Yard Signs!

The June 12th Republican Primary is just a month away!

With your continued help, we will be able to keep fighting for the issues that matter to this community.

I have fought to protect our schools by supporting more school resource officers in this district, I have fought to support more energy related jobs after the VC Summer Nuclear Plant shutdown. I am proud of my work as Co-Chair of the SC Energy Caucus and as a conservative leader on the House Ways and Means Committee.

With session ending yesterday, our campaign is gearing up and you’ll soon see yards signs in every neighborhood and many rural parts of our community! (Don’t worry, I’m cheap. I’ll come back after the June 12th election and pick the sign up for you. I don’t like seeing clutter around town.)

This week I have one favor to ask:

Will you please let me know I can place a sign in your yard? (Please send me your address – in case you’ve moved!) I will personally deliver your sign in the next two weeks and I will be happy to come back after the June 12th Republican primary and pick it up as well.

Whatever you can do to help is always greatly appreciated!

We have two, hard working opponents this time and; trust me, I will never take this House seat for granted. However, with your help, I am confident our conservative common sense agenda will not be defeated!

Thank you once again for all that you do to make this the best community to live in the state!

Nathan

District Teacher of the Year & Support Employee of the Year

From the District’s website

IRMO – Lexington-Richland School District Five announced its new Teacher of the Year and Support Employee of the Year during a May 9 ceremony.

Ali Hendrick, a Dutch Fork High School social studies teacher, was named District Five’s 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year during the district’s Employee Recognition Program. Barrett Isbell, digital information specialist at the District Office, was named Support Employee of the Year. The district also recognized retirees during the event.

District Five Superintendent Dr. Stephen Hefner said, “District Five is great because of the many caring and talented teachers and support staff we have in our schools, and Ms. Hendrick and Mr. Isbell represent the best of the best in our district. We congratulate them, and we thank our retirees for their hard work, dedication, and commitment over the years.”

Hendrick has served at Dutch Fork High School since August 2012. She received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of South Carolina’s Honors College and has a master’s degree in teaching from the university. Prior to becoming a teacher at Dutch Fork High, Hendrick taught social studies at Mid-Carolina High School.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to represent District Five,” Hendrick said. “Teachers in this district work hard every day to make sure our students are successful and I am so blessed to have the privilege to represent them. This community raised me, and I am truly humbled and honored by this recognition.”

Isbell has been with School District Five for five years. He received a bachelor’s degree in mass media communications from Anderson University. One of Isbell’s many duties with the district’s office of communications includes managing websites for schools and the district. He also assists with district training videos, stakeholder presentations and other communications tasks.

“It is such an honor to not only represent the District Office, but the whole district as Support Employee of the Year,” Isbell said “I’m very humbled that my peers think so highly of me and see this as validation of the work I do each day. We have a great district, and to represent all of our support employees is such a blessing.”

2 of Top 10 High Schools in South Carolina!

Scrolling through Twitter today, I came across that tweet above from Spring Hill High.

Turns out, not only is Spring Hill listed as the #3 high school in our state (by US News and World Reports) but also Chapin is in the Top 10 being ranked the #6 high school in South Carolina!

As our soon-to-be Superintentdent Dr. Christina Melton always says, that’s another reason to have #PrideIn5!

The Weekly Rewind – May 4th

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HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
May 4, 2018

