Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – May 1, 2012 to May 7, 2012

The House of Representatives is in session for 2012. I hope that you find the following information helpful and informative:
State Supreme Court Decision
Biggest News of the Week – Ballot Upheaval in Wake of Supreme Court Decision: Last Wednesday, the State Supreme Court issued a decision which dramatically impacts this year’s elections across the state at all levels of state and local government. Here is what you should know based on what I know today:
Supreme Court Decision: Last month, a lawsuit was filed in Lexington County in a dispute over the requirements for a candidate’s name to properly appear on a primary election ballot under the state law governing requirements for filing for office. The state law was passed in 1991 and effective in 1992 (To see that law, click here.) The State Supreme Court ruled that the 1992 state law requires an individual to file a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) at the same time and with the same official with whom a Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC) is filed, and that the same state law prohibits political party officials from accepting an SIC which is not accompanied by an SEI. The state law at issue exempted any public official who already had a current SEI on file. Accordingly, the Court held that the names of any non-exempt individuals who did not file with the appropriate political party an SEI simultaneously with an SIC were improperly placed on the party primary ballots and must be removed. To see the Supreme Court’s decision, go here.
Effect of Decision – Statewide: In the wake of Wednesday’s decision, the State Republican and State Democratic Parties were required to provide the State Elections Commission by this past Friday at noon with the list of candidates which the Parties certified to be on the ballot under the Supreme Court’s decision. The Republican Party certified over 300 candidates and did not certify 88 candidates statewide. The Democratic Party certified over 200 candidates and did not certify 95 candidates statewide.
How Did this Happen?: A separate state law (not governing requirements for filing for elective office) became law in 2010 requiring that certain filings with the State Ethics Commission be filed electronically. One of those filings is the Statement of Economic Interest (SEI). Many of the effected candidates filed their SEI electronically as required by this 2010 law. The State Supreme Court ruled that this 2010 law did not change the requirements to qualify as a candidate.
Effect of Decision Locally: Locally, several candidates have been impacted including Jane Vaughters running for House District 81; Jason Goings running for County Auditor; at least 3 of the 4 candidates for County Treasurer; Andrew Siders running for County Council; and Jim Vause running for Sheriff.
What’s Next?: Legislation to address the problem by allowing many of the uncertified candidates to be placed back on the ballot is being considered this week at the State House. The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering the Senate bill tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10:00 am in Gressette Building Room 303 at the State House Complex.
What am I doing?: This is a real mess for which we must quickly find a legislative solution. I have been working with other House members since Thursday night and over the weekend on a solution to the problem. The House convenes tomorrow at noon in Columbia.
Last Week’s Legislative Session
Restructuring – Budget and Control Board: The House amended and returned to the Senate H.3066 eliminating the South Carolina Budget and Control Board and transferring the responsibilities to three offices including the Department of Administration. To see a chart of the House proposal, go here. The Senate proposal before the House changes can be seen here.
Retirement System: The Senate Finance Committee advanced H.4967 with several key provisions as follows: First, new employees as of July 1, 2012 will not be eligible for the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive (TERI) program. Existing TERI program participants will undergo a phasing-out process for five years, ending the program by June 30, 2018. In addition, the Average Final Compensation (AFC) as of July 1, 2012 will be computed using the average of the five highest years of compensation for new employees only. The Retirement Allowance Adjustment will equal 1 percent of annual annuity up to a maximum of $500, effective July 1, 2012, and will be subject to annual adjustment. Vesting for new employees under the South Carolina Retirement System and Police Retirement System will be eight years. The amended bill also closes the General Assembly Retirement System for lawmakers elected after July 1, 2012. All newly elected lawmakers will be included in the same retirement system as state employees. To see a side by side summary of current law, the House bill, and the current Senate bill, go here.
Freedom of Information Act Changes: On Tuesday before the Cross Over Deadline, the House gave third reading to a bill revising the FOIA. The bill prohibits public agencies and governments from charging excessive fees for public records and requires them to respond quicker than current law. The legislation also includes provisions for the electronic transmission and online posting of public records and eliminates the current FOIA exemption provided for memoranda, correspondence, and working papers in the possession of individual members of the General Assembly and their immediate staff. I voted for the bill and am a co-sponsor.
Charter School Changes: The House adopted the conference committee report on H.3241 revising the governance and operation of the state’s Charter Schools. To see what the bill does, go here.
Conservation Bank: The House concurred in Senate amendments to H. 3083 providing a 5 year extension for the S.C. Conservation Bank Act. Under the bill, the legislation extends the sunset date for the Conservation Bank from July 1, 2013 to July 1, 2018.
This Week’s Legislative Session
Bills on House Calendar: The full House may debate several bills this week including the following:
• Legislation to fix the Ballot Crisis;
• Restructuring – Governor and Lt. Governor on same ticket;
• Several bills which have come from the Senate in recent weeks.
Senate Campaign Update
Senate Campaign: Bumper stickers for “Tom Young for Senate” are available. 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
Aiken County Teacher of the Year: Congratulations to Lisa Raiford of Pinecrest Learning Center for her being named Aiken County Teacher of the Year last Monday! To see the list of teachers of the year at each school in the county, go here.
New Chancellor at USCA: After an extensive search, USC named Dr. Sandra J. Jordan, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Georgia College & State University, as the fourth chancellor of the University of South Carolina Aiken. She will officially join USCA on July 1, pending the full board approval of her appointment next month. Dr. Tom Hallman has served USC Aiken with distinction for nearly thirty years, the last twelve as chancellor. Under his leadership the campus has grown in both size and stature, with 2012 marking USC Aiken’s 14th consecutive ranking among the top three public baccalaureate colleges in the south according to U.S. News and World Report.
Speaking In Schools: On Friday, I was invited to speak to the 3rd grade students at Aiken Elementary School. While there, I provided each of them a copy of the South Carolina symbols and emblems booklet. If you would like for me to speak with students in a local school, please let me know.
Dr. Walter Edgar Retires and Honored: University of South Carolina professor Walter Edgar, who has written several books about South Carolina history and is the host of two weekly radio shows, was recognized by the House on Wednesday. Dr. Edgar is retiring after 40 years at the University. He is highly regarded statewide for his work, and many people in Aiken County appreciate his contributions to our state.
Mental Health America of Aiken County: Aiken County’s Mental Health America recently received federal funding for Nurture Home project which the agency us to change the lives of homeless women in Aiken County. The $120,398 grant will provide 12 transitional housing units (up to two years) for homeless women with children in Aiken County. To learn more, go here: www.mha-aiken.org.
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

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