Chapin Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

Years ago, I went to Representative Huggings and discussed the need for an Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast and can’t believe this fall will be the 9th Annual one for Irmo!

The idea came from several Mayor’s Prayer Breakfasts we have attended in Chapin , Columbia as well as other events. After a few years’ hiatus, I’m glad to see the Chapin event is back! I received this information earlier today and hope you’ll join me there next month!

Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast to Feature Dr. Tom Phillips of Billy Graham Library

Chapin, SC (March 10 , 2014) Chapin Mayor Skip Wilson is pleased to announce that Dr. Tom Phillips, Vice President of the Billy Graham Library for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in Charlotte, North Carolina, will be the guest speaker for the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Friday, April 11 at 7:30 am at Town Hall.

“We are excited to have Dr. Phillips come to Chapin to address our community as we embark on our 14th Annual Community of Character Service Day which occurs on April 12,” said Mayor Wilson. “The theme for our breakfast is For Giving, and we look forward to an inspirational message on how giving of ourselves to help others can make such a difference in our lives and for those around us.”

Phillips has been the vice president of Crusades, executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina, and a senior crusade director with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for many years, directing crusades in several cities in the United States and Canada. He has also served as the director of Counseling and Follow-up, working in that capacity in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Mexico, Brazil and the Far East. He has played a key role in the development of current materials and programs.

In addition, Dr. Phillips was president of Horizon College in San Diego, California as well as president and CEO of International Students, Inc., based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from 1994-2001. He received his Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he was formerly a field supervisor for the Doctor of Ministry Program. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi.

The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be the first in recent years and will include participation by Chapin area ministers as well, including Rev. Jody Flowers of Chapin United Methodist Church, Rev. Dr. Ben Sloan of Lake Murray Presbyterian Church, Rev. Dr. Mark Scott of St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church and Bishop William Woodard, interim pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist. David Clifton who leads the Fellowship of Christian Athletes program for Lexington-Richland School District 5 will also be participating.

Businesses or individuals interested in participating for the Prayer Breakfast may contact Karen Owens at 803.575.8039 or by email at Limited sponsorship opportunities are available.

Road Improvements: Richard Franklin and more…

2014 Richard Franklin

For any pothole or resurfacing requests of Richland County Roads, please email or contact our local county councilman, Bill Malinowski. If the road is maintained by the SCDOT, then contact me directly.

Ever since I was elected, it seems “potholes, intersections and roads” are what most people seem to care most about. Over the years, we’ve seen several improvements in the area. Too many to post over. Here’s a post from the past from the past and another years ago , most importantly, here is the latest information on some “most talked about” areas in the district:

1) Kennerly Road/Coogler Road intersection. No timetable but this is one of the intersections slated to be funded by the “Penny Tax” in Richland County. Years back, Senator Courson and I worked to get “flashing signals/signage” but even today there are still accidents at this location.

2) There is NO ‘bridge’ being considered from our area to Blythewood across Broad River (aka a northern arterial/connector from I-77 to I-26 over the Broad River) It’s not in any 20 year plans but it seems the “myth” always comes up every few months or so.

3) Richard Franklin Road. Finally! Contracts are being let and a full depth reclamation/resurfacing is expected to be completed by the end of summer.

4) Traffic Light at intersection of Highway 6 and Farming Creek. Work should begin spring 2014.

5) Replacing Shady Grove Bridge (over I-26) with a new 2-lane bridge. Should occur in 2014.

Also slated for 2014:

* Broad River Road (I20 to Koon Road) slated for resurfacing
* Capers Chapel Road – Chipseal resurfacing
* Julius Richardson Road – Thin lift resurfacing
* Lykes Lane – Thin lift resurfacing. (While Lykes Lane is no longer in District 71 after reapportionment, I remember years ago everyone appreciating the traffic signal there and wanted to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them).

Be safe out there! And if you’re curious about funding for our roads. I have offered several proposals to my colleagues before voting to raise your taxes!

Back to Back to Back!

2014 Dutch Fork Girls Basketball
Photo courtesy of Rick Henry’s twitpic last night. Follow Rick on Twitter at RickHenry10

You may have thought I was talking Gamecocks v Clemson baseball series….or football (but I’d be 2 games short using that title)….sorry Clemson friends : )

Instead, I’m talking about the ladies on the Dutch Fork Basketball team…who have done it again after defeating Greenwood 62-55 last night in the 4A Title Game.

Congratulations to Coach Norris and her team on another championship season! This was just what the school needed after an emotional past few weeks following the recent death of Da’Von Capers. In case you missed it, here’s a good article The State ran earlier this week .

