10/3/18 was "Veto Override" day in the South Carolina General Assembly.
Overrides are generally non-controversial, but there are a few I believe that offer a window into whether individual legislators are really following the "will of the people", and which legislators are following the wishes of the special interests.
The first can be taken together, as they are of the same subject:
Veto 10 - Proviso 117.125: Pittman-Robertson Funds State Match.
Veto 11 - Proviso 117.126: North American Wetlands Conservation Act State Match.
We saw last weekend that a group of at least 200 individuals from bipartisan and non-partisan backgrounds paddle-boarded, kayaked, swam, or otherwise self-propelled to Crab Bank in order to raise awareness for the migratory species of birds and diverse marine life that dwell there. The Coastal Conservation League has said restoring it is vital to the survival of at least 15 species of birds including brown pelicans, skimmers, terns and oystercatchers.
The Pittman-Robertson funds and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act funds have the ability to be used here. This is a missed opportunity for federal funds and State matching fund grants to be used for exactly their intended use... protecting our coastal waters, protecting our marine life, and protecting migratory bird species.
By and large the Charleston County House Delegation voted to override these vetoes on a BIPARTISAN basis. In fact, the 112th district DIRECTLY abuts Crab Bank. I would have voted to override these vetoes. My opponent voted to sustain them.
Veto 37 - CBD Pilot Program within the Dept. of Corrections. Proviso 65.29
This proviso gives the Dept. of Corrections the ability to initiate a study committee with MUSC, DHHS, and DMH to explore the use of cannabidiol oil, also known as CBD oil, in a therapeutic manner for eligible incarcerated individuals using existing funds. This proviso did not appropriate new funding for the program.
Further, given this study committee would include medical supervision from MUSC, DHHS, and DMH, an eligible individual would NOT be able to participate in the study without written consent, as this violates medical ethical principals and existing state and federal law.
The current treatment of mental health issues within the incarcerated population is horrendous... at best. This study would have given another potential tool in the tool box for providers to have at their disposal while treating these issues.
This proviso includes adequate ethical supervision, doesn't impact the taxpayer, and has the ability to have potential impacts outside of the incarcerated population, while potentially helping our prisoners and corrections officers.
I would have voted to override.
As a matter of fact, the ENTIRE Charleston County Legislative Delegation voted to override... save one member, my opponent.
Veto 39 - Proviso 1A.87
The Department of Revenue must directly allocate the funds appropriated under VIII. F. Partnerships for John de la Howe for teacher salaries to McCormick County School District to create a school within a school program to educate at-risk students, including students at John de la Howe who attend McCormick County schools. The program must use an accelerated curriculum which utilizes multimedia/multimodal learning activities to ensure academic success and development of leadership and communication skills.
This proviso also included $418,000 in funding to be transferred to McCormick County Schools from the agricultural school.
The real issue here is that 3 years ago, the House studied the school (John de la Howe) and found that the best outcome for the taxpayers of our state was to close the school and place the agriculture program in the purview of the McCormick County Schools. The school subsequently lost accreditation for K-12.
There is currently new leadership at the school, and a promise that things will turn around.
Kenny Rogers sang about one needing to know "when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em". For the taxpayers of our state, I believe it is time to fold 'em. This issue is literally throwing good money after bad. The McCormick County School System is more than equipped to stretch the taxpayer dollar further with existing infrastructure and facilities.
My fear is that the school has become a money pit and all this veto represents is an attempt to delay the inevitable while squandering taxpayer monies.
I would have voted in the affirmative to override this veto.
My opponent voted in the negative to continue wasting taxpayer money.
That brings us to the last veto:
Veto 42 - Part 1A, Page 76, Section 33, Department of Health & Human Services, II. Program and Services, A. Health Services, 3. Medical Assistance Payments, Family Planning, Total Funds: $15,779,259, General Funds: $2,208,596
This is the so-called “Planned Parenthood” veto. Make NO mistake about it, this veto does NO SUCH THING. Planned Parenthood only receives about $80,000 from the state, or ½ of 1% of total allocated funds.
This veto removes almost 15.8 million dollars from DHEC for family planning under the guise of saving lives. This veto will unfortunately have almost the exact opposite impact.
A 21st century populace requires 21st century solutions that are evidence-based and firmly lodged in the fact. The fact is that taking money away from the family planning line item DIRECTLY and disproportionately impacts low- and middle-income women and women in marginalized communities who receive healthcare via Medicaid. Further, when we take funds away from family planning, it increases the incidence of unwanted pregnancy, cervical cancer, and sexually transmitted disease.
This veto represents nothing more than an attack on women and the specialized healthcare services that they require, all in an effort to move the political football down the field.
I would have voted PROUDLY to override.
My opponent decided to vote against women, facts, and science.
I hope I have provided some insight via this posting into how I intend on representing the 112th district in the SC House, and am making very clear that I will stand up for our constituents, our environment, our children’s education, mental health, and women’s health, unlike my opponent, who will stand up for corporations and special interests.