Redistricting and Lobbying Reform – Weekly Update from Rep. Tom Young

Update – April 12 to April 18, 2011

Happy Easter!  The House of Representatives is in session for 2011. The House is on furlough this week. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Redistricting – Your Input is Needed: The South Carolina General Assembly is in the process of redistricting which is the once every 10 years project of drawing new legislative and congressional districts based on the new census numbers. Our state is to get a new 7th Congressional District.  Adding that district could impact whether Aiken County stays in two Congressional Districts (Joe Wilson with District 2 and Jeff Duncan with District 3) or changes to being in one District. Your input on whether Aiken County should stay in two districts or be placed within one District is very important. Send your email to All input will be provided to the S.C. House Judiciary Committee working on this project.

House Redistricting Panel Public Hearings:  The House Judiciary Elections Laws Subcommittee held public hearings regarding both House of Representatives and Congressional district reapportionment/redistricting last week in Aiken, Denmark, Greenville, and Summerville.  As a panel member, I attended all of those hearings.

Voter ID Bill:  On Wednesday, the Senate voted not to concur with the House amendment on this bill (H. 3003). It now heads to a joint House and Senate conference committee in the coming weeks.

High School Dropout Bill: The House Education Committee unanimously passed this bill last Tuesday. The bill (H. 3164) is now on the House calendar for second reading on April 26. This bill prohibits possession of a driver’s license until age 18 unless the young person is enrolled in, or has completed, high school. The bill does have a hardship provision for some limited exceptions including where the young person has to go to work to support himself or his immediate family. Although this bill is not the “silver bullet” to the high school dropout problem, it is part of the solution in our effort to combat the high school dropout rate in the short term. Georgia and North Carolina have similar requirements in their state law. Florida also has a similar law and reported that in a sample pool of 2007-2008 dropouts, 96% reenrolled in school within 90 days of losing their license.

House Speaker Harrell visits SRS: Last Monday, House Speaker Bobby Harrell came to Aiken and met with leadership from SRNS, SRR, the National Lab, and DOE about the Savannah River Site.  After the meeting, the Speaker publicly stated his support of existing missions at SRS and his support of efforts to develop new missions for SRS.

Governor Signs Roll Call Voting Bill into Law: On Tuesday, Governor Haley signed this bill into law. There is a 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.

Missed Roll Call Votes Late Wednesday Afternoon: On Wednesday of last week, I had to attend the Redistricting hearing in Greenville as a panelist. Because the meeting started at 5:30 pm, I had to leave the House at 3:15 pm to be there on time with traffic. The House did not adjourn until 4:49 pm.  During that 1.5 hours that I was not there, I missed 9 recorded votes. Those votes will show that I was excused from the House at that time. I also went back on Thursday morning and placed in the House Journal how I would have voted if I had been present.

Ethics and Lobbying Reform Bill: Last year, I filed this bill (H. 3183) and the House passed it but the session ended before the Senate considered it. The House passed it on Tuesday of last week by a vote of 107-0. It is now in the Senate. The bill requires lobbyists and lobbyist principals to pay all outstanding penalties before resuming lobbying activities. It also creates criminal penalties for failing to pay ethics fines after civil penalties are exhausted.

Angel Investor Bill Passes: The “Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act of 2011” (H. 3779) passed the House last week. It is aimed at attracting more angel investors to our state to support small business in South Carolina including start up companies. Other states in our area have similar state laws. The bill is named after the late Rep. Bill Wylie from Greenville who passed away unexpectedly last September.

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. For frequently asked questions on the bill, go here.  A House Ways and Means subcommittee passed the bill last week and moved it to the full Ways and Means Committee. I welcome your feedback on this legislation.

State Agency Merger: The House voted last week to merge the Arts Commission and the State Museum Commission into the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. The move should save the state about $450,000 per year in administrative overhead costs.

State Budget:  The Senate is still working on its version of the State Budget. I will provide more information when the Senate bill comes back to the House in the next few weeks.

Aiken High School Culinary Team at State House: Aiken High teacher Jean Gorthy and her students from Aiken High’s Culinary Arts Class were at the State House on Wednesday cooking as part of the annual “Taste of South Carolina” event sponsored by the State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (“PRT”). The Aiken High team was the only cooking team from any traditional high school in South Carolina invited to participate in the event. They were able to attend with the assistance of a grant from PRT and food donations from Houndslake Country Club. They did a great job!

Responding to Your Emails:  Because I have been on the road a lot during the past 2.5 weeks attending redistricting hearings around the state in addition to attending session in Columbia, I am behind on responding to emails.  Please be patient as I catch up this week.

Helping Local Children with Hunger: With both the Aiken County Schools and Golden Harvest Food Bank, the 2010-2011 Leadership Aiken County class is sponsoring a group project to raise both awareness of and funds for children in Aiken County who are at risk for hunger.  To learn more, go here or call (803) 641-2856.

Small Business Development Work Shop:  The Aiken Small Business Development Center is offering a FREE tax work shop for prospective and new small business owners. The workshop will be held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, in the Penland Admin Building Conference Room 110 at USC Aiken.  For more information on registration, etc., please go here.

You may also find out more via e-mail: or by telephone: 803-641-3646.

Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse in State Government: There is a toll free phone number that South Carolinians can call anonymously to report waste, fraud and abuse they see in state government: 1-855-SC-FRAUD.

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 and the honor 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)

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