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Committee Wants to Hear Your Ideas on How to Help South Carolina’s Children

If you have an idea on how to make South Carolina better for its children or concerns about issues affecting them, your opinion is wanted.

The Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children is traveling around the state for its annual fall tour, starting next month, and is inviting South Carolinians to speak with them.

The panel, more commonly known as the Children’s Committee, made up of a bipartisan group of six lawmakers — three from the state’s House of Representatives and three from the Senate — along with three citizens appointed by the governor and the heads of statewide agencies, including the Department of Mental Health, Department of Social Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, and Department of Education.

Feedback they have received during these hearings in past years has led to changes in law at the State House.

“We’ve found out a lot of things just by people coming up and telling us,” Sen. Katrina Shealy, R – Lexington and a committee member, said.

In recent years, new laws to improve South Carolina’s adoption and fostering processes, put more regulations around vaping, and guarantee paid family leave for state employees and, recently, teachers has either resulted from the committee’s work or garnered the support of its members.

“Every fall, when we have these hearings, it really gives us an opportunity as committee members to really understand what’s going on in the community with respect to children and what issues are most important,” Rep. Beth Bernstein, D – Richland and a committee member, said.

While most of the committee’s meetings during the year take place on State House grounds in Columbia, its fall hearing schedule gives members the chance to hear from more South Carolinians in other parts of the state.

The public hearings begin with two in Columbia on Sept. 7, followed by one in Greenville on Sept. 12, one in Florence on Oct. 5, and one in Charleston on Oct. 17.

Any South Carolinian can attend to share their ideas for helping the state’s kids and families.

“It’s really, really important for people to be able to come out and express what concerns and where they think our focus needs to be in dealing with children’s issues,” Bernstein said.

“We’re going to be all over the state, so there’s an opportunity for everybody to come out and talk to us,” Shealy added.

People can sign up ahead of time to speak by emailing comments@mailbox.sc.edu.

The committee’s tour is in preparation for the next legislative session, which begins in January.

“There’s still so much more work to be done,” Shealy said. “I look forward to getting back in the swing of things so we can get more legislation passed.”

Times/locations for Children’s Committee 2023 Fall Hearings:

Times/locations for Children’s Committee 2023 Fall Hearings:

  • Columbia: Thursday, Sept. 7 – State House (Gressette Building, Room 105)
    • 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Greenville: Tuesday, Sept. 12 – Greenville City Council Chambers, Greenville City Hall (206 S. Main St.)
    • 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Florence: Thursday, Oct. 5 – Francis Marion University, Chapman Auditorium in Robert E. McNair Science Building (4800 Dr. Heyward Dr.)
    • 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • North Charleston: Tuesday, Oct. 17 – Charleston County Council Chambers (4045 Bridge View Dr., North Charleston)
    • 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Source : Live 5 News