It is hard to believe the first year of the 2023-2024 Legislative Session concluded a couple of weeks ago. It feels like we just met as a caucus to discuss what our agenda would be for the next 2 years.

Our focus this year was on prioritizing public safety, increasing transparency and fiscal responsibility in the budget process, continuing to reform our education system, increasing teacher salaries and providing more money for safe schools, and reforming our state government so it can better respond to our needs.

Even though it is always a mad dash at the end of session, I thought the legislature and the Governor’s office worked as well together this year, based on what I have seen in what now concludes my 11th year in the Senate. It’s nice to know that Columbia is not like Washington.

I am very confident we made great strides in securing an even better future for South Carolina. Below is an overview of the legislative session. To see a list of the bills passed and signed by the Governor, click here.

By the numbers:

-1,560 general bills & joint resolutions introduced.
-808 concurrent, Senate/House resolutions introduced.
-590 general bills & joint resolutions introduced in the Senate.
-384 votes taken in the Senate.
-149 general bills & joint resolutions passed by the Senate.
-Ninety-eight bills signed into law.

We did have a successful session, but we left without addressing Joint and Several Liability Reform. You will be hearing about more and more music venues, bars, and restaurants closing because they can’t afford to purchase the mandated liquor liability insurance– if they can find it. 

It will take the passing of some serious tort reform like S 533, to even be able to get the insurance markets that have pulled out to consider returning to our state. This bill is in subcommittee, and I understand they plan to meet before we get back in session to have it ready early next year.

Do you remember the question on the Republican Primary ballot last year that asked, “Do you think someone should only be responsible for the percentage they are “at fault” when they are in an incident?” (Paraphrased by me – but the result was “yes” by an overwhelming majority.)
In South Carolina right now, you can be found to only be 1% at fault and yet held responsible for the total amount of the loss. Some call it the “search for the deep pocket”.

The hospitality industry is not the only one affected; trucking, manufacturing, retail, and many others feel the impact of increased insurance rates. I believe people should pay their fair share – nothing less, nothing more.
Celebrating our Nation
As we prepare to celebrate July 4th and our great nation’s birth, it dawned on me that we are only 3 years away from the Sestercentennial (250 years) celebration. I remember being so excited at the age of 12 to celebrate the 200 year birthday of the USA!

To highlight the impact that South Carolina played in the birth of our country, the legislature created a committee in 2018. The committee has created a trail of over sixty battlegrounds in South Carolina that you can visit. Click here to learn all about the activities planned.