You write the law….


It’s August, and while the SC General Assembly isn’t in session, each of us continues to work at our “part-time job”. I could argue it’s actually an “all-the-time job” but I love what I do, so I’m not complaining.

Good representatives stay in touch with their constituents year-round (not just at election time) and it’s often the feedback during these times that help us craft legislation to improve our state. Whether it be education, healthcare, energy, law enforcement, or other areas important to our quality of life; there are many of you out there with the experience and expertise to provide solutions to real problems we face every day.

Consider this a challenge to reach out to me (or your House Rep / Senator ) and share your idea and solution. While I won’t be able to lead on every issue, I can share with colleagues and hopefully you may one day see your idea become a solution that helps others!

You can email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov or contact me here! Please provide a phone number that I can use or give to staff to follow up in the coming weeks.

Thank you in advance.

Comments

  1. Betsy Petersen says:

    Education is on my mind. I am a fifty-something career changer who went back to college to get a South Carolina teaching certificate. I teach in a rural Title I school. My children have attended and 4 have graduated from D5 schools (we live in Irmo. 3 DFHS grads, 1 SHHS grad, 1 still at DFHS). There is a significant difference in the education my children enjoyed and the education given to children is less prosperous districts around the state. When I accepted my teaching position, I knew that I would not make the same salary as teachers in the Columbia area school districts. I knew that classrooms throughout the state were often funded with teachers’ own dollars, through grants or donors choose. I knew going in the deficit but felt called to give back to these children. I feel absolutely dismissed because the legislature could not find enough money to fully fund every student, to give teachers a decent raise (I came into teaching at the very bottom 2 years ago, I still do not make as much money in 2018 as a teacher as I made in 1993 when I left mortgage banking to be a stay at home mom). I make enough money to pay for my student loans, gas, insurance and car payment and the rest goes back into my classroom or for professional development, which is not paid for by my district. Education in this state is being funded by the teachers and we’re facing a teacher shortage. I could not recommend teaching as a viable career path for my children or the next generation. The legislature needs to do better at funding schools, paying teachers, and supporting teachers/administrators as they continue to better their teaching through education courses/professional development especially in light of the teacher shortage in our state. If we don’t do better, South Carolina will slip further down into the basement in school achievement, our workforce will suffer and our best and brightest will continue to leave the state for better opportunities.

  2. Bobby Brooks says:

    I would like to see a law that requires road repaving done at night on major roads just like they are doing on I-26 right now. The widening of Hwy 76 will cause major traffic backups if construction is done during the day. Traffic counts should be used to determine which roads this should be required. If this would become the norm, paving contractors would be able to have 3rd shift workers and not have to pay the workers additional compensation. In the summer I would think 3rd shift would be a blessing to workers to avoid the South Carolina heat.

  3. Concerned Citizen says:

    If you want to see economic growth in SC then eliminate or phase out income tax or property taxes.

  4. Barbara Bugner says:

    Hi Nathan,
    We are curious to know what plans are being made to alleviate the congestion on Hwy 76 between I26 and Chapin? It’s becoming a bumper-to-bumper traffic nightmare every day and it looks more and more development is bring planned. Why can’t the developers be required to pay for improving or widening roads before they are allowed to create these traffic messes? If each building permit had some road improvement funding attached to it, wouldn’t that help? Thanks!

  5. Trina Dickerson says:

    Hey, Nathan!
    I would like to propose that state health insurance policies cover annual checkups for all policy holders and their dependents, if they are also listed on the policies. This serves as a major preventative measure and would help to offset costs of more protracted illnesses or conditions that warrant more expensive trips to urgent care or emergency care centers.

    Education:
    I want to echo what Betsy Petersen said above. Professional development that is mandated by the state should be paid by the state. One benefit to attract new teachers and keep effective veteran teachers in the classroom is to offset teacher loans with service; particularly in rural districts and in critical needs subjects; regardless of the teacher’s tenure. (Current programs limit initial loan origination dates which discriminates against more seasoned educators!)

    Requirement for all members of the House and Senate should be to hold annual teacher forums or town halls throughout the state, and to get out in the schools in their districts. Teachers and administrators are buried during the school year, so, please, make an effort to come and see us! Please don’t wait to be invited! (This is something you already do Nathan! Thanks for that, too!)

  6. Mike Sterling says:

    I’m concerned with the speeding on the interstates mainly and also on our secondary roads. I travel on the interstates both going to the upstate and to the coast several times per month. There are drivers that are going much faster than the speed limit while weaving in and out of traffic. Sightings of State Troopers is a rare event except when there is a wreck. We need to put more Troopers on the roads. Enough to work wrecks and to enforce the speed limits.
    I agree with Betsy Peterson that we need to find another way to fund our schools that is different than the current system. As she stated, Rich/Lex 5 pays well but others don’t. This is due to the system of millage on expensive property here and poorly funded schools where the property is cheaper and millage is less.

