Behind the scenes: State House Office

Do you know where to vote June 14th?

Every 10 years, Congressional/SC House/SC Senate districts change due to population growth (or in some areas, lack of growth).

Be sure you know where you vote in the upcoming Republican and Democrat primaries on June 14th! That link also will show your sample ballot as well! (When page advances, click “View Sample Ballot” at bottom of screen)

Below our the “current House District 71” polling locations (prior to recent map change). NOTE: Some voters who go to the locations below may be in another House district. Those voters would be some located in Friarsgate or Chestnut Hill Plantation.

With recent election law changes, you can now vote early (with no excuse) in two ways: Absentee Ballot or In Person at Ballentine Community Center (1053 Bird Road).

Absentee Voting: A voter can request an absentee APPLICATION from the county by PHONE, MAIL, or IN PERSON. Once the voter returns the APPLICATION, the county will MAIL a ballot. The ballot can then be mailed or delivered in person.

Early Voting at Ballentine Community Center: Starting Tuesday, June 3rd from 8:30-5pm, you may vote IN PERSON there, regardless where you normally vote. This location will be open Tues, Wed, Thu, Friday and then Monday the 9th, closing Tuesday 10th at 5pm

AGAIN, I ENCOURAGE YOU TO SEE YOUR SAMPLE BALLOT BEFORE YOU GO TO THE POLLS! YOU CAN CLICK HERE, PROVIDE YOUR INFO, THEN ON NEXT SCREEN CLICK “VIEW SAMPLE BALLOT” (DOWN AT BOTTOM OF SCREEN). THIS IS HOW YOU WILL KNOW WHO YOU WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE FOR ON JUNE 14TH!

Reminder, voters must choose to vote in either the Republican or the Democrat primary.

Friarsgate Park – Safety Concern Update

I’ve had calls this week regarding Friarsgate Park (specifically Irmo Little League) and wanted to provide an update. The email above is from the interim director of the Richland County Recreation Commission.

Moments ago, I spoke with Commissioner Ashley Miller (who lives in our community) and she informed me she was able to get 12 people from the Commission onsite today at Friarsgate Park and that they are looking into options to help finish games and complete the upcoming tournaments.

Some options are:

* Contacting other parks in the area (St Andrews? Seven Oaks?) about using their facilities
* Turning off power and being sure there is a “lock box” so no one can turn power on. This would mean no evening games.
* Repairing the “wire situation”. Not sure how long that would take with bids, etc.

Come back for updates. I will share as soon as I know more about the resolution.

Meet Diana Kambanis: Mrs. Chapin 2022

In March, I introduced you to one of our residents who was chosen as Mrs. Captial City 2022.

Today, meet another constituent competing in the same pageant.

Diana Kambanis, a local Chapin resident and mother to 4 beautiful girls, was recently chosen to represent Chapin, as Mrs. Chapin, in the upcoming Mrs. South Carolina pageant. The pageant is to be held on June 25th at the Newtons Performing Arts Center in North Carolina. Diana loves Chapin and feels very blessed and proud to call it her home. Her four daughters attend Lake Murray Elementary School and Chapin Intermediate School and they are members of Chapin United Methodist Church. She loves gardening, exercising, travelling and spending time with her family.

Diana graduated from law school and worked in the legal field from 2011 to 2021. In 2021, after having undergone various health problems and after having four children, Diana realized what a need there is for advocates in women’s health, and so she decided to change over to nursing. She is currently studying nursing and hopes to one day become a midwife and provide health care to women who do not have access to the health care services that they need.

Diana hopes to win the Mrs. South Carolina pageant and to go on and compete in the Mrs. America pageant. She would love to use this pageant as a platform to reach women in need of support and care, whether it be mentally or physically.

If you have a charity or event that you would like Diana to get involved with, please feel free to contact her via email at dianakambanis@gmail.com.

If you or your business would like to sponsor Diana for the upcoming Mrs. South Carolina pageant, it would be greatly appreciated and your donation will allow for your logo and business name to be showcased in the program book and on social media. Please contact and follow Diana at her Facebook page @Diana Kambanis – Mrs. Chapin 2022.

House Floor: Rep. Chip Huggins says goodbye!

D5: Virtual Bond Referendum Lunch & Learn

School District Five to host Virtual Bond Referendum Lunch and Learn

IRMO – School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties is offering a Virtual Community Lunch and Learn to present updated information and receive input about the proposed bond referendum. Superintendent Dr. Akil E. Ross, Sr., will present the options to be considered by the Board of Trustees and will answer questions from attendees. The event will be held Tuesday, May 17 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Members of the public may submit live questions during the event and can email questions for consideration before the event to communications@lexrich5.org.

Attendees must register for the Lunch and Learn. To register please visit https://bit.ly/D5BondUpdate

Chapin Farmers Market is open again!

Second Saturdays in Chapin are the best time to visit our community. The Chapin Downtown Farmer’s Market begins on May 14.

Railroad Crossing repair: Rauch Metz Road


Spoke with DOT officials today and they informed me work should be completed by 6pm Tuesday.

This road (Exit 97) is very widely used in the area, so I appreciate your patience.

