The condition of Broad River Road – 2mile stretch Peak Exit 97

Over past several weeks, I’ve heard the complaints and actually driven and seen myself. I received an answer
to my questions of who was the contractor, has DOT had issues with contractor before….and when will it be fixed?

Here’s what I received:

The ‘resurfacing’ on Broad River Road, US 176, in Richland County was actually not resurfacing, but was a road surface preservation treatment used to extend the life of the pavement. This preservation treatment, called micro-surfacing, is used on roads that are not yet on the resurfacing list and is used on roads all over South Carolina. This treatment is only about 3/8” thick and typically bonds to the road surface very well and serves as a wearing surface to extend the usable life of the road. The contractor, Slurry Pavers Inc., began micro-surfacing on US 176 on 5/11/2018 and continued until 6/3/2018. This project as a whole reached substantial work completion on 7/19/2018. A final inspection was completed on this project on 7/25/2018. At the time of the final inspection only small unrelated problems existed on the road and the roadwork was accepted contingent on the small repairs. During heavy rains of October and November of 2018 the surface began to delaminate very similar to how it is currently. At the time we believed it to be a latent defect with the slurry seal. The contractor was contacted and scheduled repairs as soon as weather would permit. The contractor mobilized to the roadway and completed repairs from 1/8/19 to 1/10/19 and again from 3/7/19 to 3/11/19. After completion of the repairs, the roadway rode and functioned as expected with a micro-surfacing application. No issues or potholes were noted until they began to reappear suddenly in December of 2019. This type deterioration has not been observed at other locations across the state and appears to be unique to this section of US 176 and not an issue with the product. We have continuously reviewed and studied these areas to determine the root cause and possible remedies to this area. Staff from our Office of Materials and Research have evaluated the issue and have also concluded that the product was not defective but that there appears to be an issue with moisture in the underlying layers that is contributing to the unusual delamination of the thin surface treatment.

Understanding the sensitivity of our taxpayers, we want to ensure that the fix we put in place is a lasting one. Therefore, more evaluation is needed before a final reconstruction decision is made. Over the next several weeks, the pavement is going to be re-evaluated by our Pavement Management team using specialized equipment. Also, our maintenance forces will be milling off the top layer of the surface treatment to restore a smoother ride and minimize the nuisance to the traveling public. This will give our subject matter experts the opportunity to further investigate causes of this delamination and determine the best path forward.

As we move forward, I will keep you all informed as new information becomes available. Please let me know if there are any questions.

Thanks,

Robert C. Dickinson, P. E.
District 1 Engineering Administrator

The Weekly Rewind – Week of January 21st

Nathan’s News readers are aware that I regularly share a “Week in Review” update which is prepared by legislative staff. It’s straight forward, no spin, not partisan…just the facts.

If you want a more personable read, be sure to read a similar update that I write each week in The New Irmo News. Representative Huggins and I rotate weeks throughout the session so that the entire Irmo/Chapin community can stay informed!

*To read the text of any bill mentioned below, please visit www.scstatehouse.gov and enter the bill number in the search box *

