The Weekly Rewind – February 15th


It’s good to be home!

After session ended last Thursday, I headed out on another mission trip with my company, Movement Mortgage. Partnering with International Cooperating Ministries, the Movement Foundation has more than 30 churches currently being built in Guatemala. Spending time in Central America again and visiting these villages and people, I was able to gain more perspective on many things – mainly, how fortunate we are here in Chapin and Irmo. Also, I’m reminded of just how blessed I am in many ways – one of those being a public servant for you. Thank you for this awesome privilege to continue to represent you in Columbia. I’m not sure what God’s plan is for me in this role; but I appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given. To whom much is given, much is expected!

This week’s highlights begin with Education.

Representative Huggins and I both met with leaders of the River Springs School Improvement Council to discuss their concerns with the “Education Bill” which is moving through the House. Both the House and Senate are working hard on this issues and it’s good to see both sides of the aisle work to make this comprehensive reform bill the best it can be for our students and teachers.

Presently, I’m not one of the 70+ Cosponsors of the bill. I’m wanting to hear more from our teachers and parents before taking that step. I do like many parts of the bill; but have concerns with others. Ultimately, I lean in favor of supporting the bill with the hope that we can amend on the floor to improve or correct some areas of concern. A few items that I’d like to clarify in the bill are:

-All teachers will get a raise. The base starting teacher pay will increase to $35,000. All other teachers will receive a raise that will bring them above the Southeastern average with a goal of moving teacher pay to the national average within 5 years.

-The Zero-to-Twenty Committee is not another oversight committee. It will consist of a unique group of individuals – not bureaucrats – who will monitor our education system from pre-kindergarten to post-graduation and make suggestions to the General Assembly on how to improve the education-to-workforce pipeline.

-This bill will eliminate 4 of the 6 mandated state assessment test…giving teachers more time for classroom instruction. We will eliminate the 8th grade science test, the 5th and the 7th grade social studies tests, and the U.S. History end-of-course test. Doing away with these tests will save an estimated $3.1 million and allow more time for classroom instruction.

-This bill allows the elected State Superintendent of Education to remove a principal or teacher as a last resort if, after intensive assistance, a school has chronically underperformed for 3 of the last 4 years. Any teacher or principal can be hired back at the discretion of the State Superintendent of Education.

Education Reform Meeting

Over 1,000 teachers, students and other members of the public had the opportunity to give their input on H. 3759 during the K-12 subcommittee meeting on Tuesday night. The subcommittee, and many other Representatives not on the Education Committee, stayed for the entire 5-hour meeting to listen to feedback on different components of the bill. Right now, there are eighty bipartisan cosponsors on the legislation, each of whom are dedicated to providing students with a quality education that prepares them with the skills they need to succeed.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would change the way civil forfeiture cases are handled. Right now, law enforcement can seize property from residents, sometimes without charging or convicting them of a crime, and then profit from the proceeds. H. 3968 ensures that no person can lose their property unless they are convicted of a crime.

Tucker Hipps Transparency Act

The House passed H. 3398 on Wednesday to make the Tucker Hipps Transparency Act permanent. This law requires public institutions of higher education to maintain a report of student misconduct investigations related to fraternity and sorority organizations.

DUI Driving Law

In an effort to crack down on drunk driving, the House passed a bill that will end a loophole in our current DUI law that allows those charged with drunk driving to get back on the road within days of their arrest. H. 3312 would force DUI offenders to have ignition-interlock devices (breathalyzers) in order to start the engine of their cars. The proposed law unanimously passed second reading and is supported by Governor McMaster and Attorney General Alan Wilson.

The Budget

This week Representative Huggins and I will be busy finalizing the House version of the state budget. This is my second term on the budget committee (Ways and Means) and it’s an awesome responsibility to prioritize and invest your tax dollars each year. Once we pass the budget through the committee, it will head to the House floor for all to debate beginning Monday, March 11th.

Those are just some of the highlights from this week. If you don’t see legislation important to you listed above, please reach out to me so I can provide an update for you.

If you have suggestions or ideas on how to improve our state, please pass those along as well. This week, a Chapin High student came to visit and share his ideas for a 4 day school week. Did you know at least 1 district in 25 states currently operate using a 4 day school week? It’s certainly an interesting concept and one that this young man had done his research. I’m open to hearing any ideas you have. Who knows, maybe together we can change things for the better! This is exactly how you’ve helped me provide more transparency at the State house, helped our Autism children and families, helped our senior citizens, and soon you will have helped me provide more energy options for our state! Keep the ideas coming and let me work for you!

