Gun Debate Results in Constitutional Carry
A bill that would allow South Carolina residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit has passed the SC House of Representatives.
The legislation eliminates the requirement that gun owners get a concealed weapons permit (CWP) in order to carry a pistol. The bill tries not to change any other section of state law regarding how an individual can purchase or gun or where they could carry. The locations that are off-limits for concealed carry now would remain so under the bill. It also bans “open carry” – a term used when a legal gun owner wears their gun in a visible location.
Proponents of “Constitutional Carry”, where the gun must be concealed, argued the eight hours of classroom training currently required to get a CWP is not designed as a basic training class to teach people that have never had a firearm in their hands how to shoot a firearm.
The measure now heads to the Senate, where procedural rules make it highly unlikely to pass before this year’s session ends in June. A Senate committee shot down an “open carry” bill last year, but Republicans in the chamber have shown more favor towards concealed carry.
Next week the House will take up legislation that would recognize Georgia CWP holders in SC. Georgia does not recognize SC citizens who have a license to conceal their weapons; it’s hoped that passing the bill would push Georgia lawmakers to do the same.
Legislative News in Brief…
The House Education Committee approved legislation allowing veterans to get in-state tuition at SC state colleges and universities as soon as they become residents. Final passage is urgent in order to bring the state in line with a new federal law. If we don’t take final action next week, the federal government won’t allow military veterans in SC access to GI Bill benefits starting July.
Police Body Cameras
A pair of bills on the use of body cameras by police advanced through Senate and House Committees. The bills are very different. The House version crafts a study that would examine those police and sheriff’s departments in SC already using the cameras, while the Senate version would require all law enforcement agencies to have their own regulations in place within nine months.
Both the House and Senate want to oust SC State’s Board of Trustees because of the financial turmoil at the school. At issue is who would replace them. The Senate wants a new interim five-member board chosen by legislative leaders, while the House proposal would have members of the Budget and Control Board make the appointments. Yesterday, the House passed what is viewed as compromise: instead of five members, the new SC State board would have seven. It would combine both bills so that each elected official in both versions would pick the new panel.
Clemson University received initial permission from the legislative bond committee to buy a private jet to be used primarily for athletic recruiting and fundraising. The cost is an additional $400,000 a year. No taxpayer money is involved.
Clemson’s athletic booster group, IPTAY, has committed to pay $4.5 million towards the plane. The school has been chartering the state plane whenever needed. USC already owns its own plane.
Borrowing for Building
A Senate panel approved borrowing $236.7 million for building projects, mostly at SC colleges and technical schools. The Senate bond bill is roughly half the size of a nearly $500 million borrowing proposal defeated last month in the House. The Senate bond bill includes $130.7 million for public colleges and $91 million for technical schools. There are predictions the bond bill could fail on the Senate.
Turkey Hunting Reduced
A bill is on the way to the governor that would decrease the number of male turkeys that can be killed each year from five birds to three. There are warnings that the population of turkeys in SC is declining.
The House voted to ban animal shelters from using gas to euthanize animals. Instead, it would require shelters to use what animal protection groups say are more humane methods to put down dogs or cats when the shelter is no longer able to care for the animals. Little would change since the last shelter in SC to use so-called “gas chambers” ended the practice two years ago.
The SC House of Representatives honored the Lady Gamecocks basketball team for their sensational season. South Carolina finished the regular season ranked No. 3 in the nation in both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll, the highest finish in program history. South Carolina advanced to its first NCAA Final Four in school history – men’s or women’s. The Gamecocks claimed the program’s first SEC Tournament title AND four-year seniors, Aleighsa Welch and Elem Ibiam make up the most successful senior class in program history with 113 wins and a .813 winning percentage.
Teacher of the Year Rosalyn Green
Teacher of the Year
Rosalyn Green was named the ‘Teacher of the Year’ of the Aiken County Public Schools. A 7th grade English language arts teacher at Jackson Middle School, Rosalyn said she was shocked by her selection. We’re proud of all the dedicated teachers, and especially each ‘Teacher of the Year’ selected by their peers at each school. They exemplify the best-of-the-best in teaching our children.
Aiken Tech as achieved the highest graduate job placement rate in SC, rated above 15 other colleges in the technical system in the state. 2012-13 rating was 96.7% of graduates either finding jobs in their field of study or continuing on in education. Statewide average was 86%. Way to go Aiken Tech!
Volunteers at Aiken Elementary
This morning I took my “State House to School House” tour to East Aiken Elementary School of the Arts. I spoke with 3rd graders about state government. In addition, I joined a breakfast honoring the many volunteers who assist at the school. It was a pleasure to present the volunteers recognition and a “Thank You’ from the House of Representatives.
Aiken Elementary 3rd Graders
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.