Restructuring, Charter Schools, and Concealed Weapons – Weekly Update from Rep. Tom Young

Update – February 15 to February 21, 2011

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

Department of Energy Directive – Part II: In the wake of the Department of Energy (DOE) directive to SRNS to take H-canyon to a “safe minimum operating level,” the Aiken County legislative delegation is meeting with SRNS leadership and DOE leaders on Thursday of this week at the State House. As indicated in previous columns, it is critical that the Department of Energy recognize SRS as an asset for the nation and assign future missions for the site. The DOE provided vision and budget information to the legislature delegation regarding SRS. Please click the links to find out more information.

Facebook: I now have a Facebook page for Representative Tom Young. Please “like” the page to receive updates during the week from me on Facebook.

Tom Young’s New Website: I also have a new and updated website. The site can be reached at www.reptomyoung.com. There are links to a variety of constituent services; the status of sponsored bills; and roll call votes. Please add my web site as a bookmark on your computer.

Restructuring Bills on House Calendar: Last week, the House Judiciary Committee passed two restructuring bills for which I am primary sponsor. The first is the bill to require that the Governor and Lt. Governor (H.3152) run on the same ticket and the second is the bill to allow the Governor to appoint the State Superintendent of Education (H.3070) as a cabinet appointee rather than be popularly elected. Both bills will be on the House Calendar this week. All six restructuring studies of state government since 1920 have recommended that the Superintendent of Education be appointed by the Governor to increase accountability, efficiency, and coordination in public education in South Carolina.

Concealed Weapons Permit Bill: A bill (H.3292) which will simplify the list of places where concealed weapon permit holders may legally carry their weapons is pending in a House Judiciary subcommittee. While the bill increases the number of places where a concealed weapon would be allowed, it would still prohibit them in places like jails, courthouses, election polling places, and anywhere that federal law prohibits them. It also will allow private property owners like churches and businesses to prohibit them on private property. Contrary to some media reports, the bill does NOT eliminate the need for a valid concealed weapons permit for someone to carry a concealed weapon. The National Rifle Association supports the bill and I am a cosponsor.

Charter School Bill: After a one week delay on the House floor, it is expected that the House will consider legislation this week to help public charter schools (H.3241). The bill provides more equitable funding to charter schools and allows more choices for students and parents in the public school system. There are 3 “pots” of money that are allocated to public school districts – (1) federal; (2) state; and (3) local dollars. As currently drafted, this legislation will allow local dollars to follow a state-sponsored charter school student. If the school is a brick and mortar charter school, then all of the local dollars that the child would have received had he attended his residential school can follow the child to the state-sponsored charter school. If the school is a virtual charter school, then seventy-five percent of the local dollars can follow the child to the state-sponsored charter school. An amendment is expected to change the proposed law so that the money involved is not local dollars but state dollars. In other words, the state will fund the state-sponsored charter schools. Finally, the bill will allow students enrolled in public charter schools to play sports at the school where they would normally attend if the public charter school does not offer the same sport. My understanding is that the SC High School League has agreed to this provision. The State Chamber of Commerce has expressed support for charter schools and this bill. I plan to vote for the bill.

Criminal Solicitation of a Minor: Last year, the House passed a bill to require mandatory jail time for criminal solicitation of a minor child. A minority of senators kept the bill from being considered by the Senate. Last week, the House Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee passed the bill (H.3154) and advanced it to the full Judiciary Committee. I am the primary sponsor. If you have seen the Dateline television series specials in the past where minor children are solicited over the internet for sex and you are offended, then you will support this bill.

Workers Compensation Insurance Costs to Employers: A bill (H.3111) which I filed both last year and this year to help lower the costs of workers compensation insurance for employers in our state is coming up for a subcommittee hearing in the House Labor Commerce and Industry Committee. The bill requires insurers to use the most recent loss cost data in setting rates rather than allowing them to use older data to set rates. South Carolina is one of the few states not to have made this a requirement and the Department of Insurance recommends the change to help lower the costs of workers compensation insurance in South Carolina.

Report on Teacher Pay: The SC Education Oversight Committee recently released a report on teacher compensation in South Carolina. Teachers are compensated based on (1) their level of education and (2) their years of teaching experience. There are statewide minimum salaries for teachers based on these criteria. Local districts may supplement the minimum creating considerable variation between districts for teachers with similar experience and education levels. To see the complete report, please click here. Because teacher compensation and performance will be an issue either later this year or next at the State House, please let me know if you have any particular thoughts or concerns in this area.

Roll Call Voting: There is a new link available to keep up with all the roll call votes in the S.C. House. That link can be accessed at either my website at www.reptomyoung.com or at the www.scstatehouse.gov website.

Splash Blending Bill: A House Agriculture subcommittee unanimously passed this bill this past Tuesday. The bill (H.3478) now heads to the full House Agriculture Committee. Last year, a bill that would allow small gas and oil companies and distributors to blend ethanol in South Carolina within certain standards passed. The then current law only allowed large companies like BP and Exxon to blend ethanol in South Carolina. The large companies uncovered a loophole in the new law to allow them to continue maintaining a strong monopoly on this practice despite the law passed last year. The current bill is intended to close this loophole. The expectation is that by closing the loophole, this bill should help lower the price of some types of gas in our state.

Conservation Issue – Phosphates in Dishwasher Soap: Legislation (H.3470) that will set a maximum limit on the amount of phosphorous in dishwasher detergent advanced this past week in a House subcommittee. The bill is widely supported by conservation groups across the state because phosphates cause algae blooms in water killing fish and irritating the eyes and throats of people on the water for recreation.

Students Visiting State House this Week: At least one student from each of the County’s public high schools visited the State House this past week on Wednesday as a “legislative shadow.” This year’s group of students can be seen here. We were delighted to visit with the students.

Sunshine House – Visit with Children: Last week on Valentine’s Day, I was invited to read to the 3 and 4 year olds at the Sunshine House in Aiken. I enjoyed the visit and the chance to read to the children. If you have a class or school which you would like for me to visit, please let me know.

State House Tours: Tours are available for the S.C. State House. If you are interested, please call (803) 734-2430. Additionally, if you schedule your tour on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday between now and early June, please let me know so I can make every effort to see you during your tour.

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.

Sincerely,
Tom Young
649-0000 (o)
215-3631 (cell)

P.S. Please visit www.reptomyoung.com for more posts, news, video updates, and, if you have Twitter, please click here to start following me!

Comments

  1. John Schmersey says

    Mr Young:
    Please reconsider your stand on allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
    There are to many handguns available to people with minimal training and through gun dealers that do not follow proper licensing proceedures. We need fewer people carrying weapons … not more.
    Thank you.

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