State House Update – Week of May 18-24, 2009

The House met this week for the last week of the legislative year of 2009. The House will return on June 16 for one day to address any pending vetoes and other legislative matters.

The main focus this week was addressing the budget vetoes sent to the House and Senate on Wednesday, May 20 by Governor Sanford. There were 49 budget vetoes and the House sustained 17 of those vetoes. I prepared another column focusing only on the budget vetoes which is also on my website.

Other legislation considered this week included the reform of the State Ports Authority. Also, the pay day lending reform bill was passed by the Senate and the House concurred in the Senate bill during the last hour of session on Thursday, May 21. Although the bill does not go far enough in placing regulations on the industry, it does much better than existing law and most lawmakers considered it important to get this bill out and in effect this year rather than waiting another year for significant reform.

Disappointments for the week included that neither the cigarette tax bill nor the point of sale legislation were passed out of the Senate. As to the point of sale, there was a lot of local attention on this bill during the last two weeks of session. The House bill was passed on April 2 and it is different than the bill pending in the Senate.

I will provide another column in the next couple of weeks that provides a comprehensive wrap up of many of the significant legislative accomplishments and disappointments of the 2009 session.

Former Congressional House Speaker Newt Gingrich addressed the House Republican Caucus this week. He provided many thought provoking ideas on issues of importance at both the state and the federal levels.

Dr. Anthony Harris from Aiken was the legislative “doctor of the day” on Thursday, May 21. We were pleased to have him in Columbia at the State House. His son in law is Patrick Dennis who is the very competent and knowledgeable chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee.

Work continued this week in the district on efforts to improve the water and sewer system serving Graniteville and Vaucluse. I remain optimistic that we can find a solution to this ongoing problem.

I had the chance to speak this week with the South Carolina Medical Association Auxillary in Columbia. I appreciated being invited to provide them a legislative update.

On Saturday, my family and I were in the Aiken Memorial Day Parade. We really enjoyed it; it was well attended; and the organizers did a great job with making sure that it went well. I hope that all of you took time over the weekend to remember the sacrifices of those who gave their all for us while wearing our country’s uniform.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

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