Memorial Day and Silver Bluff Road Widening — Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young

May 24 to May 30, 2011

The House of Representatives is in session for 2011.   The regular session will conclude this Thursday, June 2. The House will meet after this Thursday in June to finish redistricting and the budget. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Memorial Day:  On Saturday, my family and I participated in the Aiken Memorial Day Parade.  We really enjoyed it; it was well attended; and the organizers did a great job with making sure that it went well. I hope that you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend and paused to think about those who gave themselves in the service of our nation so that we can enjoy the blessings that we have in the United States.

Silver Bluff Road Widening – Public Input is Requested:  Last week on Thursday night, I attended the public information session on the updated designs for the Silver Bluff Road widening project at Town Creek Baptist Church.  Over 160 area residents also attended.  This project has been under consideration for nearly 5 years.  There are two different plans under consideration: (1) The SCDOT’s recommended plan and (2) the City’s requested shift in the DOT plan’s alignment.  Both plans include improvements to all the intersections along Silver Bluff Road between Indian Creek Trail and Richardson’s Lake Road.  Public input should be submitted no later than June 10, 2011 to Kevin Gantt with SCDOT at After the public input period ends, the SCDOT will summarize all the comments and take that information to the Augusta Regional Transportation Study (ARTS) group. The ARTS group will then give final approval to a plan later this year. To access more information about the meeting last week and the widening project, go here. To see the article in the Aiken Standard about last week’s meeting, go here.  If you did not get to see the preliminary drawings, my understanding is that later this week the City of Aiken will have a copy of the drawings.

Unemployment Trust Fund Changes:  On Tuesday of last week, the House passed legislation to provide meaningful unemployment insurance (UI) tax relief for employers across the state. The House-passed legislation reduces state benefit weeks from 26 to 20 weeks and allows employers the option to restrict seasonal benefits.  Early Friday morning, the Senate passed a similar bill. The Senate also included $100 million in surplus revenue in the budget to assist in paying down the $933 million debt that South Carolina owes to the federal government. The House will consider that provision when it considers the Senate’s budget in the next few days.  To see a summary of the House-passed legislation, go here.

Immigration Bill Passes House:  The House approved changes to South Carolina’s immigration laws last week.  Under the legislation (S. 20), if a law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion that a person who is stopped, detained, or arrested is not legally in the United States, the officer or his agency may verify the person’s residency.  If the person is here illegally, then the local law enforcement agency is to notify the Immigration and Customs officials. The Senate previously passed the bill earlier this session.

Senate Approves New Amazon Proposal:  Late Thursday night, the State Senate approved granting a temporary sales tax exemption to Amazon.  Amazon must provide a minimum of 2,000 full time jobs with health insurance and a minimum of $125 Million in capital investment.  The average pay of these jobs will be nearly $17.00 per hour.  The temporary sales tax exemption expires on January 1, 2016 or earlier if the federal government changes the law as to the collection of taxes by online retailers.

Help for Displaced SRS Workers: If you or someone you know lost a job at SRS, there is a One-Stop Transition Center open in downtown Aiken at Park Avenue and Laurens Street to assist workers displaced at SRS with finding new work.  The Center is open from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. For more information, visit

Redistricting — Congressional Districts: Local residents Claude and Sunny O’Donovan came to Columbia last week to testify as to Aiken County and the proposed Second and Third Congressional Districts. Additionally, Mayor Fred Cavanaugh and County Council Chairman Ronnie Young sent statements in support of some part of Aiken County staying in the Third Congressional District. Under the proposed House plan, all of Aiken County would be in the Second Congressional District. The Senate has not released its proposed Congressional district plans. Additional changes to the proposed plans are expected in the coming weeks.  Your feedback is welcome.

School Choice Bill: The House tabled this bill (H. 3407) last Wednesday effectively ending it for the year.  The bill would allow state tax credits to donors who finance K-12 scholarships for students from low income families to attend non-public schools. A similar bill will probably be filed next year.

Speed Trap Bill: On Thursday, the House passed legislation (S. 336) to outlaw the use of speed enforcement cameras like what is being done in Ridgeland, SC along I-95.

State Budget: Last week after over 4 weeks of debate, the Senate finished its version of the State Budget. The House will take up the Senate’s budget later this week.  To access the Senate’s budget proposal, you can go here.

Congratulations to High School Graduates: Hundreds of local students graduated last week or will graduate this week from high school.  Congratulations to all of them and best wishes as they go to work or continue their education.

Visitors to the State House:  Last week, the third graders from St. Mary’s School visited the State House.  Also, the Aiken Middle School Academic Team visited the State House. We were glad to see them and hope they enjoyed their visit!

High Visibility Road Signs in Downtown Aiken:  City officials meet with DOT representatives on Tuesday of last week about the new road signs in downtown Aiken.  They are working together to find a solution that meets the DOT’s goals and which is aesthetically pleasing to Aiken’s downtown.

Aiken County Public Library Summer Reading Program:  The annual summer reading program for children through the 5th grade has started at the Aiken County Public Library.  The Program runs through early August.  Children who read the required number of books will receive a medal and a certificate of completion.  Reading is essential to doing well in school.  Please encourage as many young people as you can to read this summer.  For more information, call the Aiken County Public Library at 642-2020 or go to this link.

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 or at the 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 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 mid 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 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)

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