A primary role of the MBTF is to identify Legislation that supports military operations and ensures that South Carolina offers a welcoming environment to military families and veterans. These proposed Bills represent priorities shared by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. The MBTF encourages our state representatives to support this legislation. For more information, please contact us. Our 2019 Legislative priorities are here. We update this listing weekly.
Legislative Week 15 (April 15-19)
Week 14 got off to a very positive start last Monday, April 8th when nine South Carolina Commanding Officers and Chief of Staff of the Cyber Center at Fort Gordon gathered in Columbia to brief Governor McMaster on the state of their commands and the challenges they face. The event at the USC Alumni Center attracted an overflow crowd. The Governor, Congressman Joe Wilson and the presenters engaged in a meaningful exchange of information and ideas regarding the state of the military presence in our state.
Governor McMaster kicked the session off by recognizing the important role of the military in our state. He was also pleased to report that two of his key initiatives have been well received this year by the Legislature. A high priority initiative, moving the Division of Veterans Affairs into a new Executive Department has just passed the General Assembly and the Governor expects to sign it into law in the next few days. Also, his recommendation to complete exemption of state taxes on military retirees has passed the House and is pending in the Senate.
Week 14 of the Legislative session kicked off Tuesday, April 9th with only two days to deal with bills that would beat the crossover deadline. Fortunately, the two at-risk bills of concern, S. 180 (Drone Bill) and S. 413 (NCIS) did receive final passage in the Senate and both were introduced in the House and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Week 15 will be abbreviated in honor of the legendary State Legislator, Lt. Governor, Governor, U.S. Senator and Senior South Carolina Statesman, Senator Ernest F. Hollings, who died on April 6th at the age of 97. Senator Hollings will lie in state at the State House on April 15th and his funeral service will be at the Citadel in Charleston on April 16th. The Legislature will resume deliberations on Wednesday, April 17th with the Senate focused on the state budget.
The focus of our efforts for the remaining days of this year’s session must be to prioritize what can most likely be accomplished in the few days remaining in the 2019 session before the work is concluded on May 9th.
Critical for passage this year are:
- 3263 (Armed Services Members and Spouses Professional and Occupational Licensing Act). It passed the House and has been in the Senate since March 7th. It needs approval by the Senate Labor and Commerce Subcommittee and Senate approval. This is a high priority bill!!
- 180 (Drone Bill) and S. 413 (NCIS) both need approval by the House Judiciary Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee and House approval.
- 455 (Military Service Occupation, Education and Credentialing Act) needs action by House Labor, Commerce and Industry Subcommittee and the House, especially if H. 3263 falters in the Senate.
Other bills of significance that remain in need of Senate action include the following:
- 179/H. 3135 (Workforce Enhancement and Military Recognition Act)
- 3101 (Interstate Medical Licensure Compact)
At this point in the Legislative cycle for 2019 every day is important.
Please reach out to your Legislators to urge their support on the bills that are still in need of action.
All the best,
William L. Bethea, Jr.
Chairman, SC Military Base Task Force