The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H.3826 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation draws upon the work of the special House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that was appointed by the Speaker of the House to examine the growing misuse of prescription painkillers and recommend legislative actions to counter the epidemic of ruinous addiction and fatal overdoses. The legislation requires a written prescription for any Schedule II, III, IV, and V controlled substance to be written on a TAMPER-RESISTANT PRESCRIPTION PAD that meets the counterfeit-resistant standards required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for prescriptions. Prescription orders transmitted by facsimile, orally, or electronically are exempt from the tamper-resistant prescription pad requirement. The tamper-resistant prescription pad requirements do not apply to refill prescriptions of an original written prescription that was issued before the effective date of this act. A pharmacy may fill a prescription written on a non-tamper-resistant pad on an emergency basis as long as the pharmacy receives a verbal, facsimile, electronic, or compliant written prescription from the prescriber within seventy two hours after the date on which the prescription was filled.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4705, a bill ENHANCING REQUIREMENTS FOR MANDATORY REPORTING OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation expands the category of those who are required to report suspected child abuse and neglect by adding clerical or nonclerical religious counselor who charges for services. The legislation specifies that mandatory reporters must make their reports of suspected child abuse and neglect to law enforcement agencies and cannot satisfy their legal duties simply by making reports to their supervisors. The duty to report is not superseded by an internal investigation within an institution, school, facility, or agency.

The House approved to S.27, a bill making provisions for the APPOINTMENT OF THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION BY THE GOVERNOR with the advice and consent of the Senate, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. Under the provisions of the legislation, the State Superintendent of Education is no longer to be elected through a statewide vote and is, instead, to be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve at the Governor’s pleasure. Qualifications are established for the office of State Superintendent relating to educational attainment and professional experience. Compensation for the position is to be set by the Agency Head Salary Commission. A procedure is established for filling a vacancy in this office.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.4950, the FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL to return the proposed state government budget, for the most part, to the version approved by the House earlier this year, with notable exceptions.

$15 million is provided from the Education Lottery for School Safety Facility and Infrastructure Safety Upgrades.

In order to assist state and local agencies and departments that are experiencing difficulties in hiring needed personnel, earnings limitations are eliminated in the South Carolina Retirement System and the Police Officers Retirement System for the fiscal year as a means of encouraging retirees in these systems to return to work as school resource officers, classroom teachers, correctional officers, and other crucial positions. Those who retired on or before December 31, 2017, are eligible.

$8 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the Department of Corrections for critical security upgrades in the state’s prisons including the installation of window frames and glazing and new door locks for inmate cells.

$54 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the State Law Enforcement Division for the construction of a new Forensic Laboratory Building.

The Public Service Commission is afforded additional time to make a decision on whether the Base Load Review Act has been properly used to finance the failed nuclear power project in Fairfield County by providing for a PSC hearing on the matter no earlier than November 1, 2018, and requiring a PSC ruling by December 21, 2018.

The legislation revises provisions for solar power and other distributed energy resources and net-metering provisions for the electrical power they generate which were approved by the General Assembly in Act 236 of 2014 to promote the establishment of a reliable, efficient, and diversified portfolio of distributed energy resources for the state. The legislation increases the cap on placed on solar power generation and other distributed energy resources, currently set at 2%, to 4% of the previous five year average of the electrical utility’s South Carolina retail peak demand. The legislation discontinues existing arrangements where all of an electrical utility’s customers are subsidizing solar power programs, regardless of whether they are participating in the programs, by providing that nonparticipants in net energy metering programs are not required to subsidize the costs of customer generators. A “Renewable Energy Development Joint Study Committee” is created to make recommendations to lawmakers to support the development of renewable energy resources and production facilities to generate electricity.

The Public Service Commission is directed to require public utilities to implement any reasonably achievable cost savings that may be achieved from such resources as renewable power generation.

The Department of Health and Human Services is directed to prepare and submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) such waivers and state plan amendments that are necessary to ensure that no family planning funds may be expended to subsidize abortion clinics and none of the funds appropriated may be paid or granted to an organization that owns or is owned by an abortion clinic. Funds must be held until a decision is made as to whether to grant the waiver. If the waiver is not granted, then all funds must be submitted back to CMS.

The legislation includes provisions enhancing South Carolina’s laws prohibiting sanctuary cities that disallow the adoption of ordinances and policies by municipalities and other local governments to prohibit, restrict, or interfere with the enforcement of immigration laws. The legislation authorizes the Attorney General, in addition to a resident of a political subdivision, to bring a civil action in the circuit court against a political subdivision that adopts ordinances or policies to restrict law enforcement officers, local officials, or local government employees from enforcing immigration provisions, limit communications with federal or state officials regarding someone’s immigration status, or establish work authorization provisions that conflict with federal or state law. If a court finds that a political subdivision has violated provisions that prohibit interference with the enforcement of immigration laws, the political subdivision is not allowed to receive Local Government Fund appropriations.

