I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend. The weather was beautiful and hopefully you were able to spend time with your family. The legislature only met one day last week as the Finance Committee was busy putting the finishing touches on the Senate budget. I, along with the other Senators who do not sit on Finance, had numerous sub-committee Hearings to attend. We will resume our normal schedule of three days a week beginning today.

I hope this Newsletter finds you well. The goal of this Newsletter is to keep you updated on what is happening in Columbia. If you have any questions or would like me to discuss a topic, please let me know.

Week in Review: April 11-April 15, 2022:

These are some of the bills that passed third reading in the Senate over the last week and were sent to the House (click on the link to see the text of the bill):

Due to the shortened schedule no bills were voted on by the Senate.

Last week I wrote that the Senate passed S.613. In my description I inadvertently left out the word "not", which caused numerous nurses to send fairly strong emails stating that they opposed this legislation. Here is the corrected summary of S.613:

Unlicensed Assistive Personnel: This will allow certified medical assistants (CMA) to perform specific functions. A CMA may be authorized by a physician to perform certain tasks, but they may not include: administering controlled medications; injecting neurotoxin products or tissue fillers; using lasers that results in tissue destruction; placing sutures; radiation; diagnosing symptoms or tests; triaging patients; testing for allergies; and performing a task by means of telemedicine. The CMA must wear an appropriate badge identifying their status and follow all guidelines and regulations when performing the task. I voted in favor.

Election Laws:

This is the second week that I have mentioned changes to the election laws. The Senate has agreed to take up this legislation beginning on Wednesday. The final amendments and changes have not been made and will not be finalized until this morning. The full Judiciary Committee will meet this afternoon to vote on the version of the bill that will come to the floor. If you are interested in the original bills passed out of the House click HERE and HERE. I expect to see significant changes to both of these bills. I expect to see in person voting be extended to either 7 or 10 days prior to election day. I would not be surprised by a significant reduction in absentee mail-in voting. Additionally, it is my hope that with mail-in absentee voting that there are witness identification requirements. I expect the Senate to spend all day on Wednesday on these bills and a significant amount of time on Thursday. I am hopeful that we can pass second reading no later than Thursday.

S.531 – Save Women’s Sports Act:

If passed this bill will require the designation of separate sex-specific athletic teams of sports. Interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural or club athletic teams sponsored by a public elementary or secondary school or public post-secondary institution must be expressly designated based on biological sex at birth for team members: males, men or boys; females, women or girls; coed or mixed to include both males and females. A private school or institution sponsoring a team or sport which competes against a public school or institution must comply with the Act. A civil action brought under the section must be initiated within two years after the alleged harm occurred. I am sure many of you have read or heard about the swimmer at Penn University who is biologically male but swims on the women's swim team. That swimmer set numerous conference records and won an event at the NCAA Championships. The goal of this legislation is to protect biological women and insure that the rights given to them under Title IX are upheld. As of today, fourteen states have passed similar legislation. This bill should be the next major piece of legislation considered by the Senate after election law changes.

Thank you for believing in me and allowing me to represent District 16 in Columbia. Again, if you have any questions, or you hear something and have a question, give me a call. My personal cell number is 803-984-0126.

Thank you again for everything,

Michael Johnson