The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 12:00, Wednesdays at 2:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday afternoons, Wednesday mornings, and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and committees here.
Here are the highlights from the third week in the Senate –
Ethics – The Senate began discussion on S. 1 , a bill to update ethics laws for elected and appointed officials. The bill would require independent, anonymous campaign groups to disclose their donors, require legislators to disclose the sources of their private income, and provide for an independent ethics commission to investigate ethics complaints against legislators. We will have to work through several proposed amendments, but I am hopeful the Senate will pass the bill this week.
Investment of state health insurance funds– The Senate adopted S. 35, a resolution proposing a constitutional amendment to allow state health insurance trust funds to be invested in equities. Voters approved a constitutional amendment about 10 years ago to allow state retirement pension funds to be invested in equities. This amendment would bring health insurance trust funds in line with those retirement accounts, hopefully leading to a higher long-term return. The resolution now goes to the House of Representatives. If the House approves, the amendment will be on the 2016 general election ballot for voter approval.
Agendas for public meetings – Last summer, the Supreme Court ruled that county councils, school boards, and municipal councils are not required to publicize agendas prior to meetings. S. 11 was filed in response to ensure that public bodies notify the public of meeting agendas and limit the boards’ ability to amend those agendas once publicized. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Wednesday morning, I attended a confirmation hearing for Rochelle Taylor, Governor Haley’s appointment to be the next Director of the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. Ms. Taylor was approved by the committee and should receive a confirmation vote by the full Senate soon.
On Wednesday afternoon, I spoke with Youth Corps, a leadership training experience for a group of 9th and 10th grade students from Lexington and Richland Counties. The students debated current challenges facing South Carolina, and had some great ideas!
On Wednesday night, I attended Lexington County night in Columbia. This annual event is a great opportunity to see many of the impressive things happening in Lexington County.
Taxpayer Hero – The South Carolina Club for Growth named me one of its Taxpayer Heroes for 2014. You can read the press release here , see the scorecard here, and see the explanation of scored votes 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.