Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The House of Representatives is still working on getting bills passed through subcommittees and full committees for debate and vote on the House Floor. The deadline for sending bills to the Senate for action is May 1.
One of the committee meetings I attended was the K-12 Education Subcommittee.
Debated was Bill H. 3919 to remove the Exit Exam as a requirement for graduation from a public high school. Research has shown that some students are unable to successfully pass the Exit Exam because they are poor test takers although they have passed the required courses satisfactorily during their four years of high school.
At the public input portion of the subcommittee hearing, there were several speakers with personal experiences. The subcommittee passed the bill and it now goes to the full committee of Education and Public Works.
Another bill discussed in this committee was H. 3893 related to the adoption of new statewide education standards and assessments.
Common Core Standards have been adopted in mathematics and English, which will go into effect in 2014.
This bill would limit any further adoption of Common Core Standards until the Legislature approves. The bill passed and now goes to full committee.
Also discussed was a revision to the "Sex Education" bill, also known as Comprehensive Health Education Law (H. 3435). We had many speakers both for and against the bill.
According to those who spoke in favor of the bill, South Carolina has a high rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This bill would provide age appropriate factual and medically accurate information.
Those opposed to the bill claim that it would advocate teaching that sex is enjoyable and does not teach sex avoidance.
Those speaking on the bill were doctors, school nurses, teachers, parents, pastors, and a parent who has two children in high school.
The parent noted that her high school daughter is being taught sex is enjoyable before marriage. She objected to this instruction and wants this bill rejected. Debate was adjourned on the bill.
My Transportation Subcommittee addressed two bills: H. 3013 Disabled Veteran's Transportation and H. 3858 Electronic Communication Device, known as the texting bill. Unfortunately, the bill was removed from my committee again and sent to the Judiciary Committee. There is a small group of House members that do not want a meaningful texting bill to become law. There is another texting bill that we will try once again to get it to the House floor for debate.
Timing is crucial since we are getting close to the cross-over date and may not get it through this year.
The Disabled Veteran's Transportation bill was discussed at length for the second time. There are still some problems that the author of the bill must work out.
The committee adjourned debate again. I am committed to this bill and will work with the author and stakeholders to get this bill out of committee.
The House is on furlough the week of May 6. During this time, the Senate will be working on the bills sent from the House.
As always, thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 553-9288 or at the State House (803) 734-2951 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.