

This is my seventh year serving you in Columbia. For the first time, I see the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Governor on the same page regarding a major issue – Education Reform. Governor McMaster talked about it in his State of the State address, Speaker Lucas has made it his priority, and the Senate is doing the same.

Under the leadership of the new Senate Education Committee Chairman, Senator Greg Hembree of Horry County, we have filed S.419, which is the same bill that has been filed in the House.

Senator Hembree appointed me to the sub-committee that meets for the first time this Wednesday to get a two-hour overview of the bill. As both Senator Hembree and Speaker Lucas have said, this is a starting point, but at least we are working from the same script.

Two other issues that will dominate this session are the potential sale of Santee Cooper and the billion dollar budget surplus, which leads to the Tax Reform discussion that needs to happen. I will write more about these in detail in future newsletters.

We also have other pressing matters such as making sure we have a secure Election in 2020, Pension Reform, and salary increases for all Government employees.

For a list of the bills passed in the Senate last week and what is coming up this week, click here. This link is to the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus website, which is a good resource for Senate information and updates.

As always, thank you for the privilege of serving as your Senator for District 8. If you ever need anything or help navigating state government, please contact my assistant, Ja’Vell Bynoe, at (803) 212-6148 or email her at

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