I look forward to bringing these champions to the State House chamber again this year and recognizing them for their success on and off the court!

Spring Forward tonight at 2am!

Spring Forward

Of course if you’re like me, you’ll have the clocks in the cars, on the microwave, and every other clock in the house, changed before 10pm tonight!

Good weather this weekend, let’s hope it can stay like this and Spring really arrives on time!

Meet James Burns: State Ethics Commission

2014 James Burns

As you know, I like to share news about neibhors in the community! Feel free to share me any news you’d like me to share with the Ballentine/Chapin/Dutch Fork/Irmo Community. To see a few of the other “Meet your Neighbor” posts, click here.

State Ethics Commission nominations

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has nominated eight people to the State Ethics Commission. Their appointments must be confirmed by the House and Senate.

James Burns: Former deputy legal counsel for the vice chief of naval operations at the Pentagon, staff attorney for Haley’s Commission on Ethics Reform, partner with Nelson Mullins law firm in Columbia

Twana Burris-Alcide: Former prosecutor for the 16th Circuit solicitor’s office, now in private practice in York County
Thomas Miller Galardi: Former chief investigator for the 2nd Circuit solicitor in Aiken

Julie Jeffords-Moose: An attorney at the Turner Padget Law Firm in Florence, focusing on business law
Regina Lewis: Former Maryland state prosecutor, co-founder of Gaffney Lewis & Edwards, a law firm in Columbia

Sherri Lydon: Former federal prosecutor in South Carolina, including Operation Lost Trust, the early 1990s federal investigation of vote-selling by state lawmakers; former chief of the State Grand Jury, including the Carolina Investors/Homegold case, the state’s largest securities fraud case; now in private practice in Columbia

Clisby “Sandy” Templeton: Retired SLED agent who lives at Gray Court
James Warren: Attorney with the Wyche law firm in Greenville, focusing on commercial real estate and economic incentives

To be nominated

Frank Grimball: Haley plans to nominate the attorney with Mullin Wylie law firm in Charleston soon, according to a spokesman

For full article from The State, click here.

Weekly Rewind: Week of March 4th

(Published by the Office of Research of the House of Representatives)

March 7, 2014

The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H.4576, a joint resolution AUTHORIZING SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO FORGIVE UP TO FIVE DAYS MISSED THIS SCHOOL YEAR DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. Under the legislation, the governing body of a school district may waive the requirement that schools make up full days missed due to inclement weather for five or fewer full school days that students who attend schools or charter schools in the district missed due to inclement weather during the 2013 2014 school year. However, before a school district makes use of this authority to waive make-up days, it must exhaust all of the statutorily required make up days remaining on the 2013-2014 school calendar. When a district waives a make up day under this legislation, the make up day also is waived for any student participating in a home schooling program approved by the board of trustees of the district in which the student resides.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3027 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides for the EXPANSION OF THE OWNER OCCUPIED RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT RATIO ELIGIBILITY FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL. The legislation provides that an active duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States who receives the special assessment ratio for owner occupied residential property retains this four percent assessment ratio as long as the owner remains on active duty, regardless of the owner’s subsequent relocation or change of duty station and regardless of any rental income attributable to the property. The legislation also provides that an eligible active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces who receives orders for a permanent change of station or a temporary duty assignment for at least one year, may claim the four percent assessment ratio and applicable exemptions for two residential properties located in the State for up to two years so long as the owner is attempting to sell the first acquired residence. These provisions also include the spouse of the service member who jointly owns the qualifying property.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3089 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides for a maximum three thousand dollar a year INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX DEDUCTION FOR VOLUNTEER STATE CONSTABLES.

