COMMUNITY UPDATE: April 2013

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STATE HOUSE
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This week and next, the SC House and SC Senate are on furlough. Even though we’re away from the State House, we all stay busy with constituent work, meetings, and working on legislation that will be debated in the coming weeks before we adjourn in early June.

After a rather “quick debate” (Monday through Wednesday), the House passed a balanced budget that will be debated and altered in the Senate. Unlike Congress, we must balance. Doing so means we have to prioritize spending. While no budget is perfect, I do feel we continue to be better stewards of your tax dollars. For a recap of the budget plan we passed, click here .

As a reminder, don’t wait for my COMMUNITY UPDATES to stay informed! Be sure to visit Nathan’s News regularly for my posts on what’s going on in Columbia. Most Friday’s, I share a non-biased recap of the week.

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YOUR MONEY
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Previously, we’ve discussed the “Penny Tax” that passed last November and I won’t revisit the fiasco that happened with that local election. Instead, I’m focusing on solutions and wanted to update you on the progress. Last November I outlined plans needed to assure our voters do not face an abberation like that again. I was the first to call for the removal of the Director and she is no longer running that office. Last month, I was able to pass legislation that will reduce our precinct sizes and thus shorten our wait times (that bill now waits for Senate approval). I also consponsored legislation to provide more accountability in our election processes (that bill is being vetted in committee). Most recently, during our budget deliberations, I inserted a proviso that would require Richland County to purchase the needed American with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant machines needed at any new precinct. This proviso isn’t a “pork project” and, unlike other provisos, doesn’t spend money from other parts of the state. It simply directs our local county to spend local money to help fix the problem.

Members of Richland County Council had already voiced their opinions that they would not support the reduction of precinct sizes ; despite the County Elections Office working to make this possible. After what our voters went through November, if County Council will not support a fix, someone must. While the County continues to work on legislation in other areas that will reduce precinct sizes, this proviso will assure the new precincts will comply with the law.Every precinct must have one ADA complaint machine and my proviso would provide up to 70 machines (should the county draw 70 new precincts).

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COMMUNITY
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By now, you’ve probably heard about the “Wendover Project” that is applying for tax-credit, low-income housing in the Ballentine area. I will continue to keep you informed and have been working with other elected officials, community leaders, and concerned neighbors to be sure your feedback is heard at the SC State Housing Authority.

The Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 RED CARPET GALA is April 20th and nominations for awards are due by April 2nd.

Turning to organizational meetings in the area this month: the Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association will hold its April meeting Monday night (April 1st) at 6:30pm at Ballentine Park. Our two Chambers of Commerce hold their monthly meetings soon: Irmo is Wednesday, April 10th, 11:30 a.m. St. Andrews Presbyterian while Chapin is Tuesday, April 16th, 7:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi. For additional chamber news: Irmo Chamber of Commerce : To see a list of upcoming events click here. . To see upcoming events for the Chapin Chamber of Commerce , click here .

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR : Please be sure to email me news of accomplishments of your friends and neighbors in the community! Previously I would regularly update the website with people I knew around town who were doing great things right here in Irmo, Chapin. I’m willing to help promote their work/cause and simply need you to let me know what’s going on!

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OUR SCHOOLS
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There are several reasons to celebrate our student-athletes this month!

STATE AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Earlier this year, Representative Huggins and I welcomed the CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL Cheerleaders, Band, and ROTC to the floor of the SC State House. As you know these groups have been recognized as State and National Champions for their work on the field!

Weeks ago, our community saw our two other schools capture STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS in basketball! Congratulations to the unbeaten and championship teams for IRMO HIGH BOYS BASKETBALL and DUTCH FORK HIGH GIRLS BASKETBALL! Both teams will visit the State House this month as well.

If Irmo and Dutch Fork capturing state titles wasn’t enough, both teams have the South Carolina Gatorade Players of the Year, too! Congratulations to Justin McKie (Irmo) and Alaina Coates (Dutch Fork)

While those accomplishments above are for our high school students, I want to remind all teachers and parents to let me know when your child/class is coming to the State House this year so I can welcome you and introduce you in the House balcony to my colleagues!

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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
803-734-2969
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201