Top States for Business and Texting While Driving — Weekly Update from Sen. Tom Young – July 2, 2013 to July 15, 2013

The State Senate is out of session until January 2014.  I hope that you and your family are enjoying summer and that you find this update helpful and informative.  If I can help you with an issue, please let me know.

CNBC Top States for Business:  Last week, CNBC released its 2013 annual rankings of the 50 states as to which are the best for business.  South Carolina moved up from 32 in 2012 to 23 in 2013 (Number 39 in 2011).  Our neighboring states Georgia and North Carolina are ranked numbers 8 and 12 respectively.  In the past two years, our state moved up 16 spots.  South Carolina scored well in the categories measuring workforce, No. 9; cost of doing business, No. 8; and infrastructure and transportation, No. 15.   However, we scored in the lower half on quality of life, No. 41; education, No. 36; and business friendliness, No. 34. (I plan a future update focused on education and children issues.)  To see the rankings and the criteria used to determine the rankings, click here.

Texting and Driving:  This issue continues to be one that I am asked about a lot.  Did you know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that individuals who text while driving are 23 times more likely to have a wreck than those who do not text while driving?  Currently, 41 states have banned the act of texting while driving.  South Carolina’s House of Representatives passed a ban in 2010; however, the bill did not pass the State Senate.  Legislation to ban texting while driving is currently filed and is expected to come up in the 2014 session.   As a member of the House, I voted in favor of a ban.   For a map of the law in all 50 states, go here.

Teens and Texting:  Texting while driving amongst young drivers is a real problem.  There is an anti-texting app which parents can use to keep their teen from texting while driving.  To learn more, click here.

Bridge Replacements – Downtown AikenSeveral people have called me about the recent article in the paper where it was reported that two bridges in downtown Aiken will be replaced.  I checked with the SCDOT and here is what I found out:  SCDOT is in the early stages of the design process for the Union Street Bridge (S-166) and the Fairfield Street Bridge (S-180).  The surveys are under way and after SCDOT has those, SCDOT will be able to develop conceptual designs for these bridges.  SCDOT does not have any designs that are ready to be presented to the public.   Because the bridges are located in the City of Aiken’s historic district, SCDOT will work closely with City of Aiken Staff to develop designs that meet the railroad’s requirements, preserve the historic rail bed, and minimize the changes to the roadway approaches.  The public can go ahead and provide input on the two bridges now by email to SCDOT’s Kevin Gantt at

USC Aiken Update:  Recently, Dr. Jordan prepared an update about USC Aiken and significant happenings at the University.  To see it, go here.

South Carolina Agriculture:  An excellent publication from the S.C. Department of Agriculture highlighting various aspects of South Carolina’s agricultural products and farming in South Carolina can be seen here.

Carbon Monoxide Safety:  In view of the three tragic deaths in North Carolina earlier this year and two more recent deaths in Greenville as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning,  South Carolina’s State Fire Marshal Shane Ray urges the public to consider acquiring carbon monoxide alarms as a safeguard against future tragedies.   To learn more, go here.

 Upcoming Meetings

SRS Budget and Funding Community ForumA community forum on the SRS budget and funding presentations will be held on this Thursday, July 18 at Aiken Technical College from 9 to 11 am. The forum will provide presentations related to the SRS budget process and the outlook for future funding of SRS missions.  To learn more, go here.  I currently am scheduled to be out of town and unable to attend.

Regulatory Review Taskforce MeetingGovernor Nikki Haley’s Regulatory Review Task Force will conduct regional public meetings beginning Friday, July 12.  Regional meetings are open to the public.  Any South Carolina resident may attend and make recommendations to the Task Force.  The Aiken County meeting will be as follows:

Monday, July 22

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

University of South Carolina Aiken

Business and Education Building

Room #122

Aiken, S.C.

The Regulatory Review Task Force has created an e-mail account to allow for public input from residents unable to attend the meetings.  The e-mail address is

Aiken County Legislative Delegation Meeting:  The delegation will meet on Monday, August 12 at 5:00 pm at the Aiken County Council Building.  To learn more, call the delegation office at 642-1694.

End of Session Town Meetings:  Like the past four 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 email updates.

Other Local Topics of Interest

British Open — Good Luck to Aiken County’s Scott Brown!: Later this week, Aiken County’s Scott Brown will compete in the British Open golf championship.  To read the story from yesterday’s The State newspaper, go here.

Email Updates:  While I send these email updates every week during the legislative session, I will not send them as often between now and January since the legislature is out of session.  I plan to send at least two a month between now and January. I will not send one next week.

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.

Aiken County Public Library Summer Reading Program: The annual summer reading program for children through the 5th grade is underway at the Aiken County Public Library. The Program runs through early August. Children who read the required number of books will receive a medal and a certificate of completion. Reading is essential to doing well in school. Please encourage as many young people as you can to read this summer. For more information, call the Aiken County Public Library at 642- 2020 or 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 this site

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, click here.

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.


Senator Tom Young

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