$350 thousand is provided from the Education Lottery for a Military Connected Children Program to ease the transition into public schools for students of military families assigned to bases in South Carolina.

A definition of anti-Semitism derived from the U.S. State Department is provided for South Carolina’s public colleges and universities to use when reviewing, investigating, or deciding whether there has been a violation of a college or university policy prohibiting discriminatory practices on the basis of religion.

$5 million in excess debt service funding is provided to the State Ports Authority for Jasper Ocean Terminal Port Permitting.

A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences between the House and Senate on to H.4950, the FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5341, a bill CONFORMING SOUTH CAROLINA’S INCOME TAX PROVISIONS TO FEDERAL INCOME TAX PROVISIONS and making accommodations for the federal tax changes that were enacted by Congress in December 2017 so that these changes at the federal level will not result in increased tax collection at the state level. The legislation continues the practice of conforming state tax provisions to federal provisions to simplify tax preparation, but retains, at the state level, an array of deductions that were eliminated in the federal tax changes of 2017 so that South Carolina taxpayers may still take advantage of these deductions for state income tax purposes. [Read more…]

You heard about the utilities’ first attack on solar. Do you know about their second?

Over the past several years, I’ve learned about about solar energy – ever since the General Assembly unanimously passed Act 236 back in 2014. With the failure of SCEG/Santee Cooper to successfully manage the VC Summer Project and get that completed, this past year I’ve spent more time looking into solutions. The utilities have fought me, my colleagues and simply put – YOU – every step of the way. They did it again last week! I wrote about it below and the piece was shared throughout the state.

Special to The State editorial board
Updated May 01, 2018 11:35 AM
COLUMBIA, SC

By now, you’ve probably heard that Duke Energy and SCE&G launched a surprise attack in the 11th hour against solar energy in the House and killed a pro-jobs, pro-customer solar bill.

What you might not have heard is that killing the solar bill was just one part of Duke and SCE&G’s multi-pronged offensive against clean energy.

On the same day that Duke Energy lobbyists were using underhanded tactics to defeat a bill that already had support of a bipartisan majority of House members, SCE&G’s lawyers were over at the Public Service Commission double-teaming us.

That day, the corporate utility lawyers actually argued with a straight face that there’s not enough sunshine in South Carolina in August to merit paying a fair price for solar. They also said that we don’t need any more energy generation sources in South Carolina, despite saying for 10 years that we needed a 2,200-megawatt nuclear power plant.

So what’s the truth? Do we have sunshine in South Carolina, or don’t we? Do we need 2,200 megawatts of energy, or don’t we?

With its laughable arguments about the lack of sunshine and energy needs, SCE&G convinced the Public Service Commission to set a rock-bottom price for solar power. And now that the commission has agreed with the utilities (as it usually does, because the utilities help get the commissioners elected), the rates will be too low for solar generation to get off the ground.

That’s right. In addition to having a monopoly on electrical service, Duke Energy and SCE&G get to set the price that their would-be competitors charge.

The more I dig into these energy issues and how many perks the utilities get, the more outraged I become. Our government should be working for the ratepayers and for the citizens of South Carolina — not for the utility monopolies. Unfortunately, when I look at what all has happened, I have to ask who is in charge.

Think about it. Duke Energy and SCE&G have a guaranteed monopoly on electrical service. Duke and SCE&G got a risk-free sweetheart deal to build nuclear power plants and put the exorbitant charges on the backs of ratepayers. Duke and SCE&G got a small group of House members to kill a solar bill that would have allowed more competition. Duke and SCE&G get to set the price of solar (the closest thing they have to competition) by simply asking the folks they help put on the PSC to set a rock-bottom price for solar.

