Enhanced Sanctuary City Ban, Sentencing Reform, & Opioid Prevention Bill Passes
This week the House of Representatives amended and overwhelmingly passed a bill (72-36) to enhance current state law banning sanctuary cities in our state. The bill will now go to the Senate for its approval. This legislation will authorize the circuit court to determine if a political subdivision has violated the provisions of this law that prohibit interfering with enforcement. If a political subdivision is found to be in violation, that political subdivision will be barred from receiving Local Government Fund appropriations for at least three consecutive years.
The House voted to allow a floor debate for one piece of legislation involving sentencing reform and passed another piece of legislation dealing with required identify codes for offenders. The first, House Bill 5155, aims to grant parole to nonviolent offenders and incentivize good behavior by inmates. Paroling nonviolent offenders will both make it easier for prison guards to control violent inmates and save tax dollars. The second reform the House approved was Senate Bill 499, which eliminates the mandatory $50 fee offenders have been forced to pay to have an identity code placed on their driver’s licenses. The identify code itself will still be mandatory on driver’s licenses of offenders, but the requirement for them to pay $50 will no longer be in place. The passage of Senate Bill 499 is expected to resolve a lawsuit over the current $50 mandate. Of note, the House, Senate, and governor have all proposed pay increases for prison workers this year.
The full House passed another much-needed opioid abuse prevention bill on Thursday by 103-0, paving the way for final passage in the Senate. The bill, House 3819, establishes additional requirements related to the prescribing of opioids to minors. Prescribers will be required to examine the minor to assess whether the minor has ever suffered or is currently suffering from a mental health or substance abuse disorder, share the risks of addiction and overdosing when opioids are taken, and obtain consent from an authorized adult, guardian, or parent, among other requirements. The legislation is in response to the opioid abuse epidemic occurring across the United States and right here in South Carolina. One of the original sponsors of House Bill 3819 is former Representative Eric Bedingfield, who suffered the loss of his son to addiction.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.