What We’re Working On Now
Our focus for 2019-2020 is enhancing access to and quality of health services and advancing workplace policies that support mothers and families.
WREN’s Legislative Agenda 2019-2020
WREN is committed to advancing the health, economic opportunity, and rights of women, girls, and their families in South Carolina. WREN promotes policies that will help ensure South Carolina’s women and girls have every opportunity to live up to their full potential, which will in turn strengthen families, communities, and the overall well-being of our state. In the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly, WREN will pursue policy priorities that will reduce barriers and increase opportunities for women to work, to earn, to be healthy, and to care for their families.
Paid Leave for State Employees (S.997 & H.5137)
This bill would provide state employees with 12 weeks of paid family leave for the birth, adoption or foster care of a child. Paid family leave is crucial to supporting working families’ economic security and promoting gender equity in workplaces. No one should have to risk their job or face financial loss when they need to welcome a new child.
WREN supports efforts to bring gender equity to the workplace and caregiving roles. Paid leave would provide people of all genders with the ability to work and care for their families. This policy is essential to a healthy and functioning state, no parent should have to choose between bonding with their child and financially providing for their family.
South Carolina Lactation Support Act (H.3200 & S.406)
Breastfeeding provides essential nutrition for infants, helps prevent disease and infection, and improves survival rates during the first year of life.
WREN advocates for the adoption of the “South Carolina Lactation Support Act” which would provide more people with the right to break time and private space to express milk in their workplaces.
Anti-Shackling of a Pregnant Person (H.3967)
This bill would ban the use of restraints for an incarcerated person who is pregnant, in labor, during the initial bonding with a newborn, or in postpartum recovery.
WREN supports H.3967 because restraining a pregnant woman is dangerous and inhumane and can pose undue health risks to the woman and her pregnancy. Restraining a pregnant woman increases their chances of accidentally tripping or falling and harming their pregnancies. During labor and postpartum recovery, restraints can interfere with appropriate medical care and can be detrimental to the health of the woman and her newborn child.
Act to Establish Pay Equity (H.3615 & S.372)
Current laws addressing pay have not adapted for the realities of the modern workplace, and the systems we have in place perpetuate unconscious bias.
WREN proposes adoption of the “Act to Establish Pay Equity” which will ensure that employee pay is based on factors such as skill, effort, and responsibility; bans the use of salary history; and provides pay transparency without retaliation.
Ending Child Marriage (S.395)
A minimum marriage age of 18, without exceptions, is the strongest, simplest and most effective way to stop child marriage and its harmful consequences.
We support S.395, because child marriage has devastating, lifelong consequences for individuals, and also undermines the health and well-being of our families and communities.
12-Month Supply of Birth Control Act (H.3279 & S.187)
Access to a greater supply of birth control at one time has been associated with cost savings, healthier pregnancies, and increases the opportunities that women have to pursue education, advance their careers, and participate in public life.
WREN proposes adoption of the “12-Month Supply of Birth Control Act” which would allow women to receive a one year’s supply of birth control at a time, and amplify family planning ability.
Community Development Tax Credit (S. 424 )
This bill reauthorizes the community development tax credit which has proven to be an innovative and effective tool to attract private capital, resulting in job creation, small business development, workforce development, and the production of workforce housing. This has been especially helpful in boosting opportunities in the economically disadvantaged areas of the state which need it most.
South Carolina families and communities miss out on economic opportunities because they do not have access to money or resources (e.g. education, job training, small business lending, affordable housing, etc.). WREN supports S. 424 which reauthorizes the Community Development Tax Credit that allows donors who make donations to certified Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to receive a 33% state tax credit. South Carolina organizations can use the tax credit to attract donor funding then use those proceeds to assist individuals and businesses.
Workplace Freedom Act (H. 3786)
This bill would seek to eliminate and prevent discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace.
WREN supports the Workplace Freedom Act and all policies that ensure that women are protected from discrimination.