The House returned S.19 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation revises BAIL AND BOND PROVISIONS in criminal court proceedings, including more stringent bond provisions that apply to someone who is charged with committing a violent crime while already out on bond for a previous violent offense. This legislation requires a bond hearing to occur within thirty days in circuit court if a person out on bond for a violent offense is charged with another violent offense not arising out of the same series of events as the initial violent offense charged. If the judge finds at this hearing that there are no conditions of release that will ensure that the person is unlikely to flee or pose a danger to the community, the legislation requires the judge not to set bond for the most recent offense and to revoke the bond for the initial offense. In such circumstances, notice of the second arrest must be sent to the solicitor of the circuit in which the crime was committed and the circuit’s administrative chief judge, and the prosecuting agency must make the required notifications about bond hearings to any victims of the initial or subsequent crimes. Additionally, the legislation brings greater uniformity to the statutory lists of considerations that judges and magistrates use for setting bond. The legislation adds the requirement that both judges and magistrates consider whether the charged person appears in the state gang database maintained at the State Law Enforcement Division when making a determination about bond. The legislation allows someone to post bond with the jail or detention center in jurisdictions that are equipped to receive such payments.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3428, a bill that provides for the REAUTHORIZATION OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA FIRST STEPS TO SCHOOL READINESS INITIATIVE and makes revisions to this initiative for providing enhanced early childhood development, education, and family support services to enable children to reach school ready to achieve academic success. The legislation provides that, before July 1, 2015, the Education Oversight Committee, in consultation with the South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees and other early childhood advocates, is required to recommend to the State Board of Education an assessment to evaluate and measure the school readiness of students prior to their entrance into a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten program. This research-based assessment must evaluate each child’s early language and literacy development, numeracy skills, physical well being, social and emotional development, and approaches to learning. The school readiness assessment adopted by the State Board of Education may not be used to deny a student admission or progress to kindergarten or first grade and results of individual students may not be publicly reported. Every student entering the public schools for the first time in prekindergarten and kindergarten must be administered a readiness screening by the forty fifth day of the school year. The First Steps Board shall utilize the annual aggregate literacy and other readiness assessment information in establishing standards and practices to support all early childhood providers served by First Steps. The legislation includes new requirements for the First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees to develop a school readiness description, program objectives, and benchmarks for measuring progress, and then subject them to an evaluation every five years. The legislation makes some revisions to the composition of the First Steps to School Readiness Board of Trustees and emphasizes diverse geographical representation on this governing board through the appointment of individuals from each congressional district. The legislation codifies duties of the First Steps Board relating to serving as South Carolina Advisory Council for Head Start as well as ensuring that BabyNet complies with the maintenance of effort requirement by coordinating with agencies that provide early intervention. The legislation redesignates the office of First Steps to School Readiness as a state agency, makes its director subject to the authority of the Agency Head Salary Commission, and provides for new duties that include conducting data collection and evaluating each program funded by the First Steps Board on a regular cycle to determine its effectiveness and whether it should continue to receive funding. The legislation replaces the strict county-by-county organizational structure for First Steps partnerships with new authority for local partnerships to collaborate in a manner they determine will maximize the efficient and effective provision of services and programs to children and their families. The legislation includes provisions for the First Steps Board to establish bylaws for use by each local partnership board and for each local partnership board to maintain a total minimum membership of twelve and a maximum membership of thirty elected, appointed, and designated individuals. The legislation includes provisions for the First Steps Board to establish grant qualification requirements and a funding formula, which includes the identification of the most relevant and effective factors, by which the allocations for qualifying local partnership grants are calculated. As a condition of receiving state funds, each local partnership must be subject to performance reviews by the South Carolina First Steps agency that addresses such matters as local board functioning and collaboration and compliance with state standards and fiscal accountability. At least seventy five percent of state funds appropriated for programs must be used by the local partnership for evidence based programs designated by the First Steps Board as meeting such criteria as being grounded in published, peer reviewed research linked to determined outcomes. Not more than twenty five percent of state funds appropriated may be used for evidence informed programs which do not meet the strict criteria needed for designation as evidence based programs but which the First Steps Board determines to be supported by research that indicates potential effectiveness.
The legislation subjects each prevalent program investment to an independent evaluation under a five-year review cycle in order to gauge First Steps’ progress in meeting its goals.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4749, a joint resolution on the selection of the EARLY LITERACY ASSESSMENT FOR KINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS. This legislation requires the State Board of Education immediately, in consultation with the Department of Education, the Office of First Steps to School Readiness, the Education Oversight Committee, and other stakeholders, begin to consider which assessment must be used to analyze the early literacy competencies of children in state-funded full-day and half-day four-year-old kindergarten programs and of all children entering kindergarten programs in public schools during the 2014-2015 school year. The assessment must be the same or aligned to assessments intended to provide diagnostic information to teachers and measure student growth over time. The legislation requires the board to report to the General Assembly on the assessment it has selected as well as any comprehensive kindergarten readiness assessment standard chosen to replace it.

Note: I have provided links above directly to bills listed above. For bills appearing below this section, you may visit and simply type the bill number and use the search feature to view the legislation.

