Here are the highlights from the last week’s action in the Senate –
More consideration for judicial and university board candidates – The Senate passed S. 374 and S. 436, bills that would allow legislators more time to evaluate the qualifications of candidates for judgeships and university board positions before being hounded for commitments. Currently, the screening committees release reports on a Thursday and candidates begin soliciting commitments the following Tuesday. That scenario leaves little opportunity for legislators to question candidates and review qualifications. If the new bills pass, legislators would have 10 days before candidates could seek commitments. That’s a significant reform that should lead to better decision-making. The bills are now being considered by the House of Representatives.
Bag limit for deer – The Senate passed S. 454, a bill that would limit hunters to 4 antlered deer and 4 anterless deer per season. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.
In-State Tuition for Veterans – The Senate passed S. 391, a bill that would allow U.S. military veterans to attend public colleges and universities in South Carolina at in-state rates regardless of how long they have lived in the state. The House of Representatives is now considering the proposal.
Convention of States – The Senate Judiciary Committee approved two resolutions calling for a convention of states to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The resolutions focus on limiting the power of the federal government, considering term limits for national elected officials, and providing for a balanced national budget. There is a good bit of opposition to the resolutions so I do not yet know if the full Senate will debate them.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I held a town hall meeting at Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick. More than 30 people came out to talk about the issues facing South Carolina. We spent a good bit of time talking about funding for roads and bridges, ideas to get properties out of the forfeited land commissions, the state budget, proposals for a Convention of States, and ethics.
On Tuesday night, I held a town hall meeting at Lexington High School. We talked about roads and bridges, South Carolina State University, the state budget, and several other issues.
On Wednesday morning, I attended the South Carolina Prayer Breakfast. There were 200+ attendees for this tremendous program to offer prayer for South Carolina and our leaders.
On Wednesday afternoon, I spent some time with high school students from across Aiken County who came to the statehouse to serve as legislative shadows for the day.
On Thursday night, I held a town hall meeting at Gilbert High School. We had a good discussion about roads and bridges, ethics, and the state budget.
Town Hall Meetings – These meetings are great opportunities for me to update you on what is happening in Columbia and, more importantly, for you to share your ideas and concerns with me. We had nice crowds for three town meetings last week. I enjoyed the discussion and really appreciate the participation. I have three more meetings scheduled for this week. Here is the schedule for the remaining meetings across our district:
Edgefield County Council Chambers
6:00 – 7:30
Circle Fire Department (Saluda)
6:00 – 7:30
Merriwether Middle School
6:00 – 7:30
Midland Valley High School
6:00 – 7:30
Want to see the General Assembly in Action? – 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.
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.
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.