School Starts Back! — Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young – August 14, 2012 to August 20, 2012

The House of Representatives is out of session for the rest of the year.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Best Wishes for the New School Year:  Thousands of students and teachers across our district start school this week.  While most schools may have been closed the past couple of months, our teachers have been working toward this week where they will greet their students with the same passion, dedication, and concern which they always bring to the profession.  I suspect most everyone reading this column can think of the teachers who made a difference in their lives somewhere along the way. Good, caring teachers and an emphasis on the basics are critical to the future of our state and our nation.

Importance of Reading:  During the past two years, I have written several columns in this email update about the importance of reading in the effort to end generational poverty.  Last year, a report was released finding that one in six children who are not reading proficiently in third grade do not graduate from high school – 4 times the rate of those who can read at grade level in the third grade. This report emphasizes why it is so important for our children to be able to read at grade level by the third grade. To see the report, go here. As school starts back this week, I appreciate all input that you may have on this important topic.

State Department of Transportation Budget Framework:  SCDOT released a power point last week outlining its budget framework.  SCDOT has over $1.4 Billion in its budget.  South Carolina’s state gas tax is 16.75 cents per gallon.  In Fiscal Year 2011-2012, the gross collections from the state gas tax on gasoline and diesel fuel were $563.8 Million.  The net portion of this going to SCDOT for its budget was $418.8 Million.  To see the full Power Point, go here.

Planning for 2013 Legislative Session:  The 2013 legislative session convenes on the second Tuesday in January.  If elected to the State Senate, I appreciate input from constituents on the critical issues facing our state and area including tax reform; spending reform; K-12 education; the costs of higher education; health care; economic development; job growth; and the underfunded liabilities in our state’s health insurance program for state retirees.  Your input is welcome on any issue important to you.  Please email me back or contact me by phone or in person at your convenience.

Scholarships Earned by Graduating High School Students:  Last week, the South Carolina Department of Education announced the Class of 2012 was the first group to earn more than $1 billion ($1,063,112,048) in college scholarships since the state began tracking the information.  The scholarship totals came from an annual survey of South Carolina school districts, as well as district-sponsored public charter schools, the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, and the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind.  The numbers represent two-year scholarship values for technical colleges and two-year schools, and four-year totals for four-year colleges and universities.  The previous five years’ scholarship totals were $684 million (2007), $767 million (2008), $869 million (2009), $917 million (2010) and $966 million (2011). Since 2007, graduating South Carolina students have earned $5.226 billion in college scholarships.

Grass Cutting in the SCDOT Right of Way:  Grass is growing in right of ways around our district.  DOT has staff cutting the grass.  If you are aware of an area where high grass is obstructing vision for drivers as they enter or exit certain roads in our County, please call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or let me know and I will pass on the information.

Other Topics of Interest

End of Session Town Meetings:  Like the past three years, I plan to hold end of session town meetings around the district.   Based on constituent requests, I will hold those after the summer vacation season ends.  The dates, times, and locations will be provided in future updates.

Aiken Senior Extravaganza 2012:  The City of Aiken will have its annual Aiken Senior Extravaganza again on Wednesday, September 19 at the H. Odell Weeks Center from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  The event offers seniors, and those interested in issues facing seniors, an opportunity to spend a day in educational seminars and to browse the display fair. The educational seminars will be limited to the first 300 people to register including a t-shirt and catered lunch with Keynote speaker. The Health Fair and displays will be open to the public and pre-registration is not required. Age: 50 and over: Cost: FREE : Wednesday, September 19, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  For more information, please call 642-7631.

First Tee of Aiken:  On Saturday, August 25, the First Tee of Aiken is hosting its open house and demo day at Houndslake Country Club.  The event is free and open to the public. To learn more, 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.

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 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 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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