February 16 – February 18

Sorry for doing a Rewind on Sunday night instead of a Thursday or a Friday but the weeks keep getting busier . Also, many have noticed there hasn’t been a COMMUNITY UPDATE for February. Next week I’ll post one for March with upcoming events and information important to our community.

As you know by now, the House was on furlough February 9, 10, 11 but that doesn’t mean the constituent work and research doesn’t keep going. Remember, the best way to reach me is to contact me here at Nathan’s News . We’ve had a few email changes over the past several months at the State House that I want to be sure you can get me when you need me. Of course, you can always call 803-734-2969 as well!

The House calendar has now grown to 30+ pages as bills are coming through committees in hopes of making it over to the Senate in time to become law before the last year of this two-year session adjourns. After that time, any bill that didn’t become law has to start the entire process over in the next two-year session.

I usually only talk about House activities in the Rewind but I did want to mention how on Monday the Richland County GOP opened their new headquarters at the corner of Laurel and Marion Streets. Even though MOST banks were closed Monday, I still worked a little, spent time with family but still managed to make this important event.

Like most Tuesdays this year, we spent maybe an hour in chamber so that committees (especially Ways and Means) could do their work. Wednesday might have been the first day we returned after lunch this year so that we could take up some bills that would have some extended debate.

One of the few items of interest Wednesday was the defeat of House Bill 3797 . While this was a statewide bill, it deals with Richland County and how we actually have the Richland Delegation (House/Senate) appointing our Recreation Comission but yet County Council is the one that funds their budget. The bill would have given County Council the appointment powers instead of us; but you can imagine my colleagues apparently wanted to be sure they were still “in charge” and voted it down. Don’t get me started on the Recreation Commission again though…

More importantly to our state, we saw two bills pass with almost unanimous votes. By votes of 108-1, the House passed H.3442 which will help restruture our broken Employment Security Commission, and also H.3006 which was one of my primary bills to reform the way campaign money is reported in our state.

Wednesday also kept me busy as I was honored that morning to read a passage at the 50th Annual South Carolina Prayer Breakfast as well as receive another Friend of the Taxpayer Award by the SC Association of Taxpayers at lunch. As one of only 4 elected officials to receive the award this year, I was very humbled. While I may have recieved the plaque, there are now several others in Columbia working to keep spending under control.

As usual,Thursday was “recongition day” as we welcomed two teams to the House Chamber before ajdourning around lunchtime.

For those that judge our performance by “time spent in chamber”, you probably aren’t pleased so far; however, the State Budget heads to the full House floor the week of March 16th and we’re sure to put in long hours that week. It’s not an understatement that this budget is projected to be one of the worse budgets in years. There are no easy answers and while many often complain about spending, this won’t be one of those years. Instead it will be complaining about how much has been cut…albeit due to less revenues and not necessarily fiscal restraint.

I want to again thank a few of the constituents that took time to say hello to me this past week at the State House: Dale Adlrich, Patrick Cobb, Brandon Pugh and Toni Nance. I also enjoyed recognzing local students who were participating in the AYUSA Global Youth Exchange . Because Wednesday saw extended debate, I was sorry I missed Cayce Mayor Elise Partin . Elise and I are 1999 graduates from Leadership Columbia and it’s good to see her bringing new ideas to the city across the river. She sent a note in to the House Floor but I couldn’t leave debate to go visit. (By the way, if you’re curious, that’s how people “get our attention” who are standing in he lobby of the State House. They really “send in notes”)

This coming Thursday (February 25), I’ll get to meet with several classes from Oak Pointe Elementary and Dutch Fork Elementary who will be on a field trip to their State House!

If your family or organization would like to tour your State House, please call my office and I will work to personally arrange a tour for you.