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. A summary of the 2019 Legislative Initiatives supported by the MBTF is found here.
This Legislative Session ended May 9th with a flood of bills either passing or not in the final week. The military effort had a few significant wins and good progress in the House or Senate on other priorities. We also had some disappointments with some key bills not receiving any action in one body or the other.
The significant upgrading of the Veterans Department to Cabinet rank and incorporating the Military Base Task Force was a huge win! This bodes well for Veterans and the military going forward!
Passage of the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act culminates a three-year effort and is a big win!
Updating of the Veterans/Military In-state Tuition availability is also a positive.
Still undetermined is the fate of the credentialing effort for military spouses (S. 455 and H. 3263). The shoot-out between the House and the Senate ended in a stalemate, necessitating a Conference Committee. However, while the Senate conferees were named, the House conferees were not named when the session ended at 5 PM on the final day of session. What happens now is undetermined and may mean that nothing can happen until next January.
Also in Conference Committee is the bill to expand the Veteran designation on driver’s licenses (H. 3789). Those conferees were named and presumably some resolution will be forthcoming later this month.
Numerous important bills were carried over until next year’s session which convenes in early January. We are hoping that some support for these important efforts can be raised in the intervening months. Your efforts in this regard are more important than ever. Please review the bills that are carried forward and engage your legislators to seek their commitment of support in January. By all means, “keep your powder dry.”
Thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
All the best,
William L. Bethea, Jr.
Chairman, SC Military Base Task Force