WANTED: Board of Voter Registration and Elections


From the Post and Courier

Gov. McMaster removes elections board in SC’s capital county that missed 1,040 votes
By Andy Shain

Ballentine said he is not surprised McMaster decided to fire all board members

“This all shows the importance of who we place on these boards and commissions,” Ballentine said. “We have not filled these posts with the most qualified people.”

Until a debacle involving the delegation-appointed county Recreation Commission in 2016, the legislative delegation voted on an entire slate of board nominees that came from a special application review committee and could not make changes, Ballentine said.

The 17-member delegation also met just once a year, unlike the Lexington County lawmakers who gather about six times a year, said Ballentine, whose district includes both counties.

“There is no oversight (in Richland),” he said. “We had no idea what these people were doing after they were appointed.”

PREVIOUSLY ON NATHAN’S NEWS: Election Mess , Recreation Mess

The Weekly Rewind – February 8th


February 8, 2019


For more information on any bill listed, click here , and type the bill number under “Quick Search”

The House of Representatives approved and sent the Senate H.3420, legislation PREVENTING YOUTH ACCESS TO VAPING, CIGARETTES, AND OTHER TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS. The bill updates the “Youth Access to Tobacco Prevention Act of 2006” to prohibit minors under the age of eighteen from entering retail establishments that primarily sell tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or both, unless the minor is actively supervised and accompanied by an adult. The legislation provides for a more expansive definition of “alternative nicotine product” that specifically includes vaping. The legislation revises the restrictions governing Internet commerce and other remote sales to provide for the use of a method of mailing, shipping, or delivery that requires the signature of a person at least eighteen years of age before a tobacco product or alternative nicotine product will be released to the purchaser, unless the remote seller employs certain alternative protections to ensure age verification. The legislation requires every local school district in the state to adopt, implement, and enforce a written policy prohibiting at all times the use of any tobacco product or alternative nicotine product by any person in school buildings, in school facilities, on school campuses, and in or on any other school property owned or operated by the local school administrative unit. The policy also must prohibit the use of any tobacco product or alternative nicotine product by anyone attending an off-site school sponsored event when in the presence of students or school personnel.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3849, a joint resolution to provide a GRACE PERIOD ON THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NEW CIGARETTE STAMP TAX REQUIREMENTS, running through October 1, 2019, to afford sellers additional time to deplete their remaining inventories of unstamped packages of cigarettes.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3595. The legislation revises the INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIP FUND TAX CREDIT to provide that the maximum annual amount is two hundred fifty thousand dollars for a single taxpayer, not to exceed an aggregate credit of nine million dollars for all taxpayers. The increased maximum credit amount is phased in under a three-year schedule beginning after 2018.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3035, a bill revising POLL WORKER QUALIFICATIONS to allow for a more expansive pool of eligible workers. The legislation allows someone who is registered as a voter in South Carolina to serve as a poll worker anywhere in the state, replacing more restrictive provisions that require poll workers to reside in the area where the primary or election is being held. The legislation implements recommendations from the House Legislative Oversight Committee’s review of the State Election Commission.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.3127, a joint resolution establishing a temporary MOLD ABATEMENT AND REMEDIATION STUDY COMMITTEE to examine the health effects of mold in South Carolina’s public buildings, with a focus on children in public schools, and to ascertain the best methods for mold abatement and the prevention of future growth. The study committee, comprised of three Senators appointed by the President of the Senate and three House Members appointed by the Speaker of the House, is charged with making a report to the General Assembly by December 31, 2019, at which time the study committee shall dissolve.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3585, relating to INSURANCE LAW REVISIONS. The bill provides for various technical changes, updates, and clean-up provisions for the laws governing insurance and regulation by the Department of Insurance.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3587, a bill addressing INSURER CORPORATE GOVERNANCE DISCLOSURES. In keeping with the guidelines of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the legislation establishes requirements for insurers and insurance groups to submit an annual disclosure to the Department of Insurance that summarizes their corporate governance structure, policies, and practices.

