COMMUNITY UPDATE: June 2011

Be sure to pick up your weekly copy of The Irmo News to see weekly Legislative Updates, focused on activity inside the State House. Representative Huggins and I rotate columns each week in order to keep you informed! As always, I try to write a community update each month here on Nathan’s News to also keep you informed what’s going on here in Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/White Rock/Dutch Fork area.

Also, be on the lookout for a year-end Legislative Recap and Community Update in your mail the next few weeks!

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STATE HOUSE
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I’m sure you’ve read or seen that Governor Haley has called the General Assembly back to session Tuesday, June 7th. Basically, it comes down to the opinion that the Senate needs to actually vote on four restructuring bills that have been in their chamber the past two months. I will share information about what my colleagues (House members) have done this session relating to those four bills the Governor has asked the Senate to address this week.

All four restructuring bills were passed by the House early on in session and received broad bi-partisan support.

H 3152 – Governor and Lt. Governor On Same Ticket – passed the House of Representatives on March 3, 2011 by a vote of 106-6.

H 3070 – Superintendent of Education Appointed by Governor – passed the House of Representatives on March 3, 2011 by a vote of 82-28.

H 3066 – Department of Administration – passed the House of Representatives on March 3, 2011 by a vote of 96-13.

H 3267 – Combining Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole and the Department of Corrections – passed the House of Representatives on March 31, 2011 by a vote of 81-21.

My House colleagues and many citizens in our state, anxiously await to see what the Senate will do. Apparently, there may be a lawsuit tomorrow challenging the Governor’s ability to call the General Assembly back into session. As of now, I know the House plans to show up Tuesday at 10am. From there…who knows how, or when, this year’s session will finally end.

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YOUR MONEY
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Prior to last Thursday’s announcement of a “Special Session”, the House and Senate Sine Die resolution had us scheduled to come back Tuesday, June 14th, to address budget matters and redistricting. As of now, I’m not really sure when we’ll take those items up but hope we address both soon. First, the House and Senate Budget Conferees have to agree on a final plan and then both chambers have to vote on that final plan. For weeks, the Senate debated the budget and many Senators felt the budget had grown too large. I don’t have definite figures yet but it would be correct to say the Senate’s version is larger due to the increase in revenue forecasts from the Board of Economic Advisors. In general terms, it appears there is $200 million more and that primarily those monies were placed in Education (base student cost increases over House budget) and Unemployment Insurance (to assist businesses throughout the state). After the budget is approved, we expect budget vetos from Governor Haley. The question is will she veto a handful or more than a hundred that Sanford traditionally chose?

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COMMUNITY
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I’m in the process of hosting another Community Cookout this summer and look forward to gathering several local and state officials here in our area for an evening of food, fellowship and fun. As always, we’ll have BBQ and Jim LeBlanc (acoustic guitar). Both have been staples at these events since the summer of 2004! Tentatively, we’re looking at Tuesday, August 16th. I hope you and your family can attend! If you’d like to help me , please contact me soon!

Riding around the community, I noticed several churches are preparing for their Vacation Bible Schools this summer. Many begin in the next two weeks. If you’re looking for one for your child, just drive around and you’re bound to find a handful to choose from!

CAPITAL CITY LAKE MURRAY COUNTRY: If you want to checkout a firstclass group/website that helps promote our area, visit Captial City Lake Murray Country or their blog . Lake Murray is the jewel of the Midlands and I’m proud of the work this group does to promote the lake and bring in tourism from around the country!

GREATER CHAPIN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: To stay informed with up-to-date news, be sure to visit their website.

GREATER IRMO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Monthly Meeting held Wednesday, June 15th from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (6952 St. Andrews Road). This month’s speaker: Sheriff Metts, Sheriff of Lexington County. Sponsored by: Babcock Center & Remington College
Catered by: HoneyBaked Ham. Food available at 11:30 am.

BALLENTINE-DUTCH FORK CIVIC ASSOCIATION: The BDFCA does not hold regularly-scheduled meetings in the summer (June, July, August). Please check their website for any specially-called meetings during these months.

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OUR SCHOOLS
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Friday, I watched as approximately 1,200 seniors graduated from Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo High School. Combined, the Lexington/Richland School District Five Class of 2011 received scholarship offers in excess of $58,000,000! I wish our graduates the very best as they go off to college, the military, or the workforce next year!

Three of those seniors were Ballentine Scholarship Winners this year: Rion Tapp (Clemson) and Ashley Shaffer (Columbia College) from Chapin High and Hannah Knowles (USC) from Dutch Fork High. Each will receive a $1,000 check later this summer and a framed resolution honoring their selection and accomplishments through high school.

Last Wednesday, I joined Representative Huggins and members of the School Board and administration at the groundbreaking of the proposed CATE center and new high school in SpringHill. The CATE center is scheduled to open next fall and the new high school the following year. As of yet, attendance lines have not been drawn and a name has not been selected.

Also, you probably received the district phone call stating that a judge has ruled in favor of the school district and that construction plans are proceeding at Chapin High.

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THANK YOU
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Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!

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