The House returned S.148 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation establishes IDENTITY THEFT SAFEGUARDS FOR PROTECTED CONSUMERS, a special class of consumers composed of children as well as adults who are incapacitated or otherwise under another’s guardianship. To help prevent the identities of these protected consumers from being stolen and used for such purposes as opening fraudulent credit accounts, the legislation establishes requirements for consumer reporting agencies to place security freezes on the records of those under the age of sixteen as well as incapacitated individuals and protected individuals for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed upon the request of parents or other representatives who can produce sufficient proof of their authority to act on behalf of the protected consumers. A consumer reporting agency may not charge any fees for implementing security freezes for protected consumers or for creating any consumer credit files needed to implement such security freezes.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4347, the “SOUTH CAROLINA CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY MEDICAL RESPONSE SYSTEM ACT”. This legislation creates the South Carolina Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System, under the administration of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, to provide statewide coordination and medical service resources, assisting and collaborating with children’s advocacy centers and state agencies charged with the investigation, assessment, treatment, and prosecution of child abuse or neglect for children in the state. The program is charged with developing, supporting, and maintaining a consistent quality standard of care and practice for services intrinsic to the assessment of children who are suspected victims of abuse or neglect, such as medical expert witness services and forensic medical examinations, assessments, and diagnoses. The program is responsible for providing guidance on the training of health care providers participating in the forensic medical assessment of suspected victims of child abuse or neglect, the reporting of findings, and when a forensic medical assessment should be obtained by the South Carolina Department of Social Services and law enforcement agencies. The program is required to collect and manage data from participating health care providers, children’s advocacy centers, and children’s hospitals for the purposes of establishing quality assurance programs, research, and public policy guidance.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4788, a bill designating the second Sunday in August as “SPIRIT OF ‘45 DAY” to commemorate the anniversary of the end of
World War II.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4403, a bill designating January seventeenth of each year, the birthday of the late actress, singer, and native South Carolinian Eartha Mae Kitt, as “EARTHA KITT DAY” in South Carolina.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4560, a bill pertaining to MATERIAL SUBJECT TO AN ORDER FOR DESTRUCTION OF ARREST RECORDS OR EXPUNGEMENT. This legislation provides that evidence gathered, incident reports, and investigative files produced as a result of a law enforcement action or investigation must be retained, under seal, by the agency for future investigative purposes or any other law enforcement purpose for a period not to exceed three years from the date of the expungement order and are not subject to an order for destruction of arrest records. Provided, however, specific language indicating a subject has been arrested or charged with a crime must be redacted from the incident report following a no conviction disposition of such criminal charge. A violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor. Additionally, this legislation includes any associated bench warrant among records that must be destroyed when charges are dismissed or expunged and allows expungement provisions to apply to someone who has been under investigation for a criminal offense.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4364, a bill requiring PUBLICATION OF CHANGES IN VOTING PROCEDURES. This legislation requires the executive director of the State Election Commission to publish on the commission’s website each change to voting procedures by act or joint resolution of the General Assembly, or by ordinance of a political subdivision of the State, relating to the election laws of the State together with a brief explanation, if necessary, of each such enactment. Enactments and any accompanying explanations published on the commission’s website must remain on the commission’s website at least through the date of the next general election.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3563, a bill making REVISIONS TO THE “SOUTH CAROLINA SELF-SERVICE STORAGE FACILITY ACT”, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation revises the provisions for how the owner of property kept in a self-service storage facility can be placed in default for failure to pay rent and how the storage facility owner can sell or otherwise dispose of the defaulting occupant’s property. The legislation revises notification requirements for this process including new authorization to provide notices by electronic mail.

The House approved S.699 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation codifies an additional INSPECTION FEE ON THE DISTRIBUTION OR SALE OF COMMERCIAL FERTILIZER in the amount of one dollar a ton that has been imposed through budget provisos since 2009. All revenues of the fee must be retained and expended by the Division of Regulatory and Public Service Programs of Clemson University (Clemson PSA).

