We are approaching the final weeks of this year’s shortened-session . (Shortened after the Senate finally agreed with the House’s push for almost ten years!)
The first week of April is “cross over week” which means that if a bill is going to have any chance at becoming law before we adjourn until 2018, the bill has to at least pass one chamber before Thursday afternoon. If legislation does not pass at least one chamber, the other body will not be able to take up that bill without an overwhelming vote to do so.
Good news is that many bills have already passed one body (either the House or Senate). A major bill that have received attention (again) this year is “the roads bill” . Once again, the House passed a comprehensive plan to improve our state’s infrastructure needs. Last year the plan was filibustered in the Senate. This year, a Senate filibuster hasn’t started (yet) and the bill is not on priority status on the Senate calendar. It’s my hope (and many in the state) that the Senate will act this year. If they do not like the House’s plan, amend it. To simply not put forth a plan is not in the best interest of our state. Obviously, I support tax cuts as well; however, we could not get enough votes in the House and had to compromise to keep legislation and debate moving. If the Senate can insert tax cuts, I would obviously support that. If you live outside the area, please let your Senator know your concerns. Unfortunately, our community does not have representation at this time in the Senate.
Another major bill up for debate during the important “cross over week” is “the bond bill” . For almost 20 years, the state has not borrowed money for capital needs for our universities/colleges and state buildings. Earlier this month, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a $500 million borrowing plan and now the full House is set to vote and send to the Senate for their consideration.
If you have not shared your view on whether now is an appropriate time for the state to borrower money, please comment below, email me, or call my office!
Should the bill pass the House, the big question is will the Senate add to the plan and what specific projects will be included? The House trimmed requests down from $2 billion and it’s my hope that the Senate will not add anything that would be considered a “local project” or “pork” to the bill.
RICHLAND COUNTY RECREATION COMMISSION: After months/years of mismanagement, a fix is in sight. Last month I was able to convince my delegation members to appoint Cynthia Wass Shepard from our community to serve as a commissioner. Cynthia will help restore public trust and confidence as a new board seeks to replace the former director.
IRMO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: This month’s monthly luncheon will be held Wednesday, April 12th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church. For more details, visit the Chamber’s Event website.
CHAPIN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:: The 23rd Annual Chapin Chamber Golf Tournament/Charlie Dorton Memorial Golf Tournament is Thursday, April 6th at the Timberlake Golf Course. Morning Shotgun 8:00 a.m. (Registration begins at 7:00 a.m.) Limited to 18 teams or 72 golfers. Afternoon Shotgun 1:30 p.m. (Registration begins at 12:30 p.m.) **A RAIN DATE HAS BEEN SET FOR APRIL 20TH, 2017. ** For more information visit the Chamber’s Events website.
BALLENTINE-DUTCH FORK CIVIC ASSOCIATION: Monthly Meeting is Monday, April 3rd at 6:30pm at Ballentine Park. There will be updates on the new “Welcome to Ballentine, Gateway to Lake Murray” sign which will soon be back up at the new Ballentine Library! For information on the association, please visit their website.
DUTCH FORK MIDDLE SCHOOL – PALMETTO’S FINEST! Two weeks ago, Dutch Fork Middle School was selected as a 2017 Palmetto’s Finest School. The announcement aired live on SC ETV March 21. The South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) presents the awards each year to schools which offer the best in innovative, effective educational programs. The Palmetto’s Finest Award is celebrating its 39th year and is one of the most coveted and respected awards among educators. This announcement comes just a few months after Principal Dr. Gerald Gary was recognized as 2017 South Carolina Middle Level Principal of the Year!
CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL – DR. AKIL ROSS: Also two weeks ago, Chapin High’s prinicpal was recognized by T The State as a Top 20 Under 40 professional helping to build the Midlands! This recognition comes just months after Dr. Ross was named 2017 South Carolina Secondary Principal of the Year. (Yes, that’s right. District Five has TWO PRINCIPALS OF THE YEAR FOR THE STATE!). As if those recognitions weren’t enough, Dr. Ross also was the keynote speaker last week at the Chapin Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
DUTCH FORK HIGH SCHOOL PRINCPAL RETIRING END OF YEAR: After years of distinguish service in public education, Dr. Greg Owings will be retiring. Dr. Owings has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the SC Association of School Administrators and will be greatly missed in District Five.
Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!
I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!
House of Representatives, District 71
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201