The House amended and gave second reading approval to H.3700, 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 90 degree angle from the ends of existing erosion control structures or devices that are consistent in height 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 amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3698, legislation revising permit review by the Department of Health and Environmental Control under the STATE COASTAL MANAGEMENT PLAN. The legislation provides that, for individual navigable waters permits for docks located in the eight coastal counties but outside of critical areas, a coastal zone consistency certification is deemed approved if certification review is not completed within thirty days of an administratively complete application.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3483, a bill that eliminates the sunset date of March 2021 for the provisions requiring CERTAIN COAL COMBUSTION RESIDUALS BE PLACED IN A CLASS 3 LANDFILL.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3644, a bill that provides for a label requirement for AMERICAN INDIAN ART UTILIZING WILD TURKEY FEATHERS and certain other wild turkey parts. The legislation provides that the artist must affix a label to the product or provide accompanying documentation with the artist’s name and the following: “American Indian Art Resale of this Product in its Unaltered Original Condition is Lawful in South Carolina”.

The House approved S.228, legislation CREATING THE TRI COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE ENTERPRISE CAMPUS AUTHORITY, and enrolled the bill for ratification.

Be back soon!

Tomorrow, after introducing the AAAAA Chapin Cheerleaders again on the House floor, I will leave for another mission trip through my company, Movement Mortgage.

It’s truly been an incredible blessing to go on these missions and it really helps bring back perspective to my family, work, and life in general.

For the record, I will miss session next Tuesday. Something potential opponents will no doubt try to make issue with; but – trust me, we won’t be doing much Tuesday – I wouldn’t trade the time away serving others in 3rd world countries for what is probably 2 hours of introductions and local legislation or resolutions being read across the desk.

UPDATED: I was correct about Tuesday. There were 10 votes – all of them being unanimously passed.

Irmo Chamber of Commerce 2019 Gala

The Annual Greater Irmo Chamber Awards Night and Gala will be held on Friday, March 1, 2019. This year, the Doubletree By Hilton will host us at their newly renovated facility and it will be a glamorous evening of fun for all including cocktails, dinner, dancing and casino-style entertainment! We’ll also have a brief awards presentation to recognize those businesses and individuals who have supported the Greater Irmo Chamber this year! Black Tie Optional. Special thanks to Shaw Industries for being our presenting sponsor this year!!

For more information or to register, click here .

To vote for awards, click here !

Adopt a Highway – Marina Road

From the Ballentine Civic Association

Saturday, February 9th – 9:00 am – Marina Road Adopt-A-Highway – for anyone who is available on Saturday morning – please meet at 9:00 at the First Citizens Bank on Rt. 76 and Marina Road. If you have safety vests or pickers, please bring them or some will be available from the group leaders. Old gloves are also a good idea.

The Weekly Rewind – February 1st


February 1, 2019


For more information on any bill listed, click here , and type the bill number under “Quick Search”

