We concluded the first leg of the two-year legislative session on Thursday at 5 pm; however, very quickly, we will be going into extra innings as Governor Henry McMaster called us back into session for this week to take on more legislative issues.
But, last week, because of the end of the normal session, we saw a flurry of activity. We spent the week wrapping up the ambitious, conservative agenda that I laid out in my priorities at the beginning of the session: improve statewide economic development, reform our education system, increase personal freedom, and prioritize public safety.
We finished the week with these legislative achievements getting over the finish line:
Restructured DHEC to Better Serve Citizens
Modernizing government agencies and making them more efficient has been a major priority, and we took a huge step in doing that. S.399 will split the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to create the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Services. Under this restructuring:
- Both the Department of Public Health and the Department of Environmental Services would become cabinet agencies with their directors being appointed by the Governor with advice and consent of the Senate; and
- Certain veterans nursing homes would be transferred to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs;
- The food safety program would be transferred to the Department of Agriculture;
- The flood mitigation program currently housed with the Department of Natural Resources would be transferred to the Office of Resiliency;
- Water Resources would be transferred from the Department of Natural Resources to the Division of Water within the Department of Environmental Services.
Protecting Children Through Gavin’s Law
In 2022, Gavin Guffey was a seventeen-year-old victim of sextortion that resulted in him taking his own life. The scammers tricked Gavin into sharing compromising photos and then threatened to publicly share these photos. He ended his life out of fear and shame. Gavin had just graduated from high school and was planning to study education in college to become an art teacher
Rep. Bradon Guffey, Gavin’s father and one of my colleagues, has turned a tragedy into action to prevent other families from suffering a similar fate. His bill, H.3583, would make sextortion a crime punishable by up to twenty years in prison and an additional twenty years if the crime results in the death of the victim. The bill would also require school districts to inform students and faculty about the dangers of sextortion. The bill would separate the offenses of a minor from those of an adult perpetrator.
The Senate honored Rep. Guffey’s late son by adopting an amendment naming the bill Gavin’s Law. The bill was then given second reading by a 43-0 vote and automatic third reading Friday, and will be returned to the House for concurrence before being ratified and sent to the Governor for signature.
Banning CRT is One Step Closer
This bill which was passed by the House in February was debated on the Senate floor this week and passed along with a few amendments that encourage parental involvement. H.3728 intends to keep bias out of the classroom and schools should foster a positive learning environment where they have a positive learning experience, free from discrimination. The bill will now come back to the House so we can vote on the revised bill.
It is my honor to represent you, the citizens of District 97. Feel free to contact me at RobertRobbins@schouse.gov or 803-212-6973.