Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young

September 13 to September 19, 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:

Dr. Tom Hallman – USC Aiken: Last Wednesday, Dr. Tom Hallman, Chancellor of USC Aiken, announced his retirement as Chancellor effective June 30, 2012.  He has done an outstanding job leading the University during the past 11 years.  He will be missed.  The University has made great strides during the past 11 years under his leadership.  A complete copy of his State of the University address can be seen here.

USC Aiken:  Last Tuesday, USCA learned that it is again number one among public regional colleges in the South as ranked by US News and World Report.  This is the 4th year in a row for this accomplishment.  The news release can be seen 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 was release last week. The full report can be seen here.  The summary of recommended changes can be seen here. The analysis found that the unfunded liabilities exceed $17 Billion. This problem is not unique to our state. Nearly every other state is facing the same issue and it has not happened overnight. As I wrote last year in this column, a Clemson University study prepared in 1997 predicted the unfunded liabilities would be $6 Billion by 2010. The solvency of the system and proposed changes will be a top agenda item in the 2012 legislative session.

Volunteer in Local Schools:  If you would like to help with educating our children, consider volunteering in our local schools.  Please click here for more information on volunteer opportunities in our public schools. Thank you to our local Aiken Downtown Rotary Club for putting together this list of opportunities.

Improving Reading Skills in Children:  In addition to serving as a volunteer in one of our local schools, you can also help with early literacy by volunteering with Children’s Place where you can spend time reading with a young child or helping an older child with reading. Children’s Place would also be grateful for donations of lightly used books to send into the homes of needy children.  Children’s Place will gladly help distribute those books to low income children throughout Aiken County by sharing them with all community agencies.  If you are interested in helping through Children’s Place, please contact Peggy Ford at 641-4145.

SCDOT Weekly Update:  The Department of Transportation started a weekly update four 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.

Medicaid Issues:  On Thursday, September 29, I am meeting with Tony Keck, Director of South Carolina’s Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). That department oversees Medicaid which has grown substantially in spending in recent years. If you have questions, concerns or comments, please send them to me and I will share them with Director Keck during our meeting.

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.

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.

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 the near future.

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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