Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – Jan. 24, 2012 to Jan. 30, 2012

The House of Representatives is back in session for the 2012 session.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative.

Master Corporal Sandy Rogers:  Tragedy struck our community again this past Saturday with the shooting death of Aiken Public Safety Master Corporal Sandy Rogers. Please remember her family and friends in your prayers.  Please also remember all of our local law enforcement officers who now have lost a second friend and fellow officer less than six weeks after the death of Public Safety Officer Scotty Richardson.  The visitation for Master Corporal Rogers will be Tuesday, January 31 from 4 to 8:00 pm at Shellhouse Funeral Home on Hayne Avenue.  The funeral will be Wednesday, February 1 at 1:00 pm at the USC Aiken Convocation Center with burial in Bethany Cemetery.

Last Week’s Legislative Session

Right to Work Act:  Last week, I joined over 60 other House members in filing the 2012 Right to Work Act.  The legislation does the following:

• increases transparency of all labor organizations by requiring financial filings with the Dept. of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation;

• clarifies language stating South Carolina’s existing state policy that a person’s right to work must not be denied because of membership or non-membership in a labor organization;

• requires that written or electronic authorization for payroll deduction of labor union dues is required & that such authorization is revocable at any time by the employee.  This ensures that all workers who are union members have the right to resign membership and stop paying dues at any time without penalty if they choose to do so.

Savannah River and DHEC:  On Wednesday of last week, the House unanimously approved a joint resolution suspending all DHEC decisions since 2007 concerning navigability, depth, and dredging on South Carolina’s portion of the Savannah River.  The resolution is intended to restore the authority of the Savannah River Maritime Commission and to override DHEC’s November decision to grant a permit for the State of Georgia to dredge the Savannah River as part of Georgia’s port deepening project.  Both the Charleston and the Savannah ports need to be deepened to accommodate larger ships coming to the East Coast through an expanded Panama Canal.  It is widely believed that the DHEC decision will assist the Savannah Port at the expense of the Charleston Port to which at least 1 in 5 jobs in South Carolina are tied.  The DHEC decision also would allow the waste from the Georgia dredging project to be dumped on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River.  Thus, the House of Representatives action was driven by both economic and environmental concerns.

Expansion of Horse Liability Protection Law:  On Thursday, the House unanimously approved a bill which I sponsored shielding landowners from liability due to horse riding on their property where the landowner grants permission to ride. Clubs, classes, and stables are already protected from lawsuits under an existing law dating back to the mid-1970s.  This legislation will benefit private landowners across the state in addition to the Aiken Land Conservancy and the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce with their joint horse trail easement project for Aiken County.  The bill now heads to the Senate.  To see the story from the South Carolina Radio Network, go here.

University of South Carolina:  USC President Harris Pastides appeared before a House subcommittee last week and provided data about USC; its students; and state funding.  To see his complete comments, go here.

Clemson:  Clemson President James Barker appeared before a House subcommittee and provided information about Clemson and its 2012 request for state funding.  To see his comments, go here.

Other Topics of Interest

Pactiv Expanding Facility in Aiken County:  Pactiv LLC, a maker of foodservice and food packaging, announced plans to expand its existing operations in Aiken County. The $5.5 million investment is expected to generate 25 new jobs over the next three years.  Pactiv LLC will add a new production line to the company’s current manufacturing facility in Beech Island. The company will also expand its warehouse facility to consolidate its regional operations. Construction on the expansion is scheduled to begin in February.

Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future:  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future released its final report last week.  While the Commission was charged with making recommendations to the current Presidential Administration on nuclear issues including the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste, the report does little to address a solution to Yucca Mountain and the long term storage of spent nuclear fuel.  The report can be seen here.

H-Canyon at SRS:  The Department of Energy (DOE) mentioned H-Canyon and the work going on there at SRS in its January update.  To see the article, go here.

DOE Manager Dave Moody on Future of SRS:  Last week, Dave Moody, local head of DOE at SRS, wrote an article about the future of SRS.  To see the article, go here.

Congratulations to Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce Award Winners: Congratulations to this year’s award winners from the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce as follows:  Man of the Year: Scott Hunter; Woman of the Year: Vicki Bukovitz; Large Business of the Year: Security Federal Bank; Small Business of the Year:  Southeastern Tool Company, Inc.

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.

Constituent Information

Speaking with 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 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.

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 here. 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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