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3134, a bill relating to MORTGAGE SATISFACTIONS. This legislation provides definitions for terms related to methods of entering a satisfaction of mortgage in the public records. Also, the legislation provides a procedure and form for use in execution that simplifies the current process of entering a satisfaction of mortgage in the public records without being required to provide the original debt instrument.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4604, a bill providing for an EXEMPTION FROM ENGINEER LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR PERFORMING CERTAIN MANUFACTURING COMPANY ACTIVITIES. The legislation revises exemptions from the licensure requirement to practice engineering, so as to provide an exemption for the activities of full time employees of a manufacturing company or other personnel under the direct supervision and control of the manufacturing company or its subsidiary, on or in connection with activities related to the research, development, design, fabrication, production, assembly, integration, installation, or service of products manufactured by the manufacturing company. This exemption does not apply to activities where the seal of a professional engineer is expressly required by statute, regulation, or building code, or to engineering services offered to the public.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4578, a bill STREAMLINING THE PLAN APPROVAL, INSPECTION, AND CERTIFICATION PROCESS FOR SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL MODULAR BUILDINGS. The legislation makes revisions to the South Carolina Modular Buildings Construction Act to allow a third-party approved inspection agency to perform final plan review and approval, inspection, and certification of a single family residential modular building. A copy of the approved plan must be filed with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, after which time the department may issue the necessary certification labels for units manufactured to the approved plan. For commercial or multifamily modular buildings, an approved inspection agency shall perform initial plan review and approval, inspection, and certification and the plans are then submitted to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for final plan review and approval.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4644, a bill CONFORMING THE SOUTH CAROLINA REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS LICENSE AND CERTIFICATION ACT TO NEW NATIONAL UNIFORM STANDARDS for licensing, certifying, and recertifying real estate appraisers that provide for new minimum education and experience requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4643, a bill relating to PROFESSIONAL LICENSING FEES COLLECTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, LICENSING AND REGULATION. The legislation repeals statutory provisions setting professional licensing fees for contractors and speech pathologists and audiologists so that these fees may be set through regulation rather than statute, as is the case with the other professional licensing fees administered by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4550, a bill that updates the LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS FOR NURSING HOME AND COMMUNITY RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY (CRCF) ADMINISTRATORS. The bill specifies that the “related health care administration” experience needed to qualify for a Nursing Home Administrator license does not include experience in an independent living community. It also allows an applicant to qualify for a Nursing Home Administrator license if he or she has a health-related associates degree from an accredited college and three years of practical experience in nursing home administration. Among other things, the bill allows an applicant who is a licensed practical nurse who has at least one year (minimum 384 hours) supervised on-site work experience with supervisory to qualify for a CRCF license. The bill also preserves the existing grandfather clause for CRCF administrators without a college degree who became licensed prior to July 1, 2000.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4561, a bill authorizing the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to enter into an INTERSTATE BOATING VIOLATOR COMPACT that assists law enforcement in enforcing boating laws on watercraft that cross lines of jurisdiction as they travel through the waters of this state and neighboring states.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4551, a bill providing that it is UNLAWFUL TO TAKE OR POSSESS A GREAT WHITE SHARK. Any great white shark that is caught must be released immediately and must remain completely in the water at all times while being released.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4543, a bill revising FISHING RESTRICTIONS ON BLUE CATFISH that alters the limitations on sizes and daily catch limits. A new daily possession limit of not more than ten blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is established for Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, and the upper reach of the Santee River.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4574, a bill relating to WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM OPERATOR TRAINEE REQUIREMENTS. In an effort to address the shortage of qualified water treatment operators and water distribution system operators, the bill eliminates the requirements that a Trainee Water Treatment System Operator applicant be at least 18 years old and have completed high school or the equivalent in order to participate in the trainee program.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4345, a bill revising the point system for violations relating to hunting and fishing to provide that TRESPASSING TO HUNT OR TRAP is a fourteen-point violation.

The House approved S.558 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation revises RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF WATERCRAFT ON LAKES WILLIAM C. BOWEN AND H. TAYLOR BLALOCK in Spartanburg County.

The House rejected H.4731, a bill revising provisions for TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES FOR HEARING AND SPEECH IMPAIRED PEOPLE so that the surcharges supporting these programs would be imposed not only on traditional land line telephones, as is now the case, but also on the full array of telecommunications services offered in the contemporary market, including commercial mobile radio service (CMRS), prepaid wireless service, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

Chapin Varisty Softball: Did you know?

2014 Chapin Softball

We have several athletic programs in Lexington/Richland District Five …and a handful of State Champions every year!

Sometimes many programs get overlooked so I wanted to share with the community what a neighbor sent me about the Chapin High School Varsity Softball team.

They recently won the gold bracket at the Snowball Classic in Simpsonville last weekend by beating Dorman High School in the Championship game 17-3.

Give them a “like” on their Facebook page and keep up with this group of outstanding young ladies!

Fixing the problem…easier said than done around here

Click the news release below for an application to serve on boards and commissions


Why can’t this get fixed? I’m asked. What is the delegation doing about it? I’m asked.

