Representative Bill Hixon, District 83 – Newsletter
Weekly Legislative Update   –  February 1, 2011
Dear Friends,
The major event of last week was the four-hour, sometimes-contentious, debate on the Voter ID legislation. Another issue that is gaining a lot of attention around the nation is the Initiative to prevent foreign law in the State of South Carolina's court system. Also, in this weekly update, learn about an attempt to change the concealed weapons law that came about due to the recent shootings in Arizona. Tort Reform makes it through the Subcommittee along with the Higher Education Transparency Act of 2011. Read about these issues in this weeks legislative update.
I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Voter ID Passes:  
Republicans pushed through the Voter ID bill that requires citizens to present a SC driver's license, a passport or a new state photo ID at the polls. It passed 74-45 and now heads to the State Senate, where it died last year. Polls show the initiative has overwhelming support from voters and will help protect against voter fraud and preserve the integrity of our election system in SC. The bill allows voters to get a photo ID card at their local voter registration office at no expense. I am a co-sponsor of this bill. 
Prevent Foreign Law in SC! 
A legislative initiative aimed at preventing a court from enforcing foreign law in the Palmetto State was introduced in both the S.C. House and Senate. America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems. Yet, foreign laws are increasingly creeping their way into U.S. court cases, particularly in the area of family law involving divorce and child custody where, for instance, Islamic Shariah Law has been invoked in several U.S. states.  A growing concern is the immigration of people who are accustomed to their religion and their civil laws being inextricably connected. This bill will be helpful to them as they are assimilated into our culture, maintaining complete freedom to worship as they please. Few South Carolinians – or Americans for that matter – are aware of this issue, until now. I am a co-sponsor of this bill.  
Gun-Toting Bill Shot Down: 
This legislative initiative would grant special privileges for legislators and other elected or appointed officials and their staffs to carry a gun without the current restrictions on those who have concealed weapons permits. This is an outgrowth of the Tucson shootings. The bill did not pass.
Tort Reform Passes Subcommittee: 
This past week Tort Reform (H. 3375) passed out of the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee, a key step in the process protecting South Carolina businesses from frivolous lawsuits. Tort Reform has been touted by many business organizations as one of the most effective economic improvement issues before the General Assembly. We believe the legislation will lower the cost of doing business in South Carolina, and make our state more competitive, by reducing frivolous lawsuits and limiting punitive damages to realistic levels. My House Republican colleagues believe Tort Reform will help business by reducing the cost of running a business and create a fairer court system. All of this will make South Carolina more competitive, which is vitally important after neighboring states enacted similar laws. I am a co-sponsor of this bill.
Higher Education Transparency Act of 2011 Passes Committee: 
In an effort to increase accountability of South Carolina's public institutions to our taxpayers, the Higher Education Transparency Act of 2011 will allow the public to view itemized spending of every dollar online.  H. 3185 passed the Education subcommittee and full committee this past week and is scheduled to be on the floor this coming week.   We believe that holding our public colleges and universities accountable for all of their spending will not only improve transparency, it will also make these institutions think harder about the tax dollars (and tuition) they do spend. That will improve education. I am a co-sponsor of this bill.

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.
Representative Bill Hixon – SC House of Representative – District 83
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