Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – Feb. 14, 2012 to Feb. 20, 2012

After being out of session last week, the House of Representatives returns to session on Tuesday, February 21.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative.

Reelection Announcement:  I plan to file next month for reelection to serve as State Representative for House District 81.  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and appreciate your support; your ideas; and your prayers for both my family and me.

Last Week’s Legislative Session

State Senate Passes Major Restructuring Bill:  After weeks of debate, the State Senate last week unanimously passed legislation creating a Department of Administration under the governor’s cabinet and eliminating the state Budget and Control Board beginning in January 2013.  The Board’s responsibilities will be divided between the new Department of Administration and other departments. State agencies will also have to get permission from the General Assembly to run deficits. Because the bill has been amended from how the House passed it last year, the bill returns to the House for consideration in its current form.

House Did Not Meet Last Week:  The House did not meet last week but returns this week on Tuesday.

This Week’s Legislative Session

DOT Reform Bill on House Floor: The full House is expected to consider a bill this week which will overhaul the governing authority of the State Department of Transportation (DOT) and require that the DOT prioritize road projects in each of the State’s 7 engineering districts as part of the Department’s annual budget request.

Drug Test Results and Unemployment Benefits on House Floor:  The full House is also expected to consider a bill this week which states that if a person receiving unemployment benefits applies for a job and (1) takes a drug test required by the prospective employer and fails it OR (2) refuses to take a drug test as required by the prospective employer, then the person can no longer receive unemployment benefits from the Department of Employment & Workforce. State law already disqualifies workers fired for illegal drug use from collecting unemployment benefits.

Updates on Local Infrastructure Projects

Light at Cemetery Hill Road and 118 By Pass:  Final stages of this road project should begin on March 15.  SCDOT is adding a traffic light and turning lanes at the intersection of Cemetery Hill Road (also known as Gregg Highway) and 118 By Pass.

Silver Bluff Road Widening Project Update:  SCDOT reports that this project affecting Silver Bluff Road between Indian Creek Trail and Richardson’s Lake Road is progressing through hydraulic design which is necessary to help establish the final right of way needed for the project.  SCDOT is completing the environmental document and right of way plans and then will hold a public hearing in Aiken in early summer.

Whiskey Road Drainage Project Update:  SCDOT and the City of Aiken are working on this project which will install drainage pipe and cover the open ditches along Whiskey Road from the area around O’Charley’s to Cracker Barrel. Currently, the City of Aiken is surveying the right of way needs for the project. Completion of the project should be in the latter part of 2012.

Chukker Creek School Traffic:  Last September, both concerned parents and the principal of the school informed Rep. Bill Taylor, Senator Ryberg, and me of the traffic problems at the beginning and the end of the school day at this school. We requested that SCDOT look at the situation and recommend solutions as quickly as possible.  Last week, SCDOT finished its study.  We are awaiting the recommendations any day now.

Other Topics of Interest

Savannah River Community Reuse Update: In its monthly report, the local Savannah River Community Reuse Organization provides a good summary of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to approve two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle south of Augusta.  Also, the update includes a summary of the recent Blue Ribbon Commission Report for our nation’s nuclear waste management policy.  To learn more, go here.

Bridgestone – 100 Million Tires Made in Aiken County:  Last week, Bridgestone announced that it has made 100 million tires at its Aiken County plant since the plant opened in 1998.  To see the full story, go here.

Scholarship Information in South Carolina:  Interesting data regarding state funded scholarships awarded in South Carolina can be found at www.che.sc.gov.  To see the list of scholarships for 2010/2011 by school, go here.

Highway 278 closed at Upper Three Runs:  Late Sunday, SCDOT sent out the following notice advising of the temporary closing of Highway 278 at Upper Three Runs Creek.  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.

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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