COMMUNITY UPDATE: December 2008

If you have events you’d like me to share on the website, please contact me directly through NathansNews and I’ll be happy to see how I can help pass along the news.

Hopefully you received our Christmas card this week! As the kids get older, it’s a little easier to have them stand still and actually look at the camera. Emma, of course, had to do her thing this year but maybe next year we all get it right?

STATE HOUSE

I won’t rehash last week’s Reorganizational Session but let me simply say it was basically politics as usual! Well, if by “usual” you mean that members (four that I’m aware of) were punished for tough stances we took on issues important to us and our constituents. And if by “usual” you mean passing bills (or rules) that are sold to the public as doing one thing but in reality they aren’t even close to what the public and our state needs. Apparently, the “status-quo” likes to keep things the way they are and don’t want anyone trying to speak out or stand up to those in “power” inside the chamber.

Two of us were moved off committees and placed on “lesser” committees we never asked to serve on. Another was reassigned to a different subcommittee and yet another member was removed of his subcommittee chairmanship and reassigned to a different subcommittee too. (At least they got to stay on their same committee though unlike two of us). The last time a member was moved to a “lesser” committee that he didn’t ask for was when that member physically assaulted another member. Is speaking up for constituents and beliefs now considered the same as physical assault? Who knows?

What did we actually do to have us removed? Well, we apparently did things that status-quo politicians didn’t want and so we “had to be taught a lesson.” Some of us pushed for On-The-Record Voting, better health care through a cigarette tax , and reforming how lawyers are regulated. Oh, and apparently offering the average-citizen a look inside the goings-on in state government is a no-no, too!

Individually we’ll be fine. These small “losses” are nothing compared to the big picture. My fear (and other citizens’ in the state fear too) is that because of these vindictive actions, some elected officials might no longer speak up for their constituents or their personal beliefs because of fear of retribution. If this should happen, God help us. Be sure you’re letting your elected official know to speak-up and not just show-up, go along, get along, and get a paycheck!

Tuesday, December 9, is the first day House members can prefile bills for the upcoming session. I plan to share the complete list of the pre-filled bills with you next week so that you can see what issues may be discussed the next two years.

YOUR MONEY

It appears we’ll see even lower revenue forecasts at this week’s Board of Economic Advisors meeting.

While I still believe we spend too much money on pork projects , this downturn is (in part) due to the current economic environment running rampant in our country.

As a “half-full” kinda guy , I’m trying to find a silver-lining to the shrinking revenues. Hopefully, it means we won’t see folks stuff pork into a very lean budget this year. We’ll see.

COMMUNITY

We are fortunate to have a Pearl Harbor survivor and WWII veteran, Russell Meyne, in our community. I still remember knocking on Mr. Meyne’s door a few years back and learning of his courage. He was one of the first on our state’s recent Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. You can read more about him by going to the State’s article.

Recently, the Chapin High School Cheerleaders captured the AAA State Championship! If you haven’t watched this sport, you need to. (Sarah’s on Irmo Cheerleading Association and I have a great new respect for these young ladies who participate in cheerleading). To see Chapin’s performance, you can go to You Tube or click here. Congratulations, ladies!

This time of year makes me ask: please don’t be a CEO Christian (Christmas and Easter Only)! While many churches in our area have wonderful Christmas programs this season, please realize their doors are open every Sunday (and other days)! If you don’t currently have a church your family calls home, please find one in our community !

SCHOOLS

Winter Break for students will be from Monday, December 22 to Friday, January 2. Students will return on Monday, January 5.

The School Board is moving forward (after our community passed this year’s bond referendum) to improve existing schools and construct new ones. The first projects scheduled are the improvements to existing facilities.

Irmo High School principal Eddie Walker plans to return next year! This is great news for the students AND our community. I have known Principal Walker since his days at the district’s Alternative Academy and I am glad he has decided to return!

THANK YOU

Thanks again for staying informed by visiting the site! Please let your friends and neighbors know about it so that they can stay as informed as possible, too. As you can see, I try to write often and regularly update photos from our community as well as videos.

Karen and I wish your family a very Merry Christmas and are hoping 2009 will be your best year yet!

Please contact my office, 734-2969, or email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net anytime I can be of service to you or your family. Please put the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can respond to the emails from members of our community first!

Nathan Ballentine
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320A Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29221