South Carolina General Assembly
123rd Session, 2019-2020
Journal of the Senate

NO. 32









Friday, March 6, 2020
(Local Session)

Indicates Matter Stricken
Indicates New Matter

The Senate assembled at 11:00 A.M., the hour to which it stood adjourned, and was called to order by the ACTING PRESIDENT, Senator SHEALY.


The following co-sponsors were added to the respective Bills:
S. 389 (Word version)     Sen. Martin
S. 997 (Word version)     Sen. Shealy


The following remarks by Senator CASH were ordered printed in the Journal of January 22, 2020:

Remarks by Senator CASH

Currently in our State about 5,000 unborn babies are put to death annually. Since we are debating an Education Bill, let's consider that number in an education context. That would be the equivalent of ten high school graduating classes, of 500 students each. Try to imagine that, ten classes, each one made up of 500 high school seniors, wiped out each year, year after year after year. Still however, these numbers tend to be abstract to us because there are no individual narratives attached to the numbers, it is hard to feel any emotional connection. The numbers become devoid of humanity, so I want to say a few words about one person who was not aborted.

Over the past few years, Ashley Lawton has become my friend. Ashley used to live in the Upstate but now she lives in the Low country. Ashley's story is unusual because Ashley was conceived as a result of rape. Ashley's mother was one of those hard cases, we often speak about, and Ashley is one of those people, we are all too willing to sacrifice in order to pass a Pro-life Bill. If you want to know why I'm willing to fight to protect every unborn baby, you can watch a one minute video of Ashley's story, on the website

In closing, I want to tell you about another friend of mine, a fictional character named Harry Bosch. Harry is the lead detective in some crime novels I like to read. He is an old school murder detective with the LAPD. Harry is not perfect, but he does track down the bad guys and he is relentless in his pursuit of the victim. For Harry, every murder case he takes on becomes personal because Harry's motto is this, "Either everybody counts or nobody counts." Harry doesn't care whether the murder victim was black or white, young or old, rich or poor, gay or straight. In Harry's book every single person counts and the murder of any single person is an affront to justice that must be rectified.

I believe Roe v. Wade must be overturned, not just to save the millions, but for each and every person that it will save. I hope you will remember the motto, "Either everybody counts or nobody counts" because it applies to the philosophical idea of justice and equality, to every single individual, born and preborn. And that is our duty as law makers. Thank you.



The following remarks by Senator GROOMS were ordered printed in the Journal of January 29, 2020:

Remarks by Senator GROOMS

Members of this Body, we agree on a lot of issues. We usually debate honestly and with understanding regarding the needs in each other's districts. Today a group has claimed that Senators cancelled meetings with teachers on their lobby day. I'll say it. I was mentioned in an article -- it is simply not true. That is why I am standing here. When presented with the truth, the accusers backed down. They backed down and changed their statement, but the damage was already done.

Senators, like all of you, I met with teachers today. I met with teachers around the State. I met with teachers in my district. I met with school board members. I met with support staff. We have had productive conversations about respect for the profession, increasing pay, reducing standardized testing, and having the freedom to actually teach. Today was a positive day. I enjoyed the conversations that I had with teachers who met with me in my office, who stopped me in the hallway, who spoke with me on the State House steps. The task of improving education in this State is difficult enough without misrepresentation from partisan groups spreading lies to fit their status quo agenda. As we continue to debate these important issues, I am hopeful that we can stay focused, tune out the noise, and deliver a product that actually makes our schools better. Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT.


The following remarks by Senator HUTTO were ordered printed in the Journal of February 6, 2020:

Remarks by Senator HUTTO

Governor McMaster's willingness to work with us has not gone unnoticed by me, and I am sure some of you feel the same. When I looked at his proposed budget which includes emphasis on rural areas and on education, I could do nothing but applaud Governor McMaster.

As part of a loyal opposition, there is one thing that I believe needs attention. You will recall that last year Governor McMaster picked his longtime friend, Stephen Morris, to run the Office on Aging. Mr. Morris came before the Senate for confirmation, and by a vote off 41 to 2 we rejected him.

We had concerns over allegations from his employees, who said he made derogatory comments to women and minorities. We heard that the agency that he had been running was in complete turmoil -- disorganized, full of internal conflicts and bickering, and with major staffing issues. His management style was proven to be completely ineffective, and we rejected his nomination. That is what advice and consent of the Senate is all about.

Two days after the rejection, Governor McMaster placed him in that agency to collect a six figure salary until he could place somebody new to submit for the position. Even though we found a mass of problems with Mr. Morris's performance and voted overwhelmingly to ensure he would no longer head the Office on Aging, Governor McMaster couldn't resist doing a favor for one of his buddies. That is a complete undercut of the legislative process, so that his friend could keep collecting a paycheck.

