Jeff Johnson Working Quietly and Efficiently for the People

By Paul Gable

For the past 10 years, Jeff Johnson has represented the citizens of SC House District 58, which includes part of Conway and much of western Horry County.

Johnson first ran for District 58 in 2014, when the seat was open with the retirement of former Rep. Liston Barfield.

“Some people approached me about running for the seat,” Johnson said. “I decided this was my opportunity to get involved and do what I think needs to be done to make the state better.”

Johnson is a conservative Republican who believes in low taxes, streamlined government and less government interference in peoples’ lives. Johnson currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee, having chaired the Special Laws and Criminal Laws subcommittees. He is also Chairman of the House Legislative Oversight Committee.

Acknowledged by his peers as one of the hardest working members in the SC House, Johnson pointed to last week’s enactment of the Constitutional Carry Bill as a recent achievement of his hard work.

“The Constitutional Carry Bill ensures the right of the citizens of South Carolina to exercise their rights under the 2nd Amendment to openly carry a weapon if they choose,” Johnson said.

When the Covid 19 Pandemic hit the nation, Johnson, as Chairman of the Special Laws subcommittee, worked on the State of Emergency portion of the statute passed by the General Assembly. South Carolina was one of the first states to open back up when the worst dangers of the pandemic were waning.

“We wanted to make sure that the restrictions put in place for the pandemic were common sense and not overbearing on the economy or the citizens,” Johnson said. “We made sure the governor could not unilaterally restrict activities in the state.”

As Chairman of the Criminal Laws subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, Johnson has worked on legislation to address the dangers of sexting, especially to children to raise awareness of parents. He also coordinated with the Attorney General’s Office to make presentations to the students of Aynor and Conway high schools on the topic of sextortion.

Johnson worked heavily on bond reform for those out on bond for violent crimes. The result was a bill which now requires a 100 percent cash bond and electronic monitoring if a person commits a second violent crime while out on bond.

He worked on a bill to make Fentanyl trafficking an offense with a high mandatory minimum sentence. “We needed a law that lets Fentanyl traffickers know we are not putting up with them,: Johnson said.

As Chairman of the Legislative Oversight Committee, Johnson is working to improve state agencies and make them more efficient. One benefit of that work was the discovery by the Inspector General that the Committee on Higher Education had $152 million in unused funds for scholarships for qualified South Carolina students. Improvements were made to ensure more scholarships were funded.

A cabinet agency was established with a Secretary of Health and Policy appointed by the governor. Johnson said, “The new agency with a secretary answerable to the governor, who can be fired immediately if necessary, was established to ensure against the possibility of a “runaway board” at a state agency with an appointed and generally independent board.

Johnson is currently a member of an ad hoc committee studying insurance fraud in the state, which costs honest consumers higher premiums, and on conspiracy to commit retail theft with significant penalties for those caught and convicted.

Johnson is not a representative whose primary goal is to get soundbites in the news to promote himself. He works diligently behind the scenes to ensure tax dollars are spent wisely and efficiently and that government services help the people rather than get lost in bureaucratic red tape.

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