Making Change Happen is more than a slogan. Making change happen defines the core of the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus. Over the last four years, the Senate Republican Caucus has been making change happen through tax relief, improved education opportunities, and by tackling some of the state’s most pressing issues. Here are just a few of the highlights from the beginning of this term which started in January of 2005.
Since 2005, the South Carolina Republican Caucus has voted to return more than $1 billion annually to taxpayers.
2005 – Small Business Income Tax Relief returns $129 million annually
2006 – Property Tax Relief/swap for .01 sales tax returns $480 million annually
2007 – Grocery Tax Relief returns $335 million annually
2007 – Elimination of bottom income tax bracket returns $86 Million annually
Education is one of the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus’ top priorities. Over the last four years the Caucus has worked to improve educational opportunities and standards for students.
2005 – High school course work customized to match students individual career interests.
2006 – Started a pilot program for full-day 4-year-old Kindergarten.
2006 – $11.3 million in new money went to help unsatisfactory and below average schools and districts.
2007 – Caucus fought to give all high school age students access to new virtual learning internet-based classrooms.
2008 – Maintained teacher salaries at $300 above Southeast average to attract more qualified teachers.
2008 – Eliminated Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test – State Department of Education currently developing new test to be given during for the first time during the 2008-2009 school year.
The Senate Republican Caucus realizes the economic future of our state rests in the hands of today’s children. Providing an education that meets the demands of the 21st century will remain at the forefront of our mission.
As South Carolinians we place great importance on conservative, family-values. The South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus also supports the preservation of these values.
2005 – Voted to put to a referendum the elimination of the state mandate of mini bottles in bars and restaurants
2006 – Unborn Victims of Violence Act redefined “person” for criminal statutes to include a fetus.
2006 – Expanded the definition of “safe havens” to included law enforcement agencies, synagogues, and churches as places a newborn can be taken when parents are unable/unwilling to provide adequate care.
2006 – The Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act made it illegal for minors to possess, purchase or be given tobacco products.
2006 – Jessica’s Law increased minimum sentencing for first-degree sexual conduct to 25 years and allows for capital punishment to be sought for a second offense against children under age 11.
2008 – Ultrasound bill requires physicians to perform ultrasound on women seeking an abortion after 14 weeks. Women must be notified of their right to see ultrasound images at anytime.
2008 – Public Invocation procedures were outlined, giving local governments appropriate guidelines to open meetings with the time-honored tradition of prayer.
The Senate Republican Caucus is dedicated to maintaining a strong conservative agenda that represents the majority of those living in and choosing to move to the Palmetto State.
South Carolina continues to look for smart legislative improvements that will bring business and industry to the state. The Senate Republican Caucus is working to create an environment that encourages growth and stays competitive.
2005 – Tort reform created a better legal climate for our state’s businesses: eliminated “jury shopping”, created penalties to discourage frivolous lawsuits, and reduced the statute of repose from 13 years to 8 years.
2006 – Dept. of Commerce received an additional $16 million from the General Fund, including $7million for a “Closing Fund” to be used in the recruitment of business and industry.
2007 – A record year in business development with over $4 billion in capital investment from business and industry creating over 15,600 additional jobs. Continuing a positive growth trend since 2005.
2007 – Brought about substantial reform to the Workers’ Compensation system, which has already shown results with lower than expected annual increases in premium costs for SC businesses.
2008 – Provided tax credits to companies that locate corporate headquarters in SC. Approved tax credits for revitalization of abandoned textile plants to encourage new development.
The Senate Republican Caucus will continue to seek out new opportunities to improve the environment for economic development with real solutions to tough challenges.
Improved access to quality, affordable healthcare is a major factor in the continued successful development of our state and the people who live here. The South Carolina Republican Caucus is committed to making healthcare affordable for the vast number of residents who are currently uninsured.
2005 – Voted to place a full-time nurse in every elementary school in the state.
2006 – Funded Breast Cancer Treatment and Screening Program with $1 million.
2007 – Established the Office of Healthcare Workforce Research to address the critical need for additional nurses in South Carolina.
2008 – Developed and passed legislations establishing the Small Business Healthcare Cooperative, giving small business more power to negotiate affordable health insurance premiums; thereby allowing more businesses to offer health insurance to their employees.
The Senate Republican Caucus will continue to lead efforts to improve access to quality, affordable healthcare in South Carolina and work with organizations that are proposing bold new approaches to the healthcare coverage to our citizens.
Other Important Statewide Issues
In addition to the traditional functions of state government, important issues surface in every session that must be addressed. Although, the issues may appear to be single hot-button issues how they are dealt with can have a lasting impact on our state. The Senate Republican Caucus has tackled several important issues since 2005.
2005 – Medical Malpractice Tort Reform, which was led by the Senate Republican Caucus, limited judgments against physicians in an effort to address the rising cost of healthcare. Members of the Senate Republican Caucus led the effort by introducing the bill that eventually became the prevailing law of the state.
2006 – Property Tax Reform removed the school-operating portion of the property tax on owner occupied homes. The Senate Republican Caucus also fought to reduce the state sales tax on groceries from 5% to 3% and later eliminated all state sales tax on groceries.
2007 – The Department of Transportation came under heavy scrutiny for the misuse of funds and poor management practices. The Senate Republican Caucus took on the job of reforming the structure and practices of DOT resulting in the agency having more focus and accountability.
2008 – Illegal immigration costs the state an estimated $186 million annually. The Senate Republican Caucus led the fight to stem the tide of a silent invasion. Today, South Carolina enjoys one of the strongest illegal immigration reform bills in the nation.
As you can see since 2005 the Senate Republican Caucus has been making change happen. We ask for your support as we work to maintain a majority in the South Carolina Senate. There are nineteen Republican candidates facing Democrat challengers for the South Carolina Senate: six incumbents and thirteen newcomers. In a season when “change” has become the buzzword, you can count on the South Carolina Senate Republican Caucus to continue its efforts of Making Change Happen.