Week 6 was a pretty slow week in the Senate, but I expect business will pick up this week. Here are the highlights from week 6 in the Senate –
CONCEALED WEAPON PERMITS – In South Carolina a citizen can carry a concealed weapon if he has a concealed weapons permit (CWP). To get a permit, a person must undergo a SLED background check, be fingerprinted, successfully complete a firearm training class, and pay a fee. Even with a permit, though, CWP holders are prohibited from carrying their weapons in certain areas, including restaurants that sell alcohol.
Last week I chaired a subcommittee on S. 308, a bill that would allow CWP holders to carry their concealed weapons in restaurants that sell alcohol as long as (1) the restaurant does not prohibit the carrying of weapons and (2) the CWP holder does not consume alcohol while carrying the weapon. The bill passed our subcommittee and will be considered by the full Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
DEW DIRECTOR RESIGNS – The Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) has come under a good bit of fire recently. I reported last week that DEW will reduce staff in 17 rural offices beginning February 19. Recent news reports that certain DEW personnel received significant raises in the face of these cuts and that DEW may have paid up to $50 million in benefits to undeserving claimants added fuel to the fire. Consequently, Director Abraham Turner offered his resignation last week. Despite that resignation, the Senate will continue its oversight of DEW to learn more about what has been happening at DEW. I’ll keep you updated.
DUI IGNITION INTERLOCKS – Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee approved S. 137, a bill that would require repeat DUI offenders and first-time DUI offenders with high alcohol concentrations to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicles. The IID allows for a quick breath test to determine whether the driver has consumed alcohol. Once installed, the IID will prevent the vehicle from starting unless the driver passes the breath test. The full Senate should debate the bill on Tuesday.
GOVERNMENT RESTRUCTURING – On Wednesday, the Senate will begin its debate on S. 22, the bill that would abolish the Budget & Control Board; create a new, cabinet-level Department of Administration; prohibit agencies from running deficits without General Assembly approval; and, probably most importantly, require the legislature to conduct oversight of executive agencies. I’ll keep you updated.
Last Week’s Meetings
On Tuesday morning, I attended the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce’s monthly breakfast. As usual, we had a great crowd for the breakfast.
On Tuesday morning following the Chamber breakfast, I visited Gilbert Middle School. Principal Dr. Benji Ricard gave me a tour, and I was able to meet several teachers and students. I was very impressed, and I hope to come back soon!
On Tuesday night, I attended the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet. Congratulations to Lee Pitcovich (Young Professional of the Year); Carpet One Floor & Home (Business of the Year); Royce Lehman of North Lake Construction Co. (Small Business Person of the Year); and Baxter Donaldson of First Community Bank (the distinguished Mike Till Award). Great job!
On Wednesday night, I met with representatives from Edgefield, Johnston, McCormick, and Lexington at the South Carolina Municipal Association reception in Columbia.
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 atwww.senatormassey.com.