House Representative Rick Martin reviews 2018 Legislative Session

Margaret Brackett - Contributing Columnist

The honorable Rick Martin is spokesperson this week for NEWBERRY NOTES. He will provide a review from what is going on in Columbia, what lawmakers have been debating and what issues are expected to gather attention next year.

May is Older American Month and seniors are recognized for their character and wisdom. Rick as a member of the House of Representatives, why are you interested in Senior issues? What topics concerning seniors have come up in the Legislature this session?

Martin: This session we addressed the Real ID problem and it is COMPLICATED.

Readers will need to decide if they want to go through that process. Most seniors will need to get the Real ID if they expect to go on airplanes and enter any military bases and federal facilities in the future. There are deadlines coming up.

I recommend you seniors and citizens go to the DMV website. The website address is

Also, in the line of motor vehicles, the General Assembly has passed a bill REINSTATING VISION SCREENING REQUIREMENT FOR DRIVERS LICENSE RENEWALS. The legislation provides that individuals will once again be required to satisfy vision screening requirements in order to renew a driver’s license by either passing a vision test administered at the Department of Motor Vehicles or through the submission of a certificate of vision examination form executed by an certifying optometrist. These provisions take effect October 1, 2020 .

The House approved S.1041, a bill establishing criminal and civil penalties for defrauding the Elderly and other Vulnerable Adults and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation provides that it is unlawful for someone knowingly and willingly to solicit or obtain by deceptive acts, or practices the money or property of a vulnerable adult or the person identifying information of a vulnerable adult or the personal identifying information of a vulnerable adult for the purposes of committing financial identity fraud or identity fraud.

The things in the budget we should know about:

The Department of Health and Human Services is afforded $26,4 million for Medicaid maintenance of effort to address program cost growth, The budget provides for continuation for Medicaid accountability and quality improvement programs.

Telemedicine is an up and coming technology to help those who are not local to major hospitals. This brings the recurring dollars total for the SC Telehealth Network to $11 million in combined funding through DHHS and MUSC.

Issues in the future that will be important to seniors; Housing for seniors is becoming an issue.

More than a quarter of seniors live in rural areas and their income is lower than that. Low incomes contribute, and quarter of these seniors are still paying off their mortgages. Of course, housing is closely related to the issue of elder care and nursing home access, of particular note I think related to elder isolation and housing issues is elder abuse.

Margaret Brackett

Contributing Columnist

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.

Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.