Education reform was once again in the forefront this week. As always, I am grateful and pleased with all of the comments I have received from our community on fixing this issue. We are working hard to make this comprehensive reform bill the best it can be for our students and teachers while being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money.
Civil Asset Forfeiture
On Wednesday, I joined with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce legislation that would change the way civil forfeiture cases are handled. Right now, law enforcement can seize property from residents, sometimes without charging or convicting them of a crime, and then profit from the proceeds. H. 3968 ensures that no person can lose their property unless they are convicted of a crime. This is needed reform that protects both citizens and law enforcement. Thank you all for your feedback and bringing this to my attention.
Tucker Hipps Transparency Act
The House passed H. 3398 on Wednesday to make the Tucker Hipps Transparency Act permanent. This law requires public institutions of higher education to maintain a report of student misconduct investigations related to fraternity and sorority organizations. I voted in favor for this initiative.
DUI Driving Law
In an effort to crack down on drunk driving, the House passed a bill that will end a loophole in our current DUI law that allows those charged with drunk driving to get back on the road within days of their arrest. H. 3312 would force DUI offenders to have ignition-interlock devices (breathalyzers) in order to start the engine of their cars. The proposed law unanimously passed second reading and is supported by Governor McMaster and Attorney General Alan Wilson.
Education Reform Meeting
Over 1,000 teachers, students and other members of the public had the opportunity to give their input on H. 3759 during the K-12 subcommittee meeting on Tuesday night. The subcommittee, and many other Representatives not on the Education Committee, stayed for the entire 5-hour meeting to listen to feedback on different components of the bill. Right now, there are eighty bipartisan cosponsors on the legislation, each of whom are dedicated to providing students with a quality education that prepares them with the skills they need to succeed. (More on education below.)
Facts on Education Reform
All teachers will get a raise. The base starting teacher pay will increase to $35,000. All other teachers will receive a raise that will bring them above the Southeastern average with a goal of moving teacher pay to the national average within 5 years.
This bill will eliminate 4 of the 6 mandated state assessment test…giving teachers more time for classroom instruction. We will eliminate the 8th grade science test, the 5th and the 7th grade social studies tests, and the U.S. History end-of-course test. Doing away with these tests will save an estimated $3.1 million and allow more time for classroom instruction.
This bill allows the elected State Superintendent of Education to remove a principal or teacher as a last resort if, after intensive assistance, a school has chronically underperformed for 3 of the last 4 years. Any teacher or principal can be hired back at the discretion of the State Superintendent of Education.
For more information on the education reform bill, check out this fact sheet: https://www.schousegop.org/more
Welcome to the State House
I’m finally getting my office decorated at the State House. While I may sit at the desk, this office belongs to the people of SC District 21. My door is always open to you and you are welcome to visit any time.