Here are the highlights from last week in the Senate:
INDICTMENT OF SENATOR JOHN COURSON – Last week Senator John Courson (R-Richland) was indicted by the Statewide Grand Jury on allegations that he converted campaign funds to his personal use. The indictments really surprised me. Sen. Courson is one of the last people I would have expected to be indicted for misconduct in office.
I hope the allegations are not true, but make no mistake: these are serious allegations. I know people are fed up with elected officials abusing their offices; so am I. Our government cannot function properly unless citizens support and have faith in those who serve. Therefore, I think it is extremely important that these allegations be investigated thoroughly, that we allow the judicial process to work, and that the evidence–good or bad–is made available for public review.
IMMUNITY FOR GOOD SAMARITAN SURVEYORS – The Senate passed S. 342, a bill that would grant tort immunity to surveyors who volunteer their services in response to declared disasters. The General Assembly extended this immunity to engineers and architects in 2012. The House will now consider the bill.
CHEAPER COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS – The Senate passed S. 262, a bill that would require colleges to create a textbook policy with the goal of reducing the cost of textbooks. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
ALCOHOL AT NONPROFIT SPECIAL EVENTS – The Senate passed S. 114, a bill to provide permits to nonprofit organizations that hold special events where alcohol is sold for on-premises consumption. The House of Representatives will consider the bill next.
INSURANCE FOR RESTAURANTS THAT SERVE ALCOHOL – The Senate passed S.116, a bill that would require establishments that serve alcohol for on-premises consumption after 5:00 pm to have at least $1 million in liability insurance. The bill now goes to the House.
MORE TRAINING FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT – The Senate passed S. 173, a bill that would require law enforcement officers to receive training in mental health or addictive disorders. The purpose is to help law enforcement recognize when a person suffers from a mental health or addictive disorder so as to help deescalate tense situations that may not require the use of force. The House will now consider the bill.
HELP FOR TOWN OF NICHOLS AND ICE STORM REIMBURSEMENTS – The Senate passed S. 483, a resolution that would provide a loan of up to $700,000.00 to help the small Pee Dee town of Nichols to recover from Hurricane Matthew. The bill would also provide an additional $3.8 million to reimburse local governments for damage caused by the 2014 ice storm. The resolution will now go to the House of Representatives.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday afternoon, I spoke with the Palmetto Business Forum, a statewide group of South Carolina business leaders, to discuss issues facing the state.
On Tuesday, I spent some time with 4-H students from Edgefield, Lexington, and Saluda counties.
On Tuesday afternoon, I spoke with many homebuilders from across the state to discuss challenges in the building industry and statewide.
On Wednesday morning, I spoke with AP Government students at Gilbert High School.
USC-AIKEN RANKED #1 IN BASEBALL – Congratulations to USC-Aiken’s baseball team! The Pacers are ranked #1 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll for Division II schools.
SCDOT PROJECTS – SCDOT Secretary, Christy Hall, recently appeared before the Senate Transportation Committee to present an annual State of the SCDOT. You can view Secretary Hall’s power point presentation here.
WANT TO SEE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ACTION? – The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 2:00, Wednesdays at 12:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday mornings, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and committees here.
OUR SENATE DISTRICT – Senate district 25 consists of all of Edgefield County and parts of Aiken, Lexington, McCormick, and Saluda Counties. If you’d like to see the district map, go here.
VOTING RECORD – If you’d like to see how I’ve voted on issues, go here. You can always check to see how I vote by going to my website, www.senatormassey.com, and clicking on the “Voting Record” tab.
SPEAKING WITH GROUPS – Several groups, clubs, and classes around our Senate district have invited me to attend their meetings and provide legislative updates. If you would like for me to come speak with your group, please let me know.
EMAIL UPDATES – If you know of people in or around District 25 who do not receive my updates but would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me. You can also forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for the updates at www.senatormassey.com.