We are back in Columbia this week, and I wanted to update you on a few pieces of legislation that we took up prior to our weeklong furlough last week. We worked furiously to get bills over to the Senate to meet the ‘crossover’ deadline.
The ‘crossover’ deadline is the last day to send bills to the other chamber for consideration in this legislative year. That way we can spend the last remaining weeks we are in session working to get bills to the Governor’s desk instead of bills to just the other chamber.
Protecting Our Pension System
In the last week we were in session, I voted in support of H.3690, the ESG Pension Protection Act. This bill ensures the $39 billion in the state’s pension system is invested to maximize the returns for the more than 600,000 state and local government employees rather than whether a company scores well on a Environmental-Social-Governance report that may not be indicative of financial performance.
I do not believe we should use public dollars and those of our state and local government retirees to push a liberal agenda. We should focus on financial returns for those retirees to ensure a secure retirement.
With the deadline quickly approaching for bills to “crossover” to the Senate, I, along with fellow House Republicans, spent the last week (April pushing legislation over the finish line to have it ready for consideration in the Senate.
Needed Adoption Reform
Also, that week, I worked to pass a collection of five adoption-related bills designed to make the process of adopting children in our state less burdensome, while ensuring safety and integrity in the system.
These bills facilitate family members to become legal guardians when adoption is not an option or minors, eliminate the 90-day waiting time to finalize an adoption, allow family court judges to waive pre- and post-adoption report requirements, speed up the adoption process, and allow permanency planning hearings to include termination of parental rights determinations.
These bills passed unanimously and mark some of the most significant efforts to make adoption easier for families.
Paid Parental Leave for School District Employees
Allowing new parents to take time off to care for their children without sacrificing their income or job security is critical in retaining experienced teachers and attracting new teachers. On Wednesday I voted in support of H.3908 that will allow teachers who become new parents – either upon the birth or adoption of a child – six weeks paid leave which is the same leave available to other state employees.
Banning the Dangerous “Carolina Squat Truck”
On Tuesday, I voted to pass H.3414, which bans ‘carolina squat trucks’, a dangerous vehicle modification that raises the front end of a vehicle high enough that it impedes a driver’s ability to see over the hood. This endangers pedestrians, especially small children, and creates safety hazards, including large blind spots, braking difficulties, and airbag malfunctions.
There have been many fatalities across our state, including a child in Myrtle Beach.
Supplying Life Saving Medication
As the opioid epidemic continues to affect communities across the United States, it is imperative that we make life saving medication available in our schools to respond quickly to an overdose emergency, and potentially save the life of a student or staff member.
On Thursday I voted to pass H.4122, which will allow school nurses, in addition to SROs, to stock and administer Narcan. Funding to purchase the medication has already been allocated by DHEC.
The House also unanimously passed H.3691, which allows coroners to stock and administer life saving medication such as Narcan in the event they encounter overdose victims.
It is my honor to represent you. Feel free to contact me at RobertRobbins@schouse.gov or 803-212-6973.