Update: Start of 2019 Session

Ladies and gentlemen,
The General Assembly has just finished its second week of session, and I am happy to report the groundwork is being laid for a successful legislative year for the people of Newberry County and of South Carolina. Let me take a moment to update you on what’s happening at the State House.

Committee Assignments
At the start of this new session, I retained my seat on the Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee, joining the Wildlife subcommittee. I have also been assigned to the Operations and Management Committee, which oversees House personnel, administration, and management of facilities, including the Blatt Building.
Education Reform
On Jan. 9, we saw the inauguration of Gov. Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette, and our state’s constitutional officers. In his inaugural address, Gov. McMaster outlined education reform as a major priority for his administration. To this end, I am proud to share that I have introduced H. 3453, a bill that would provide public school teachers and full-time librarians with a daily 30-minute lunch period, independent of all responsibilities connected with the instruction and supervision of students. This is just one piece of well-needed reform for our state’s schools, and I believe it a necessary step to ensure a better working environment for educators and students alike.
Medical Reform
I have also introduced a bill, cosponsored by Rep. Bill Clyburn of Aiken, that would allow dental services and procedures for nursing home residents to be covered under Medicaid, just as other medical expenses are.
Second Amendment Defense and Tax Reform
I am also proud to announce that Constitutional Carry has been reintroduced, a bill that would allow anyone who is not prohibited by law to carry a concealable weapon within our state without needing a permit. Similar legislation was introduced last session, passing the House in 2017 by a vote of 64-46 before expiring in Senate committee. This act is a fundamental defense of our right to keep and bear arms, and I plan on supporting it completely. Sen. Shane Martin of Spartanburg has introduced similar legislation on the Senate side. Additionally, I will continue to make tax reform a top priority, and I plan to introduce legislation in coming weeks to this effect, picking up where we left off last session.
As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions or concerns.
Your friend and humble servant,
Rick