The Senate assembled at 11:00 A.M., the hour to which it stood adjourned, and was called to order by the ACTING PRESIDENT, Senator SETZLER. (This is a Statewide Session day established under the provisions of Senate Rule 1B. Members not having scheduled committee or subcommittee meetings may be in their home districts without effect on their session attendance record.)
The following remarks by Senator ADAMS were ordered printed in the Journal of February 15, 2022:
Most of you already know that I am a retired police officer and served proudly within the State of South Carolina for the City of North Charleston, where I spent the majority of my years, and with the City of Goose Creek, where I started my service. My brothers and sisters in blue have been struggling over the past several years. We as a society have been letting them down. The public servants that I am speaking about are our front line of defense to fighting crime and protecting us -- serving their communities in ways most of us would never do.
Last year has been one of the deadliest years for law enforcement officers across this country. We all need to remember when someone is engaged in an evil act and in the process of hurting others, these brave men and women are running towards the danger, risking their lives for strangers and willing to make that sacrifice. I can promise you that our men and women in blue do not hate nor dislike the public they serve. The law enforcement officers who decide to protect us during these times are extraordinary people. They serve, knowing the difficulties, understanding the risk and know they will not become wealthy as a police officer, and yet, are still willing to serve.
In 2021, there were 346 officers shot in the line of duty. There were 103 ambush-style attacks on law enforcement officers, which is a 115% increase from the prior year. These ambush style attacks resulted in 130 officers shot and 30 of whom were killed. In January alone of this year, there has been a 67% increase in shootings of police officers compared to the same time last year. There have already been 30 officers shot in the line of duty with four ambush-style attacks this year. This past weekend during a 24-hour period, there were 13 officers shot with six of them being killed. We have got to stand up for police officers and against the violence that is occurring across our country -- hurting our law enforcement. Let me tell you who these men and women are. They are our neighbors, coaches, community leaders, volunteers, friends and family members. They happen to be willing to put on a uniform, which includes a ballistic vest. These men and women kiss their families good bye, not knowing if they will return at the end of their shift and not knowing what their job may ask of them during their tour of duty. Don't get me wrong, they proudly serve and are willing to risk it all to stand between the bad guy and those they are protecting. Yet, fully aware that some will question if what they did was right. I cannot fully explain the emotions that go through the minds of my brothers and sisters when they prepare for their shift to begin. They understand that this shift could very well be their last. For their loved ones it is also a daily stress. Just the door opening when they return is an incredible relief. I will never forget after returning home from my many shifts, not turning on the bedroom light to remove my uniform, as to not disturb my wife. There was no need because the sense of anticipation of hearing the rip of Velcro from my ballistic vest was almost visible, even in the darkness. She knew I was home and safe from another night. I knew I was home safe with my family. There are 346 families that will not experience that relief ever again when their loved one returns home. The violence against our law enforcement officers has got to stop. We need to stand in unity to protect them as they do us. Those who hurt our officers should understand there will be consequences for their actions and that we will not stand for it. Our men and women need to hear our voice and see our actions. Understand, without our brave men and women in blue, the crime will continue to increase and our safety will diminish, which we are currently witnessing across our country.
In closing, I want to thank my fellow officers for their service and the sacrifice they make every day when they put on that uniform to protect us. God Bless the brave men and women in blue.
The following remarks by Senator STEPHENS were ordered printed in the Journal of February 22, 2022:
Thank you Mr. PRESIDENT. If you ask ten people on the street or in our communities, what justice means to them, you might get ten different answers. Then if you ask ten victims of crimes, what justice means to them it is likely a common theme will be articulated. To victims and survivors of crime, justice simply means being treated with respect. They are listened too and actually heard, and they will have a voice in vital decisions that are made related to their cases, as well as to their lives.
