Here are the highlights from week 8 in the Senate –
DUI IGNITION INTERLOCKS – The Senate passed S. 137, a bill that would require repeat DUI offenders and first-time DUI offenders with high alcohol concentrations to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. The IID allows for a quick breath test to determine whether the driver has consumed alcohol. Once installed, the IID will prevent the vehicle from starting unless the driver passes the breath test. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION – ELECTED OR APPOINTED? – The Senate voted to set S. 53 for priority debate status (“special order”). The resolution would allow for the Governor to appoint the state Superintendent of Education rather than having the Superintendent elected every 4 years. Since this proposal would require an amendment to the state Constitution, 2/3 of Senators and Representatives must support it. We should begin debate on the resolution this week.
CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMITS – The Senate attempted to set S. 308, for special order status, but that vote failed. S. 308 would allow Concealed Weapons Permit holders to carry their concealed weapons in restaurants that sell alcohol as long as (1) the restaurant does not prohibit the carrying of weapons and (2) the CWP holder does not consume alcohol while carrying the weapon. You can see the recorded vote here.
SC EXPORTS HIT RECORD IN 2012 – The SC Department of Commerce released a report last week that indicates SC exported nearly $25.3 billion worth of goods in 2012. Our Senate district played a huge role in those record numbers. Thanks to Bridgestone and Michelin, SC ranked 1st among U.S. states in tire exports, holding nearly 30 percent of the share of U.S. made exported tires for the second consecutive year. We also ranked 2nd in exports of gas turbines and automobiles to the world. You can read the release here.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday morning, I attended a breakfast honoring and thanking the SC National Guard’s 122nd Engineering Battalion based in Edgefield. The 122nd left on Sunday for a 1-year deployment that will include up to 9 months in Afghanistan. Thank you to all our men and women who serve, and a special “good luck” to the 122nd.
On Tuesday night, I attended a dinner hosted by the SC Soil & Water Conservation Districts. I enjoyed visiting with commissioners from Aiken, Edgefield, Lexington, and Saluda counties.
On Wednesday morning, I had the opportunity to tour Lexington Medical Center. CEO Mike Biediger showed me around, and I was amazed by the treatment they can provide. The technology and expertise is unbelievable. It was a great visit!
On Thursday night, my family and I attended the 3rd grade SC History performance at Merriwether Elementary School. The teachers and students put on a wonderful and educational program about SC history.
On Friday afternoon, I spoke with a class at Lexington High School about state government. The students were very well-informed, and they asked tough questions. It was a lot of fun!
On Friday night, my family and I attended Seussical the Musical at W.E. Parker Elementary School. The 4th and 5th graders were terrific!
On Saturday, I met with WJBF News Channel 6’s Courtney Elledge to talk about the dangers of texting while driving. You can watch our interview here.
LADY CHEIFS IN STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – McCormick High School’s Lady Chiefs basketball team played for the state championship on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Lady Chiefs fell to Hemingway High School, but the girls had a heck of a season. You made us all proud!
TOWN HALL MEETINGS – I have held over 60 town hall meetings throughout our district over the past 5 years, and I really appreciate the hundreds of folks who have participated. These town hall meetings give me a chance to keep you updated about what’s going on in Columbia and, more importantly, allow me to hear what’s on your mind. I’m working to get meetings set up all over our district. Here’s what’s scheduled so far –
Edgefield County Council Chambers
Circle Fire Department
3321 Columbia Highway (U.S. 378)
Leesville, SC (Saluda County)
Savannah Lakes Village Activities Center
5:30 – 7:00
Lexington High School cafeteria
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.
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 atwww.senatormassey.com.