COMMUNITY UPDATE: August 2011

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STATE HOUSE
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The first session of the 119th SC Generally Assembly has receded with a scheduled return of January 10, 2012. For those wishing to get a thorough (non biased, non partisan) summary of Major Issues debated the past several months in the House, click here .

A more concise synopsis was included in my 2011 End of Year Report and Survey that was distributed to thousands of voters in the Irmo/Chapin community last month. *If you did not receive this communication, please contact me and I’ll see to it that one goes out immediately.

As always, the issue most people watch more closely than others is the state budget. Earlier this week, I added a video clip here on the website to provide you a look inside the “debate”. This year our budget passed by only 3 votes in the House and only 7 votes in the Senate.

Another closely watched process for many throughout the state was the Redistricting Process that occurs by law every 10 years. Every House and Senate district saw at least some change to their current lines. In addition, our state picked up a 7th Congressional seat in Washington and, pending court approval, the new seat will be anchored in Horry County and the PeeDee Region.

Over the next several months, I’ll continue to speak with community groups, neighborhood associations, church groups and others to learn what you’d like me and the rest of my colleagues to be working on in January when we return. If you have suggestions, advice or recommendations, please let me know so I can start researching and considering possible legislation.

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YOUR MONEY
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Beginning this Friday (August 5th at 12:01 am) and running through Sunday (August 7th at midnight), you may purchase several “back to school items” and not have to pay sales tax. I say “back-to-school” because that was the overall intention of the legislation; however, when you peruse the list, I’m sure you’ll wonder how some items fit that category.

Speaking of sales-tax exemptions, I’m honored to be selected to serve on the House GOP Caucus Tax Study Advisory Committee . Our task is to review our state’s tax structure and hopefully craft legislation that takes a comprehensive approach at reform. Recently the committee heard from Dr. Mike Fanning (www.roarsc.com) who gave a very informative – and interesting – presentation. If you’re interested, that presentation is available here . As I shared with the committee’s chairman (Tommy Stringer, R-Greenville), if we have the courage and intelligence needed for this task, we can make a significant change for the better for all our citizens! Stay tuned for additional update over the next several months.

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COMMUNITY
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COMMUNITY COOKOUT: In less than 2 weeks (August 16th), almost 20 elected officials will gather at the Rusty Anchor and give our community a chance to mingle in a casual setting with everyone from a US Congressman, our Constitutional Officers, County and Town officials and School Board members! If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, it’s not too late to join us for BBQ, banana pudding, music and fellowship!

IT’S PARADE TIME! September marks two big parades/events in our community! First it’s the Chapin Labor Day Parade followed by the Irmo Okra Strut! This year, I want any child/family who wants to walk in the parade to join me and my family for both parades! Contact my wife, Karen at our home (732-1861) and we’ll give you details on when/where. Everyone loves a parade! (Don’t be surprised to see a few Presidential Candidates on the parade route as well!)

6TH ANNUAL IRMO COMMUNITY PRAYER BREAKFAST: I hope you’ll join Representative Huggins, me and almost 200 neighbors next month at what we consider “the kickoff to the Okra Strut”. This year, the breakfast will be held at Seven Oaks Presbyterian on the morning of Thursday, September 22nd. Last year was one of our largest crowds ever and regardless how long Representative Huggins and I serve the area, it’s our hope this event will continue for many more years! (Speaking of the Prayer Breakfast, my church – Riverland Hills Baptist – served as the host church of the inaugural event. This summer, my pastor – Ed Carney – celebrated his 20th anniversary at the church!)

KICKOFF IS AROUND THE CORNER! Once again, I’m looking forward to “championship seasons” from all three of our local high schools. Each Saturday morning on Twitter, I’ll give you a “Community Football Update” where you can see who won, who lost, and their current record. Just yesterday, we learned about upcoming realignment in High School sports which won’t have an impact this season; but will next season. Hopefully, I’ll see you at one of the games this fall!

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OUR SCHOOLS
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BACK TO SCHOOL DATES: It’s hard to believe but summer break is almost over! For a list of all the important starting dates in Lexington/Richland District Five, click here.

DUTCH FORK STUDENT GOVERNMENT INDUCTION CEREMONY: Every year since I’ve been in office, I’ve been honored to be the guest speaker at this event that will be held Wednesday, August 31st. Mrs. Humprhey is an incredible mentor to these leaders-of-tomorrow and I look forward to meeting a new group of freshman as well as familiar faces that continue to “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve”.

2011 Ballentine Scholarship Recipients: I’m pleased to announce another group of outstanding area seniors that will make up the last group of Ballentine Scholarship Recipients. I have recognized 16 seniors over the past six years and once again, my Scholarships Committee selected excellent finalists for me to interview and learn more about their accomplishments in the classroom, outside the classroom, in their church and with their family. In the next few days I’ll be presenting a $1,000 check to Hannah Knowles (Dutch Fork High to USC), Rion Tapp (Chapin High to Clemson) and Ashley Shaffer (Chapin High to Columbia College) and wish them much success as they continue their education in state! I wish I could continue returning my legislative salary to these scholarships and to other worthy causes but as my step-daughter begins high school, so must our savings to prepare for her college education.

GROUNDBREAKING: A few weeks ago I attended the groundbreaking of our new high school at CATE Center. At the time of this writing, I don’t have any update on Chapin High School but encourage everyone to stay informed at the district’s website or through the Irmo News.

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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 29201