Here are the highlights from the fourth week of 2016 legislative session in the Senate –
FRUSTRATION ABOUT ROADS AND BRIDGES – The Senate has made little progress so far this year on plans to address our state’s challenges with roads and bridges. That lack of progress has led to a good bit of frustration across the state and among elected officials. Last Thursday, that frustration boiled over on the Senate floor. You can see a news report about last Thursday’s session here. You can see more of my comments here.
The Senate Finance Committee will hear testimony this week about SCDOT’s use of existing funds and about the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank. That means the full Senate will not begin debate until at least next week.
JOHN FEW ELECTED TO SUPREME COURT – John Few, Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals since 2010, was elected as the newest Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court last Wednesday. I supported Judge Few. You can learn more about Judge Few here.
KINDER MORGAN & THE USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN BY PRIVATE COMPANIES – Last week a Senate Judiciary subcommittee met to consider S. 868 and S. 1065. The subcommittee approved language that would prohibit a private, for-profit company that is not a public utility from using eminent domain. I hope the full Judiciary Committee will take up the bill this Tuesday. For more background on this issue, please read this op-ed I wrote last week.
CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMIT RECIPROCITY – Last week I provided an update about legislation that would allow South Carolina CWP holders carry their weapons in Georgia. Unfortunately, I referred to the wrong bill. The correct bill is H. 3799 . I talked with the subcommittee chairman last week, and I expect the subcommittee to meet in the next couple weeks.
DESTRUCTION OF EXPUNGED RECORDS – The Senate passed S. 255, a bill that would require the destruction of expunged arrest records. The bill would also require private websites that publish arrest records to remove those records if the charges are dismissed, expunged, or the accused is found not guilty. The House also agreed to the bill, so it now goes to Governor Haley for consideration.
TAX CREDITS FOR SOLAR ENERGY – The Senate passed H. 3874, a bill that allows for limited income tax credits for specified solar energy projects.
SUCCESSFUL 2015 FOR DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE – The South Carolina Department of Commerce announced last week that the state landed 150 economic development projects in 2015 with $4.2 Billion in capital investment and 17,280 jobs. Manufacturing accounted for 56% of the new jobs and 86% of the capital investment. To learn more, go here.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I had a town hall meeting at Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick. We had a great turnout with more than 140 people!
On Wednesday morning, I attended Lexington County Farm Bureau’s annual legislative breakfast.
On Wednesday morning, I met with a group of student leaders from USC-Aiken. The students were in Columbia for Carolina Day at the statehouse.
On Thursday night, I attended Edgefield Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner.
On Friday morning, I spoke with members of Lexington High School’s Teenage Republicans.
On Friday morning, I spoke at Edgefield County School District’s 8th grade career fair.
TOWN HALL MEETINGS – Below is a list of town hall meetings I have scheduled for this Spring. I may add more as the session goes along. 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 hope you’ll come.
Merriwether Middle School Cafeteria
6:00 – 7:30
Circle Fire Department (Saluda)
Edgefield County Council Chambers
6:00 – 7:30
Midland Valley High School Auditorium
6:00 – 7:30
Gloverville Elementary School Cafeteria
6:00 – 7:30
Lexington High School Cafeteria
6:30 – 8:00
Gilbert High School Theatre
6:00 – 7:30
If you would like for me to schedule a town hall meeting in another location, please let me know.
VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICERS – Each county has a Veterans Affairs Officer whose purpose is to assist veterans and their families with filing, presenting, and prosecuting all claims which they have for money compensation, hospitalization, training, and insurance benefits under federal law. If you have questions about veterans’ benefits or the services these officers provide, you can contact the officers at:
1930 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801
304 Gray Street
PO Box 236
Edgefield, SC 29824
605 West Main Street
Lexington, SC 29072
Phone: (803) 785-8400
Fax: (803) 785-0115
Donald D. Moss
610 South Mine Street
P.O. Box 276
McCormick, SC 29835
108 South Rudolph Street
Saluda, SC 29138
Phone: (864) 445-4500 Ext. 2268
Fax: (864) 445-2808
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.
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.