Our final work on the South Carolina 125th Legislative Session is now complete, and with it an effort to further restrict abortion in South Carolina is almost certainly finished for now.
In last week’s special gathering the House voted 95-11 to stop the Senate’s version of the abortion ban which differed from the earlier House version that had provided exceptions for rape and incest. This new House vote effectively stopped the measure from advancing to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk for approval.
What this means is that until State Supreme Court justices rule differently about the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, South Carolina remains under a 2016 law that bans abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy.
As I have addressed earlier in these columns, this 125th Session was certainly noteworthy in many ways, as your representatives in the General Assembly passed several major pieces of legislation affecting our state economy, our education systems, and infrastructure improvements moving forward.
There were also a number of smaller bills that were passed that you might not have heard about that might affect some of you, and I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the lesser noticed bills here before we move on to the next session in December.
Some originated in the House and others in the Senate. You can read more about any of them by taking note of the designation and visiting SCStatehouse.gov. For more details about any of these bills or others, simply type the bill number into the Quick Search tab at the bottom right corner of the website.
Teaching America’s Foundation (S.38): After years of battling the resistance from our state universities and colleges, we created the Reach Act which requires our public colleges to teach the U.S founding documents as a graduation requirement.
Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse (S.233): Following the death of a spouse, the surviving spouse may apply for a property tax exemption on the owner-occupied home.
Expanded Palmetto Fellow Scholarships (H.3017): We passed a bill allowing Palmetto Fellow Scholarship recipients to use their scholarship at a Technical College, which has not been previously allowed.
Military Retirement Income Tax Reduction (H.3247): South Carolina is a veteran-friendly state. Our new law allows military retirement income to be deducted from state taxable income.
Move Over (H.3011): Known as “Slower Traffic Move Right Bill,” this legislation states that the left lane on controlled access highways (those multi-lane highways that are free from any at-grade crossings with other roads) can only be used for passing other cars.
Freedom of Religion Act (H.3105): This new state law designates churches as essential services and prohibits the government from shutting them down in another pandemic or other emergency.
Sex Offenders Registry Fixed (S.4075): We updated and improved state’s sex offender registry. Following last year’s State Supreme Court order, the legislature changed the registry’s rules to allow ex-convicts to be removed if they aren’t likely to be re-offenders. Previously they had been registered for life.
Jeff Bradley is the representative for District 123 in the State House of Representatives.