The Senate returned last week after a two week break. Here are the highlights from last week –
BOEING ANNOUNCES MAJOR EXPANSION – Since 2009, Boeing has hired nearly 6,000 people and invested over $1 billion at its plant in North Charleston. Last week Boeing announced that it will expand operations in South Carolina by investing an additional $1.1 billion and hiring at least 2,000 more employees: 1,000 engineers and 1,000 for IT support. Boeing plans to establish its IT hub in South Carolina. The average salary is expected to be around $65,000, although the engineering positions will likely earn much more. Although Boeing committed to adding 2,000 jobs, most people expect the number to be closer to 4,000. If that pans out, Boeing will employ roughly 10,000 South Carolinians by 2020.
As part of that announcement, the Senate passed S. 578, to issue $120 million in bonds to help provide infrastructure and prepare the property for the expansion. Boeing will lease the land from South Carolina. The bonds will be paid back over a 15-year period, and the payments will be made from the General Fund budget. However, the economic impact of the additional employees is expected to contribute more than enough in tax revenue to pay the bond payments.
To read more about the exciting announcement, go here.
CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMITS – The Senate began debate on S. 308, a bill that 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. I hope the Senate will vote on the bill this week.
MCCORMICK COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD — On Friday, Governor Haley signed S. 517, my bill to require a special election to fill the vacancies on the McCormick School Board. Since the bill deals with voting procedures, the US Department of Justice will likely have to sign off on it. I hope to get final approval very 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. 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.
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE IDENTITY THEFT – Shortly after the debacle at the Department of Revenue last year that led to nearly everyone’s personal information being stolen, the Senate appointed an oversight subcommittee to investigate the attack and propose ways to protect South Carolinians going forward. The result of that subcommittee was, S. 334, a bill to allow taxpayers to claim a tax credit (capped at $300 for individuals and $1,000 for joint returns) for credit monitoring services for 5 years (1 year has already been provided for free) and establish a statewide cyber security program. The Senate passed the bill last week, and it is now being considered by the House of Representatives.
CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY OF FIREARMS — S. 115, the “Constitutional Carry Act,” would allow individuals to carry handguns – concealed or unconcealed – without first having to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit. It would also allow individuals to carry weapons in all public buildings. Public hearings have been held in Charleston and Rock Hill, and additional meetings are planned for Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and Columbia. The Senate Judiciary Committee will debate the bill on Tuesday.
Last Week’s Meetings
Since my last update, I’ve had several meetings of interest.
During the week of March 25:
- I held town hall meetings at Midland Valley High School, Gilbert High School, and Merriwether Middle School.
- I joined other members of the Aiken County Legislative Delegation in meeting with student leaders at USC-Aiken.
- I attended a round-table discussion about whether South Carolina should expandthe Medicaid program pursuant to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
During the week of April 1 –
- I attended Bridgestone’s announcement of the completion of Phase 1 of its major expansion in Graniteville.
- I held a town hall meeting at Jefferson Elementary School.
- I met with 3rd graders at Belvedere Elementary School.
- I attended Mid-Carolina Electric Cooperative’s annual meeting at Lexington High School.
On Tuesday of last week, I attended Lexington Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast.
TOWN HALL MEETINGS – Thanks to everyone who came and participated in my town hall meetings this Spring. I held 9 meetings across our 5-county district. In the past 6 years, I’ve held 85 town hall meetings throughout our district, 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 will do another round of meetings in the Fall.
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 – email@example.com
Cell Phone – (803) 480-0419