Here are the highlights from last week’s action in the Senate, the 7th week of the 2018 session:
POULTRY HOUSES – The Senate spent a good bit of time last week debating H. 3929, a bill that would streamline and clarify the permitting process for chicken houses. Agribusiness is South Carolina’s #1 industry. That is especially the case in our Senate district. Aiken, Edgefield, Lexington, and Saluda counties lead South Carolina’s poultry sector, yet South Carolina lags our neighboring states because of a difficult and overly burdensome regulatory system. It often takes years to acquire a permit. I hope the Senate will pass this legislation this week.
ENERGY EFFICIENT MANUFACTURED HOMES – South Carolina created an Energy Efficient Manufactured Homes Incentive Program in 2008. The program allows for an income tax credit of up to $750.00 for the purchase of an energy efficient manufactured home. That program was slated to expire in 2019. However, the Senate passed S. 916 to extend the tax credit to 2024.
BOARD OF ARCHITECTURAL EXAMINERS – The House and Senate agreed to a final version of H. 3649 which provides updates to the Board of Architectural Examiners. The bill now goes to Gov. McMaster.
LEXINGTON COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPERTY TAX RELIEF ACT– The Senate and House of Representatives agreed to H. 4272, the Lexington County School District Property Tax Relief Act. The bill would allow the school districts to seek approval from voters to extend the existing 1% sales tax for an additional 7 years. The funds generated from that sales tax allow for capital improvements and property tax relief. The bill now goes to Gov. McMaster.
TEACHER APPRECIATION ACCOUNTS- Teachers often accrue a significant number of sick and annual leave days, but they might lose those accrued days if they do not use them. That creates problems for teachers, students, and school districts. To help with this issue, last week the Senate passed S. 888, a bill that would allow school districts to pay teachers for any earned, but unused, sick and annual leave days in excess of ninety days. The bill now goes to the House.
HELP FOR SERVICE MEMBERS – The Senate passed S. 911, a bill that would extend the deadline for the payment of property taxes for members of the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard if those service members are serving in or near a hazard duty zone. The bill now goes to the House.
LAST WEEK’S MEETINGS
On Tuesday, Leadership Aiken County visited the State House. I enjoyed meeting with this group of young professional leaders and talking about ways to make South Carolina better.
Wednesday was FFA day at the State House. High School FFA students from across South Carolina visited the capitol. I enjoyed visiting with students from Gilbert High School, Saluda High School, and Strom Thurmond High School.
On Wednesday, student leaders from USC-Aiken visited the State House. USC-Aiken is consistently ranked among the top regional schools in the country. A short visit with the students will make you understand why the school has been so successful.
Wednesday was also the annual day for county leaders to come to the State House. I was able to spend a few minutes talking with county leaders from Aiken, Edgefield, and McCormick counties.
On Thursday morning, I met with members of the South Carolina Young Bankers Association. These young professionals from across the state are pretty impressive. I appreciate their work to make their communities better.
On Thursday night, I attended the McCormick Lions Club meeting. I had a great time talking with fellow Lions and updating them about what has been happening in Columbia.
Last week I appeared on SC ETV’s “This Week in South Carolina” to talk about the latest on VC Summer and the proposed merger between Dominion Energy and SCANA. You can watch the episode here.
TOWN HALL MEETINGS– Every year I hold a series of town hall meetings across our district. I have hosted nearly 150 meetings since you first elected me to the Senate. These meetings give me an opportunity to update you on the issues legislators have been discussing while also allowing you to ask questions and offer input. Here are the meetings I have scheduled so far:
Lexington High School
Gilbert High School
Merriwether Middle School
Edgefield County Council Chambers
Midland Valley High School
I am working on scheduling additional meetings. I hope to have those venues and dates set by next week.
Want to see the General Assembly in Action? – The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 2:00, Wednesdays at 12:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Tuesday mornings, 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.
P.O. Box 551
Edgefield, SC 29824
Email – email@example.com
Cell Phone – (803) 480-0419