Update –January 12 to January 18, 2011

The House of Representatives is in session for 2011. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

S.C. House Convenes for 2011 Session:  Despite the ice and snow storm last week, the S.C. House of Representatives convened for the 2011 session last week.  There are twenty-one (21) new members of the House since 2010 – 18 Republicans and 3 Democrats out of a total of 124 members.

Inauguration:  On Wednesday, Governor Haley and the other Constitutional Officers were inaugurated.  Additionally, two of Governor Haley’s cabinet appointees – Bobby Hitt to Commerce and Catherine Templeton to Labor, Licensing, and Regulation — were confirmed by the State Senate.

Roll Call Voting Bill Passes House:  On Thursday, the Roll Call Voting bill which passed the House last year and stalled in the Senate passed the House again by a unanimous vote of 104-0.  The bill now heads to the Senate.  I am a cosponsor again this year.

Voter ID Bill:  Also, on Thursday, the voter ID bill which will require registered voters to show photo identification at the polls when voting passed the House Elections Law Subcommittee by a 3-2 vote which fell along party lines.  I serve on that subcommittee and voted in favor of this legislation.  The bill will now be in the full Judiciary Committee this week.

Card Check Law:  As you may recall, the General Assembly and voters at the polls in November approved a state constitutional amendment protecting the right to a secret ballot when union elections are held in South Carolina.  Legislation is pending to ratify the constitutional amendment approved by voters in November.  Last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sent a letter to Attorney General Alan Wilson threatening that if he does not stop the ratification of the card check law, then the Board will sue the State of South Carolina.   Like many other House and Senate members, I find this action by the Federal Government and the National Labor Relations Board to be incredible.  The General Assembly passed this legislation with broad bi-partisan support and voters overwhelmingly approved the law in November.  This was done to protect our business climate in South Carolina which is one of the least unionized states in the nation.  We will fight any lawsuit filed by the NLRB/Federal Government over this issue.

Budget:  On Thursday, members of the House Ways and Means Committee heard from several state agencies including the Departments of Social Services and Health and Human Services about the significant budget shortfalls for those agencies.  It is clear that the budget challenges facing the General Assembly and the Governor this year are the toughest in at least two generations.  South Carolina is constitutionally required to have a balanced budget and agencies cannot run budget deficits under state law.  I am working with other House members to identify areas where the State can save money.  If you have ideas, please let me know.

School District Consolidation Bill:  My school district consolidation bill received favorable treatment in the press last week. If you missed it, the article can be seen by clicking here.

Spending Transparency: Several public colleges and universities across the state have committed to greater accountability and transparency by putting their expenditures online.  For example, Clemson recently launched its website – http://transpend.clemson.edu/ — to provide information about sources of funding and explanations as to cost categories.

Latest Web Video: My latest web video to constituents can be accessed by clicking here.

Aiken County Legislative Delegation: The Legislative Delegation will meet on Monday, February 7, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. at the Aiken County Council Chambers.

Holiday Mailer to District with 2011 Magnetic Calendar:  If you live in District 81 and did not receive my Holiday mailer with the 2011 Magnetic Calendar, please let me know. They were delivered on December 20 and December 21 last month.

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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