Again this week, most of the action in the House was at the subcommittee and committee levels.

Clearing both those early hurdles were the Abortion Ultrasound-Waiting Period Bill and the Payday Lending Bill. (Those are simplified monikers for the bills; you can read the entire text of each bill by clicking on the respective bill numbers here: H3245 and H3301 ). Both bills made it to the House Calendar this Thursday but we won’t have floor debate until next week – at the earliest.

This week we had a first – a required roll-call vote on Senate Amendments. This was a direct result of efforts to provide greater transparency in state government. Granted, we’re not where we need to be yet but hopefully we can pass the bill later this session and make it a law for our state to join several others with mandatory on-the-record voting on all legislation.

Other news of note inside the House Chamber was that our own Rep. James Smith will not enter the race for Governor (at least not for 2010). That news appears to have led to the announcement today that Rep. Smith’s close friend has now made his intentions official .

While I’m mentioning friends on the other side of the aisle, I’d like to point out that both Representatives Anne Petterson-Hutto and Boyd Brown have now joined Twitter. They will add to the number of Democrats who appear on SCTWEETS.COM to help balance out the posts from the floor. Already on Twitter were fellow House Democrats James Smith and Anton Gunn .

In more Democrat news, the House Democratic Caucus announced Tyler Jones as their new Executive Director.

The House Republican caucus will soon unveil a completely new website with streaming video, social networking (Facebook/Twitter), and other state-of-the-art features. As the times seem to have changed greatly, it’s good to see both parties and some elected officials embracing technology. (I didn’t want to leave out a House Republican who has also joined Twitter this week too, Representative Thad Viers .)

Outside the chamber, Republicans and Democrats alike welcomed former Canadian Ambassador (and former SC House Speaker) David Wilkins back to the state at a reception at the Nelson, Mullins, Riley and Scarborough law offices .

Next week, we’ll also elect fill several judicial positions throughout our state. As in most years, many races saw candidates drop and leave just one person left to be voted upon by the General Assembly. As I type, there are only three contested races.

Lastly, I’d again like to thank the following constituents for taking their time to come speak with me at the State House concerning legislation important to them: Traci Richard, Ben Thompson, and LaWandra Kelly.