Judging from their all-out offensive against solar, Duke Energy and SCE&G must be terrified that the growth of solar might cut into their profits.

Being terrified of losing profits is not a position Duke and SCE&G are used to occupying in South Carolina. They have been quite comfortable for decades, protected from competition of any kind by the mighty shield of their monopoly status and friendly regulators.

But now, the dual threat of cost-effective rooftop solar and solar farms clearly has the high-paid lobbyists, attorneys and CEOs shaking in their expensive suits.

The utilities have had the run of this state for too long, and look at we have to show for it: the highest power bills in the country, two nuclear-plant-sized holes in the ground in Fairfield County, more than 5,000 citizens out of work from the failed nuclear plant and now 3,000 solar workers with their jobs at risk.

The way I see it, we should be doing everything we can to make sure we grow solar. Not only will it create jobs, reduce customer bills and reduce our over-reliance on one energy source, but it will keep the utility bigwigs shaking in their suits and worried about profits.

There is still time to move solar forward this legislative session. There are still options. I implore my colleagues in the House and members of the Senate to act to advance solar energy growth in the waning days of session. This is what we were elected to do: Protect the interests of the people of South Carolina.

The Weekly Rewind – April 27th

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HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
April 27, 2018

The House of Representatives approved S.805 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation creates the DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN’S ADVOCACY to ensure that children under the care of a state agency, particularly children served by the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, receive timely, safe, and effective services and to receive and investigate complaints related to the provision of services to children by a state agency. The Department of Children’s Advocacy is established to perform oversight duties to safeguard the health, safety, and well-being of all children receiving services or programs offered by the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Juvenile Justice, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, the John de la Howe School, the Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School, and the School for the Deaf and Blind. The new department is headed by the State Child Advocate, who is appointed by the Governor from three candidates recommended by the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children and upon the advice and consent of the Senate for a term of six years. An individual may be reappointed to additional terms. The legislation establishes qualifications for the State Child Advocate, disqualifies someone who has served as the director or deputy director of a state agency during the previous four years, and provides grounds for the removal of the Advocate by the Governor upon recommendation of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children. The legislation includes requirements for a state agency to inform the Department of Children’s Advocacy within twenty-four hours of a child fatality, serious injury, or other critical incident. The State Child Advocate is authorized to perform an independent investigation of a critical incident. The department is afforded access to government records, reports, and documents and is charged with making an annual report on its activities. The statewide Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program, the Division for Review of the Foster Care of Children, and the Continuum of Care for Emotionally Disturbed Children Division are transferred to be administered by the new Department of Children’s Advocacy.

The House approved S.1041, a bill establishing criminal and civil PENALTIES FOR DEFRAUDING THE ELDERLY AND OTHER VULNERABLE ADULTS, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation provides that it is unlawful for someone knowingly or willfully to solicit or obtain by deception, intimidation, undue influence, or false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices the money or property of a vulnerable adult or the personal identifying information of a vulnerable adult for the purposes of committing financial identity fraud or identity fraud. Criminal penalties are established that subject a violator to a misdemeanor, when the total value of the money or property is no more than two thousand dollars, and felony offenses for larger sums. Provisions are made for civil actions that may be filed by vulnerable adults, or filed on their behalf, that allow for the recovery of three times the amount of actual damages or three thousand dollars for each violation, whichever is greater, along with reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs. Additionally, a civil action may be pursued to enjoin and restrain future violations. The legislation makes provisions for administrative orders to cease and desist, to return property or money received, and to impose penalties of up to ten thousand dollars per violation. Violations may be considered grounds for revocation, suspension, or non renewal of a professional license or registration issued by an agency of this state. A violation of these provisions is also designated an Unfair Trade Practice.