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
January 24, 2020

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4404, a bill enacting the “VETERANS NURSING DEGREE OPPORTUNITY ACT” as a means of both addressing the state’s nurse shortage and smoothing the transition for veterans from military life to professional civilian careers. The legislation establishes programs to enable veteran military clinical personnel, such as medics and corpsmen, to accelerate the process at participating South Carolina public and independent colleges and institutions for obtaining associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees in nursing by awarding academic and clinical credit or waivers for relevant education, experience, and skills acquired from their military service.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3199, a bill REQUIRING INSTRUCTION ON STUDENT LOANS IN HIGH SCHOOL FINANCIAL LITERACY PROGRAMS. The legislation expands high school financial literacy program requirements so that they also include instruction on college and education loans, key loan terms, monthly payment obligations, repayment options, credit, and education loan debt. The State Board of Education is directed to incorporate these new instructional topics with the adoption of the next revisions scheduled for the social studies academic standards under cyclical review.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3257, a bill that provides for updating public school INSTRUCTION ON MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND SOCIAL HEALTH under the Comprehensive Health Education Act. The legislation provides that, at the next cyclical review of the health standards, the State Board of Education shall continue to revise existing age appropriate standards and concepts that address mental, emotional, and social health. Before September 1, 2020, in addition to the current standards, the board shall continue to make standards aligned instructional materials available to districts. Districts shall continue to adopt or develop curriculum locally. Beginning with the 2020-2021 School Year, each seventh grade student must be offered one unit of instruction in mental health and wellness based on the instructional unit selected or adopted by the board, and each ninth grade student shall receive and successfully complete a one unit course of study in mental health and wellness based on the instructional unit selected or adopted by the board.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4403, a bill revising provisions relating to BULLYING PROHIBITION POLICIES that must be adopted by school districts. The legislation provides for a more expansive definition of “harassment, intimidation, or bullying”. Procedures are established for responding to and remediating allegations of bullying. The legislation requires an appeals procedure. Local districts are required to adopt policies for the prevention of harassment, intimidation, or bullying that are at least as stringent as the model policies developed by the State Board of Education. A procedure is established that requires the state board to approve local policies to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4076, a bill REQUIRING BOARD AND COMMISSION MEMBERS TO SIGN STATEMENTS ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITY. The legislation establishes a protocol under which an agency or instrumentality in the executive branch of state government or a public institution of higher learning with a governing board or commission is required to have its board or commission members sign a written document outlining statutory duties and powers. Board or commission members are not eligible to receive mileage, subsistence, or per diem unless these documents are signed in a timely manner. Repeated refusal to sign the required documents constitutes grounds for removal from office by the Governor for persistent neglect of duty. The bill implements recommendations arising from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s study of the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to S.996, a joint resolution authorizing an EXTENSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION CANDIDATE SCREENING to provide an opportunity to find additional qualified candidates to present to the General Assembly for election to the commission that oversees public utilities. The legislation authorizes an extension in screening for candidates for PSC Seats 1, 3, 5, and 7 that allows the Public Utilities Review Committee to accept applications for a time period beginning Monday, February 3, 2020, through noon on Friday, February 28, 2020. Provisions are made for advertising these positions. In screening candidates for the Commission and making its findings, the Review Committee is directed to give due consideration to race, gender, and other demographic factors to assure nondiscrimination, inclusion, and representation to the greatest extent possible of all segments of the population of this state.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4504, a bill to provide the Department of Health and Environmental Control with more effective means of regulating WASTE TIRE FACILITIES, particularly those facilities that amass large quantities of tires without recycling them in a timely manner. The legislation authorizes DHEC to promulgate regulations to protect human health and safety of the environment from the adverse effects of improper, inadequate, or unsound management of waste tires. DHEC is authorized to conduct inspections and investigations, obtain records of waste tire processing, storage, or hauling activities, obtain samples, and conduct research regarding the operation and maintenance of any waste tire management facility. A protocol is established for DHEC to place a facility under a suspension when it exceeds its permitted capacity and to sanction a facility that violates a suspension by accepting additional waste tires. DHEC is charged with maintaining a Waste Tire Rebate Facility List that includes only facilities that are in compliance and fulfill the requirements of a waste tire recycling facility.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4811, a bill revising beachfront management restrictions placed on erosion control structures or devices seaward of the setback line to allow for the placement of shoreline perpendicular WINGWALLS that extend landward at a ninety degree angle from the ends of existing erosion control structures or devices that are consistent in height and composition with the existing erosion control structures to which they are attached subject to any special conditions imposed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4202, a bill requiring the state registrar of vital statistics at the Department of Health and Environmental Control to issue, upon receipt of certain documentation, a CERTIFICATE OF FOREIGN BIRTH for a child with United States citizenship who is born in a foreign country to a parent who is a resident of South Carolina.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4286, a bill revising requirements for PRESCRIPTION DRUG LABELS to provide that the lot number of the prescription must be indicated on the label, patient receipt, or bar code.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3695, a bill establishing provisions that make MOTORCYCLES OR MOTORCYCLE THREE-WHEEL VEHICLES ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE HIGH MILEAGE TAX DEDUCTIONS.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H.3357, a bill allowing for a HEARING IMPAIRMENT NOTATION ON A MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION.

New website coming…after more than 12 years!

More than 12 years ago, NathansNews was up and running !

