As a result of the snow and ice across the state, the General Assembly was not in session last week. However, here are few important happenings that I thought you might be interested in:
COMMON CORE –The Senate Education K-12 Subcommittee will hold a series of meetings this year to explore the positives and negatives of Common Core. The first meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, February 5, 10:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Room 105 in the Gressette Building on the Statehouse complex. The meeting will also be broadcast live online here. In the first 30 minutes of this meeting, the Subcommittee will hear from several content experts opposed to Common Core; this will be followed by a half hour of several presentations in favor of implementation, then an hour of subcommittee members’ Q&A and discussion.
SC STATE UNIVERSITY DEFICIT – Last week the President of SC State University notified the State Budget Office that the university will likely have an operating deficit of $4.4 million this fiscal year. To make it worse, based on the President’s letter, it appears this financial mismanagement has been a pattern over the past several years.
Because I have been an outspoken critic of deficit spending, I have received several calls from the press for a reaction. My response, as always, is that deficits are evidence of irresponsible management, and the General Assembly needs to look into why/how this happened. Here’s a brief article about the deficit notification. I’ll keep you updated.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I attended Edgefield County First Steps’ annual banquet. First Steps works with families to ensure children are ready to start learning at an appropriate level by 1st Grade. I appreciate the dedication to our young children!
On Thursday night, I attended Edgefield County’s Intergovernmental Meeting. This annual get-together allows leaders throughout the county to provide updates on what has been happening at various levels of government. It is a very informative meeting that should be a model for other counties across the state.
On Thursday night, I attended McCormick County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet. There was a good crowd in attendance to hear about economic development opportunities along South Carolina’s Freshwater Coast.
CREDIT MONITORING –The State has contracted with CSIdentify Corporation (CSID) for the purpose of continuing credit monitoring/ID protection services to South Carolinians and businesses affected by the October 2012 security breach at the Department of Revenue. CSID’s services provided under the contract are available to eligible individual taxpayers (including minors and adult dependents) and eligible business taxpayers through October 31, 2014 (although it will almost certainly be extended).
You can sign up with CSID for the offered service by doing one of the following:
1. Go to www.scidprotection.com and follow the steps to enroll
2. Call (855)-880-2743 to enroll.
The State will pay $8.5 Million for the first year of the CSID contract with the option to renew for four additional one year periods at the state’s sole discretion. You do not have to pay anything to sign up. The Experian contract for the past year was a $12 Million contract.
If you choose to purchase your own protection service, you can deduct a portion of that cost from your state income taxes. Talk with your accountant/tax preparer for more information.
TOWN HALL MEETINGS – I have held about 100 town hall meetings throughout our district over the past 6 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 like to do meetings in the Spring to discuss current happenings in the legislature and in the Fall to give a round-up of the session and look ahead to the next year.
In 2013, I held 10 meetings in the Spring and 5 meetings in the Fall. I’m already working on the next round of meetings, which I hope to schedule for February and March. I’ll get the schedule out soon.
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.