Members of an FMU delegation attended a three-day session on Nov. 6-8 at the State House in Columbia for the South Carolina Student Legislature (SCSL).
Six FMU delegates made the trip, three of whom were new to the organization. This year, 10 different delegations attended the session and 139 bills were presented.
Prior to the session, FMU delegates drafted three bills to bring before the Senate and the House. The bills were to improve student aid in South Carolina, to make medical billing in South Carolina more predictable for the patient and to reduce carbon emission.
Three of the six delegates presented their bills before all of the delegations. Two of the bills passed in the Senate and in the House.
Junior political science major Hunter Britt drafted the bill to reduce carbon emissions.
Britt’s bill was passed in the House and in the Senate. Her bill proposed that people be given electric cars to help reduce carbon emissions.
“I was really inspired by Greta Thunburger’s protesting against the U.S. being taken out of the Paris Agreement,” Britt said.
Senior political science major Alexis Evans said she thought her idea for a bill was timely.
“Climate change is really happening, and as somebody who has had the opportunity to be able to travel, I always hear people complain about it,” Evans said.
Evans proposed a bill to make medical billing in South Carolina more predictable for patients.
“Surprise billing is a huge problem now and 21 states have passed legislation on it,” Evans said.
Her bill proposal would allow for a resolution period between the providers and insurers prior to medical procedures or any other services.
“I want to advocate for our citizens and make sure they have affordable access to healthcare,” Evans said.
SCSL is a non-profit organization that was founded by students in 1965. The organization aims to educate and give students the opportunity to participate in the democratic process.
One of the newest delegates, freshman political science major Alfonso Legette, was inspired and motivated by the bills he got to vote on and the ability to learn the process of debating bills.
“I really liked the fact that we were in the actual spots where bills get passed, and I really enjoyed the mock simulation of how bills are discussed and passed in South Carolina,” Legette said.
SCSL Governor Alexander Leasure arranged for the use of the SC Supreme Court chambers so that members would have the opportunity to experience accurate court proceedings.
The case heard in the SC Supreme Court was South Carolina v. Terell Artieth Smith.
The court convened to determine whether the mandatory 30-year minimum sentence set forth in the South Carolina Code of Laws is unconstitutional when applied to juvenile offenders.
The court ruled that the sentence was not cruel and unjust for juveniles who commit heinous crimes.