Update – October 26 to November 1, 2010

The House of Representatives has adjourned for the 2010 session. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Vote Tomorrow!: Please remember to vote tomorrow (Tuesday, November 2) on election day if you have not yet voted by absentee ballot.

State Constitutional Amendments on Election Ballot on Election Day: Next week, on November 2, four constitutional amendments will be considered by all of those voting in South Carolina. For a look at what those amendments are, please click here: http://www.scvotes.org/2010/07/27/2010_constitutional_amendment_questions

Restructuring/Secretary of State: At the beginning of the 2009 session, I filed several restructuring reform bills including legislation to allow South Carolina voters to decide whether to amend the State Constitution so that certain constitutional officers who are currently popularly elected would in the future be appointed by the Governor as part of the Governor’s cabinet. The bill concerning the Secretary of State was the first to reach the House floor for a vote. Two thirds of the House (83 votes) had to approve the bill. In late February 2010, the bill passed with 85 votes. It headed to the Senate where it died. In today’s Charleston paper, there is an editorial calling on the General Assembly to do just what my bill attempted to do. To see the article, click here. I plan to file the same bill again this coming session.

Kimberly-Clark: Kimberly-Clark Corp. operates its largest plant in North America here in Aiken County in Beech Island. The plant employs approximately 1,800 people. Last week, Kimberly-Clark announced its plans for its tube fee toilet paper which is being made right here in Aiken County by local residents working at the plant. The article can be seen from USA Today last week by clicking here.

Other Funds Money in State Budget: As many of you know from my presentations around the district, the State Budget is made up of General Funds, Federal Funds, and Other Funds appropriations. In this year’s state budget, the General Funds appropriations were about $5.1 Billion; the Federal Funds appropriations were about $8.3 Billion; and the Other Funds appropriations were $7.765 Billion. Generally speaking, Other Funds are made up largely of fines, fees, and other revenues that the State receives or collects which are not General Funds or Federal Funds. My understanding from Ways and Means staff is that because of state accounting practices, some Federal Funds are reported as Other Funds. For example, the State Department of Transportation reports Federal Funds from the federal gas tax as Other Funds. One area of reform that I am pushing with other legislators is for greater scrutiny of how agencies spend their Other Funds appropriations. To see a breakdown of Other Funds monies by agency in this year’s budget, click here.

Aiken County Public Library: Check out the new digital branch library available through the Aiken County Public Library website (www.abbe-lib.org). This new service, powered by OverDrive, is free to Aiken Library patrons with a valid library card and password. You can browse the collection for audio books, eBooks and videos. You can also download the titles to PC, Mac, iPod, Sony Reader and many other mobile devices to enjoy immediately. Some audio titles can even be burned to CD to listen to on-the-go. At the end of the lending period, the titles automatically expire. The Library is able to offer this new service thanks to a federal Library Services and Technology grant, administered by the South Carolina State Library. NOTE: To get started, patrons need to download free OverDrive Media Console® and Adobe Digital Editions® software, which are available on the digital branch library’s website. For more information, call the Library at 642-2020.

Planning for the 2011 Legislative Session: The 2011 legislative session will convene on the second Tuesday in January. I am seeking input from constituents on the critical issues facing our state and area including tax reform; spending reform; K-12 education; the costs of higher education; health care; immigration; economic development; job growth; and the underfund liabilities in our state’s retirement systems. Your input is welcome on any issue important to you. Please email me back or contact me by phone or in person at your convenience.

Speaking In Schools: Last month, I was invited to speak to the 3rd grade students at East Aiken Elementary School. While there, I provided each of them a copy of the South Carolina symbols and emblems booklet. If you would like for me to speak with students in a local school, please let me know.

Speaking to Groups Around the District: Several local groups have asked me to attend one of their meetings to provide an end of session report to their members. If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting during the next few months, please let me know. I am scheduled to speak with the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce on November 5.

Frequency of My Updates: Since the legislature is not in session, my updates will not come every Monday as they do during session. I will strive to provide an update each week. However, there may be some weeks where I combine two weeks of updates into one. The frequency will be back to every week when the legislature reconvenes in January.

Email Updates: Many people in District 81 are receiving this email update. However, there are many others who do not receive them because I do not know their email addresses. If you know of people who do not receive my updates but they would like to, please email their names and email addresses to me.

Road Issues: If you see a road problem, you can call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or Aiken County at 642-1532 to report the problem. If you do not get a prompt response, please let me know at TomYoung@schouse.gov or call me. In general terms, most paved roads in the County are maintained by SCDOT and are identified on the road- sign poles by a small black and white sign listing the road number, such as S-2-1669. On the other hand, nearly all unpaved roads in the County are maintained by the County.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you. Please let me know if I can help you in any way or if you have questions about these or other issues. Your feedback is meaningful and appreciated.

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