Dear Friends, 


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:
Wednesday, the director of the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles testified that – after examining fewer than 10 percent of the state's registered voters – that as many as 957 dead people are listed as having voted. This is an incredible finding that validates the need for the Voter ID law. I'm thinking none of the dead people showed picture ID's at the polls, and if a cursory check found 957 dead voters, I would hate to see what the final number is once the other 2 million records are examined. WE NEED THE VOTER ID law more than ever.


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.


Video of the Governor's press conference is available here.

Download a copy of the Governor's budget here. 


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.

  • Pension Reform – the retirement system's unfunded liabilities will be addressed.
  • Comprehensive Tax Reform
  • Reforming the Department of Transportation
  • Eliminating much of the duties of the Budget and Control Board
  • Creating a Department of Administration oversee by the Governor's office – The House of Representatives passed this legislation last year; it awaits Senate approval.

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

As always you can go to my FACEBOOK page and hit the like button or visit my Website for the latest information.


Go to the new House Roll Call Votes Page to see how all the representatives have voted on all the important bills.

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.
Bill Hixon