Restructuring, Concealed Weapons, and Gas Prices – Weekly Update from Rep. Tom Young

Update – March 1 to March 7, 2011

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

SRS, H-Canyon, and Department of Energy: More happened this past week in the wake of the Department of Energy (DOE) directive to SRNS to take H-canyon to a “safe minimum operating level.” First, the Aiken County legislative delegation wrote Senators Graham and DeMint and Congressmen Duncan and Wilson asking for their help with this issue. A copy of that letter is here. Second, Governor Haley’s Nuclear Advisory Committee wrote both U.S. Senators and both Congressmen Duncan and Wilson on the issue. A copy of that letter is here. It is critical that the Department of Energy recognize SRS as an asset for the nation and assign future missions for the site. Finally, this week on Thursday, March 10, the Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Committee meets with officials from DOE, SRNS, and Savannah River Remediation. This issue as to H-Canyon will be at the top of the agenda. In case you missed it in my past few updates, a flyer on H-Canyon can be accessed here.

State Budget: The budget will be debated in the House beginning on Monday, March 14 and continuing daily until the House passes a budget to send to the Senate.

House Passes Restructuring Bills: Last week, the House passed three major restructuring bills all of which now head to the Senate. The first is the bill to require that the Governor and Lt. Governor (H.3152) run on the same ticket. The second, which received the necessary two-thirds approval by one vote, 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. 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. The third bill (H. 3066) moves many of the agencies under the Budget and Control Board to under the Governor’s authority. I voted for all three bills. An excellent editorial on these reforms was in the Charleston paper on Friday and can be seen here.

Governor Haley Recognizes Rep. Tom Young: Last week, after the House passed the two restructuring bills which I sponsored, the Governor publicly thanked me for my work in the House on those two bills. A copy of her press release can be seen here.

BIPEC Award: Last week, the South Carolina Business and Industry Political Education Committee (BIPEC) presented me with their 2010 Sword and Mace Award for scoring 100 on free enterprise and business issue votes for 2010. I was one of 10 members of the House and Senate to receive the award.

Concealed Weapons Permit Bill: This bill was a major topic of discussion at the House last week. In a period of 4 days, I received over 500 emails and calls about this bill. Nearly 150 of those contacts were from people within House District 81. This bill (H.3292) had been amended several times in sub-committee and would allow S.C. citizens at least 21 years old who can legally own a gun to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. No training of any type would be required to do this. The bill is currently “on hold” and is being reviewed by the subcommittee chairman of the subcommittee that originally took testimony on the bill and offered amendments. If and when the bill resurfaces in its current form or in another amended version, I will report on it in my weekly email update. I appreciate all of the people who took the time to email me or to call me about this important issue.

Education Funding Proposal: A bill (H. 3716) to change how public school districts are funded is pending on the House calendar. I am studying this proposal and getting input from people in our district on this important issue. A detailed summary of the bill from House Ways and Means staff can be seen here.

Workers Compensation Insurance Costs to Employers: A House Labor Commerce and Industry (LCI) subcommittee passed this bill (H.3111) this week. The bill now heads to the full LCI committee. I filed the bill both last year and this year to help lower the costs of workers compensation insurance for employers in our state. 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.

Help with Gas Prices — Splash Blending Bill: The House passed this bill (H.3478) on Thursday, and it now heads to the Senate. 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.

Texting and Driving: There are two bills addressing this filed in the House. Neither bill has advanced yet in a committee. There is a separate bill in the Senate (S. 225) which is moving toward final passage there. The House will take up the Senate bill when it reaches the House. The Senate bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee this week by a vote of 15-3. The penalties for a violation under the current Senate bill are $45.00.

School Choice Bill Set for Hearing: On Tuesday of this week, a House Education subcommittee will consider the school choice bill. This bill (H. 3407) will allow state tax credits in certain circumstances to qualifying families for children to attend non-public schools. The bill is modeled after a similar law which passed in Florida about 10 years ago. Many people have asked for a detailed summary of the legislation. To see that and more on the bill, go here.

Facebook and Email Identity Theft: Recently, Rep. Bill Taylor and I recently filed a bill (H. 3686) to establish criminal penalties for social media identify theft. The Aiken Standard did a story on the legislation and the reasons behind it. That story can be accessed here.

Chief Justice Delivers State of Judiciary Address: On Wednesday, Chief Justice Jean Toal of the S.C. Supreme Court delivered her annual State of the Judiciary address. Her comments were well received. A complete copy of her comments can be seen here. The Power Point that she used can be seen here.

Meeting with New State Transportation Secretary: On Friday, some of the local legislative delegation met with new State Transportation Secretary Robert St. Onge, Jr. in Aiken. I was very impressed with his understanding of the transportation and infrastructure needs for the state and the necessity of developing a vision for meeting those needs into the future.

Job Fair: Last year in late March at the request of some of our legislative delegation, the Employment Security Commission (ESC) hosted a Job Fair here in greater Aiken to assist those who are looking for work. We are asking that the ESC do this again. I will post more information including the location, date, and time when I know it.

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 or at the website.

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 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.

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 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.

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

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

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