Governor McMaster Vetoes Jobs Bill

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster vetoed legislation that expands the nonviolent crimes ex-cons can get removed from their records. In a letter, McMaster says the legislation would also allow individuals to expunge multiple criminal convictions in certain instances.

In his letter, McMaster wrote:

"By way of example, this bill would allow an individual who has been convicted of possessing, with the intent to distribute, a significant quantity of drugs to erase any record of their conviction. This legislation would also allow individuals to expunge multiple criminal convictions in certain instances. As Governor Haley noted in vetoing expungement legislation in 2012, “[t]he result would be businesses and communities being unfairly deprived of the ability to be informed about the criminal histories of those caring for our children, minding our cash registers, and installing out alarm systems.”

"Criminal history, like all history, should not be erased. It can be instructive, but it need not be destructive or determinative; where complicated, it can be contextualized. I believe in the rule of law, but I also believe in grace, and I am cognizant of the challenges that individuals with criminal records face when reentering our communities and applying for jobs.

"Second chances should be freely given when individuals have paid their debt to society; however, forgiveness should be informed by fact and should not be forced upon unwitting participants and prospective employers. Therefore, I am unwilling to sign legislation that would have the practical effect of erasing large categories of criminal records and telling employers what they can and cannot consider when making critical hiring decisions.”

Jason Zacher of the Upstate Chamber Coalition’s newsletter and echoing thoughts from pro-business groups statewide: "The veto came a few days before new state numbers showed our workforce participation rate continuing its long slide. Bringing our 57.5% workforce participation rate up to the national average would mean 20,000 new, taxpaying employees in Greenville and 200,000 statewide. Which begs the question: Why veto legislation that will lower barriers for tens of thousands of people to get back into the workforce? H. 3209 is a jobs bill, and really, the only major jobs bill to pass this session. The General Assembly decided to wait until June 27th to return to Columbia, so stay tuned, and call your legislators and ask them to quickly override the veto when they go back."