  7. Terri Lynn Corley says:

    Rising energy costs are on the minds of many after rate hikes imposed by SCE&G burdened many South. Carolinians. It got me and my students thinking when we talked about ways humans hurt the environment when we dispose of so much trash. One student suggest that we burn more to help protect the environment. We discussed how the closing of the nuclear plant should be reconfigured as a burn facility where local trash can be disposed of and energy made. It would be a nice way to use the abandoned site and help S.C. workers and environmentalists! Think about it!

    Also, with the new Read to Succeed law, students and teachers are being stressed out! Human Growth and Development experts say that children’s language acquisition and brain development are formed by the time children are 3 and 4 years old, so when children who are behind enter school they typically remain behind their peers who have been talked with and read to. K-12 funding is important, but early education funding and family education is important to especially in area where higher rates of poverty are seen. Let’s think about putting reading educators in hospitals to meet
    With families and give them 5-6 books to start their babies off right! Then, take reading educators into gov’t subsidized housing to offer reading camps for parents and children. This could potentially have a huge impact on reaching children in the midst of developing!

  8. Sasha Davis says:

    I am not an educator. I agree with Betsy Petersen. I have a niece and nephew that attend title 1 schools. It’s ashame that these schools are lacking because of the location. Personally, I think money should be evenly distributed so that all the children have the same opportunities when it comes to education. I know a lot of people would throw a fit, but I wonder if they have ever been in these schools and have seen what these schools don’t have compared to the better areas in SC. I never knew until I saw first hand.

  9. Randa Downs says:

    I have been dismayed by the rapid proliferation of “garbage food” restaurants in the Ballentine area, while higher-end, healthier grocery stores pop up all over downtown and Lexington. I know there is a strong market here for better stores (when I go all the way across town to Trader Joe’s, I inevitably spot several cars adorned with LexRich 5 school magnets)! We are a family-centered community with plenty of educated professionals. Is it an issue of infrastructure? Tax incentives? Is there anything we can do to make our area more appealing to these types of businesses?

  10. Michelle Patterson says:

    In addition to what others have said about Education, let’s stop testing these students to death. I am the testing coordinator for my school, and I see firsthand just how much we are testing these kids. For example, take an eighth grader who is taking English 1 and Algebra 1 for high school credit. That student must do 4 days of SC PASS/Ready testing and then three additional days of end-of-course testing. Now I know some relief is coming for those students this year, but not enough. There are many better, and more cost-effective, ways to assess how our children are doing. These test scores, with the exception of EOC, don’t even come back until the student has already begun the next school year. So what purpose is this testing for other than to just say we are testing?

    While education funding can always be improved, I think it’s more important that we look at how that money is being spent. We have way too many school districts in the state paying way too many people six-figure salaries. I’m not saying that district office staff do not deserve what they are being paid, we just have too many people doing the same jobs in too many districts. Consolidate school districts. Get rid of the redundancy.

    I definitely echo what Trina said about offsetting teacher loans with service. I was not a traditionally prepared teacher. After spending some time in other jobs, I decided to go back to school to be a teacher, which was a huge expense on my part. I, however, do not qualify for any of the loan forgiveness programs because of the origination date of my original loan when I first went to college. With the influx of teachers leaving the profession, the state is going to be looking more towards these alternative certification programs to bring in our teachers. This would be a great incentive to attract and retain teachers.

  11. I ran against Mr. Ballentine in the 2018 Primary’s and the same ole folks voted for- business as usual. By the above comments it seems apparent the folks in District 71 expectations were- ‘change’.

    My campaign message was -GOOD FOR BUISNESS- Safety*Jobs*Education.

    The fine folks of District 71 voted an 8th term incumbent back into the SC Congress maybe not knowing for the next 2 years or the 20th year our incumbent has no cause other than, it’s business as usual. Our chance of the above mentioned concerns becoming of any addenda, well that has passed.

    Grin and bear it until 2020 and I bet the incumbent will again be re-elected.

    Will District 71’s agenda management change per the above concerns?

    • Todd, not sure what happened in the months since you emailed me this; but I appreciated your kind remarks last October. As far as my service for the community, while you may not appreciate or understand what I do for our area, I was humbled that 70% of the voters at the ballot box do as well as 84% of them two years ago. You can continue to disparage me all you want (as you do on your Facebook page) but I’m here to help when you or others need. Nathan

      Here’s what you wrote in October:

      I first say you have represented SC-71 admiralty and I feel very lucky to live inside the SC District 71 boundary. Also, you will continues to receive my vote for public office. Please allow me to add if it is the case that for unknown reason that the State Congressional Seat of District 20 becomes vacant I say you will have the support of my friends and I to fill that vacant Senate seat again if it was presented to you. Of course you will receive the support of my friends and I in the 2018 District 71 Representative seat as you have received the past five term elections.

      Your Friend,
      William Watlington
      803-463-1991
      29212