Update for Midland Valley Monthly Paper

Since my last column in this paper last month, the South Carolina House of Representatives concluded the 2009 session and we all learned about the bomb shell involving Governor Sanford and his extramarital relationship last week. The purpose of this column is to keep you informed about what is going at your State House.

First, as to Governor Sanford. He has broken the public trust and now has to answer questions about his actions. There will be an investigation into the year long scenario involving the Governor and his mistress and whether state money was used by the Governor to facilitate his relationship with her. The Governor has to be forthcoming; open; and honest with the people as all facts are uncovered. It is too early to tell whether the events and subsequent investigation will result in the Governor’s resignation. Whether it does or not, it is important that the State get beyond this mess so that our leaders in State Government can focus on the State’s problems. It is also important for all of us to remember Governor Sanford and his family in our thoughts and prayers during the days and weeks ahead. My prayer is for him to reconcile with his wife and children.

Second, late last month, the State Public Service Commission granted Avondale an increase in the water and sewer rates that it is charging for the water system servicing both Graniteville and Vaucluse. While this increase was not unexpected, it is not as high as Avondale had sought. More importantly, I am continuing to work with the legislative delegation and county officials to address the deficiencies in the system. We have identified six million dollars in grant funding to be used for improvements in the water and sewer system. We are real close to working out an agreement where Avondale will turn over the system to another entity that will provide both service and much needed improvements for the area’s residents and businesses.

Third, as to the state budget, the State Supreme Court ruled in June that the Governor has to apply for the federal stimulus funds even if he did not agree with how the money was to be used in the state budget.

Fourth, the House met on June 16 for one day to address ten vetoes and other matters that had been to conference committee. All ten of the Governor’s vetoes were overridden. These bills included the following:

• The pay day lending bill which limits consumers to one loan at a time and caps the amount of money that may be borrowed at any one time;
• Legislation to restructure and stabilize the State Ports Authority including the creation of five and twenty year long range development and financing plans;
• A bill limiting the ability of local governments to regulate livestock farms and poultry houses (I voted against this bill and to uphold the veto);
• A bill limiting the amount of real property tax on a newly constructed single family home that is not occupied and vacant; and
• A bill intended to address problems with the state sexual predator law but which actually lowered the penalty for first time sexual predators who fail to register under state law (I voted against this bill and to uphold the veto).

Also, the House and Senate passed the Tax Realignment Commission bill. The Governor now has it for his consideration. If he vetoes the bill, this tax reform commission will most likely be dead until next year as the Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tem say that they will not call the House and Senate back to address a veto of that legislation.

I held a town meeting at the Aiken County Council Building on June 22. Even if you cannot attend a town meeting, please know that I am always available to you and your family should you ever need assistance. I will do my best to listen to you; to help with your constituent concerns; and to be responsive to your requests. I can be reached by telephone (649-0000 or 215-3631); email (TomYoung@schouse.org); regular mail (P.O. Box 651, Aiken, SC 29802); or just pull me aside when you see me. Recently, I have talked with many of you about lots of issues and your opinions and recommendations are very helpful to me.

If you would like for me to speak to your church or other civic group about pending legislation or other concerns to you, please let me know. Please see my website – www.reptomyoung.com – for weekly updates about what is going on at the State House and in our district.

Thank you for the privilege and the opportunity to represent you. I am determined to work on your behalf to make our State Government more efficient; effective; and accountable.

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