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3137, a bill making REVISIONS TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUND. The legislation discontinues the retrospective approach for funding political subdivisions that is tied to the previous year’s revenues and, beginning with Fiscal Year 2019 2020, implements prospective budgeting that draws upon state revenue forecasts. The funding requirement for the Local Government Fund, set at 4.5% of the previous year’s state general fund revenues, is replaced with new funding requirements structured to deliver a revenue stream to counties and municipalities that is adjusted according to whether the state is projected to experience revenue growth. Under the revisions, when state general fund revenue is projected to increase, Local Government Fund appropriations must be increased by the same percentage as the growth estimate, up to a cap of 5%. When the state experiences revenue shortfalls, the Local Government Fund must share in the necessary mid-year budget cuts ordered for agencies and other state government functions to avoid a deficit.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3136, a bill EXPANDING THE EXCEPTIONAL SC PROGRAM which allows income tax credits for donations to a fund that is used to grant scholarships to independent schools for exceptional needs children with disabilities or acute or chronic conditions that significantly impede the ability to learn and succeed in school without specialized instruction, support, and services tailored to the child’s unique needs. The cumulative maximum annual amount of the tax credit is increased from $12 million to $20 million for contributions to the Educational Credit for Exceptional Needs Children’s Fund and provisions are included to guarantee scholarships for exceptional needs children of South Carolina’s military families. The cumulative maximum for the annual credit is increased by an amount necessary to award a scholarship to any desirous exceptional needs child of a member of the armed forces of the United States who is either on active duty or who was killed in the line of duty.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3135, the “WORKFORCE ENHANCEMENT AND MILITARY RECOGNITION ACT”. The legislation removes the maximum amounts that currently determine what portion of an individual’s military retirement benefits may be deducted each year in South Carolina income taxes, allowing for the deduction of all military retirement income for those who are at least sixty-five years old beginning in 2021.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3576, a bill creating the SOUTH CAROLINA WORKFORCE INDUSTRY NEEDS SCHOLARSHIP (SC WINS) to cover the full cost of a technical college education that equips a student for a career in sector experiencing a high demand for qualified employees. The legislation makes provisions allowing a student who is attending a two year public technical college and is majoring in an identified critical workforce area program and who is receiving a Lottery Tuition Assistance Program Scholarship (LTAP) for the current school year, to receive an additional South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship (SC WINS). The SC WINS scholarship is equal to the cost of attendance, after applying all other scholarships or grants, not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars each school year for no more than three school years of instruction, including the student’s freshman year. A three hundred dollar yearly book allowance is included for a SC WINS recipient.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3369, a bill REPEALING THE PREGNANCY EXCEPTION THAT ALLOWS THE ISSUANCE OF MARRIAGE LICENSES TO MINORS. The legislation eliminates a provision that allows the issuance of marriage licenses to those who are under eighteen years of age when the female is pregnant or has borne a child. While the legislation eliminates this provision, which has allowed some young minors who were several years from attaining the age of eighteen to marry the putative fathers of their children, South Carolina law continues to allow comparatively older minors, aged sixteen and seventeen, to obtain marriage licenses with parental consent.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3472, a bill AUTHORIZING ATTORNEYS GENERAL TO CARRY CONCEALABLE WEAPONS THROUGHOUT SOUTH CAROLINA. The legislation adds the Attorney General and assistant attorneys general to the list of officials who are authorized to carry a concealable weapon anywhere within this state, when carrying out the duties of their office.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3411, a bill authorizing the Department of Revenue to implement INTERNET FILING AND INDEXING OF TAX LIENS for public inspection online. Replacing the existing system of filing tax liens with county clerks of court, the legislation allows the Department of Revenue to implement a centralized system of filing and indexing liens which is accessible to the public over the Internet or through other means.

The House amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.3446, a bill providing AUTHORIZATION FOR HOUSE AND SENATE ETHICS COMMITTEES TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS and subpoenas duces tecum to financial institutions and state and local government in order to further their investigations of campaign accounts.

HOUSE RULES CHANGES were approved through the adoption of three resolutions.

House Resolution H.3741 was adopted to establish a new protocol for the distribution of gifts to members of the House of Representatives. Under the revised rules, gifts intended for members of the House of Representatives, whether individually or collectively as a body, may not be delivered to the House chamber in the Capitol for distribution or placement on members’ desks. A gift may be delivered to the members’ offices so long as the value of the gift is below the twenty-five dollar limit that is set in reporting requirements of the Ethics, Government Accountability, and Campaign Reform Act. The giver is presumed to be under penalty of perjury that gifts do not exceed the value thresholds of the Ethics Act that would require them to be reported on a member’s Statement of Economic Interests. Those who wish to provide a gift that is valuable enough to require inclusion on a Statement of Economic Interests must announce the intended gift through correspondence delivered to the offices of the members of the House and must submit a statement of value to the House Ethics Committee. House members have the opportunity to opt in to the receipt of these gifts, to be delivered to their offices, by notifying the giver in writing within seven days of receiving the correspondence.

House Resolution H.3742 was adopted to establish a procedure that allows House members to remove their names from House Resolutions or Concurrent Resolutions after the entire roll of the House has been added to the resolution by unanimous consent. This new procedure allows House members to remove their names from these resolutions by submitting a form to the Clerk of the House by noon on the following legislative day. After this deadline has passed, House members who were not present when the roll of the House was added by unanimous consent to a House or Concurrent Resolution are permitted to add a brief written statement in the House Journal indicating that, had they been present in the chamber, they would not have voted in favor of the resolution.

House Resolution H.3744 was adopted to clarify that the Speaker of the House, as the body’s Chief Administrative Officer, is authorized to initiate or otherwise participate in litigation on behalf of the House of Representatives even when the General Assembly is not in session.

