Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – Jan. 31, 2012 to Feb. 6, 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: Please continue to remember in prayer the family and fellow officers of Aiken Public Safety Master Corporal Sandy Rogers. Memorials may be made to the following: (1) St. John’s United Methodist Church, 104 Newberry St. NW., Aiken, SC 29801 or (2) USCA Lucile and Maldon Sprawls Nursing Scholarship Fund, 471 University Parkway, Aiken, SC 29801.

House of Representatives Honors Master Corporal Rogers: On Wednesday, the House adjourned in memory of Master Corporal Sandy Rogers. On Thursday, the House paused for a moment of silent prayer in memory of Master Corporal Rogers. (The House has already passed a concurrent resolution honoring Officer Scotty Richardson. That resolution will be presented to his family at a date to be determined.)

Action Item – High School Dropout Bill: The Senate Education K-12 sub-committee will consider this bill (H.3164) this Thursday, February 9 at 10 am. The bill prohibits possession of a driver’s license until age 18 unless the young person is enrolled in, or has completed, high school. The bill does have a hardship provision for some limited exceptions including where the young person has to go to work to support himself or his immediate family. Although this bill is not the “silver bullet” to the high school dropout problem, it is part of the solution in our effort to combat the high school dropout rate in the short term. In fact, South Carolina first recognized the need for this legislation in 1989 in the Governor’s Commission on the Future Report. Since then, a generation of children have attended our schools. If you also believe that this bill is long overdue, then I encourage you to contact Senate Education K-12 sub-committee Chairman Wes Hayes at weshayes@scsenate.gov or (803) 212-6410 to express your support.

Last Week’s Legislative Session

Bath Salts Ban: Last week, the House approved a bill addressing synthetic marijuana and other synthetic drugs. The legislation adds numerous materials, chemical compounds, mixtures and preparations, including those commonly known as bath salts, spice, and K2, to the list of Schedule I controlled substances, which are unlawful for members of the general public to purchase, sell, distribute, manufacture, or possess.

DOT Reform: A House Judiciary subcommittee advanced a bill which will overhaul the governing authority of the State Department of Transportation (DOT). The bill now heads to the full House Judiciary subcommittee.

Texting While Driving: A House Public Works subcommittee passed a bill that bans texting while driving a motor vehicle. Based on the feedback from many people in District 81, I plan to support the ban on texting when the bill comes to the House floor.

Other Topics of Interest

Bridgestone Hiring for New Aiken County Plant: Bridgestone is hiring for its new Aiken County manufacturing plant which is under construction. To learn more, 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.

Congressman Joe Wilson’s Aiken Office is Open: Congressman Wilson opened his Aiken office last month. The office is located at 1555 Richland Avenue East, Suite 700 in Aiken. The phone number is 608-9747. The local contact is Brian Eisele who can also be reached by email at Brian.Eisele@mail.house.gov.

Manufacturing Coming Back to U.S.: A recent article discussing how manufacturing jobs are coming back to the U.S. and in particular the American South can be seen by clicking here.

Teen Birth Rate Down: The 2010 teen birth rate of 42.6 per 1,000 is the lowest teen birth rate recorded in South Carolina. From 2000 to 2010, the teen birth rate dropped by 26%. Despite the improvement, South Carolina still has the 12th highest teen birth rate in the nation. To see the latest numbers by county, go here.

South Carolina Realtors Year End Market Report: The S.C. Realtors Association released its annual report, which indicated the state’s housing market is improving. The report cited a slowdown in layoffs, uptick in hiring, and reduction in the number of homes in financial distress as indicators of improvement. To see the report, go here.

Aiken Family YMCA is Now Open: The new Aiken Family Y recently opened on Trolley Line Road near USCA. To learn more, go here.

Traveling South Carolina: Recently, Florence native Paige Ivey finished a book entitled Explorer’s Guide: South Carolina which provides an overview of must-see things in our state. She lists Aiken amongst her top three spots in the state noting our area’s history and charm.

Greater Aiken Young Professionals (AYP): This group was started 4 years ago and is affiliated with the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce. AYP’s mission is to provide an environment for young, career-minded individuals between the ages of 22 and 39 to meet and develop both socially and professionally. AYP’s next networking event is Thursday February 16, 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn from 6-8 pm. If you are or someone you know is interested in becoming a member, please visit www.aiken-yp.com. Inquiries and reservations for the kickoff event should be made by email to ayp@aiken-yp.com.

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 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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