The upcoming legislative session in South Carolina is set to commence shortly after the holidays, specifically on January 9, 2024, and will adjourn on May 6, 2024. Let me tell you that this upcoming session is going to be fast, hot, and controversial. Why? Because last session left off with a lot of unfinished business and because, in 2024, the entire General Assembly is up for reelection. So, becoming aware of the happenings during this upcoming session is crucial. During this time, legislators will consider both previously filed and new bills, many of which could significantly impact our daily lives. For instance, a review of the recent House pre-file list, containing over 76 bills filed on November 16, 2023, reveals several proposals with far-reaching implications. These include:
H. 4574: It proposes changes to eligibility requirements for South Carolina higher education funding, particularly concerning single-gender women's institutions (it is sad that we even need such a bill).
H. 4575: This bill seeks to set a minimum starting annual salary for new teachers at $52,000, and to increase the salary of current teachers earning less than this amount (This will lead to an increase in taxes.)
H. 4577: This bill proposes changes to public school teacher salary schedules, particularly for certified special education teachers, mandating a minimum annual salary of $52,000. (More money to a failing system).
H. 4591 - Prohibits the use of ranked-choice voting or instant runoff ballots in South Carolina elections.
H. 4619 - Enacts the "South Carolina's Children Deserve Help Not Harm Act," prohibiting gender transition procedures for minors under 18, with penalties for violations and implications for health care providers and insurance plans.
These examples represent just a small portion of the legislative activity pre-filed on November 16, 2023. We anticipate more pre-files on November 30, 2023, for the Senate and another batch for the House on December 14, 2023. It's important to note that additional bills can be filed throughout the legislative session.
This brings us to the central theme of this article: how can we improve our engagement in the upcoming legislative session? One crucial step is to build a working relationship with your local legislator. What does this entail? Establishing a line of communication and collaboration with the elected official. This relationship includes:
Regular Communication: Stay in touch with your legislator or their office about your concerns, legislative updates, and policy feedback.
Advocacy and Support: Advocate for local needs and issues.
Attending Town Hall Meetings: Participate in public meetings or forums hosted by the legislator to stay informed and express your views.
Providing Feedback on Legislation: Offer input on proposed laws or policies affecting your local area.
This relationship is mutually beneficial as it helps legislators stay informed about their constituents' needs, and it allows you to directly influence governance.
Follow ConservaTruth to become an informed elector. ConservaTruth is committed to bringing you truthful, conservative, and uncompromising updates on legislative actions. ConservaTruth is dedicated to providing educational materials through articles, newsletters, or reports to help you understand what is happening during the session. Being vigilant about happenings in Columbia is challenging. Things happen quickly, and not everything is posted on SCstatehouse.gov. Without frequently checking the schedule, traveling to the statehouse consistently, and watching committee/floor meetings daily, you will miss out on crucial developments and lose the opportunity to influence legislation significantly impacting your life and freedom. So please follow ConservaTruth and consider becoming a member! Oh, and follow ConservaTruth on X and on Facebook.
Don't be swayed by headlines or political grandstanding regarding what a bill proposes. Why? Relying solely on headlines or political rhetoric to assess proposed legislation is problematic for several reasons:
Misleading or Sensationalized Information: Headlines and political speeches often focus on the most sensational aspects of a bill, which may not accurately represent its full content or impact.
Complexity and Nuance: Legislation is typically complex, containing nuances not captured in simplified or politicized summaries.
Hidden Agendas: Politicians may frame a bill to serve their agenda or narrative, which might not align with the actual intent or effect of the legislation.
Oversimplification: Focusing only on the broad strokes presented in media or political rhetoric can lead to overlooking important details, exceptions, and conditions in the bill.
Informed Decision Making: Understanding the full context and details of a bill is essential for making informed decisions.
Therefore, it's crucial to critically analyze the actual text of a bill and seek multiple perspectives to understand its true implications.
Use your voice to pressure your local legislator to uphold constitutional principles. This is important for several reasons:
Accountability: Elected officials must represent the public's interests, and voicing concerns ensures this accountability.
Upholding the Rule of Law: Ensuring that legislators adhere to constitutional mandates maintains the rule of law and protects the rights and liberties enshrined in it.
Informed Policymaking: Public input can provide legislators with diverse perspectives, aiding in more informed decisions that reflect constitutional values.
Preventing Abuse of Power: Citizen oversight can deter potential abuses of power or unconstitutional actions by legislators.
Civic Engagement: Active participation in the democratic process strengthens the health of democracy and promotes a more engaged and informed citizenry.
Lastly, get involved and stay involved in your government. Don't just vote and believe all is well. Yes, we are a constitutional republic, but if you don't know what your legislator is doing or how they are voting, you'll vote blindly, diminishing the entire intention of a constitutional republic. Getting and staying involved in your government is crucial:
Ensuring Accountability: Active engagement holds legislators accountable to represent the interests and values of their constituents.
Informed Voting: Understanding a legislator's actions and voting record enables more informed decisions rather than relying on superficial information.
Shaping Policy: Continued involvement allows citizens to influence policy decisions, contributing to laws that don’t undermine the Constitution.
Preventing Complacency: Without ongoing engagement, there's a risk of complacency, where elected officials may not feel compelled to act in the public's best interest.
In summary, active civic engagement is key to ensuring that a constitutional republic functions as intended, with government actions reflecting the will and welfare of the people. I hope these suggestions inspire you to pay close attention to the upcoming legislative session and future ones. We, the people of South Carolina, can be a driving force in protecting our state and our rights. But it won't happen if you sit back and do nothing except vote.
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