Lots of improvements in our community so there will be some “growing pains” as SCDOT works to ultimately improve our wait times getting to and from work/schools/ballfields/etc.

The Weekly Rewind: Week of May 2nd

House Floor Review
May 5, 2022

By the time you read this update (Thursday, May12), the SC House will have adjourned Sine Die, or the end of the 2021-2022 regular Legislative Session. There is work still left to complete and so we will come back to Columbia in the coming weeks and into the summer.

The Budget

First and foremost, we have the finalization of the budget process to look forward to. Weeks ago, we passed our House version of the budget which focused on the 4 R’s: Reserves, Raises, Relief, and Roads. The Senate has come up with its own version of the budget which is drastically different from ours. These differences will be reconciled over the summer to ensure that we have an appropriate budget that properly serves the people of South Carolina by our deadline of July 1.

If you haven’t seen the news headlines, last week week was marked by the Compassionate Care Act legislation, otherwise known as the medical marijuana bill , on the House Floor. A point of order was raised by an Upstate Representative based on a House Rule and the State Constitution. Our Constitution requires any measure that raises or creates a tax to originate in the chamber closest to the people – the House. Since this was a Senate bill and contained a tax, the Presiding Officer was obligated to rule it out of order as he did. There was an appeal and House members voted on that appeal. Narrowly, the appeal was denied as the majority of my colleagues understood the significance of following our constitution and the duties of both House and Senate. While I voted against the appeal (meaning I voted to uphold the ruling the bill was out of order), I was disappointed we did not get the debate we were looking to have. Many of you continue to let me know your support of the bill, and I agree with you. Years ago, I would have been against it; but as I learned more, researched more, and listened more, I came to the conclusion I would support the bill. I expect a House member will file a similar bill next year that won’t be ruled out of order, and we will finally get a debate in the House and a vote.

Restructuring DHEC

As your Representative, one of my goals is to make government and its agencies run more efficiently. My committee (House Ways and Means) met last Thursday to discuss a bill that, done right, will do just that by breaking up the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Senate 2 is a bill that will (as of July 1, 2024) break DHEC into:
the Department of Behavioral and Public Health (which will be the public health arm of the current DHEC) and,
the Department of Environmental Services (which will be the environmental side of current DHEC)
The Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services will be operating as usual until the Department of Administration reaches their conclusion on how to incorporate these departments, and the General Assembly votes on it. This legislation passed out of House Ways and Means and I suspect by the time you read this column, will have passed the full House.

Cutting Taxes in SC
During this year’s session, the House passed an impressive state income tax overhaul that restructured our state’s convoluted and outdated tax bracket system. It provides significant relief to almost all taxpayers with a focus on relief for the working middle-class people. Once fully phased in, this plan will cut over $1 billion in taxes for South Carolina taxpayers and exempts all military retirement from taxable income.

S. 1087 was the Senate’s response to our tax plan. When comparing the House and Senate plans, our plan saves more money for more South Carolinians. That is what matters.We are not focused on just bringing down the top tax rate, but rather, we are focused on collapsing the middle rates to help hard-working middle-class people – where most South Carolinains find themselves. This is why during a meeting of the full House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, the committee voted to strike the Senate language and insert our tax plan, sending it to the Floor for a vote. I believe the House will approve our plan again and we will have a conference committee in the coming weeks to iron out the details of a plan both chambers can approve.

I look forward to getting the chance to support this legislation, which will significantly lower state income taxes for the majority of South Carolinians.

Since we are now out of regular session, I will start campaigning to earn your support again to return to Columbia for another term. With Representative Huggins (House District 85) retiring, I’m more determined than ever to assure we maintain my experience in office to continue to guide you and your families through issues with state agencies or to improving our quality of life. I also look forward to working with the winning candidate to replace Rep Huggins next year. As you know, I never endorse locally – so be sure you educate yourself on the candidates offering to serve you and our community here in Chapin and Irmo.

Our large signs are out at business supporters and soon you will see the individual yard signs popping up in your neighborhood. If you would like to show your support of People, Not Politics – please let me know and I will personally deliver a sign to you.

Thank you for the honor and privilege to serve you in Columbia in House District 71! Please call my office 803-734-2969 or home 803-834-4613 anytime. You can also email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov. Please put CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can more quickly return your email.

Large signs going up!

Wanted to thank a few of the local businesses that are again supporting my re-election campaign by having large 4×8 signs on site for the next 6 weeks. These businesses are all located within House District 71 and I’m honored to represent them in Columbia!

In the past, I’ve received the endorsement of one of the largest small business advocacy groups in the country. I understand what these businesses and individuals face on a daily basis. NFIB is the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since their founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses, and remains so today.

Beckham’s Barn
Cassell Brothers
Heritage Fields Farm
Marine 360
Silver Fox Grill
Stanick Sheet Metal and Roofing
Stow-Away Storage

In the weeks ahead you’ll see more businesses displaying their support with large signs and yard signs.

I’ll also be personally delivering yard signs to the more than 200 families that have let me know they will proudly support our campaign and my re-election.

The election is June 14th and once our legislative session ends later this month, I’ll be ramping up the campaign activities. For now, I’m focused on doing the job you have elected me to do!