After that, Governor McMaster sent us a qualified candidate that could head the Office on Aging. We vetted her, and she was overwhelmingly confirmed several weeks ago. We have heard nothing but good things about the way the Office on Aging is working now.

One may think this had ended; however it has not. We now hear that Governor McMaster has given Mr. Morris, who we did not feel was appropriate to run the Office on Aging, a newly created position at Health and Human Services where he is drawing a paycheck of $111,649. We have agency head positions that are not making that amount.

In essence, an individual who was rejected by the Senate has been put in a position where he can draw a six figure salary and continue to draw retirement. This is exactly what's wrong with our current system.

The Good Old Boy system protecting friends of powerful politicians at the expense of tax-payer money. It keeps agencies inefficient, keeps incompetent people in charge, and undermines democracy.

I think we all agree that it would be much better if we would find qualified people, who are properly vetted and hardworking, to do the important work of our government agencies.

Again for all the good work that Governor McMaster is doing, we appreciate that. However, if we see something with which we disagree, we are not going to hesitate to let the light shine upon it.



The following remarks by Senator McLEOD were ordered printed in the Journal of February 25, 2020:

Remarks by Senator McLEOD

Thank you, Mr. PRESIDENT. I wasn't going to say anything today about Rena. I'm not sure how many of you knew her, but she was extremely special to me. In addition to being a beautiful spirit, she had a brilliant mind. I saw her here about a week ago and I stopped to ask how she was doing because what some of you may not know is we shared a lot more than work in common. Both of us have had to fight with sickle cell disease, sickle cell anemia, our entire lives. She had a crisis, a really bad crisis, maybe a year or two ago and I thought if she pulled through that she was going to be okay. But, what we know and what we don't know about sickle cell disease is that it can be deadly. A lot of people may not have realized that. You may have heard me mention that in the context of some of the Bills that we've debated, because both of my pregnancies were high risk for that reason and I've had my share of crises too. I didn't realize until I had a stroke in 2015 that sickle cell anemia put me at a much higher risk. I'm not sure what happened on Sunday with Rena, but when I got the call -- I have just been in a daze since that time. I just wanted to say that we've got so much work to do in terms of making the people of South Carolina aware of sickle cell anemia and its impact on so many of our citizens.

But today, I just want us to think about and pray for Rena's family, her work family -- which includes all of us -- her friends, and her community. It's a sad day in South Carolina, but there is so much good that we can do to help those who are struggling with this vicious and painful disease. So, I thank you for your time, I thank you for listening and I hope that at the appropriate time we will do right by the citizens of this State who are suffering with this debilitating disease. Thank you.



The following remarks by Senator SHEALY were ordered printed in the Journal of February 27, 2020:

Remarks by Senator SHEALY

Each year, the Children's Committee Report highlights the areas of child well-being where we can make a difference for children while at the same time being smart and fiscally responsible.

For the first time, the committee focuses its entire annual report on children with special needs in South Carolina. This particular group of children and their families navigate a complex, multi-agency system for services and supports and this report looks at the challenges they face over the length of their childhood -- from the earliest interventions to the transition to adulthood. Some of the major issues the Children's Committee highlights for further consideration are:

While 2.5% of our preschoolers are receiving early intervention services and 13% of our children ages 3 - 21 are receiving educational supports, we know that upwards of 42% of our children have special health care needs and may need more support than what they currently receive.

Children with disabilities are 3.4 times more likely to be abused or neglected and are also more likely to be incarcerated. Our child welfare and juvenile justice agencies have significant responsibilities in caring for these children but keeping children from entering those systems is critical.

We know many disabilities can be avoided by regular prenatal care, keeping children away from lead and other environmental hazards, and preventing serious injuries that disable children in motor vehicle and other types of accidents.

We know that our children need not only doctors and nurses, behavioral health professionals, and other healthcare workers, but also special education teachers. As many as 1 in 5 special education teaching jobs go unfilled in our State each year.

Our State has the sixth highest unemployment rate for people with disabilities in the country -- over 67%. In order to combat that, we must prepare our children with disabilities by making sure they are participating in career preparation and training programs and tracking their progress.

I hope each of you will take a long look at the information we spent a lot of time preparing for you. Thank you for listening.



At 11:06 A.M., on motion of Senator HARPOOTLIAN, the Senate adjourned to meet next Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at 2:00 P.M.

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This web page was last updated on Friday, March 6, 2020 at 1:08 P.M.