I had the site created in order to keep you informed (more than just a once a month email that I would send…I still do that too, by the way) and seeing as you know I’m cheap , I didn’t get too many bells and whistles on it; but back then, it was pretty high-tech for me and I have enjoyed regularly posting updates about the State House and our community on the site.

(Whew..talk about a run-on sentence! Sorry, Mom!)

I write all the content (again, too cheap to pay for someone to do that) and I hope you’ve enjoyed not only the political side of the site, but the occassional (or often) posts about family, kids, sports and the dogs! I’ve always been about People, Not Politics and that’s why I offer this site to y’all.

As much as I hate to spend money , I’ve been told 12 years is more than enough time to keep the same format. It’s time for change.

So…..with that said, look for a new website in the coming weeks! Hopefully it won’t receive hundreds of spam comments each week so that I can be sure to find yours.

As always, please share with me any community news you’d like me to post. Especially if you have a neighbor you’d like to brag about and share with everyone!

Before the old site shuts down, I went back to see how many posts I had written through the years. Turns out 1,124 since July 2007…an average of roughly 2 post a week, every week, for more than 12 years. Maybe some of it is the part of me from my highschool days working on our yearbook? Mostly, it’s because I’ve always believed that elected officials who stay in touch often – not just during a campaign – are better able to serve their constituents!

Hopefully the new site won’t cost to much and will still be hosted (is that the word?) here at the same address. I’ll definitely get the word out to you on my regular COMMUNITY UPDATE emails that I’ve been sending since 2005 (pre-website). If you still have not added your name to that distribution, please email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov and I’ll add you to February’s email which will go out in the next two weeks!

Thanks for continuing to read and to stay informed and share your opinions and advice!

The Weekly Rewind – Week of January 14th

Nathan’s News readers are aware that I regularly share a “Week in Review” update which is prepared by legislative staff. It’s straight forward, no spin, not partisan…just the facts.

If you want a more personable read, be sure to read a similar update that I write each week in The New Irmo News. Representative Huggins and I rotate weeks throughout the session so that the entire Irmo/Chapin community can stay informed!

*To read the text of any bill mentioned below, please visit www.scstatehouse.gov and enter the bill number in the search box *

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
January 17, 2020

Lawmakers returned to the State House on January 14, 2020, to commence the second regular session of the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly.

The House of Representatives approved S.11 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation provides that, if the United States Congress amends federal law to authorize states to observe DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME year round, it is the intent of the South Carolina General Assembly that daylight saving time be the year round standard of the entire state and all of its political subdivisions.

The House returned S.194, a bill addressing PROSTITUTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation makes revisions to prostitution crimes that include an increase in the fines for second and subsequent misdemeanor offenses relating to soliciting prostitutes or abetting prostitution. An enhanced felony offense is established for violations involving a prostitute who is severely or profoundly mentally disabled. The legislation revises offenses of engaging in prostitution to establish an affirmative defense against prosecution for a violation when the defendant is a victim of human trafficking. The legislation adopts recommendations for eradicating human trafficking from the organization Shared Hope International. These initiatives include: the establishment of criminal offenses for combatting sex tourism enterprises more effectively; the inclusion of human trafficking among the offenses for which law enforcement may seek a court order authorizing wiretapping or the interception of electronic communications to further their criminal investigations; provisions for appointing special advocates trained in handling human trafficking cases to assist minor victims; and, enhancements to training on trafficking in persons and sex trafficking for law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, and judges.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on S.16, legislation that increases the maximum amount of a medication that may be dispensed through EMERGENCY REFILLS OF PRESCRIPTIONS BY PHARMACISTS.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.3174 and returned the bill to the Senate. This bill establishes technical specifications for ELECTRIC ASSIST BICYCLES and bicycles with helper motors and provides that those who operate these low-speed electrically assisted bicycles are subject to all statutory provisions that apply to bicyclists. The legislation includes labelling requirements for these bicycles to indicate their wattage and maximum electrically assisted speed. The legislation specifies that electric-assist bicycles and bicycles with helper motors are not mopeds.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.4244 and returned the bill to the Senate. The legislation makes revisions related to VEHICLE SERVICE CONTRACTS and theft protection program warranties that include requirements for disclosures to consumers and provisions for how service contract providers establish their financial security to pay claims.

