Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – April 17, 2012 to April 23, 2012

The House of Representatives is in session for 2012. I hope that you find the following information helpful and informative:

Restructuring – Elimination of Budget and Control Board:  Since I started serving in January 2009 representing House District 81, I have advocated eliminating the State Budget and Control Board (BCB).  Created in 1949, the BCB  — both unique to South Carolina and composed of the Governor, State Treasurer, Comptroller General, Senate Finance Chair, and House Ways and Means Chair – has more power and oversight authority than any other part of state government.  Only three of the five members are elected statewide and accountable to you and me as voters in Aiken County.  Much of what the BCB does in South Carolina is done by executive branch agencies under the governor in other states.  Substantial questions exist as to whether the BCB is good for South Carolina in terms of efficiency, accountability, duplication, and waste.

Last March 2011, the House passed and sent to the Senate the Department of Administration bill (H.3066) moving many of the agencies under the BCB to under the Governor’s authority.  During the debate, an amendment to eliminate the BCB was offered.  I was one of only 7 House Republicans to vote for the amendment.

In June 2011, Governor Hailey tried to call the Senate back into session to pass H.3066 and three other restructuring bills.  The Supreme Court ruled that she could not do that.

In late February of this year, the Senate sent to the House its version of H.3066 intended to restructure state government.  While well-intentioned, the Senate version creates 8 new boards from the one Budget and Control Board (BCB) and actually keeps the BCB for certain reasons.  To see a flow chart of what the Senate version will do, go here.

The House is NOT expected to concur with the Senate.  Rather, the House will debate and amend the bill this week.  The goal in the House will be to eliminate the BCB and to put most of the BCB functions in the Department of Administration under the Governor.

This bill is very important because it is a MAJOR restructuring initiative intended to improve efficiency and accountability.  Further, it is critically important to get it right because the national credit rating agencies have warned that if the Senate version becomes law, then our state’s AAA credit rating could be in jeopardy.  Much will be said about this bill in the next few weeks.  I will do my best to represent you and to report back on what happens and why.

Last Week’s Legislative Session

Online Electronic Voter Registration:  The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill (H.4945) allowing any person who is qualified to register to vote in South Carolina and who has a valid S.C. driver’s license or state identification card to register to vote electronically on the website of the State Election Commission.  Several other states already do this.  I am a co-sponsor of this bill.

Human Trafficking:  The House unanimously approved a bill (H.3757) that expands and increases penalties at the state level for human trafficking.  This bill is the top priority this year for the S.C. Attorney General.  It is intended to assist both state and federal authorities with the increasing problem of human trafficking both to our state and through our state.

Sales Tax Reform:  A bill was filed in early March to eliminate two thirds of the state’s 78 sales tax exemptions.  The proposed exemptions to eliminate total about $250 Million per year. (The ones recommended to be preserved directly benefit families in our state including sales tax exemptions on gasoline; groceries; residential electricity; and prescription drugs.)  This bill is one of several tax reform bills filed this session. Last week, a House Ways and Means Committee amended the bill to restore all but about $15 million worth of exemptions.

Congratulations to Joerg Klisch of MTU Detroit Diesel!:  Last week, the S.C. Department of Commerce and Governor Haley recognized and honored House District 81 resident Joerg Klisch of MTU Detroit Diesel as Aiken County’s Ambassador of the Year for Economic Development.

Locals Elected by General Assembly:  The General Assembly elected local dentist and Clemson graduate Dr. Ronnie Lee to a full four year term on the Clemson Board of Trustees this past Wednesday.  Additionally, local businessman Tim Dangerfield was one of three people reelected to serve as an appellate panelist for the Department of Employment and Workforce.

This Week’s Legislative Session

Cross Over Deadline:  May 1 is the “Cross Over Deadline” in the General Assembly.  This means that for any bill that is still pending to have a chance to pass this year, the bill has to pass either the House or the Senate on or before May 1 and then go to the other body for consideration. If passage of the bill does not meet that deadline, then the bill has to have a 2/3s majority agree just to consider the bill.  For bills that create lots of discussion, that is difficult to achieve.  Thus, the deadline has both procedural and practical significance.  Because of the “Cross Over Deadline,” both the House and the Senate will be busy this week.

Bills on House Calendar:  The full House may debate several bills this week including the following:

  • Video Gambling Ban;
  • Freedom of Information Act changes;
  • Department of Administration – Restructuring;
  • Several tax reform measures.

Senate Campaign Update

Senate Campaign:  Bumper stickers for “Tom Young for Senate” have arrived.  They may be picked up at my office downtown at 409 Park Avenue SW or at the Tom Young Allstate agency on Whiskey Road next to Home Depot.  If you prefer, I can send a sticker to you.  Just let me know.   Because no one else filed to run in the Republican primary for June 12, neither the office nor my name will be on that ballot.  However, both the office and my name will be on the November general election ballot.  I have started visiting areas around the district including most of Aiken, North Augusta, Warrenville, Gloverville, Montmorenci, Couchton, New Ellenton, Jackson, Windsor, and Beech Island. To learn more about my campaign for State Senate, go to www.tomyoungforsenate.com, email me at tom@tomyoungforsenate.com, or call me at 215-3631.

Other Topics of Interest

Latest Unemployment Numbers: Based on the latest numbers from March, the state’s unemployment rate has gone down to 8.9% and Aiken County’s
unemployment rate is 8.0%. One year ago, Aiken County’s rate was 8.6%.

Excellent Advice for Young People:  Last week, I read an article about the “game of life” message shared by USC football coach Steve Spurrier and several of the USC football players.  Regardless of whether you are Gamecock fan or not, please consider sharing this message with young people in our community.  To see the article, go here.

National Day of Prayer:  Thursday, May 3 is the National Day of Prayer.  The Greater Aiken area will recognize this day with a service in Aiken the H. Odell Weeks Center at 6:45 p.m. that night.  Whether you can go or not, please know that prayer works and our state and nation need our prayers not just on May 3 but every day.

Aiken County Teacher of the Year Banquet:  Aiken County’s teacher of the year banquet will be next Monday, April 30 at 7:00 pm at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.  Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.publicedpartners.org.  To learn more, call 649-9040.

Gangs and Families Event:  A presentation on gangs and families will be presented by the Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken, Inc. this Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 pm at the River of Life Church in Aiken. To learn more, go here.

Small Business Development Work Shop:  The Aiken Small Business Development Center is offering a FREE tax work shop for prospective and new small business owners. The workshop will be held from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Wednesday, May 2 2012, in the Penland Admin Building Conference Room 110 at USC Aiken.  For more information and to register, call 641-3646 or email at sbdc@usca.edu.

Leadership Aiken County Great Ideas Endowment Fund:  This group of leaders from our County is working to raise at least $25,000 to establish an endowment fund to provide (1) grants of up to $500 for secondary education teachers to encourage the study of science, math, engineering and technology and (2) engineering scholarships to Aiken Tech.  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.tomyoungforsenate.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 tom@tomyoungforsenate.com 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

Leave a Comment