In America today, we often speak of "criminal justice", and "juvenile justice" and even "community justice." Yet, we seldom hear about "victim justice" which is the very heart and soul of "justice" in our Nation. If victims never report crimes, we would not be able to identify and arrest violent offenders. If victims did not cooperate as witnesses in criminal cases and juvenile adjudication, the guilty would remain free to harm again. If victims did not bravely speak out about the devastating impact of crime on them, and those they love, few of us would fully realize the domino effect of crime. Crime affects every one of us, those injured, assaulted or murdered are our mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, neighbors and friends. I say to you, my colleagues, one crime can have many victims. I repeat, one crime can have many victims. When we join to honor victims and survivors of hideous crimes, we should be sending a message. We as a society will not tolerate these acts of violence inflicted upon the citizens of this State and Nation.
There have been hundreds of millions of people in our Nation victimized by crime -- woman battered, children abused and traumatized, men and women assaulted, countless people murdered and an entire Nation devastated by senseless acts of domestic and international terrorism against our people. I say our people because these acts are not simply about a particular race of people. In the aftermath of crime, there is shock and devastation and pain and trauma, as well as fear.
I can attest to that personally when hearing of acts of violence inflicted upon the parishioners of Mother Emmanuel Church. There is confusion about what is happening now, and what will happen in the future. Yet, there is also a path of help, of hope and healing that is paved every time someone reaches out to help a victim of crime. My colleagues of this esteemed Body are our hands being extended to comfort the many victims and to introduce and pass legislation that will sufficiently punish individuals or groups who commit such criminal acts against our citizens here in South Carolina. There is a path of justice that results from the simple act of service to victims and survivors of crime. These victims and their families deserve to have their most important needs identified and addressed to help with the healing process.
Justice isn't served until crime victims are treated with dignity and compassion by our criminal and juvenile justice system. Justice isn't served until crime victims' most basic needs are identified whether that be safety measures to protect all citizens or legislation to deal with those offenders of crimes against person, because of race, gender or religious preference.
Justice isn't served until crime victims are informed of all their rights throughout the justice process. Rights that empower them give them important choices and offer them opportunities to have a voice in their cases and in their future -- rights that include information, notifications, protection and participation in the legal problem solving process.
Justice isn't served until we realize, as a community and as a Nation founded on the principles of equal rights for all, that violence and hate crimes affect us all, and that victims' rights represent the very foundation upon which our Nation was created.
Justice isn't served until all crime victims and communities can be assured that their offenders will be held accountable for their crimes and that our collective efforts focus on preventing future victimization and promoting individual and community safety.
We can make justice truly meaningful and truly effective by recognizing the rights and needs of victims and their families, our community, and our State by deliberating and passing Hate Crime Legislation for South Carolina.
I believe, as many before me and now, we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty scream. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. Thank you Mr. PRESIDENT, and thank you my colleagues here in this Body of great men and women. God bless us all.
The following was introduced:
S. 1101 (Word version) -- Senator Alexander: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION TO WELCOME THE NATIONAL COMMANDER OF THE AMERICAN LEGION, PAUL E. DILLARD, TO SOUTH CAROLINA, AND TO INVITE HIM TO ADDRESS THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN JOINT SESSION IN THE CHAMBER OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AT 12:30 P.M. ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2022.
The Concurrent Resolution was introduced and referred to the Committee on Operations and Management.
THE SENATE PROCEEDED TO A CALL OF THE UNCONTESTED LOCAL AND STATEWIDE CALENDAR.
The following Bill was read the third time and ordered sent to the House of Representatives:
S. 908 (Word version) -- Senators Rankin and Grooms: A BILL TO AMEND SECTION 56-5-4445 OF THE 1976 CODE, RELATING TO THE RESTRICTION OF ELEVATING OR LOWERING A MOTOR VEHICLE, TO PROHIBIT MOTOR VEHICLE MODIFICATIONS THAT RESULT IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE'S FRONT FENDER BEING RAISED FOUR OR MORE INCHES ABOVE THE HEIGHT OF THE REAR FENDER.
On motion of Senator RICE.
At 11:06 A.M., on motion of Senator SCOTT, the Senate adjourned to meet next Tuesday, March 1, 2022, at 12:00 Noon.
This web page was last updated on Friday, February 25, 2022 at 11:46 A.M.