Another light week in chamber but that is sure to change next week.

The majority of our time this week dealt with the passage of House Resolution 3352 (“Spending Flexibility Bill for School Districts”). Bottom line – it passed. Sure there was much hub-bub over an amendment that would allow only districts that spent 65% of their funds IN THE CLASSROOM to be eligible for the flexibility allowed in the bill; but that amendment (#5) was set aside in favor of a compromise. A “softer/gentler” amendment later passed that broadened the definition of IN THE CLASSROOM. Basically, it’s a feel-good amendment because apparently almost all districts (if not all) qualify under that new definition. As we do sometimes, we pass something that doesn’t do much (anything) but let’s us “feel good”.

This week, our body had another colleague experience a death in the family. Rep. Jerry Govan’s (D-Orangeburg) sister lost her battle with cancer. We recognized her from the floor and heard remarks from Rep. Govan about cancer taking three members of his family.

The “main action” this week was again in our committees. The House Ways and Means committee approved $1 billion dollars of spending on Thursday as part of the “stimulus package” that Congress passed and the President signed into law last week.

Also Thursday, current Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Goode faced hours of review in front of a House/Senate Judicial Screening Committee. You may recall that, last week, Goode was up for re-election (amid much controversy) and we’ll soon finally vote on this matter in the next few weeks.

Closer to home this past week:

My 2009 Constituent Survey is now on-line and available for you to share your suggestions and ideas about how we can move our state forward.

Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter was the most recent visitor to the “must visit stop” for SC politicos, Ms. Kelly Payne’s Dutch Fork High School Civics Class.

Also, I joined other Lexington/Richland School District Five Representatives in the filing of House Resolutions. H3503 (McLeod, Huggins, Ballentine) recognizing the 2008 Class AAA State Cheerleading Champions at Chapin High School ; H3580 (Huggins, Ballentine, McLeod) recognizing Mrs. Loretta Price for her years of service to the Chapin community (member Chapin Hall of Fame, Chamber of Commerce, etc.) Mrs. Price will be recognized at Chapin High School’s Black History Month ceremony February 27th.

Outside the world of politics, former Dutch Fork High School (and Coastal Carolina) golf sensation, Dustin Johnson , won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. This was Dustin’s 2nd win on the PGA Tour (with both wins coming in the last four months). Way to go, Dustin!

Constituents who stopped by the office this week were: Janet Sternernberg, Bonnie King, Patricia Cummings-Lecque, and Irmo Town Councilmember, Hardy King.

Ahead next week? Look for extended floor debates on Election Laws and Abortion/Ultrasound. Also, community members are invited to join me for a “Meet Your Representative” conversation this Tuesday night, 7pm, at the Northwest YMCA on Kennerly Road.