Legislative Update in SC 10 2020

We would like to update you about the outcome of several important bills in the South Carolina General Assembly.

Article V Convention

In March of this year, the South Carolina General Assembly voted to open the U.S. Constitution to radical revisions that could obliterate the God-given freedoms that it guarantees. And the following month, Governor Henry McMaster enacted that radical measure.

H.3205, a joint resolution, followed the wording of Mark Meckler’s vaguely worded Convention of States Project, or COS Project, application urging Congress to call a convention to propose amendments “that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.”

An Article V convention poses a serious threat to the Constitution and the God-given liberties it guarantees. Furthermore, the Deep State has long wanted to overthrow the Constitution and the limits on government it establishes — an Article V convention is the perfect way for it to accomplish this.

Although the Legislature enacted H.3205patriots must not lose hope nor be deterred — we must double down in educating our legislators and fellow citizens. First, we must urge our legislators to rescind all existing Con-Con applications. Second, as The John Birch Society has been saying for decades, education is the solution — we must continually educate our legislators about the dangers of a Con-Con and real solutions like nullification.

Additionally, urge your legislators to oppose any new Article V convention applications. Thankfully, the General Assembly failed to pass S.133, which would have applied for a convention to proposal a so-called balanced budget amendment, and S.1006, which would have aggregated old, unrelated Con-Con resolutions. However, please remain vigilant as legislators could attempt to pass these resolutions next year.

Nullification

We had been monitoring several nullification bills in South Carolina. One of these was H.3119, which would have been one of the strongest and most comprehensive gun-control nullification bills in the country. It would have nullified “any federal, state, or local act, law, order, rule, ordinance or regulation which restricts an individual’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms” — past, present, and future — including any tax that might discourage firearm purchases or ownership; gun confiscation laws; laws that prohibit law-abiding individuals to own, use, or transfer firearms; and laws mandating the tracking and registration of firearms, gun owners, firearm accessories, or ammunition.

Another bill was S. 614, which would make every South Carolinian over the age of 17 a member of the state’s unorganized militia. This would have added an additional layer of protection for South Carolinians’ right to self-defense — the bill passed the Senate but died in the House. Meanwhile, H. 3012 and S. 0369 would have nullified federal gun control for any “personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately and owned in South Carolina and remains within the borders of South Carolina.” Additionally, S. 0584 and H. 3042 were less broad in scope but still would have nullified some federal gun-control laws.

Additionally, two bills had been introduced to nullify federal Covid tyranny. As originally introduced, H.3126 declared that any federal mask or vaccine mandate would be “invalid in this State and may not be recognized in this State and is null, void, and of no effect in this State.” Additionally, S.177 would have fully prohibited forced Covid vaccinations in South Carolina, a good first step toward nullifying federal mandates. Unfortunately, the General Assembly watered down H.3126 to remove the nullification provisions, before enacting it into law, while exceptions were added to S.177 before it died in the state House, after passing the Senate.

Unfortunately, none of these nullification bills were enacted, at least in their original (strong) form. Continue to contact and meet with your state legislators, urging them to enact legislation that enforces the U.S. Constitution and nullifies unconstitutional federal actions. Furthermore, show your legislators model nullification bills to show that such legislation has been proposed and even enacted in other states.

Abortion

We had been monitoring H.5399, which would have restricted abortion in South Carolina. As originally introduced, H 5399 would have prevented nearly all abortions without exceptions for rape and incest. However, on August 30, the House voted 47-55 against this bill version — 19 Republicans joined all but one Democrat in rejecting the bill version without exceptions. Republican leadership then added exceptions for rape and incest up to the twelfth week of pregnancy. This version of the bill then passed the House by a vote of 67-35. The state Senate then watered down the bill further to merely ban abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy — and after 12 weeks in cases of rape and incest. The bill ultimately died since the House and Senate could not agree on a common version.

Please continue to contact your state legislators, urging them to fully protect life from the moment of fertilization, including by removing every exception in South Carolina’s laws and strengthening enforcement provisions of those laws.

Local Police

Locally controlled police are essential for maintaining a free society. We had been monitoring S.124, titled the “SC LEADS Act,” which would have threatened this important principle. If enacted, S.124 would have created “required standards for all law enforcement agencies” on a wide range of topics. If a local law-enforcement agency refused to implement those standards, the state could punish that department up to the point of dissolving that agency.

Contact your state legislators, urging them to strongly support local and independent police. Also tell them to oppose all measures that centralize control over police in any way. Don’t stop there—get involved in the JBS’s Support Your Local Police action project and create an SYLP committee to take concerted action in defense of local police.

Other Bills

Several bills cracking down on Communist China had been introduced in the General Assembly. These include H.4841 and H.4842, which respectively would have banned government agencies from investing in or entering into contract with Communist-China-controlled companies; H4843, which would have banned state funds from being invested in companies controlled by or located in Communist China; H.4844, which would have prevented the South Carolina Retirement Investment Commission from investing public employee retirement funds into companies controlled by Communist China; and H.4845, which would have banned Communist-China-controlled companies from owning or controlling more than 100 acres of land in South Carolina. Unfortunately, the General Assembly did not consider these bills; urge them to enact strong legislation combating the serious threat China poses to the U.S.

In a victory for religious liberty, the General Assembly enacted H.4776, titled the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act. This law allows medical professionals and insurance companies to follow their conscience and religious beliefs by denying service if said service violates their conscience or beliefs.

Continue Your Education and Action Efforts

The John Birch Society encourages you to remain in contact with and continue educating your state legislators about these and other important issues imperative to keeping our Republic and promoting personal freedom.

As Robert Welch wrote, “education is our total strategy, and truth is our only weapon.”

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