The General Assembly returned last week for the first week of the 2015 session. It was an eventful week, but there was not a whole lot legislative business. Here are the highlights from the first week in the Senate –
Inauguration of Governor Nikki Haley – Governor Haley was sworn in for a second term last Wednesday. The other statewide, elected officers were also sworn in. If you missed the ceremony, you can watch it here.
Ratification of Constitutional Amendments – In the November 2014 elections, voters approved two amendments to South Carolina’s constitution. One amendment allows non-profit organizations to conduct raffles, and the other amendment empowers the governor to appoint the Adjutant General beginning with the next governor. Since our constitution requires the General Assembly to ratify amendments after they have been approved by the voters, the Senate last week passed resolutions ratifying both amendments. Therefore, both amendments should be effective very soon.
Ethics – A Senate Judiciary subcommittee met last week and adopted an amended version of S. 1 , a bill to update ethics laws for elected and appointed officials. The full Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the bill Tuesday and maybe Wednesday this week.
Domestic Violence – A Senate Judiciary subcommittee approved an amended version of S. 3 , a bill designed to strengthen South Carolina’s domestic violence laws. The most controversial part of the bill is a provision that would prohibit people who have been convicted of domestic violence or are subject to a domestic order of protection from possessing firearms for a period of time. I support the general concept, but I have a lot of questions about the bill. When government seeks to limit a freedom ingrained in our culture and enshrined in our constitutions like the right to possess firearms, the proposal must be carefully written and limited in scope. The full Senate Judiciary Committee should take up this bill on Tuesday or Wednesday.
State of the State Address – Governor Nikki Haley is scheduled to deliver her State of the State Address on Wednesday night. If you’d like to watch the speech, tune in to ETV or online here at 7:00.
Senate Session This Week – The Senate will not meet in regular session this week in order to give committees an opportunity to work.
Meetings So Far
On Monday, I attended Edgefield County First Steps’ annual meeting.
On Tuesday, I attended Lexington County Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast meeting.
On Tuesday, I met with Governor Haley’s nominee to be Director of the Department of Social Services, Susan Alford, to discuss her nomination and plans for the agency.
On Wednesday, Blair and I attended Governor Haley’s inauguration and the inaugural gala.
On Thursday, I attended and participated in a Lexington County Legislative Delegation meeting.
On Friday morning, I spoke with the Teenage Republicans at River Bluff High School.
Burnettown Mayor C.H. Williams – I was sad to hear of the death of Mayor C.H. Williams over the weekend. C.H. was a tireless advocate for Burnettown, and I considered him a friend. His funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, January 20, at noon at Langley Pentecostal Holiness Church. You can read the obituary here.
Town Hall Meetings – I have held over 100 town hall meetings throughout our district over, 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’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.
P.O. Box 551
Edgefield, SC 29824
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Cell Phone – (803) 480-0419