The South Carolina General Assembly reconvened Tuesday of last week. If you remember last year there were all the inauguration events, and a snow storm that delayed the opening of the session, but this year we were able to get right to work and enjoy 65 degree weather in the capital city. We jumped right into very important issues the first day with lengthy floor debates both Tuesday and Wednesday.
I have included in this update several items that have carried over from last year with the biggest being the Voter ID law being blocked by the Federal Government. I have also included updates on other items of interest to our area.
I sure hope you had a chance to watch the Presidential debate in Myrtle Beach last night. That was one of the most spirited debates so far. South Carolina should be proud for having such an important voice in choosing the next Republican nominee.
Please be sure to VOTE this Saturday – January 21, 2012
I hope that you find this legislative update helpful and informative:
Legislative Update – January 17, 2012
957 DEAD People Voted:
Justice Department Blocks Voter ID Law – SC Plans Lawsuit:
Gov. Nikki Haley, Speaker Harrell, Attorney General Wilson and other legislators announced plans to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to block the SC voter ID law.
The Obama administration blocked the new South Carolina law that requires voters to have photo identification because of concerns it would hurt minorities' ability to cast a ballot. The Justice Department said the requirement could harm the right to vote of tens of thousands of people, noting that just over a third of the state's minorities who are registered voters did not have a driver's license needed to cast a ballot.
Gov. Nikki Haley in May signed the Voter ID law that says voters must show a driver's license, passport or military identification along with their voter registration card in order to vote. As mentioned above, with just 10% of the States registered voters checked, 957 dead people voted.
I believe it is not asking too much of someone to show an ID to vote. You also must show an ID to fly on the Airlines these days. I will keep you updated to the progress and status of this lawsuit.
Haley's Veto was Upheld:
The SC House killed legislation that would have expanded government on the first day of the new session. I voted to uphold Gov. Nikki Haley's veto of a bill creating a regional council that was intended to improve economic and education opportunities along rural I-95. This bill would have created another needless bureaucracy. Haley vetoed the bill arguing it unnecessarily increases state government and duplicates what the state commerce and education departments already do. The Senate voted to override her veto. This week the House sustained the veto and the legislation failed.
Dredging The Savannah River:
The DHEC permitting of the Savannah River dredging has become a large issue, both Republican and Democrat legislators oppose the granting of the permit by the DHEC board. The Governor defends the actions of the DHEC Board that she appointed. I will be following this issue very closely since I feel the dredging of both the Charleston Port and the Savannah Port are very important to our area. Both ports need to be prepared to handle the new large ships that will start coming up the east coast sometime in 2014 when the expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to be finished in the Summer of 2014.
Gov. Nikki Haley Unveils FY 2012-2013 Executive Budget:
I recently received the 2012-13 budget from Gov. Nikki Haley. Last year she did not submit a budget. So it looks like the Governor is trying to take the lead this year. I am anxious to go over this budget and learn what her ideas are for 2012-13. I also will be looking forward to hearing from my colleagues as to what they have to say about the Governors budget. The budget is always a very controversial topic in both State and Federal governments.
Rick Perry Visits Al's Restaurant:
I was glad to help setup the event that brought Gov. Rick Perry of Texas to North Augusta. Perry visited North Augusta last Wednesday at Al's Family Restaurant. He was greeted by over 200 people. I told everyone when I ran for my house seat, I would try to get some Presidential Candidates here. So far Perry is the only one. Newt Gingrich canceled an event he had scheduled last week because of the Gov. Hukabee's forum in Charleston. He had planned to attend a rally at Old McDonald Fish Camp.
Scotty Richardson Honored by the State House & Senate:
The SC House and Senate passed a concurrent resolution honoring and remembering the supreme sacrifice made in the line of duty by Aiken's Master Public Safety Officer Scott Richardson, and to express to his family the profound appreciation of a grateful state for his life sacrifice and service.
These are the MAJOR issues we will be tackling during this legislative session.
Please be sure to stay up to date with all that is going on in Columbia. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I am always available.
You can view Live Broadcasts of the South Carolina House of Representatives daily legislative sessions by clicking Here.