I want to welcome you to the District 42 newsletter. I hope you will find the information contained herein informative. On January 14th, I started my first session in the State Senate. This is the second regular session of the 120th South Carolina General Assembly. I am very excited and each day I learn more about how the Senate operates. Below a brief re-cap of what’s going on at the State House and in District 42. Please visit my Senate Facebook, Twitter and website pages for additional real-time information.
AT THE STATE HOUSE
Amendment to Firearms Bill — Senate Bill 308
On Thursday, January 16th, 2014, I voted in favor of an amendment to S. 308, the bill that allows persons to carry firearms in businesses that serve alcohol. The primary bill passed the Senate by 33 to 5 on April 23, 2013. My affirmative vote was in support of the proposed amendment to the bill and not the bill itself. The amendment sought to cure several technical deficiencies and clarify ambiguous language in the bill. If I had been in office when the primary bill was voted on, I would have voted against the bill in its entirety. The amended bill passed the House of Representatives and now heads to Governor Haley for her signature or veto.
The South Carolina Restructuring Act of 2014 – Senate Bill 22
The Senate received a Conference Committee report on Senate Bill 22. Effective July 1, 2015, this bill would abolish the Budget and Control Board and devolve its duties and responsibilities upon a Department of Administration and other entities. The new Department of Administration would include transfers from the Budget and Control Board and Governor’s Office. The successor entity to the Budget and Control Board would be called the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. Government procurement would be transferred to this Authority. One of the reasons why I supported this bill was because it will make government more efficient and takes away the ability of state agencies to run a deficit without prior legislative approval. It also increases legislative oversight of state agencies through the House and Senate Committees. The Conference Committee report was adopted by the Senate, 39 to 4 and by the House, 118 to 0. The bill now goes to Governor Haley who has indicated that she will sign.
IN OUR NEIGHBORHOODS
This month we hosted our first meeting on January 11th with neighborhood representatives and community liaisons from the district at the P.A.T.C.H Career Institute in the Chicora/Cherokee neighborhood. Representatives from the Waylyn, Park Circle, Northwoods, and various places throughout Charleston and North Charleston were in attendance. The three top topics discussed in the meeting were:
• INCREASED CRIME. Unfortunately 2014 is not getting off to a good start as violent crime in the district has increased beyond any of our imaginations. This issue is a top priority for me and I will do what I can to help stop the senseless violence. In December 2013, I pre-filed a bill S. 907 proposing tax credits for companies to hire former inmates who have demonstrated they can maintain a clean, post-release record.
On January 4, I participated in a North Charleston rally, led by Rev. Thomas Dixon. I strongly encourage each of you to take an active role and participate in upcoming rallies and events as well as work with your local law enforcement and neighborhood watch groups to help put an end to this violence.
• EDUCATION. Education is always a concern, especially as it relates to the Common Core initiative. The initiative was led by governors and superintendents through the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and outlines the skills it has deemed necessary for students in kindergarten through 12th grade nationwide to be ready for college and careers.
Several attendees expressed concern that our teachers may not be adequately prepared to implement Common Core, which is set for full implementation in Charleston County this year.
• SENIOR CITIZEN CARE. We were fortunate to have the recently appointed President of the Charleston Chapter of American Association of Retired People (AARP), Mr. Oliver Addison, in attendance during our meeting. Mr. Addison was able to shed some light on the current efforts regarding care for senior citizens and provided invaluable suggestions for the future.
The meeting concluded with an engaging conversation about the need to support small businesses and more jobs. As your State Senator, I will be very attentive to these issues and ensure I’m knowledgeable about current programs offered so I can inform you.
I would like to thank everyone who attended this meeting and encourage others who were not in attendance in January to make the next meeting.
Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Gary Lassane for providing us with the event space to host our meeting.
I’ve received the following Senate Committee assignments: Corrections and Penology, General, Invitations, Judiciary, and Rules.
I thank you for allowing me to represent the fine people of District 42. I look forward to working on legislation that will benefit my constituency and all South Carolinians.
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