The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn at 5:00 on Thursday, June 5, 2015. Therefore, there are six legislative days remaining this session.
Here are the highlights from last week’s action in the Senate –
Abortions after 20 weeks – The Senate continued debating H. 3114, a bill that would prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. The foundation for the bill is scientific discovery that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks. Much of the debate centered on whether the prohibition should include exceptions for rape, incest, and late-discovered fetal anomalies that are inconsistent with life outside the womb. The Senate gave 2nd reading to the bill on Tuesday, but the bill requires one more vote before it can be sent to the House of Representatives.
Capital Reserve Fund – The Senate spent most of the week on H. 3702, a resolution to appropriate money from the state’s Capital Reserve Fund. Each year the General Assembly sets aside 2% of the previous year’s General Fund Revenue into a Capital Reserve Fund. At the same time, though, the legislature typically spends the money set aside last year for capital projects across the state. The Finance Committee’s recommendation is that the $84 million in Capital Reserve Funds be spent on purchasing new school buses and capital needs at our technical colleges and universities. Most of the discussion, though, has centered on how best to fund repairs and maintenance of our roads and bridges. This discussion will continue this week.
Funding for Roads and Bridges – Although the Senate has spent a good bit of time talking about funding for roads and bridges, we have not yet taken up that bill. This legislation is third in line behind the Capital Reserve Fund and the 20-week abortion bill.
I have received a large number of emails and phone calls about the various proposals to fund roads and bridges. This is one of the more difficult issues I have had to deal with in the Senate because the input I have received is as closely divided as any issue I have seen. That division mirrors what I heard in my town hall meetings earlier this Spring. Nearly everyone thinks roads and bridges are a priority; the question is how best to pay the bill.
I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Please share them with me via email.
Alimony Study Committee – I have heard from several folks over the past year who have expressed concerns with South Carolina’s alimony laws. Last week the Senate passed H. 3215, a resolution that will create a study committee to evaluate our alimony laws and make recommendations to the General Assembly by the end of 2015.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I met with the Lexington Town Council to discuss legislative proposals to address roads and bridges.
On Tuesday, I spoke with third grade students from W.E. Parker Elementary School who were visiting the statehouse.
On Thursday night, I attended a public meeting in North Augusta on the proposed Palmetto Pipeline. A portion of the pipeline will run through Aiken County, Edgefield County, and McCormick County.
On Saturday, I attended a Memorial Day program in McCormick.
On Monday, I attended a Memorial Day program in Edgefield.
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.
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’ve voted on issues, go here 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.