Tuesday, January 19 – Thursday, January 21

Again, not much work on the floor this week as the calendar lists mostly “carryover” bills from last year. Most the work again this week was done in committees and subcommittees.

When we began at noon on Tuesday, all 170 members were allowed to pledge their support in this year’s judicial races . I wrote about that earlier this week and unfortunately most report that one of our own community members, Latonya Edwards, has withdrawn from the race in the Adminstrative Law Court.

Tuesday afternoon, I attended the full House Judiciary Committee in hopes I would see my Campaign Finance Reform Bill pass and head to the House floor for debate. Unfortunately, the committee adjourned debate (again); but I am confident that in two weeks they will pass the bill. Then I will work for passage on the full House floor and hopefully fast consideration in the Senate so that we can have these financial disclsoure reforms in place before we leave this summer.

Wednesday saw floor debate mainly over two “local bills” that were desinged to provide local property-tax relief to a few counties through a local sales-tax increase. Both bills (one for a new increase in Beaufort and the other just to speed up the local relief from a bill passed last year) passed and now head to the Senate.

That evening the state (and the nation) saw what I feel is a “changed man” deliver his final State of the State address . Governor Mark Sanford really went out of the way to publicly recognize “friends and foes” alike during his speech and outline a scaled down agenda; but one that is still vital to changing the way we do business in South Carolina.

On Wednesday, I was also pleased to see one of our constituents visiting the State House, Michael Hunter.

Thursday is usually our shortest day and is the day designated for the “congratulatory introductions” of state champions on the House floor. I was able to file two bills (H.4402 and H.4403) that will reform how we appoint our Employment Security Commissioners (banning the appointment of a sitting House/Senate member until four years after they leave office) and banning campaign contributions by individuals whom the General Assembly appoints to Board and Commissions (incumbent board members and candidates running for those offices). Those bills are just a few of the many recently filed reform measures that are starting to get some traction inside the chamber.

Locally, Senate Bill 963 passed today which wil help alleviate the long lines at voting precincts in Lexington County. You will soon be notified of your new voting location. Last session, we approved similar measures which helped Richland County. Particularly in our community here in Irmo, Chapin, Ballentine, Harbison, Dutch Fork.

We’ll be back next week and are moving towards the full floor debate on this year’s budget. As you may know, I do not currently serve on the Ways and Means Committee; but next session I would be able to be appointed after clearing one of the “unwritten criteria” used to appoint members – minimum of at least six years in office.