Weekly Update from Rep. Tom Young

April 19 to April 25, 2011

The House of Representatives is in session for 2011. The House returns to session on Tuesday, April 26.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

National Day of Prayer:  With this update the day after Easter, I wanted to let you know that Thursday, May 5 is the National Day of Prayer.  The Greater Aiken area will recognize this day with a service at St. John’s United Methodist Church in downtown Aiken at 7:00 p.m. that night.  The public is welcome. Whether you can go or not, please know that prayer works and our state and nation need our prayers not just on May 5 but every day.

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 within two congressional districts or be placed within one congressional district is very important. Send your email to tomyoung@schouse.gov.  All input will be provided to the S.C. House Judiciary Committee working on this project.

High School Dropout Bill: Thisbill (H. 3164) is now on the House calendar for second reading on Tuesday, 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.

Voter ID Bill:  Last Wednesday, a joint House and Senate Conference Committee agreed to a version of this bill that includes only requirements to present a valid photo identification to vote.  The full House and Senate are expected to approve the Conference Committee report this week.

School Choice Bill:  This bill (H. 3407) will allow scholarships and state tax credits in certain circumstances to qualifying families for children to attend non-public schools.   A good summary of different school choice legislation pending in the General Assembly can be seen here.  A House Ways and Means subcommittee recently passed the bill and moved it to the full Ways and Means Committee. I welcome your feedback.

Amazon.Com Legislation:  Legislation is pending that will allow Amazon an exemption for five (5) years from collecting sales tax on sales that it makes to someone located in South Carolina even though Amazon will have a physical presence in the state with its proposed distribution facility in Lexington County. This exemption would be in addition to other incentives offered to the company by the SC Department of Commerce last fall. A lot has been written in the press about this proposed exemption in recent weeks. I welcome your feedback on the proposed exemption.

Latest Unemployment Numbers:  The SC Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) released March 2011 unemployment numbers last week. Aiken County is tied with Beaufort County for the 4th lowest unemployment rate in the state at 7.8%. This is down .6% from February’s number of 8.4%.

Avondale Water System Update:  The waterline contractor should make the final tie in on Canal Street this week to complete the main 12” feed line thru Graniteville. He has a short section of 6” line to replace on Julianne Lane which should be completed by next week. Then the only thing he will have left is to finish installing the taps, pressure test and chlorinate some lines, and clean up. He should be finishing up the Phase 1 project around the end of May.  The side walk contractor said he should be finished this week.  If you have questions, please call Calvin Smith at VPSA at 593-2053.

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.

Savannah River Community Reuse Update: To see the latest information on the Savannah River Community Reuse Organization and an update on what is happening with Yucca Mountain, see this month’s update by going here.

Alzheimer’s Disease in South Carolina: There are currently 80,000 people living in S.C. with Alzheimer’s disease.  The State funds the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Respite Program through the Department of Mental Health.  This program provided 3,000 vouchers for respite care to S.C. families in 2010.  114 of those vouchers were issued to families in Aiken County in 2010.  To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease in S.C. and the Caregiver Respite Program, see here.

State Retirement System:  A Senate panel is reviewing options to ensure the solvency of the state retirement systems.  Also, an independent analysis of the system is being done at the request of the Budget and Control Board.  That analysis is due by August 31 of this year.  I expect the solvency of the System and proposed changes to be a top agenda item in the 2012 session.

Palmetto Golf Club and Rose Hill Estate in Sandlapper magazine this month:  There is a very good article about Palmetto Golf Club in the most recent edition of Sandlapper magazine which can be seen here.  Also, an article about The Stables at Rose Hill Estate is in the magazine too which can be seen here.  Both of these are in House District 81.

Responding to Your Emails:  Because I was on the road a lot during the first 3 weeks of April attending redistricting hearings around the state in addition to attending session in Columbia, I am behind on responding to emails.  I am working to catch up.

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, in the Penland Admin Building Conference Room 110 at USC Aiken.  For more information on registration, etc., please see here.

Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse in State Government: To report waste, fraud and abuse in state government, you can call: 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 www.reptomyoung.com or at the www.scstatehouse.gov website.

Facebook: I 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 Website: My updated website 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.

State House Tours:  Tours are available for the S.C. State House by calling (803) 734-2430.  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.

Email Updates:  If you know of people in or around District 81 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, 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. Generally, 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. Most 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)

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!


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