For that, you may need some background. Sadly, when the 17 members of the Richland County Delegation only meet ONCE a year (usually December), not much can get done. And when you only have three Republicans and 14 Democrats, getting a fix requires bipartisan help. Since November 2012, very few Democrats have seemed eager to help; but I do want to say there are some Democrats who, like me, feel there’s too much resistance from other colleagues on the delegation to make changes we all know are needed.

Today I noticed these two editorials in The State.

Every member of Richland County’s reckless elections board should resign

Richland County elections board mishandled public’s trust

I agree with those editorials and many of you that tell me that “we” need to replace the board; but how? If “we” can’t get enough votes in the delegation to remove/replace current board members, we’ll have to hope the board members will do it for us.

Many have asked me how are the board members are chosen? That has been a sticking point with me for ten years as Richland handles the appointments process much differently than Lexington County.

Three and a half years ago, I briefly discussed the Appointment process to Richland County Boards and Commissions. I plan to share more later; but what everyone should know is this: those members of the Appointments Committee screen the applicants and only the applicant(s) the Appointments Committee decides are “best” are sent to the delegation to vote yea or nay. I can’t recall one time in my ten years that the Appointments Committee recommendation didn’t get enough votes from the delegation.

One would think with this board/commission continuing to cause our citizens problems, my calls to have the entire delegation review the applicants would seem like a positive change. Well….my suggestion of this has been shot down several times in the past. More recently (last week), I asked that I be sent every applications of everyone who has applied – the day they apply – so that I can reach out to voters in the county and encourage them to apply if we do not yet appear to have many applicants…or many qualified applicants. (This is why I’m sharing the application today with you. To date, I haven’t been given the information about who has applied nor seen their application – even though I personally know of at least two county residents who have already sent their applications to the delegation.)

HOW CAN YOU HELP? If you are interested in serving on the commission, click above on the notice and print the application and send it in – before the deadline. It’s not an easy process…and the job obviously won’t be an easy one…but if you’re qualified and your desire is to effectively run a board so that your county won’t be mired in this mess much longer, please apply.

We all know the problems. What is being done to fix them?

A year and a half ago, I outlined what I believed were four necessary steps to avoid another fiasco. None of this could be done on my own; but I do wish to thank those like-minded delegation members who supported some or all of these steps.

1) Personnel changes
From The State 12/3/2012 “He (Ballentine) is the first member of the county’s delegation to publicly call for her (Lillian McBride’s) dismissal. Others joined and, although it took a while, and the board actually moved the former Director instead of dismissing, change at the top occurred. Of course, after another director was hired – and since fired – the question now resurfaces, is this board even constitutional? More on that later.

2) Legislation to hold the board/commission more accountable . Representative Finlay and I joined a colleague from Horry County in hopes we could provide more (any) accountability to this commission. H.3197 ultimately died in a House Committee when colleagues narrowly defeated the bill because of concerns over putting the commissions under the Secretary of State. Recently, I supported H.3198 along with colleagues James Smith, Mia McLeod and Beth Bernstein. This bill is on the House floor for debate and, instead of putting accountability for the board/commission with the Secretary of State, would put it with the State Election Commission. We’ll see if this bill can pass the House this coming week before we begin the floor debate on the budget the following week.

3) Reduce the size of our precincts
To help our community, I followed through on this plan by filing H 3724 early in the session (February 28, 2013). The bill passed the House less than 2 weeks later on March 8, 2013. The bill sat in the Senate until ultimately the entire delegation passed a county-wide bill reducing precinct sizes months later. That bill incorporated the changes I submitted previously for House District 71. NOTE: Assuming the Voter Registration & Elections office can deliver, notices will soon go out informing voters of their polling location (some will be new, some will stay where they voted last time). Regardless, precincts in our community will have fewer voters than previously. I will be sure to keep our voters updated on this through my website, regular Community Updates, Facebook and Twitter. Everyone will know where they will be voting for the next election!

4) Revisit early voting debate
Debate still continues but we did revisit “early voting”. Nothing final has passed yet; but I did revisit this debate and was able to support measures I had not previously endorsed prior to the fiasco we had here in Richland County.

Obviously, steps 1 and 2 above are still needed and I ask that you contact your Representative and Senator if you agree as well. As we’ve all heard often (and Representative Finlay shared in an interview last week): the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

If you want different results, please contact your Representative and Senator and express your concerns. Somehow, many delegation members continue they don’t hear from their voters about this.

For more background, below are related posts that have appeared on this website since Election Day 2012.

