TEXTING WHILE DRIVING – The Senate made some progress on a bill that would prohibit novice drivers – those with a learner’s permit or a restricted license – from using a cell phone while driving. I am hopeful that we will be able to get something passed and to the House soon. I’ll keep you updated.
TURKEY HUNTING SEASON – On Wednesday the Senate passed S. 1070, a bill to update turkey hunting season. If this bill becomes law, the season for hunting male turkeys would run March 20 – May 5, with the Saturday prior to March 20 being youth turkey hunting day. The bag limit would be 3 male turkeys per season with the option of a 4th turkey for bow hunters. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
A PENNY FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENTS IN AIKEN? – The Senate passed S. 940, a bill that would allow the Aiken County School District to propose a 1% sales tax for school-related capital projects. At least 10% of the generated revenue would have to go toward property tax relief. Before the tax could be implemented, though, it would have to be approved by a majority of voters in a referendum. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.
REPAIRS TO I-20 IN AIKEN COUNTY – I have received several emails about the poor condition of the westbound section of I-20 in Aiken County. SCDOT has approved a contract to resurface the westbound lanes from mile maker 22.7 to mile marker 13. Satterfield Construction from Greenwood will perform the work beginning on April 21. The work should be completed in late July.
SC UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AT 6-YEAR LOW – Last week we learned that SC’s unemployment rate for February was at 5.7%. That’s the lowest rate in 6 years, and a full point below the national rate. There were 2.04 million South Carolinians employed in February, the highest number ever recorded. Also, SC is now 6th nationally for employed veterans.
HUGE BMW EXPANSION – On Friday BMW announced a $1 billion expansion at the Greer facility. The expansion will create 800 new jobs as BMW plans to build the new X7 SUV at the Spartanburg County plant. This announcement follows a $900 million expansion in January 2012. You can read a press release about the expansion here.
FILING CLOSES, ELECTIONS SET – Filing for statewide, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, S.C. House, and local races closed on Sunday. The primaries will be on June 10. You can see a list of candidates here.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I was honored to throw out the first pitch in Edgefield for the start of the 2014 girls’ softball season.
Tuesday was SC Farm Bureau Day at the statehouse. Sen. Katrina Shealy and I present a proclamation to Mrs. Frances Price of Gilbert, chair of the Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. Many ladies from our area have taken strong leaderhip positions in the Farm Bureau organization.
Tuesday was also SC Technical College Day at the statehouse. I enjoyed meeting with representatives from Aiken Technical College and Piedmont Technical College. The technical schools are doing great work around the state.
Wednesday was SC Firefighters’ Day at the statehouse. I enjoyed having lunch and talking with firefighters from Aiken and Saluda Counties.
On Friday, I spoke with the Aiken chapter of the SC State Employees Association. I enjoyed spending some time with these hard-working and dedicated state employees.
On Friday, I attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Crouch Hardware & Farm Supply in Saluda. Congratulations and best of luck to Kevin Crouch on the new business!
AIKEN, EDGEFIELD, SALUDA ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL EMERGENCY AID – Last week President Obama designated 21 SC Counties as National Disaster areas following the recent ice and snow storms. That designation makes those counties eligible for federal emergency assistance. Aiken, Edgefield, and Saluda counties are included in the list of eligible counties. You can learn more about the declaration here.
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.
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
VOTING RECORD – If you’d like to see how I voted last week, go here. You can always check to see how I vote by going to my website, www.senatormassey.com, and clicking on the “Voting Record” tab.
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.