Hello Friends,

This is the first edition of my legislative weekly updates. I will be keeping you informed to what is going on in Columbia throughout the 2011 session.

With the Inauguration of Nikki Haley as our state’s Governor last week, and Haley's first State of the State speech on Wednesday, the first 2 weeks of The House of Representatives 2011 session has flown by.  Even with these monumental events taking place and a statewide winter storm passing through, House Conservatives have been busy at work.

I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

The Republican agenda items for 2011 and 2012

The House Republicans unveiled their most ambitious agenda today, focused on the conservative reforms demanded by the voters of South Carolina during the 2010 election.

Creating Jobs in a Stronger Economy:
The House Republicans are committed to creating a business-friendly economic climate and help businesses create jobs. We will pass comprehensive tort reform, changes to our “point of sale” requirements, and incentives for South Carolinians to help fund the next great small business.

Improving Education:
Making education funding more equitable and efficient, and ensuring a vibrant and healthy charter school system is essential for the long-term success of our education system.

Transparency and Government Reform:
Transparency and efficiency in government is a critical conservative philosophy.  We will fight for more "on-the-record" voting, more transparency in how our colleges and universities spend their money, and more efficiency in how state government is structured.  We will also fight for strict spending caps for state government, a shorter legislative session, and the requirement to show photo ID when voting.

Limiting Government Power:
Limiting government power is essential to freedom and personal liberty, and is also a core Republican philosophy. The Caucus will support the Repeal Amendment, a federal constitutional amendment that will allow two-thirds of states to vote to repeal a federal law. The Caucus will also support a revamped South Carolina Taxpayer Bill of Rights and new requirements that the General Assembly approve new regulations by the unelected officials of state agencies.

New Pro-Life Protections:
Protecting life and protecting our most vulnerable citizens is an essential role of government. We will support the “Born-Alive” legislation, the Freedom of Conscience Act, and an opt-out for doctors who don’t want to perform abortions that may be required by Obamacare.

Fighting Illegal Immigration:
The House Republicans will use an expanded majority to push through an Arizona-style immigration bill – building on the successes of our 2008 immigration legislation.  Early indications are this law is working, but we can do more to ensure we welcome legal immigrants and discourage illegal immigrants from settling in our state.

The House has passed many of these items in past years, and we will do so again this year.  It is a rare thing in politics when a party receives a true ‘mandate’ from the public, but the 2010 election, where the GOP gained three seats in the House, picked up all nine Constitutional Officers, and now control five of our six Congressional seats, was a mandate from the voters of South Carolina.

Some bills and issues that we have already worked on

Roll Call Voting Bill Passes House:
On Thursday, the Roll Call Voting bill which passed the House last year and stalled in the Senate passed the House again by a unanimous vote of 104-0.  The bill now heads to the Senate.

Voter ID Bill:
The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill that would require voters to show a photo ID in order to cast their vote in an election by a 13-7 vote along party lines. H.3003 would require anyone voting to show either a driver’s license, passport, military ID, or a potentially new form of voter registration card that would feature a photo.

House Republicans, business leaders vow to fight Federal lawsuit on "Card Check":
The House Republicans stood with business leaders Saturday to resist a Federal threat to sue our state over the "card check" constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

Thank you for the privilege of serving you in Columbia.  If I can ever be of assistance to you, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Home at 803-278-0892 or at work 803-279-8855.