The House returned S.580 to the Senate with amendments. This bill revises provisions governing the South Carolina Life and Accident and Health Insurance Guaranty Association to adopt national model standards for addressing IMPAIRED OR INSOLVENT INSURERS.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4533, a bill renaming the state’s Commission for Minority Affairs the COMMISSION FOR MINORITY AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS.

National Coach of the Year – Tom Knotts

Dutch Fork (South Carolina) Head Coach Tom Knotts Is High School Football America/National High School Coaches Association’s Coach Of The Year

While Dutch Fork’s Tom Knotts is already thinking about a fifth straight South Carolina high school football state championship, today he can celebrate No. 4, which makes him the 2019 National High School Football Coaches Association National Football Coach of the Year. The award is presented jointly with High School Football America.

Knotts and the Silver Foxes won the Class 5A championship, which landed them at No. 11 in the final High School Football America 100 national rankings. Dutch Fork also finished No. 9 in the MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 and No. 15 in the USA TODAY Super 25.

Knotts, who’s coaching career began in 1981, has now won twelve overall high school football state championships. He led Independence High School (Charlotte, North Carolina) to six state championships and West Charlotte to a North Carolina state championship in 1995. During his time at Independence, Knotts and his program set a record for the longest public high school football win streak in America with 109 straight victories.

“We are extremely pleased to honor Tom Knotts,” said Eric Hess, Executive Director of the NHSCA. “Coach Knotts has established Dutch Fork as one of the top programs in the nation during his tenure as the head coach. He exhibits a strong dedication to supporting and developing his high school student-athletes both on-and-off the football field.”

Knotts overall record is 415-64-1. He’s 12-5 in state championship games.

Knotts is the second South Carolina high school football coach to receive the Coach of the Year honor. The late John McKissick of Summerville High School was the first honoree for the 2008-2009 school year. McKissick is America’s all-time winningest high school football coach with 621 victories.

To see past national winners, click here.

$1.8 Billion – how would you spend it?

I’ve been fortunate during my time in office serving on every standing committee in the House except Judiciary. Of course, some of the committees I served on over the years came after House Leadership demoted me for my push (along with then Representative Nikki Haley) for more transparency in state government . I took that as a badge of honor and appreciate the support I received during that time from all of you back home!

A few years ago I was appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee where I currently serve along with other senior members in the House. This committee is viewed by most in politics as the most influential in state government and it’s also one of the most time-consuming with our budget meetings starting actually the first day we return on Tuesday!

Over the years, I have been recognized as one of the top fiscal conservatives in the House and always consider the budget one of our largest responsibilities. This year, we have almost TWO BILLION of additional funds to appropriate.

I write tonight to ask you this – where would you want those funds to go?

So you know, $800 million of that figure is what is called RECURRING. That means we can expect those funds in the future…in other words, putting some of that money to teacher salary increases makes sense. The other $1 Billion of that figure is what is called NONRECURRING. That means those funds should not be expected again next year….in other words, putting some of that money to purchases new school buses (keeping with the education theme I’m using) makes sense.

While most people assume we “spend” all those dollars (personally, I consider the budget an “investment”…we are INVESTING in agencies, etc) the General Assembly actually puts funds into RESERVES (aka savings account). Doing that actually does count as “spending”…so get ready, we are going to SPEND the entire $1.8 Billion…..but where will it go?

One area I would like to put much of the NONRECURRING dollars is into more RESERVES for the state. Since the recession of 2008-2009, we have stored away a little more than HALF A BILLION DOLLARS ($500 million) to prepare for a “rainy day”. Why? Because during the recession, we had to make cuts to almost every agency. Those were not good times for the state and I’d prefer to not have to do that again.

I would like to see us put $500 million into reserves THIS YEAR. That would double our “savings account” and would allow us to do like everyone should at home and have money for when the bad times come. Because, they WILL come. As information, the state portion of our budget is roughly $9B each year (there are 2 other pockets of money in the budget – federal and, simply put, fees that make up $18B). So…..even though $1B sounds like a lot of money, it’s roughly 10% of the state budget. Not an exorbitant amount to keep on hand for a rainy day.

