SC group visiting Lowcountry wants to hear about issues affecting children

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:40 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 7:21 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A special comittee of state legislators and citizens will gather in the Lowcountry Thursday to hear from members in the community on issues children are facing, including potential vaccine mandates in schools.

The Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children, which is made up of six South Carolina lawmakers and three citizens appointed by Gov. Henry McMaster, has been hearing from communities across the state. Thursday’s stop is their final one.

Information the group receives can lead to changes in state law as lawmakers could potentially use feedback to help them propose new legislation.

Chairwoman Beth Bernstein says they expect to hear from MUSC pediatricians about COVID-19’s impact on children and how vaccine exemptions are being handled in schools.

Bernstein says three times as many school-aged kids are applying for vaccine exemptions this year compared with 2020, which could affect vaccination requirements for not only COVID-19 but other illnesses like measles.

She also says they expect to hear more on juvenile justice reform and the need for a hate crime bill based on who is signed up to talk along with speakers at previous meetings.

“It’s a really good opportunity for people in the Charleston area or across the state to be able to voice any kind of concerns that they have that would affect children in this state,” Bernstein says.

The group will meet at Trident Technical College from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the SCATC Aviation Briefing Center, and a livestream will be provided on the SCStatehouse website.

Those who wish to send comments or request time to speak should email ahead of time.

The committee was created by statute to research issues regarding the children of South Carolina and to offer policy and legislative recommendations to the governor and state legislature.

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