Action Alert on H5399
SOUTH CAROLINA BAPTIST CONVENTION
OFFICE OF PUBLIC POLICY
I want to thank everyone who took the time to call their Senator to encourage them to vote to recede on H5399. While we were unsuccessful in getting the Senate to recede, we were very successful in bringing people to the Statehouse (between 100 and 150 showed up on Tuesday, October 18) and we were very successful in alerting our Senators to the concerns many of us in the Pro-Life Community have about their lack of action in protecting life in South Carolina.
The Senate voted 26 to 17 not to recede. In other words, they refused to allow the House version of H5399 to pass (without filibuster or amendments) and be sent to the Governor for his signature. Ten Republican Senators voted not to recede. They are:
Sen. Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester)
Sen. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston)
Sen. Ronnie Cromer (R-Newberry)
Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort)
Sen. Penry Gustafson (R-Kershaw)
Sen. Greg Hembree (R-Horry)
Sen. Michael Johnson (R-York)
Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield)
Sen. Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington)
Sen. Sandy Senn (R-Charleston)
Sen. Tom Young (R-Aiken)
While many of these senators cited concerns that the wording of the House bill (H5399) would not pass South Carolina constitutional muster, the result of their voting not to recede is we are very close to not getting a pro-life bill passed before the November 13 Sine Die resolution expires.
Since the Senate voted to “insist” on its version of the bill, the House and Senate versions will now be sent to a Conference Committee to work out a compromise. Only the language contained in the two versions of the bill can be used to craft a conference report that will then be sent back to the House and Senate for approval. The Conference Committee consists of three members of the Senate and three members of the House. The Committee members are:
Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield)
Senator Richard Cash (R-Anderson)
Senator Margie Bright Matthew (D-Colleton)
House Family Caucus Leader Rep. John McCravy (R-Greenwood)
House Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Tommy Pope (R-York)
Rep. Elizabeth “Spencer” Wetmore (D-Charleston)
Sen. Cash and Rep. McCravy will insist on the conference report protecting life from the moment of conception. The final bill may have to include some amendments the Senate included in their bill, but the bottom line is, if the Conference Committee meets they will have a good opportunity to put together a compromise bill that can pass both the House and the Senate before November 13. Otherwise, we will have to wait until the 2023 Legislative Session begins in January . In the meantime, with the 2021 Fetal Heartbeat bill enjoined by the SC Supreme Court, DHEC is reporting an average of 115 babies being aborted every week. That is close to a 60% increase, and it is being driven by people coming from Georgia, which has a Heartbeat Bill in place.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments about the Heartbeat Bill on Wednesday, October 19. Please pray that they will lift the stay and allow the Heartbeat Bill to become the law. Also, pray that the Senate/House Conference Committee will reach a compromise that will protect life beginning at conception that will pass both the House and Senate.
He must increase, I must decrease
Dr. Tony Beam
Director of the Office of Public Policy
South Carolina Baptist Convention