Check out my pre-filed legislation for 2021
Yesterday, I introduced bills that I believe will help us begin to address some of the systemic reforms we need to make when it comes to criminal justice, policing, racial justice, COVID-19 relief and support for utility ratepayers and South Carolinians who are sick, unemployed or forced to work in unsafe conditions.
I’ve highlighted a few of my pre-filed bills here:
The Transparency in Justice Act (S.334) aims to take on systemic issues in policing by implementing a number of reforms: allows the name, identity, or photo of a juvenile to be released if he or she publicly makes a threat and identifies himself or herself; requires private schools to contact law enforcement and parents when a threat is made against a student or school; defines and establishes criminal penalties for hate crimes; repeals South Carolina’s citizen’s arrest statute and limits it to when a person breaks into someone else’s home; bans the use of police choke-holds and no-knock warrants; requires de-escalation training and an investigation of potential white supremacy ties of police recruits; prevents further militarization of the police; and eliminates police officers’ qualified immunity in cases of unjustified officer-involved shootings.
The CAREN (Caution Against Racially Exploitative NonEmergencies) Act (S.336) provides a civil action against anyone who calls “911” and uses a person’s race or other protected status to summon law enforcement for the purpose of unlawfully discriminating against, harassing, humiliating, intimidating, expelling, arresting or otherwise infringing upon the person’s rights or damaging their reputation.
S.351 - addresses the restoration of voting rights and requires the state to give anyone convicted of a felony, written notice of their reinstated right to vote after completing their sentence and instructions on how to register upon their release from prison or completion of their probation/parole.
S.352 - repeals the SC statute that bans certain individuals convicted of a felony from receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. South Carolina is the only state that bans individuals convicted of a felony from receiving these benefits.
S.335 - decriminalizes personal use of marijuana, regulates its sale, and imposes penalties for violations.
S.342 - requires evaluations for law enforcement officers that include implicit bias assessments for candidates seeking certification or officers seeking recertification.
S.340 - requires nonprofit victim assistance organizations that serve domestic violence and sexual assault survivors to protect their confidentiality and privacy.
S.210 - provides health insurance to adults under the age of 65 whose income does not exceed 130% of the federal poverty level
COVID-19 RELIEF & SUPPORT
The Ratepayer Protection Act (S.344) has bipartisan support and requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to temporarily suspend the process by which a public utility seeks to change or increase its rates during a declared State of Emergency; prohibits a public utility from making a rate change until the State of Emergency Declaration has expired; suspends all timelines upon which the PSC may resume the process; A public utility that requests a rate change prior to a declared State of Emergency cannot increase the request once the Emergency Declaration has expired; if a rate change is initiated prior to the Emergency Declaration and granted after it is lifted, the new rate cannot go into effect until one year after the Emergency Declaration has expired.
S.159/S.343 - one minimum wage bill adjusts South Carolinas’s minimum wage by the rate of inflation annually; the other increases the state’s minimum wage by $2.00 above the Federal minimum wage, to $9.25 per hour
S.347 - increases the South Carolina Unemployment Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) from $326 to $401.
S.345/S.346 - The first imposes mandatory COVID-19 business and school safety protocols, and requires LLR to establish these protocols to help mitigate spread and protect employees. Every SC employer that is under SC OSHA jurisdiction must adhere to these standards. The other requires the State Board of Education to develop the same COVID-19 safety protocols and standards for schools.
S.350 - renews the state’s National Board Certification for teachers to incentivize these teachers to remain in the profession.
S.349 - restructures the South Carolina Public Employee Benefit Authority (PEBA) to include at least four licensed physicians, and at least three women; also requires the Board to consult with treating physicians and medical professionals when changing or modifying an insured’s health plan and prevents PEBA from overriding a treating physician’s prescribed procedures, treatments, and medications of insured patients.