The House refused to concur in Senate amendments to S.954. As approved by the House, S.954 is legislation ELIMINATING ALL CHARGES ON THE ELECTRIC BILLS OF SCE&G CUSTOMERS THAT SUPPORT THE FAILED V.C. SUMMER NUCLEAR POWER PROJECT. This joint resolution affords the Public Service Commission additional time to make a decision on whether the Base Load Review Act has been properly used to finance the failed nuclear power project in Fairfield County. The House amended the legislation to provide that, while the PSC is conducting its review and rendering its decision under this timeline and during any appeals of decisions that could follow, the nuclear premium charge is to be removed from the power bills of SCE&G customers. The House version orders new electricity rates for customers of SCANA Corporation’s South Carolina Electric and Gas to be reduced by eliminating all of the increases that have been imposed in recent years under the Base Load Review Act to finance the failed V.C. Summer nuclear power project in Fairfield County. These lower experimental rates would no longer include the increases, amounting to around 18% to 19.5%, that have been included on the power bills of SCE&G customers to fund construction of the nuclear reactors in Jenkinsville which have now been abandoned. The Senate approved an experimental rate that eliminates most, but not all, of the increases attributable to the Base Load Review Act by allowing a 5% nuclear premium charge to remain on the power bills of SCE&G customers. A conference committee has been appointed to address the differences between the Senate and House on this legislation.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4488, a bill ALLOWING OFFICIALS WHO ARE DETERMINING CAUSES OF DEATH TO HAVE ACCESS TO PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING INFORMATION, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. The legislation expands the list of persons to which the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of Drug Control may provide prescription monitoring program data so that it also includes a coroner, deputy coroner, medical examiner, or deputy medical examiner who is involved in an official inquiry into the cause and manner of a person’s death.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.3699 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation authorizes the SHARING CHILDREN’S HEALTH INFORMATION WITH CAREGIVERS in abuse and neglect cases, placements, or adoptions. The legislation removes prohibitions that prevent the Department of Social Services from sharing with foster parents, or other caregivers, the medical, mental health, and other known, or reasonably obtainable, information about children necessary to provide them with adequate care. This disclosure requirement applies to abuse and neglect cases, placements, or adoptions.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H.4683, the “BEACHFRONT MANAGEMENT REFORM ACT”, and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation makes revisions to the limitations placed on the development of oceanfront property and other coastal areas. The legislation makes provisions for the baselines and setback lines that are be used until the Department of Health and Environmental Control completes its review cycle, to be initiated after 2023, to establish new lines. The legislation includes provisions for how DHEC is to evaluate oceanfront areas that incur extraordinary erosion due to the impact of a storm system or event named by the National Weather Service when making its reviews to establish new lines. A new protocol of notification requirements and public hearings is established for DHEC to follow as the agency revises lines in its beach preservation policy. The appeals process is revised to allow property owners to have one year to be granted a review of the baseline and setback line.

The House insisted upon its amendments to H.3819, a bill establishing new REQUIREMENTS THAT MUST BE MET BEFORE PRESCRIBING OPIOID ANALGESICS TO MINORS, and appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on the legislation.

The House returned S.918 to the Senate with amendments. The legislation includes provisions that draw upon the work of the special House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee that was appointed by the Speaker of the House to examine the growing misuse of prescription painkillers and recommend legislative actions to counter the epidemic of ruinous addiction and fatal overdoses. The legislation imposes new LIMITATIONS ON INITIAL PRESCRIPTIONS OF AN OPIOID MEDICATION FOR ACUTE PAIN MANAGEMENT OR POSTOPERATIVE PAIN MANAGEMENT. Under the bill, Initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain management or postoperative pain management must not exceed a seven day supply, except when clinically indicated for chronic pain, cancer pain, hospice care, palliative care, major trauma, major surgery, treatment of sickle cell anemia, or medication assisted treatment for substance abuse. Upon any subsequent consultation for the same pain, the practitioner may issue any appropriate renewal, refill, or new opioid prescription. The limitation does not apply when a practitioner orders an opioid prescription to be wholly administered in a hospital, nursing home, hospice facility, or residential care facility. The legislation makes provisions for the Department of Health and Environmental Control to use information in the state prescription monitoring program system to provide PRESCRIPTION REPORT CARDS to health care practitioner who prescribe controlled substances to inform them about their prescribing trends compared to other practitioners. The legislation includes provisions for EXPANDING THE PRESCRIPTION MONITORING PROGRAM DATABASE TO INCLUDE INFORMATION ON THE ADMINISTRATION OF OPIOID ANTIDOTES. The legislation establishes protocols for the timely submission to the database of the date an opioid antidote was administered, the dosage and route of administration, and the name, address, and date of birth of the person to whom the opioid antidote was administered, if available, that apply when an opioid antidote is administered in a hospital emergency department or other health care facility or by a first responder. DHEC is required to maintain data on the administering of opioid antidotes including the frequency with which opioid antidotes are administered in health care facilities and by first responders by geographic location. The legislation requires a health care practitioner or the practitioner’s delegate to review a patient’s opioid antidote administration history in addition to the patient’s controlled substance prescription history before issuing a prescription for a Schedule II controlled substance.

