SRS Reductions, Drug Testing, and State Superintendent of Education — Weekly Update from Sen. Tom Young – March 5, 2013 to March 11, 2013

The Senate is in session for 2013.  I hope that you find this update helpful and informative.  If I can help you with an issue, please let me know.

Remember to Vote:  Residents in the City of Aiken can vote tomorrow in the City Council election. If you live in this area, please remember to vote.

SRS Reduction in Work Schedules: Last week, many residents of Aiken County and the surrounding areas learned that their work schedules would be reduced to 32 hours a week with a corresponding reduction in pay effective April 1. These reductions are due to a funding shortfall for Fiscal Year 2013 and not because of federal government sequestration impacts.  Our local legislative delegation is working with the Congressional delegation to try to resolve this funding shortfall.

Restructuring – State Superintendent of Education:  Tomorrow, the full Senate will debate this bill to allow the Governor to appoint the State Superintendent of Education (S.53) as a cabinet appointee rather than to be popularly elected.

Drug Test Results and Unemployment Benefits:  In the Senate, I am the primary sponsor of this bill which states that if a person receiving unemployment benefits applies for a job and as a condition to an offer of an employment the person (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 employer can report the failure or refusal to the Department of Employment and Workforce. If that happens, then the person can no longer receive unemployment benefits until he goes back to work for the period of time required to requalify. State law already disqualifies workers fired for illegal drug use from collecting unemployment benefits.  Last week, a House subcommittee advanced the House version of this bill (same) by a vote of 2-2.  I am working to get a hearing in the Senate on the Senate bill.  To see my editorial from last March in the Aiken Standard, go here.

High School League: Last Friday, the Aiken Standard wrote a story about the pending legislation relating to the South Carolina High School League. The League oversees high school athletics in SC. The League has received much criticism over fairness issues in their decision making process. There are two separate pending bills  – one in the Senate and one in the House. The House bill is further along than the Senate bill. The two bills have some differences. The League met in Charleston this weekend to consider proposing its own changes. During my time in elected office, I have become familiar with the League and the impact of some of its decisions on local students and families.  Based on those experiences and what I have read about others across the state, I am not surprised that the League is under pressure to make changes. I am studying the two bills and support changes to the League. Several constituents have offered their opinions and I appreciate their input.

Concealed Weapons Permit: Last Friday, the Aiken Standard wrote an article about the legislation (S.308) allowing concealed weapons permit  (CWP) holders to carry their handgun into a restaurant which serves alcohol as long as the permit holder does not consume any alcohol while there. Restaurants have the option to post a sign not allowing concealable weapons on the premises; if that is done, then CWP holders cannot carry legally into such restaurants. The bill has stiff penalties for violating and a zero tolerance threshold for alcohol consumption. I voted in favor in Committee and will support the bill in the full Senate.

Local District Concerns — Beech Island:  On Saturday, I visited a group of residents in Beech Island about issues concerning that area of Aiken County.  In recent weeks, I have also been working on issues important to citizens in New Ellenton, Jackson, Montmorenci, and Couchton. I will be working on an issue important to Windsor later this month.

Chukker Creek Students Visit State House: Some of the third graders from Chukker Creek School visited the State House last week!  We were glad to see them and hope that they enjoyed their visit.  Two other third grade groups from Chukker Creek and third graders from Mossy Creek Elementary in North Augusta will be up this week.

Pine Log Road Resurfacing:  There are 2.4 miles of road on Pine Log that need to be resurfaced (between the Houndslake entrance and just before Richardsons Lake Road).  I have been working for some time to try to get this resurfaced.  I will continue to work on this.

Aiken County Republican Party Precinct Reorganization:    This Thursday, March 14, 2013, all Republican Precincts in Aiken County will conduct the bi-annual precinct reorganization meetings.  Please go to the web site for further details.

Hitchcock Woods Spring Newsletter: To see the current newsletter, go to the Woods website by clicking here.

Juilliard in Aiken:  This week long event, featuring multiple musical performances by students and faculty from the Julliard School, is much anticipated by many in our community.  To see the schedule of events including those which are open to the public, go here.

This Week’s Legislative Session

Bills on Senate Calendar:  The full Senate may debate the following bills this week:

  • Superintendent of Education Being Appointed by the Governor;
  • Tax Credits for Motion Picture Companies Filming Movies in South Carolina;
  • Tax Credits for Investing in Abandoned Commercial Buildings;
  • Changes to the S.C. Probate Code.

Important Cyber Attack Information

Experian Credit Monitoring Deadline Extended:  Taxpayers now have until March 31, 2013 to sign up for protection and unlimited fraud resolution.

Deadline to Enroll Dependents:  The deadline to enroll minor dependents, whose social security numbers may have been compromised, in Experian’s Family Secure plan is May 31, 2013.

Consumer Affairs Recommendations:  To see the SC Department of Consumer Affairs’ recommendations for what to do when there is a security breach impacting your personal identity information, go here.

Frequently Asked Questions:  The Governor’s office has prepared several groups of questions and answers as indicated below by category:

  • Experian Family Secure – To see those, go here.
  • Cyber Attack – To see those, go here and here.
  • Senior Citizens — To see those, go here.
  • How to Place a Security Freeze:  To see how to place a security freeze, go here.

Constituent Information

Legislative Email Updates:  Locally, three members of the House of Representatives, who represent portions of Aiken County within Senate District 24, send regular email updates.  Their respective contact information to get on their email lists to receive their email updates are as follows:

Congressman Joe Wilson Contact Information:  Congressman Wilson now represents all of Aiken County.  He has staff in Aiken County with office hours in Aiken and in North Augusta.  His office number is 608-9747.

Speaking with Groups Around the District: If you are involved with a local group that would like for me to attend a meeting to provide a legislative update, 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 Senator 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.

Small Business Help – SC Dept. of Commerce: The South Carolina Department of Commerce has helpful information for small business owners and employees.  To learn more, go to

Save for College – Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan:  South Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan Future Scholar offers special tax benefits for South Carolina residents. To learn more or to enroll, go to

Request a Flag:  If you would like to request a state or U.S. flag flown over the State Capitol in Columbia, please let me know at   Flags vary in cost according to their size and their material from which they are made.

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.

Thoroughbred Country– South Carolina Regional Tourism Organization:  To learn more about tourism in the four county region of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, and Barnwell, visit

Email Updates:  If you know of people in or around District 24 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 such as a pothole needing repair, 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.

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