Protecting Victim Confidentiality (H.3370)
This bill provides that non-profit sexual assault and domestic violence provider organizations are not required to disclose certain confidences acquired by clients during the provision of services to those clients.
WREN promotes laws and policies that create an environment where women and girls are free from violence. Those organizations who serve victims should be able to maintain confidences of their clients without punishment.
Wage History and Transparency (H.3589)
This bill would make it unlawful to rely on wage history to set employee wages and would require an employer to provide a wage range for positions.
WREN supports all efforts to close the wage gap in South Carolina. Asking for prior wage history can lead to an employee with equal or superior qualifications making less than a coworker doing the same job simply because they happened to make less in their prior position. Studies show that increased pay transparency creates work environments where employees are more likely to believe they are paid fairly, and thus are more engaged and productive.
Equal Pay for State Employees (H.3147)
This bill would make it unlawful for state employees to be paid differently on the basis of sex. African American women earn 53 cents compared to the dollar by white men. White women earn 74 cents. Overall, South Carolina has a larger wage gap than the national average.
WREN supports all efforts to close the wage gap in South Carolina.
Equal Pay for Equal Work (H. 3139)
This bill would ensure that employees may not be paid differently on the basis of sex. African American women earn 53 cents compared to the dollar by white men. White women earn 74 cents. Overall, South Carolina has a larger wage gap than the national average.
WREN supports all efforts to close the wage gap in South Carolina.
Addressing Child Marriage Bill (H.3369 & S.196)
This bill would remove the pregnancy exemption from South Carolina’s marriage law so that no marriages are allowed if the minor is under the age 16.
We support S.196, because child marriage has devastating, lifelong consequences for individuals, and also undermines the health and well-being of our families and communities
Redistricting Bill (H. 3054)
The bill would help to create less polarization in politics, increase accountability to voters by elected officials, and higher level of voter engagement because citizens will know their votes matter.
WREN works to promote leadership and civic participation by women and youth and wants an effective, responsive government for all South Carolinians. WREN supports H. 3054 which would create an independent nonpartisan redistricting process with criteria for boundary definition that emphasize fairness to voters rather than to incumbents or parties.
Equal Rights Amendment ( H.3391 & H.3340)
The women of South Carolina and the United States should be represented in the United States Constitution and guaranteed the right from discrimination based on sex.
WREN supports the ERA and all policies that ensure that women are protected from discrimination.
6-Week Abortion Ban (H.3020 and S.32)
This bill is intended to ban abortion as early as 6 weeks, regardless of women’s needs and circumstances.
Passing such a ban in South Carolina poses a serious threat to women’s health, freedom, and dignity. This is a far-reaching bill drafted by extremist politicians whose goal is to eliminate all abortion in South Carolina.
So-Called Personhood Act (S. 485)
The so-called Personhood Act would turn South Carolina into a police state for women, health care professionals, and any other person involved in pregnancy care or prevention. Before she is pregnant and at any point during pregnancy, a woman could be criminally liable if she uses certain forms of contraception, has a miscarriage, suffers from health complications, or has an abortion. The bill is an assault on the health, dignity, and freedom of South Carolinians
WREN opposes S.485, as it would eliminate a woman’s right to make personal and private decisions about her own body and her health.
Ban on Bans (S.394)
The “ban on bans” bill would eliminate existing single-use plastics ordinances and prohibit future action at the local level. Thirteen communities in South Carolina, representing nearly half a million people, have already passed bans to protect water quality, wildlife and public health. These ordinances are effective, targeted tools to curb plastic waste, which breaks down over time into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic called microplastics
WREN opposes S. 394, the “ban on bans” bill, because local governments should be able to act to improve the health and safety of their communities. Plastic waste breaks down into toxic microplastics that make their way back up the food chain and damage the health of communities. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to toxins in microplastics like endocrine disrupters that can cause negative reproductive health outcomes.