November 13, 2012 The long wait at Dutch Fork Middle School

November 15, 2012 State Law Enforcement should investigate Richland County Voting Fiasco

November 16, 2012 What questions do you have regarding the Richland County election mess?

November 24, 2012 Richland County Election Analysis: Duncan Bell NOTE: When given the chance, the delegation did not vote to appoint Mr. Buell to the commission.

November 27, 2012 Ooops!

November 30, 2012 Restoring the Public’s confidence

December 3, 2012 Personnel changes needed at Richland Election Commission

December 18, 2012 More on Richland County Election Mess

March 11, 2013 Solutions to prevent another election fiasco

March 22, 2013 The State: Will SC force Richland County to buy voting machines (a link from April 2013 Community Update)

July 14, 2013 Richland County Elections Fiasco: The Final Report

November 4, 2013 Vote…without the long wait this time

Weekly Rewind: Week of February 25th

(Published by the Office of Research of the House of Representatives)

February 28, 2014

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3925, legislation that addresses the APPLICATION OF THE POLLUTION CONTROL ACT which regulates the discharge of industrial waste, sewage, and other pollutants through permitting programs at the Department of Health and Environmental Control. H.3925 follows up on previous legislation, Act 198 of 2012, which the General Assembly passed to counter a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling that found there was a private cause of action under South Carolina’s Pollution Control Act which allowed an individual or a group of concerned citizens to bring a lawsuit under the act. H.3925 specifies that it is the intent of the General Assembly that no private right of action exists under the Pollution Control Act. Beginning with the June 6, 2012, effective date of Act 198 of 2012, no claim or cause of action alleging a violation of the Pollution Control Act may be filed in a court or administrative tribunal by any person other than the Department of Health and Environmental Control or an agency, commission, department, or political subdivision of the State, with the exception that an individual may pursue the administrative procedure established by Act 198 of 2012 that allows someone to petition DHEC for a declaratory ruling on an assertion that the Pollution Control Act is being violated. Under this procedure, someone, other than DHEC or an agency, commission, department, or political subdivision of the State, making an assertion about a violation of the Pollution Control Act must first petition DHEC in writing for a declaratory ruling about whether there is a specific, existing regulatory program that applies to a proposed or existing discharge into the environment. The subject of the petition must be notified and DHEC must issue its declaratory ruling within sixty days. The department is authorized to issue emergency orders if it determines that immediate action is necessary to protect the public health or property from an unpermitted discharge. Anyone contesting a department decision on a petition may request a contested case hearing in the Administrative Law Court. H.3925 specifies that any decision of the department with respect to which review could have been, but was not, obtained under these petition provisions is not subject to judicial review in any civil proceeding. H.3925 also revises language in Act 198 of 2012 specifying that the act’s passage is not to affect pending legal actions by limiting its application to pending civil actions, criminal prosecutions, and appeals and eliminating references to vested rights, duties, penalties, forfeitures, and liabilities.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3796, a bill revising the COLLECTION OF FEES FOR PRIVATE PASSENGER VEHICLE TRUCKS. The legislation establishes provisions allowing someone to submit an affidavit attesting that a truck, within certain weight limits, that he owns or leases is exclusively for personal use so that the truck is subject to fees for private passenger vehicles rather than the fee schedule established for commercial vehicles. If a local governing body imposes a schedule of road or other fees, however described, on motor vehicles registered in its jurisdiction and that schedule imposes fees that vary with respect to classes of vehicles, then the lowest fee in that schedule of fees imposed by the local governing body must apply to all vehicles registered by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles for the state biennial registration fees provided for certain handicapped individuals and senior citizens.

The House adopted and sent the Senate H.4596, a concurrent resolution declaring the General Assembly’s OPPOSITION TO ANY ADDITIONAL LIVE BOTTOM MARINE PROTECTED AREAS OFF THE COAST OF SOUTH CAROLINA associated with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s proposed Regulatory Amendment 17 or any future amendments to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. The South Carolina General Assembly urges SAFMC to cease all work on Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 17 and to focus on ensuring that stock assessments are conducted for speckled hind and warsaw grouper and on implementing a monitoring and evaluation plan for the existing deep water MPAs in the South Atlantic.

The House approved S.953 and enrolled the bill for ratification. This legislation UPDATES REFERENCES TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE IN STATE TAX STATUTES to bring them into conformity with the latest federal provisions.

