LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FOR THE WEEK OF 3/19/13 – 3/21/13
Here are the highlights from week 11 in the Senate –
SENATE FURLOUGH – The Senate will furlough during the weeks of March 25-29 and April 1-5. Since we will not be in session, I may not send a legislative update for the next couple weeks.
EARLY VOTING – The Senate passed S.4, a bill that would allow up to 8 days of no excuse, early voting for statewide primaries and general elections. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
INDEFINITE DETENTION? – Last year the U.S. Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (“NDAA”). Among other things, NDAA would allow the President to identify certain persons – including Americans – as terrorists and thereby detain those individuals indefinitely without trial. Fearing NDAA could lead to civil rights abuses, the state senate last week passed S.92 to prohibit agencies and employees of state or local government from enforcing NDAA by detaining an American citizen indefinitely without a trial.
MCCORMICK COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD – Because of resignations, there are currently 2 vacancies on the McCormick County School Board. The law, which is unique to McCormick, says the McCormick County Council should recommend replacements to the Governor. Since the School Board manages a budget of over $10 million annually, I think voters should decide the replacements. Therefore, Sen. Floyd Nicholson and I introduced S.517 to require a special election to fill the vacancies. The bill has now passed both the Senate and House of Representatives, and I hope the governor will sign it soon.
ADJUTANT GENERAL – ELECTED OR APPOINTED? – South Carolina is the only state to popularly elect the head of its National Guard, the Adjutant General. In fact, the Adjutant General is one of 9 constitutional officers elected statewide every 4 years. Last week, the House passed H. 3541 to allow voters to decide whether to amend the state constitution so that the Adjutant General would be appointed by the governor rather than elected. I expect the Senate will debate this issue soon.
CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMITS – The Senate set S. 308, for special order status. 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. The Senate will debate the bill when we return to session on April 9.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I held a town hall meeting at Lexington High School. We had a good crowd and a great discussion of issues facing South Carolina!
On Tuesday night, I held a town hall meeting in Ward. I enjoyed the meeting and the discussion!
On Wednesday morning, I testified at a hearing on my bill, S. 145, to make the private health insurance market more competitive in South Carolina. The goal is to encourage more insurers to offer coverage in SC, thereby creating more competition and an overall better market for consumers.
On Wednesday afternoon, I attended a lunch hosted by midlands members of the Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. I enjoyed talking with representatives from Mid Carolina Electric Cooperative.
On Wednesday night, I was a celebrity waiter at the Blue Marlin in Columbia for the American Diabetes Association. It was a lot of fun, and we were able to raise a good bit of money for a great organization. I – and many others – learned I’m not much of a waiter, though!
On Thursday afternoon, I met with representatives from SCDOT and the Gilbert Planning Commission to discuss an upcoming project to overhaul the intersection at Two Notch Rd. and Wire Rd.
On Thursday night, I attended a joint meeting between the Saluda Legislative Delegation and the Saluda County Council. We had a good discussion about issues facing Saluda County.
TOWN HALL MEETINGS – I have held over 75 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’ve held 5 meetings so far this year, and we have 3 scheduled for this week. Here’s the schedule for the remaining meetings –
Midland Valley High School auditorium
Gilbert High School Theatre
Merriwether Middle School cafeteria
North Augusta, SC
Jefferson Elementary 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 at www.senatormassey.com.
P.O. Box 551
Edgefield, SC 29824
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell Phone – (803) 480-0419