We have been extremely busy in the South Carolina House of Representatives over the last two weeks, but I wanted to make time to provide an update as we are moving forward with important legislation.
Dorchester House Delegation Moves Bill to Make Dorchester 2 Single Member Districts
On February 13, 2023, the Dorchester County legislative delegation held a meeting to discuss a proposal to have Dorchester District 2 School Board members be elected through a single- member district system.
Currently, school board members are elected at-large and can live anywhere within Dorchester School District 2. During the 2022 election, 13 candidates ran for 4 school board seats. A change to single-member districts would divide the school district into 7 geographical areas much like the way Dorchester County Council is elected.
It is important to note that school board elections will remain non-partisan, but this legislation has bi-partisan support from the Dorchester County Republican Party and the Dorchester County Democratic Party.
I want to thank everyone who came out to the public hearing. It was a great turnout, and I really appreciate all the feedback from both sides of the issue. At the public hearing, a vast majority of speakers supported the change. Many commented that this governing structure would provide direct representation and increase geographic diversity on the School Board. Currently, the vast majority of District 97 does not have a resident school board member.
On February 17, I joined my fellow Dorchester Delegation members in the House in voting to pass legislation approving the single-member districts. The bill now lies in the state Senate where I expect it to be approved and sent to the Governor for his consideration.
S.C. House Protects the Sanctity of Life
As a fierce defender of life, I proudly voted on February 15 for passage of the Human Life Protection Act. This bill ensures that life is protected at conception. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House of Representative by a vote of 77-31.
H.3774 will allow a licensed physician to perform an abortion only in cases where a pregnancy results from incidents of rape or incest, when a fatal fetal anomaly is present, or when the life of the mother is at risk.
The bill explicitly protects contraception, in vitro fertilization [IVF], and other assistive reproduction technologies. In addition, biological fathers will be responsible for paying 50 percent of the birth mother’s pregnancy expenses from the time of conception as well as child support to be calculated from the date of conception.
The bill now moves over to the Senate. I will keep you updated on its progress.
2nd Amendment Protection Strengthened Through House Bill
Last Wednesday, I proudly voted to restore a constitutional freedom that will provide more options for individuals and families to protect themselves in SC. H.3594, the Second Amendment Preservation Act. The landslide 90-30 vote brings us one step closer to joining 25 other states with some form of “Constitutional Carry” laws. This bill ensures that South Carolinians who can lawfully own a firearm have the right to carry it openly or concealed, except with limited restrictions.
This bill was developed with the help of SC’s top law enforcement officials to make it tougher on felons who carry guns. For any felon charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm, first-time violators could face up to 5 years in jail, second-time offenders would face 5 to 20 years, and third-time or more violators would face 10 to 30 years in prison.
The bill now heads to the Senate. I will keep you updated on the progress of this bill.
It is my honor to represent you. Feel free to contact me at RobertRobbins@schouse.gov or 803-212-6973.