November 2009 Update for Midland Valley Monthly Paper

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! We have so much for which to be thankful. For many of our blessings and freedoms, we can thank a veteran on Veteran’s Day this month. Please join me in doing so and my hope is that this column will keep you informed about what is going on at your State House and around our district during the month of October.

As to the Avondale Water System, Rep. Roland Smith, Senator Massey and I continue to be real busy working with VPSA, Aiken County, and Avondale as we try to bring the transfer to reality. It is important that the community not lose the chance to receive the available stimulus funds to be used to improve the system. There are many folks working hard to meet the deadlines for both the transfer agreement and the federal monies that are available for improvements.

Second, here is the latest on the July bills and the water rate hike. As you may know,
on August 24, the Circuit Court issued a Temporary Injunction stating that Avondale cannot charge the new rate for service between June 25 and August 1 due to a lack of notice to the customers after the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved the new rate schedule on June 18. Avondale appealed that decision to the South Carolina Supreme Court. That appeal is still pending. As of the time of this article on November 2, customers still are not required to pay the July bill at the new rate due to the injunction. If you have questions, please call Representative Roland Smith, Senator Massey, or me.

Third, as to the rate hike and the chance that it will be adjusted, the PSC held a public hearing on the rate hike on October 6 in Columbia. No decision has been reached by the PSC as to whether the rate will be adjusted.

The House of Representatives met on October 27 and 28 for two days in a special session that was called during the week before by the Speaker on short notice to address a technical problem in state law so that South Carolina can receive an extension of unemployment benefits from Federal funds. Although making the state eligible for these funds is important, fixing this problem does not address the two larger issues facing the state and taxpayers as to the Employment Security Commission. One is restructuring the Commission and redefining how unemployment benefits are distributed in South Carolina. The other is paying back the unemployment trust fund which has been depleted from a surplus of $800 million in 2000. These issues will be at the forefront of the 2010 General Assembly.

Additionally during the two day special session, the House and the Senate voted unanimously and Governor Sanford signed legislation granting incentives to Boeing to build its new assembly line in the Charleston area instead of Seattle, Washington. The Governor and legislative leaders say that this investment is a great win for South Carolina because much like BMW’s investment back in 1992 near Greenville, Boeing’s investment should bring thousands of jobs to the state both directly and indirectly. I hope that this investment will have a positive impact on us here in Aiken County. It is encouraging to see both the legislature and the Governor working together on this project.

Finally, a resolution to impeach Governor Sanford was introduced but the Speaker ruled that it was out of order and cannot be introduced until January 2010 when the regular session begins.

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 (; regular mail (P.O. Box 651, Aiken, SC 29802); or just pull me aside when you see 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 – – for 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.

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