The House returned S.709 to the Senate with amendments. The bill establishes new requirements for PUBLIC SCHOOL FIRE AND SAFETY POLICIES AND DRILLS. Within each school year, public schools, including charter schools whose instruction is not primarily delivered online, must conduct at least two fire drills, two active shooter/intruder drills, and two severe weather/earthquake drills, with at least one of each drill conducted each semester. The legislation establishes requirements for school facility fire and safety policies and programs that charge the State Department of Education and the Office of the State Fire Marshal with developing model fire and safety policies and program guidelines and reviewing the safety policies and programs adopted by school districts and charter schools. The State Department of Education and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, in consultation with school employed mental health professionals and the State Fire Marshal, must develop and update guidelines for the conduct of active shooter/intruder training along with developmentally appropriate training materials. These guidelines must be included in required annual teacher collegial development. A developmentally appropriate active shooter/intruder drill instructional video must be shown to all students at the beginning of each semester, and the State Department of Education must make this video available to all public school classrooms.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.4116 and returned the bill to the Senate. The legislation revises the state’s Medical Practice Act to provide that PHYSICIANS CANNOT BE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN NATIONAL CERTIFICATION AS A CONDITION OF LICENSURE, REIMBURSEMENT, EMPLOYMENT, OR ADMITTING PRIVILEGES AT A HOSPITAL or federally qualified health center. This prohibition applies to “Maintenance of Certification” or “MOC” continuing education programs that measure core competencies in the practice of medicine and surgery and are approved by a nationally recognized accrediting organization.

The House returned H.3886, the “SOUTH CAROLINA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION ACT”, to the Senate with amendments. The bill establishes new comprehensive provisions governing the operation of homeowners associations.

The House returned S.857, a bill revising the composition of the WIL LOU GRAY OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL BOARD OF TRUSTEES, to the Senate with amendments. The legislation reduces the board’s membership from fourteen to twelve by eliminating the ex officio positions for the Governor and the State Superintendent of Education.

The House approved S.937 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation extends the temporary devolution of powers, duties, and obligations vested in the DENMARK TECHNICAL COLLEGE AREA COMMISSION to the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education until January 1, 2019, in order to coordinate with a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation timeline.

The fix for Malfunction Junction (and more) coming our way

We’ve been seeing road improvements in the area for years, and soon, the biggest improvement of them all is coming our way. Not just the fix for Malfunction Junction, improvements on out towards the Peak, Little Mountain and Newberry area.

From The State

Overshadowed by the S.C. Department of Transportation’s massive $1.5 billion effort to untangle Columbia’s notorious “Malfunction Junction” interchange at I-20, I-26 and I-126 is another big highway improvement project.

Beginning in 2020 and ending fours years later, workers will widen I-26 for 16 miles from Broad River Road northwest to Little Mountain. That widening project would link with the Malfunction Junction project — officially called Carolina Crossroads — at Exit 101, Broad River Road.