If we accomplish what I mention above, there is still $500M in nonrecurring to appropriate and the $800M in recurring funds.

Of course, with this much additional revenue, we should always look at our tax system to help the taxpayers and our business climate. Are we overtaxing or is this more of a result of a booming economy nationally and locally?

Would love your thoughts and advice below or by emailing NathanBallentine@schouse.gov

Update: Blue Granite rate hike request

Happy to report that for the first time in years, the SC Dept of Consumer Affairs will help us ratepayers in this hearing. This opportunity to protect the ratepayers comes amid the fallout from VC Summer (SCE&G) and the SC General Assembly changing the laws to give us protection that we’ve not had in quite some time.

In addition, I’m happy to report that these public hearings will NOT BE DURING WORK HOURS! Rep Huggins and I joined a few members of the community to make the request to have hearings at a time more convenient to most people in the community.

The closet hearing for us will be THURSDAY, JANUARY 30TH, 6:00 PM, AT THE IRMO MUNICIPAL BUILDING ON WOODROW STREET. For more information see November story from WIS along with recent notification I received about these hearings below that!

***

From WIS weeks ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs has petitioned to intervene in a request to raise utility rates.

The request was filed by the Blue Granite Water Company with the Public Service Commission.

The company serves dozens of neighborhoods in Richland, Lexington, and York counties.

If approved, the increase could raise customer’s rates up to 56%.

In the application for proposed increases, customer’s water rates could increase up to 45% and sewer rates up to 56%.

Here to help – contact information State and Local

The House and Senate return for the 2nd regular session of the 123rd General Assembly and I want to be sure you know how to contact me when needed.

Nathan’s News readers noticed a new name in my office last month. After months of having a college student juggle school and supporting 4 House members, we now have June Cornelius in the office. June should be in the office 3 days a week (Tues, Wed, Thu) until we adjourn for the session (May? June?)

Realize, even though June is there most the day, our members have “paying jobs” and once we adjourn from floor debate and committee meetings we are usually back making a living in our profession.

Legislative Aide: June Cornelius (803) 734-2969 or JuneCornelius@schouse.gov

My email: NathanBallentine@schouse.gov or Click here

*NOTE: When you email using schouse.gov above, you will receive an automatic reply which lets you know to resend email (and remember going forward) to list CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can respond more quickly to your request/suggestion/advice. We receive thousands of emails during the year and this is one way years ago I realized would help assure I didn’t overlook an email from someone in our community!

The General Assembly website (where you can search and track bills, see meeting dates/times, even watch session and some committee meetings live) is www.scstatehouse.gov

While my office can be your “one stop shop”, you may want to reach out directly to these individuals on non-state related matters:

School District: Website and/or 476-8000

Richland County: Our local county councilman is Bill Malinowski

Lexington County: Our local county councilwoman is Erin Long Bergeson

Town of Irmo: Website and/or 781-7050

Town of Chapin: Website

City of Columbia: Website

If you contact any of the above and do not get a response, please let me know and I will reach out on your behalf to that group.

It’s an honor and privilege for me to again serve you in Columbia! Thank you!

The Griffin coming July 17th

Columbia chef/restaurateur/butcher Henry Griffin is launching his latest concept, a wood-fire pizza pub and grill in Chapin.

Taking his surname, the new venture is called The Griffin and slated for a July 17 opening in a new retail center in the suburb.

“Chapin is one of the fastest growing parts of the metropolis part of Columbia,” Griffin tells Free Times. “There’s higher income, they’re building more homes, there’s not a lot of places to eat.”

Griffin emphasizes that the restaurant will be his first new concept. He’s having a hand in almost every facet, from the layout to the design.

Griffin plans to offer up a host of to-be-expected options from a pizza pub and grill in Carolina — four to five wood-fired pizzas (mushroom, sausage, margherita, etc.) barbecue, smoked chicken wings and more bar grub. In a hyper-local touch, he plans to source his meat through his other business, The Royal Butcher in Lexington.

The restaurant will feature an open kitchen concept and seat roughly 70 in its 3,000-square-foot interior, along with more seating on its similarly sized, year-round outdoor patio. Griffin plans to serve 10 to 15 beers on tap along with liquor and wine.

To read the rest of the article, click here .

New information on Lowman Home Abandonment request