House Representative Spencer Wetmore: July 2023 Update

It was a busy year in Columbia for the State General Assembly.  I have been honored to serve Folly Beach and the rest of District 115  for my third term, and I want to share some highlights with you from the past year.  Everything included below has become law unless otherwise specified.   I have also included bill numbers if you want more information.  I usually provide weekly updates on Facebook and Instagram.   

Criminal Laws

I have been honored to serve on the Criminal Law subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee for the past year.  I worked closely on and supported each of these bills as a means of keeping our communities safer.

  • Bond reform (H3532): revoking bonds and increasing penalties for repeat violent offenders
  • Ignition Interlock (S36): requiring an ignition interlock device to be installed after 1st DUI Offense (previously only required on 2nd offense)
  • Trafficking Fentanyl (H3503): making it a crime to traffic in fentanyl 
  • Sextortion (H3583): making it a crime to demand or share explicit photos protecting our children from this new internet danger

Education

  • Paid family leave for teachers!  (H3908) – the law is now in effect
  • Increased teacher pay by $2500 each (these funds have been incorporated into CCSD’s proposed pay raises)
  • Tuition freeze at all 2 and 4-year SC colleges for in-state students 
  • Educator Assistance Act (H4280): Allows our teachers to delay contract signing until after pay scale is published; this has passed the House, but not the Senate.   

Employment & Workforce Development

  • Allowing counties and municipalities to use Accommodations Tax revenue for workforce housing  (S284)
  • Workforce & Economic Development (H3726): modernize our state’s job training and apprenticeship process; creates a new office of workforce development to ensure our South Carolina students are ready for our excellent job market.
  • Increased pay for state employees by at least $2500; plus larger increases for law enforcement and corrections officers 

Other Notable Bills that Became Law 

  • S363 banning the “Carolina Squat,” a dangerous after-market car modification that brings the front end more than 4″ higher than the back end
  • S164 repealing the Certificate of Need regulations, reducing red tape and increasing access to health care services 
  • S95: Requiring boater safety training for anyone born after 2007
  • S399: Restructuring DHEC to create a new Department of Environmental Services 
  • S39 Creation of a voucher program granting families up to $6,000 for use at a private school.  The program will be phased in and by 2026 will allow families making 400% of the poverty level to participate in the program.  I opposed this bill because I believe public funds should be spent on public schools and I am concerned that the private schools that accept these funds are allowed to discriminate against students with disabilities.  

Budget & Allocation of Federal Dollars

  • Over $500 million in ARPA money to water, sewer, and stormwater projects including a grant right here on Folly Beach to accelerate the City’s flooding and water infrastructure improvements
  • $200 million towards resilience including land preservation and natural disaster funds
  • $150 million to County Transportation Commissions for local road improvements 
  • Continued phase in of income tax reduction 
  • Increased state reserves by $300 million to $1.1 billion 

As always, please feel free to reach. out:

spencer@spencerwetmore.com or (843) 693-8292.  

Spencer Wetmore 
House Representative
South Carolina House District 115