By Stan Welch
State Representatives West Cox (House District 10) and Anne Thayer (House District 9), in an impromptu conference call telephone interview recently, touched on some of the House’s most significant legislative achievements during the last session of the General Assembly.
Representative Thayer quickly named the designation of South Carolina as a Second Amendment sanctuary state, a status that negates any federal attempts at abridgement of the right to bear arms, as a major step. “We still have some work to do on pursuing and passing constitutional carry, but the sanctuary bill was very important for the state and its citizens,” said Thayer. Constitutional carry would allow open carry by a citizen, without permit or any formal training in the handling of a firearm.
She also pointed out that the General Assembly, in contrast to a liberal trend towards defunding law enforcement, actually increased funding for law enforcement, allocating an additional $21.1 million. She added that improvements and expansion of access to broadband infrastructure was also increased.
A heartbeat bill, which recognizes and protects a fetus as a viable human being once a heartbeat can be detected also passed.
Representative Cox, who is also the current chairman of the Anderson County Legislative Delegation, referred to a bill proposed by them that special purpose elections, such as bond issues or other referendum questions be held during general election years. The bill was introduced as a result of a special election held earlier this year concerning an increase in the fire commission tax levy. The off election year scheduling not only incurred an additional cost for conducting the election, but also resulted in a paltry voter turnout that some question as being representative of the general public.
The General Assembly also proposed a constitutional amendment that would require the state to increase its reserve fund from five per cent of the budget to seven per cent. That would be presented as a referendum question on the ballot during a general election, if the General assembly approves the proposed amendment.
Both Cox and Thayer shared the news that the House and Senate had voted to override Governor McMaster’s veto of several line items in the 2021-2022 budget. One of the items restored will provide three hundred fifty thousand dollars for further development of the Dolly Cooper Park, while the other item will allocate two hundred twenty thousand dollars to enable the Mill Town Players community theater to upgrade their lighting system. The necessary equipment is currently being rented at an oppressive level.
By Stan Welch