SC LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
SC LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
OFFICE OF PUBLIC POLICY
There have been several meetings between Legislators and grass roots, pro-life leaders over the last few weeks. However, so far there has been no progress made on getting a pro-life bill passed before the end of the session. The February numbers from DHEC on abortion were as bad as we feared. There were 986 abortions in South Carolina during the month of February. We haven’t seen numbers like this on a monthly basis since the early 90’s. DHEC reports about half of those abortions were performed on women who came from out of state. There is now no question about South Carolina being a destination state for abortions. We are that, and we will continue to be until our House and Senate find a legislative path to protect the unborn.
Please encourage those in your church to contact their Senator and ask them to schedule H3774 to the floor for a vote. H3774 is not a perfect bill because of its exceptions (life of the mother, rape and incest, fatal fetal anomaly), but it would outlaw abortions in South Carolina beginning at conception. You can contact your Senator by clicking on the link below:
H3514 and H3749
On Wednesday, April 5 (the date of this update) the House will be debating H3514, The Equine Advancement Act, and possibly H3749 (Sports and Equine Wagering). Both of these bills would open up South Carolina to pari-mutuel gambling. The motivation for these bills might be good (helping to bolster the Equine Industry) but if pari-mutuel betting is approved for horse racing, we will be on track (no pun intended) to open up South Carolina to every other form of gambling, including casino gambling. The Catholic Diocese of Charleston, The Palmetto Family Council, and the SCBC Office of Public Policy all signed a joint letter opposing any form of pari-mutuel betting. Also, I sent a text messages to 25 House members explaining our opposition to the bill and asked them to vote against it. I will keep you updated on the progress of both of these gambling bills.
Hate Crimes (H3014
The House voted to pass hate crimes legislation (H3014) but the bill was amended to include only major crimes with no reference to stalking or harassment laws. The danger of a Hate Crimes bill has always been it could be used to come after Christians who misgender someone or who speaks out against the LGBTQ agenda. Biblical preaching on sexuality could have been considered a hate crime under previous versions of this bill. By limiting the bill to major crimes and by removing the Bostock v. Clayton Supreme Court case definition of the word sex from the bill, (which includes sexual preference and gender identity) we were able to make it much less likely the language could be used against believers. The bill is currently on the Senate floor for debate and will likely be taken up next week.
S623 and S627
The Senate is also considering two bills relating to gender identity. S623 would restrict gender changes to a birth certificate only to correct an original error in the reference to gender or to recognize special circumstances at birth for a person who is born with both male and female physical characteristics. S627 would “prohibit the provision of gender transition procedures to a person under eighteen years of age.” Both of these bills have made it through the subcommittee process and are now being considered by the full Medical Affairs Committee. It would be good to contact the members of the committee to let them know your views, especially concerning protecting minors from transgender surgery, puberty blockers, or trans hormone treatments. The members of the Senate Medical Affairs Committee can be contacted by clicking the link below:
The South Carolina Baptist Convention passed a resolution encouraging the Legislature to pass a bill protecting minors from transgender surgery. You can download a copy of all of the resolutions passed at the 2022 annual meeting by clicking on the link below:
Please pass this update along to pastors and other leaders you know who may be interested in following bills making their way through the SC Legislature. Let them know they can sign up to receive this update by going here:
He must increase, I must decrease
Dr. Tony Beam
Director of the Office of Public Policy