ESA Bill Set for Action in SC House

May 3, 2022

Oran P. Smith, Ph.D

Senior Fellow

With only two legislative weeks to go before adjournment, S.935, the Education Scholarship Account (ESA) bill, is on the floor calendar of the South Carolina House of Representatives. (S.935 was passed by the House Ways & Means Committee last week with only one dissenting vote!)

The House is expected to take parts of its own bill (H.4879) and merge it with the version that passed the Senate on March 31. Then, the two bodies will seek to work out their differences in a Conference Committee.

Please Note: The ESA bill has been discussed under the copper dome since 2017, but this is the first time the full House will take a vote on it. Therefore, we are taking nothing for granted. If you have not contacted your legislator in support of Education Scholarship Accounts, we urge you to visit the Action Center right now!

That an education choice bill has made it nearly to the finish line is truly historic. A glance back shows just how far we have come.

It was in March 2000 that one of the most significant early education choice bills was filed in the South Carolina House. The primary sponsor of H.4814 was Rep. Lewis Vaughn (R-Greer). Vaughn later served in the Senate. Three of the original co-sponsors continue to serve in the General Assembly: Chip Campsen and Dwight Loftis are now in the Senate.  Rep. Bill Sandifer chairs a House committee.

Much has changed in education choice policy since 2000. Tax credits have given way to Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) for example.

But much remains the same.

We strongly reaffirm the words of the 2000 legislation as foundational for school choice in 2022:

In enacting this…the General Assembly recognizes diversity among children and affirms that every child is unique.  The General Assembly also affirms that children learn differently from one another and may benefit from expanded educational opportunities.

Children are still unique! That’s why we need S.935. Please contact your legislator today.