This past week was ‘crossover” week at the State House. Simply put, that means if legislation did not pass one chamber, it would require a 2/3 vote of the other chamber to take the legislation up for debate. Basically, if legislation you were interested in didn’t “crossover” from one chamber last week, you’ll need to wait til next January before it has a chance of being debated. The good news is that this is just the first year of a two year session; so those bills aren’t dead.
What are some pieces of legislation that didn’t crossover this week? Medical Marijuana, Fetal Heartbeat, Offshore drilling, Gun Regulations and Constitutional Carry Legislation are just a few you have brought to my attention.
What are some pieces of legislation that are still in line to pass this year once the Senate or House get to their debate? Solar Energy and the Carolina Panthers bill are two that have made a lot of news. As well as the Education Reform legislation the House passed earlier this year.
One bill that gained a lot of attention this week was the Samantha Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act. Named for the young lady who was tragically murdered recently in Five Points, the House voted overwhelmingly (99-1) to send the bill to the Senate. The bill requires Uber and other ride-sharing companies to put an illuminated sign in their window in hopes that could help connect riders to the correct drivers. The bill seeks to increase the distance the rider can start the verification process, but still encourages riders to check to make sure the license plate and car match with the app. North Carolina legislators filed an identical Uber Safety Bill in their State House this week. We know this bill isn’t the cure to all the problems, but it certainly can help. I’ve spoke to law enforcement officers in our community who feel one solution to reduce crime in Five Points is to “block off the streets to car traffic” during certain hours (perhaps 10pm – 3pm). Most of the tragedies that have occurred through the years involved cars in this area: Strom Thurmond’s daughter hit and killed by a car, stray bullet from a drive-by that paralyzed a USC student, and now Samantha’s abduction and murder. I passed that suggestion on to Mayor Benjamin and hope the city will consider many changes to make the area safe for the students, visitors, and surrounding neighborhoods.
When you read this column, the House will be finishing up our Furlough Week and the Senate will hopefully have passed their version of the state’s budget.
The House returns next Tuesday, April 23rd and has 10 legislative days left before we adjourn sine-die on Thursday, May 9th.
If there’s legislation important to you and you’d like to know the status, please call my office or you can go to www.scstatehouse.gov and search under the “Bill” section. Call or email if you need further explanation than what you see on-line.
Thank you for the honor and privilege to serve your family and our community in Columbia! Stop by the State House anytime and take a free tour and swing by my office if you’d like. Anytime you need help with state government (or have advice/opinions on how to improve our quality of life), please give me a call at home 732-1861 or at my State House office 734-2969.