Weekly Rewind: Week of February 18th

(Published by the Office of Research of the House of Representatives)

February 21, 2014

The House of Representatives returned S.405 to the Senate with amendments. This legislation provides that the COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT, UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE SUPREME COURT, SHALL HANDLE COMPLAINTS AGAINST ADMINISTRATIVE LAW COURT JUDGES for possible violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct in the same manner as complaints against other judges. Currently, complaints against Administrative Law Court judges are handled by the State Ethics Commission. The legislation also establishes a FIVE-YEAR DURATION FOR STATE AGENCY REGULATIONS by providing that every regulation promulgated by a state agency expires five years from the date on which it becomes effective. When a regulation’s expiration date is reached, an agency that intends to have a regulation in place on the subject matter must promulgate a new regulation for submission to the legislative approval process.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3231 , legislation PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MOTORCYCLES in public transportation policies. This legislation provides that in formulating transportation policy, promulgating regulations, allocating funds, and planning, designing, constructing, equipping, operating and maintaining transportation facilities, no action of the South Carolina Transportation Commission, or the South Carolina Department of Transportation shall have the effect of discriminating against motorcycles, motorcycle operators, or motorcycle passengers. The legislation further provides that no regulation or action of the commission, or department shall have the effect of enacting a prohibition or imposing a requirement that applies only to motorcycles or motorcyclists, and the principal purpose of which is to restrict or inhibit access for motorcycles and motorcyclists to any highway, bridge, tunnel, or other transportation facility. Local governments are required to make reasonable accommodations for motorcycle parking in their parking garages and other transportation facilities. In carrying forward this requirement, among other options, these local government facilities, at their discretion, may comply by sectioning portions of the area where the size configuration of the space does not meet code requirements for full-size vehicles.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4482 , a bill DESIGNATING THE COLUMBIAN MAMMOTH AS THE OFFICIAL STATE FOSSIL of South Carolina.

The House adopted and sent the Senate H.4505, a concurrent resolution providing for the members of the South Carolina General Assembly to join the South Carolina and Georgia Joint Water Caucus in encouraging the appropriate state agencies of both states, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as part of their current study, to explore, develop, and implement a flexible adaptive WATER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FOR THE SAVANNAH RIVER BASIN that utilizes real time data and applies lessons learned during recent droughts to define the most practical and conservative reservoir storage rules based on actual conditions and real time data to ensure continuous optimization of water quality and quantity management of the water resources shared by South Carolina and Georgia throughout the Savannah River Basin.

The House adopted H.4669, a House Resolution proclaiming Wednesday, March 16, 2014, as “LIBERTY DAY” in South Carolina in celebration of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, which together enumerate our unalienable rights and liberties.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3833, a bill providing AUTHORITY FOR CONDUCTING WINE TASTINGS AND BEER TASTINGS IN LARGE RETAIL SETTINGS . This legislation allows the holders of a retail wine permit for off-premises consumption whose retail space is at least 10,000 square feet and whose primary product is not beer, wine, or distilled spirits to obtain an annual wine tastings permit for each separate place of business in order to conduct, in accordance with Department of Revenue rulings or regulations, up to twelve wine tastings at the retail location in a calendar quarter, and it provides restrictions. The legislation also allows the holder of a retail permit authorizing the sale of beer for off-premises consumption whose retail space is at least 10,000 square feet and whose primary product is not beer, wine, or distilled spirits to obtain an annual beer tastings permit for each separate place of business in order to conduct, in accordance with Department of Revenue rulings or regulations, up to twelve beer tastings in a calendar quarter, and it provides restrictions. These tastings may not be held in conjunction with one another; also a tasting may not be held in conjunction with a tasting in a retail alcoholic liquor store that is adjacent to and licensed in the same name of the retail permit authorizing the sale of beer. A sampling must not be offered for more than four hours, and a retailer may not offer more than one sampling per day. The tasting must be held in a designated, stationary tasting area of the retail store with a distinctive barrier clearly in place, indicating the tasting area. No one under twenty-one may be allowed in the tasting area. There are restrictions on sample sizes and the number of samples, and no person may be served more than one sample of each product. In addition to other applicable fines and penalties, a retailer who violates these provisions must be assessed a fine of five hundred dollars for the first violation and five hundred dollars for the second violation in a twelve month period. Subsequent violations in a twelve month period are punishable by the loss of the retail off premises consumption permit for thirty days. The revenue from these fines must be directed to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) for supplementing funds required for regulation and enforcement of the tastings.

The House rejected S.151, a bill establishing the INTRASTATE VISION WAIVER PROGRAM that would allow certain visually impaired individuals to obtain a waiver from the sight requirements associated with a commercial driver’s license.