Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young

August 30 to September 12, 2011

The House of Representatives is out of session for 2011.   I hope that you find this update about information around District 81 and at the State House helpful and informative:

Remembering 9/11: Yesterday, we paused as a nation to remember and to reflect upon the events of 9/11; the contributions of our first responders; and the devotion and sacrifice of our soldiers in uniform. I attended the annual 9/11 Honor and Memorial Service at Lakeside Baptist Church.  Representatives from nearly every public safety and law enforcement agency in Aiken County were present.  In addition, House District 81 resident Rick Doran from FDNY Rescue Co. #4 was present.  Mr. Doran, who moved to Aiken since 9/11, is one of the firefighters in the famous photo of the raising of the U.S. flag at “Ground Zero.”  Also, in Columbia, a monument honoring Midlands first responders was unveiled yesterday afternoon. The monument includes the name of Aiken native Corporal Matthew V. Dillon of the U.S. Marine Corps who was killed in action on December 11, 2006 in Iraq. To see the article about the monument in Columbia, go here.

State Retirement System:  The Senate and the House both have panels reviewing options this Fall to ensure the solvency of the state retirement system. An independent analysis of the system prepared at the request of the Budget and Control Board is expected to be released later this week.  I have reported in this column for the past year that the unfunded liabilities exceed at least $12 Billion. I expect the solvency of the System and proposed changes to be a top agenda item in the 2012 session. This problem is not unique to our state. To see what other states are doing, go here.

Update on Used Nuclear Fuel at SRS:  You may or may not know that there are thousands of rods of used nuclear fuel stored in L-Basin at SRS.  Those rods were intended to be there until 2019 at the latest.  They eventually were to be stored at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  Also, some of them can be reprocessed at H-Canyon at SRS.  Now, the Yucca Mountain project is on hold and the Department of Energy (DOE) is currently unsure as to what future missions H-Canyon will have, if any. Last Thursday at the quarterly meeting of the Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council, Bill Bates, Director of Nuclear Materials Storage for SRNS, testified.  He said that even though a recent Savannah River National Lab study concluded that the used nuclear fuel can be safely stored at SRS in L-Basin for another 50 years, he believes that the fuel should not be at SRS longer than the original time frame of 2019 and that H-Canyon should be used to reprocess some of the fuel. I asked the DOE representatives present to take that testimony back to Washington. It is critical that Yucca Mountain be open and that H-Canyon be utilized not only for the benefit of our community but for the nation as well.

SCDOT Weekly Update:  The Department of Transportation started a weekly update three weeks ago to inform the public about what is going on at the agency as to its financial situation and other matters. To see the latest, go here.

Fast Growing Companies in South Carolina: Each September, Inc. magazine publishes its list of the nation’s 500 fastest growing private companies. This year, six South Carolina based companies made the list. Last year, South Carolina had zero. To see the full list, go here.

Planning for the 2012 Legislative Session: The 2012 legislative session will convene on the second Tuesday in January. I am seeking input from constituents on the critical issues facing our state and area including tax reform; spending reform; K-12 education; the costs of higher education; health care; economic development; job growth; and the underfunded liabilities in our state’s retirement systems.  Your input is welcome on any issue important to you. Please email me back or contact me by phone or in person at your convenience.

Primary for Aiken Mayor this Tuesday: The Republican primary election for Mayor of the City of Aiken is tomorrow. If you live in the City, remember to vote.

Graniteville Train Wreck Study:  A research team from USC; MUSC; UGA; Georgia’s medical school; and Tulane is working to identify long-term lung health problems that have occurred since the 2005 chlorine spill. To learn more and to find out if you may qualify as a participant, please go here.

Grass Cutting in the SCDOT Right of Way:  Grass is growing in right of ways around our district.  DOT has hired a contractor to cut the grass.  If you are aware of an area where high grass is obstructing vision for drivers as they enter or exit certain roads in our County, please call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or let me know and I will pass on the information.

End of Session Town Meetings: Like the past two years, I plan to hold end of session town meetings around the district. I am working on the dates, times, and locations which will be provided in future updates.

Aiken Senior Extravaganza 2011: The City of Aiken will have its annual Aiken Senior Extravaganza again on Wednesday, September 21 at the H. Odell Weeks Center from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  The event offers seniors, and those interested in issues facing seniors, an opportunity to spend a day in educational seminars and to browse the display fair. The educational seminars will be limited to the first 300 people to register including a t-shirt and catered lunch with Keynote speaker. The Health Fair and displays will be open to the public and pre-registration is not required. Age: 50 and over: Cost: FREE : Wednesday, September 21, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  For more information, please call 642-7631.

Speaking to Groups Around the District: Several local groups have asked me to attend one of their meetings to provide an end of session report.  If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting during the next few months, please let me know.

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 www.workforce.psa.-inc.com.

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.

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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