Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – Jan. 10, 2012 to Jan. 17, 2012

The House of Representatives is back in session for the 2012.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative.  Because there are multiple topics to cover this week, I divided this week’s update into sections to make the update easier for you to read:

First Week of 2012 House Session

S.C. House Convenes for 2012 Session:  The S.C. House of Representatives convened last Tuesday at noon.  This is the second half of a two year session, and it is also an election year this year.  The House is expected to meet for 3 days each week between now and early June except for the week before and after Easter.  If an issue is important to you, please let me know.  Thank you again to the people of District 81 for the honor to serve our District.

Focus for 2012 Session:  My focus this session will be to do the best job that I can in trying to make both our state and state government better by strengthening our economy; improving education; controlling spending; reforming our tax structure; strengthening the state retirement system; fixing our road and bridge infrastructure; improving our Port in Charleston; and restructuring state government.

State Inspector General:  Last week, the House approved legislation creating the office of State Inspector General for the purpose of investigating and addressing allegations of fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement, misconduct, violations of state or federal law, and wrongdoing in state agencies.  The position is to be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for a term of four years.  I voted for the bill.

I-95 Corridor Authority:  By a vote of 76-47, the House sustained the Governor’s veto of a bill which would create the I-95 Corridor Authority. Much of the information provided to me on this bill indicated that creating this new government entity would duplicate efforts at existing agencies. I received many calls and emails during the past few months asking me to sustain the veto.  I voted to sustain the veto.

School District Consolidation:  As you may know from my town meetings, I have a separate bill which will consolidate school districts by requiring 2,500 children at a minimum for a district to be able to receive state funds unless the district is county wide and is below 2,500 students.  While that bill has not gotten out of committee this year, the House last week approved a separate joint resolution creating a school district consolidation study committee.  Members shall serve without compensation and shall not receive mileage or per diem.   The resolution now heads to the Senate.

Republican Presidential Primary This Saturday

Polling Locations for January 21 Republican Presidential Primary:  This Saturday, January 21 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, the Republican Presidential Primary will be held in South Carolina.  To see where your precinct will vote on that date, go here.

Absentee Voting for Republican Presidential Primary:  To vote absentee for the presidential primary, you can go to the Voter Registration Office in person at 916 Vaucluse Road from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and then this Friday, January 20 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  To request a ballot to be mailed to you, call 642-2030 or 642-2028.   If you have questions, call 642-2030.

Other Topics of Interest

H-Canyon Article:  The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced several planned or potential new missions for H-Canyon at the Savannah River Site rather than shutting it down.  To see an article on this, go here.

Economic Impact of University of South Carolina (USC):  According to a recent study from USC, the total impact of USC’s eight campuses exceeds $4.1 billion in goods and services from alumni wages and business activity.  Some of the highlights include the following:
USC supports 52,872 jobs; one in every 37 jobs in our state is directly or indirectly tied to our USC system.

USC and our graduates contribute about $75 million annually to the state’s tax coffers above and beyond appropriations received by the university.

South Carolina residents with bachelor’s degrees are earning about $15,000 more a year in salaries than residents without degrees.   As the number of college graduates increases, the wages of all workers rises.

To see the full report, go here.

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

Speaking to Groups Around the District: Several local groups have invited me to attend one of their meetings to provide a legislative update.  If you have a group that would like for me to come to a meeting, 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.lswia.org.

Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse in State Government:  To report waste, fraud and abuse in state government, you can call: 1-855-SC-FRAUD.

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 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 set a tour between January and June and it is on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, please let me know so I can do my best 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 get them, 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

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