In week 9 of the 2023 South Carolina General Assembly, my colleagues and I made tremendous progress in several areas of importance to all South Carolinians. First, we restructured state government to better assist the development of our workforce. Second, we landed the largest economic development investment in the history of the state. Third, we are positioned to pass a state budget that will invest in our people and the core functions of government.
Investing in South Carolina’s Workforce
A vibrant workforce is critical to sustaining and growing our state’s economy, and it is imperative that we ensure the tools and resources needed to succeed are ready and available to all South Carolinians.
On Wednesday, I voted to make an investment in education and workforce development that will provide the tools and resources to create jobs, and help students, parents, and job seekers make informed career choices. H.3726, the Statewide Education and Workforce Development act, will deliver value-added services to business customers by collaborating with them to address skills shortages in priority industries and in-demand occupations. This bill will also address employment obstacles in order to increase labor participation.
The goal of this bill is to eliminate duplication, improve efficiencies, and achieve a more coordinated approach in our workforce and education pipeline. We must prepare our future workforce for our evolving industrial economy and this bill is a great starting point.
Streamlining DOT Contract Process
The House unanimously passed S.361, a bill to remove the requirement for pre-approval of construction contract extensions by the DOT Commission. Instead, it will allow DOT engineers to make immediate decisions to improve efficiency in construction. The Commission will then ratify any extensions at their next commission meeting.
As a former DOT Commissioner, I can attest that this will help streamline the DOT contract process on important infrastructure projects around our state to ensure they are not bridled with bureaucratic delays.
On the Horizon: The State Budget
The House Ways & Means Committee wrapped up weeks of hearings and approved the preliminary 2023-24 state budget. This initial budget proposal is a starting point for debate on the House floor. The budget proposal is fiscally conservative and focuses on our key functions of government. The state’s fiscal year starts July 1.
The Full House will debate the budget starting March 13 until it is passed. It will then go to the Senate for consideration. I am committed to ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and in a way that directly improves the lives of South Carolinians.
As always, feel free to reach out to me on any issues that concern you. It is my honor to represent you. Feel free to contact me at RobertRobbins@schouse.gov or 803-212-6973.