Both projects are expected to begin in 2020.

Although public hearings have been held on the extended I-26 widening project, many folks who regularly roll up to Greenville and Spartanburg from the capital city, or vice versa, probably don’t know that their trek is going to be more difficult for a long time before it gets a lot better.

“We’re flying under the radar a little,” project manager Michael Hood said.

The $530 million project begins at Exit 101, which is U.S. 176., in Irmo. That’s where the Malfunction Junction project will end.

The existing two lanes on each side of the highway will be widened to four lanes for a total eight-lane section of highway to Broad River Road, which is the Peak exit.

The road will be widened to six lanes for the remaining 12 miles from U.S. 176 to S.C. 202 at Little Mountain. Future plans envision a widened highway all the way to Newberry.

Read more here

The Weekly Rewind – April 20th

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HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
April 20, 2018

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4496, a bill ENHANCING SOUTH CAROLINA’S LAWS PROHIBITING SANCTUARY CITIES that disallow the adoption of ordinances and policies by municipalities and other local governments to prohibit, restrict, or interfere with the enforcement of immigration laws. The legislation authorizes the Attorney General, in addition to a resident of a political subdivision, to bring a civil action in the circuit court against a political subdivision that adopts ordinances or policies to restrict law enforcement officers, local officials, or local government employees from enforcing immigration provisions, limit communications with federal or state officials regarding someone’s immigration status, or establish work authorization provisions that conflict with federal or state law. If a court finds that a political subdivision has violated provisions that prohibit interference with the enforcement of immigration laws, the political subdivision is not allowed to receive Local Government Fund appropriations for at least the next three consecutive fiscal budget years.

The House approved S.499, legislation ELIMINATING THE FEE FOR PLACING THE VIOLENT CRIME OFFENDER DESIGNATION ON A DRIVER’S LICENSE, and enrolled the bill for ratification. While the fifty dollar fee is eliminated, the Department of Motor Vehicles is still required to place the identifying code on the driver’s license of someone who has been convicted of, or pled no contest to, a crime of violence, defined as murder, manslaughter (except negligent manslaughter arising out of traffic accidents), rape, mayhem, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, housebreaking, assault with intent to kill, commit rape, or rob, assault with a dangerous weapon, or assault with intent to commit any offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.

The House adopted the conference committee report on H.3698, a bill revising fishing seasons and catch limits for STRIPED BASS. The legislation also includes a definition of the geographic boundaries for the Intracoastal Waterway in Horry County within a statutory provision that establishes geographic boundaries for bodies of water in the state. The Senate having also adopted the report, the bill was enrolled for ratification.

The House appointed a conference committee to address its differences with the Senate on H.4612, legislation authorizing SURETY BONDS FOR GENERAL AND MECHANICAL LICENSURE APPLICANTS.

The House amended Senate amendments to H.3819, a bill establishing new REQUIREMENTS THAT MUST BE MET BEFORE PRESCRIBING OPIOID ANALGESICS TO MINORS, and returned the legislation to the Senate.

Meet John Burriss: our SCDOT Commissioner

Many remember how I spotlight members of our community here on NathansNews as readers pass along news and accomplishments of their friends and neighbors.

Today, we have one of our own who has been appointed to the SCDOT Commission. This is a very good move for our area and actually comes as part of the restructuring the General Assembly put in place years ago when we passed the Roads Bill (aka “gas tax”).

Y’all know I’m tight with money, but the roads needed to be fixed (and they have, and continue to see improvements). One thing that made that vote easier was the ability to change how DOT Commissioners are appointed. Long story short, a powerful Senator’s brother-in-law had been on the Commission for awhile; but this year, that changed.

Please join me in welcoming one of our own, John Burris from Chapin, to this position!

Commissioner Burriss is President and owner of The Burriss Corporation, a real estate and construction management company. He is also President and owner of St. Andrews Fitness Corporation.

Burris served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1984-1988. He was also a member of the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Board from 1988-1999. He served as the Board’s Chairman from 1994 through 1999.