Education Reform Plan proposed by House Speaker

Very interested in your thoughts on this. Obviously, in an 84 page bill there will be many things to like and probably some things to not like. Teachers, students, parents – I would love your input. Over the next several weeks, I’ll be meeting with groups and others to hear from you. As always, please give me your honest, informed feedback!


Almost a year after hundreds of S.C. public-school teachers rallied outside the State House calling for higher wages, the General Assembly could be poised to spend $270 million to raise teacher pay.

Lawmakers also could force consolidation of at least eight of the state’s 81 poor, rural school districts that have less than 1,000 students each, eliminate three state-mandated tests and give lottery scholarships to students pursuing certificates to work in industry.

Powerful S.C. House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, rolled out his much-anticipated 84-page education reform proposal Thursday, including raising the pay of new teachers to $35,000 a year — up from $32,000 — and spending millions more to raise teacher salaries.

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who supports Lucas’ plan, has asked lawmakers to spend nearly $155 million in the state’s budget that starts July 1 to raise teacher pay by 5 percent, an increase supported by the S.C. Department of Education and the state’s two teachers groups.

Read more….

Download The State House App on your phone!

In the years I’ve been in office, I’ve been impressed with how more open and transparent the process has become. Whether it as my fight for On the Record Voting or the many improvements our Legislative Services Group has made, 2019 is much better for open government than 2005. It started several years ago with a new and improved website to allow citizens much more access. Since then, more “bells and whistles” have been added.

Now it’s easier to know what’s happening at the South Carolina State House.

Download the app now and:

Follow Committees, Members & Meetings
Follow Bills and get Notification Alerts
Access Calendars and Journals
View Live Stream Videos and Agendas
And more…

The Weekly Rewind – January 25th


Working closely with Gov. Henry McMaster, leaders in the House and Senate promised to be bold this legislative session, and this week showed just how serious we are. It should be apparent that the overarching themes of this session will be education and tax reform.

Wednesday, the Governor devoted almost one-third of his entire State of the State speech to the need to find solutions to our outdated education system. On top of that, House Speaker Jay Lucas released a comprehensive education reform package. I will be posting a link to these bills on my website ( for all to see. I also plan to share with our local school board and Superintendent at our annual breakfast this week. I’m interested in hearing from all sides before signing on to these bills. While much of the focus has been on our teachers (rightfully so), there needs to be a focus on the student as well. Please take time to review these bills and share your input.

One of the key parts of this comprehensive education reform package is legislation (H.3759 which is 84 pages long) that tackles the fundamental changes we need to make to modernize our education system.

That bill, introduced on Thursday morning, includes a Student Bill of Rights that ensures every student has highly qualified teachers, excellent principal leadership and a system that puts the student’s successes first. I am committed to doing what is best for the next generation and it’s past time to imrpove the way we educate our students into the 21st century.

Additional highlights from the bill:

– Making sure third graders are promoted to the next grade level with the ability to read by revising definitions and exemptions in the 2014 Read to Succeed law.
– Requiring school districts with fewer than 1,000 students to consolidate with neighboring districts to share resources and save money.
– Dissolving school districts that have four consecutive years of failing scores.
– Increase the salary of first-year teachers to $35,000 next school year and provide an across the board 9% pay raise for all teachers over the next two years.
– Improving communication efforts from pre-school through college by creating a Zero to 20 Committee that is overseen by the Governor.
– Eliminating three end-of-year standardized tests in elementary schools.
– Requiring high school students to pass an admissions test before entering a technical college to ensure they are prepared for the next level of education.
– Requiring school boards to adopt ethics policies and training.

This particular bill focuses on policy, but more education reform bills are still to come. H.3759 is expected to be debated on the House floor in March so please share your thought with me before then.

One of my priorities this session is to continue to be a steward of the taxpayer’s dollar and to make sure the tax code is the best it can be for South Carolinians. I am also continuing my push to clean up Columbia by again working for passage of common-sense legislation that, simply put, would stop the gravy train for any official convicted of public corruption. The state should no longer be required to provide these individuals with taxpayer funded health and dental plans – as well as their retirement plans. Would you agree?

Please call me at my State House office (734-2969), my home (732-1861), email me at or connect via Facebook or Twitter. And, of course, stop me out here in Irmo or Chapin anytime you see me and want to offer support or advice!

Check your email box next week for February’s COMMUNITY UPDATE! If you haven’t been receiving these over the past decade, please email me and I’ll add you to the distribution list.