Here are the highlights from last week’s Senate action –
Reporting Mental Health Adjudications for Gun Background Checks – Last week, the House of Representatives agreed to the Senate’s amendments on H. 3560, a bill to prevent individuals with mental illness from purchasing or carrying weapons. The bill requires courts to notify SLED if they find that a person suffers from a mental illness AND is a danger to himself, a danger to others, lacks the mental capacity to manage his own affairs, or has been deemed insane. SLED would then ensure that information is reported to the national background check database so that the. It’s important to remember this will apply only to court adjudications. SLED will not be looking at medical records or diagnoses; they will use only those findings that a court has made.
Governor Haley signed the bill into law last Friday.
Ethics Reform – The Senate considered two small, but significant, pieces of ethics reform last week. First, S. 601, would require lobbyists who lobby local governments register just as statewide lobbyists do. That bill passed on Wednesday and will now be considered by the House of Representatives.
Next, S.412, would require candidates to file a final campaign finance report 5 days prior to an election. Currently, candidates must file a final report 20 days before the election, creating a “blackout” period that makes it easy to hide contributions until after the election. The Senate debated the bill but did not get to a vote.
State Budget – The Senate Finance Committee approved the state budget on Friday. By rule, the full Senate cannot take up the budget for a full week, allowing senators time to review the proposed budget and work on amendments. I expect the full Senate will begin its debate on Tuesday, May 13. You can read an article about the Finance Committee’s product here.
Board and Commission elections – On Wednesday the House and Senate met in joint assembly for a few hours to elect certain members to the Public Service Commission and various college and university boards. If you’d like to see how the votes went down, go here and search “joint assembly.”
Election Law Reform – In January the Senate passed S.2, a bill designed to correct the mistake that led to more than 200 candidates being prevented from running for offices statewide last year. The House passed a different version last week, and the bill will now go to a conference committee of 3 senators and 3 representatives to work out the differences. I will keep you updated.
Transportation infrastructure funding – There has been a lot of discussion recently about how to fund road and bridge maintenance and repair. A Senate subcommittee has been considering a couple different proposals. To read an article about the progress of those committee hearings, go here.
Last Week’s Meetings
- On Monday morning, I spoke to the Government Finance Officers annual meeting in Columbia. We had a good discussion about the state budget.
- On Monday night, I attended a community meeting on the Northside of Edgefield County to discuss water, road, and nuisance issues.
- On Tuesday night, I attended the Midland Valley Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet.
- On Thursday morning, I joined with other members of the Aiken County legislative delegation to gather more information about how sequestration and Congress’ inability to pass a budget has been impacting the Savannah River Site.
- On Saturday, I attended the Johnston Peach Blossom Festival. It was a cool day for early May, but the rain held off for the first parade of 2013.
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
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Edgefield, SC 29824
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