Here are the highlights from the eighth week of 2016 legislative session in the Senate –
UPDATE ON ROADS AND BRIDGES – The Senate continued discussion on different proposals to address our state’s challenges with roads and bridges, and it appears we might have a breakthrough. Late Wednesday, Republicans agreed to support a plan to reform our transportation agencies and provide additional funding. Here are the details:
- The SCDOT Commission is composed of eight members, seven of whom are selected by legislators. The proposal would have the governor appoint all eight members of the commission – one from each of the seven congressional districts and one at-large – with confirmation by the Senate.
- The Commission, after consultation with the governor, would appoint the Secretary of SCDOT who would have to be confirmed by the Senate. This is the same structure used at DHEC.
- The State Transportation Infrastructure Bank will remain separate from SCDOT with its own board, but the new SCDOT Commission, appointed by the governor, must approve all STIB decisions.
- There will be no increase in the state’s gas tax. Instead, the General Assembly will direct $400 million each year from the state’s General Fund to SCDOT for roads and bridges.
I expect the Senate to consider many amendments with a final vote later this week. I will continue to keep you updated.
COUNTY TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE PROJECTS – Last week I gave you the breakdown of the amount of money received by the County Transportation Committees (CTC) in our Senate district for 2015-2016. Here again are those numbers:
Last week I gave you a list of resurfacing projects the CTCs in Aiken and Edgefield will fund with their share of the funds. Below is information provided by McCormick and Saluda Counties.
PAVINGS IN MCCORMICK COUNTY – The CTC has proposed to use its funds for this year to resurface all or portions of the following roads:
Upper Mill Road
PAVINGS IN SALUDA COUNTY – The CTC has approved the following projects so far:
Calcium Chloride for dust control on County Roads
County Road Rocking
Storm drain replacement on County Roads with contract extension of a Sidewalk off of Medical Park Rd. behind the Saluda Nursing Center
Paving / Reclamation of Saluda High / Middle school bus loop with contract extension at the Saluda Elementary School for a car rider walk way
Pencreek Rd. between Gabe Rd. and the bridge at the Little Saluda River
Saluda’s CTC expects to approve a much larger list of resurfacing projects at its meeting on May 19, 2016. I will give you that list once it has been approved.
I have asked for a list of proposed projects in Lexington County, but I have not yet received it.
You can see a list of active SCDOT projects in every county by going here.
LIMITATIONS ON EMINENT DOMAIN – The Senate passed S. 868, a bill that would prohibit private, for-profit companies that are not defined as a public utility from using eminent domain to take private property. The bill is now up for consideration in the House of Representatives.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Monday night, I held a town hall meeting at Midland Valley High School.
On Tuesday afternoon, I spoke to the South Carolina Homebuilders Association’s Board of Directors about this year’s legislative issues. Most of our discussion focused on roads and bridges.
On Thursday, I held a town hall meeting at Gloverville Elementary School.
On Friday morning, I spoke with River Bluff High School’s Teenage Republicans (TARS).
On Saturday, I attended Sweetwater Baptist Church’s 10th annual Wild Game Supper. Well over 1,000 people attended the service.
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.
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:
304 Gray Street
PO Box 236
Edgefield, SC 29824
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.