Commissioner Burriss earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from St. Andrews Presbyterian College (now St. Andrews University) in Laurinburg, N.C.

He and his wife Becca have three children and five grandchildren.

The Weekly Rewind – April 13th

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HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
April 13, 2018

The House of Representatives amended, approved, and sent the Senate H.4182, the “STATE INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION EFFICIENCY ACT”. The legislation establishes a process that allows South Carolina’s public universities and colleges to exercise greater authority and bypass state regulatory oversight, including approvals by the Commission on Higher Education and the Joint Bond Review Committee, when undertaking capital projects and making investments utilizing funds that are not derived from state appropriations or undergraduate tuition in auxiliary activities related to research, housing, food services, stores, and athletics. The legislation makes provisions for annual reports on the financial activities of higher education auxiliary divisions and audit requirements to insure that their financial arrangements and borrowing is not secured by the state. An institution of higher learning may adopt a procurement policy for an auxiliary division’s purchasing and contracting, which, upon approval of the policy by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority, exempts the division from the South Carolina Consolidated Procurement Code. The Commission on Higher Education retains its oversight authority over core functions, such as the approval of new academic programs. Purchases, borrowing, and financial transactions using state funds remain subject to state regulatory protocols through such oversight bodies as the Joint Bond Review Committee and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. The legislation applies to the Citadel, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, College of Charleston, Francis Marion University, Lander University, the Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University, Winthrop University, and the University of South Carolina’s main campus in Columbia and its Aiken, Beaufort, and Upstate campuses.

H.4421, a bill facilitating the more expansive use of SOLAR POWER AND OTHER DISTRIBUTED ENERGY RESOURCES by customers of investor-owned electric utilities, was rejected at third reading, having failed to receive the two-thirds affirmative vote that Article X, Section 3 of the South Carolina Constitution requires for the approval of a property tax exemption.

The House approved S.1101 and enrolled the bill for ratification. The legislation EXTENDS PROVISIONS DISALLOWING THE USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN POWERS BY PRIVATE, FOR PROFIT PIPELINE COMPANIES, including publicly traded for profit companies, that are not defined as a public utility so that these provisions are set to expire on November 30, 2020, rather than the original sunset date of June 30, 2019. The extension affords additional time for the temporary Petroleum Pipeline Study Committee to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly.

The House approved S.340, revising the APPOINTMENT OF SOUTH CAROLINA’S POET LAUREATE by the Governor, and enrolled the legislation for ratification. In making an appointment, the Governor is required to select from a list of qualified candidates recommended by the South Carolina Arts Commission. A four-year term is established for a poet laureate who may be reappointed to serve one additional term. The poet laureate shall respond to requests of the Governor and participate in other relevant public programming.

The House approved S.796 and enrolled the joint resolution for ratification. The legislation creates a SOUTH CAROLINA AMERICAN REVOLUTION SESTERCENTENNIAL COMMISSION to plan and execute a proper observance of the upcoming 250th anniversary of the Revolutionary War and South Carolina’s role in attaining American independence.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.4799, a bill providing authorization for South Carolina to join the multi-state PHYSICAL THERAPY LICENSURE COMPACT to facilitate interstate practice of physical therapy with the goal of improving public access to physical therapy services.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.3684, 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.5145, a bill facilitating the issuance of DRIVER’S LICENSES THAT ALLOW DEPLOYED MILITARY PERSONNEL TO OPERATE MOTORCYCLES while stationed abroad. The legislation directs the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles to contract with the United States Department of Defense to administer Class M driver’s license examinations for active duty military members assigned outside of the contiguous United States.

The House approved and sent the Senate H.5231, a bill restoring revenue generated from the sale of recreational and commercial marine fishing licenses, permits, and tags to the MARINE RESOURCES FUND. The legislation discontinues the practice, adopted during the revenue shortfalls experienced during the recession, of diverting a portion of the funding to support law enforcement activities at the Department of Natural Resources.