Interested in serving and helping Richland County?

Don’t get me started on the struggles and frustrations with county government ….we need more quality, capable, and honest people working to help our residents.

If that describes you – and if you are interested in WORKING (because there’s a lot to do) – please (1) read the announcement (2) let me know if you send application in and (3) be sure to send application in before the January 30th, deadline.

The process is not a smooth one and I have fought for a “better way” ever since I was elected. With a block of delegation members usually “controlling” most appointments, it’s difficult to change the boards and commissions, but if you’re willing to serve, I’m willing to see if we can get you in a role that is best for you and Richland County.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Prefiled Legislation in the House

January starts the 2nd (and final) year of the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly. Each year members of the House and Senate can prefile legislation. Below is a link to today’s prefilings.

If any bill interests you, please let me know. Odds are against most of these becoming law before we adjourn in June. Remember, there are hundreds/thousands of bills filed last year that still have not had a subcommittee or committee hearing.

For a pretty accurate description of a how a bill becomes law, go back to the Schoolhouse Rock days. Seriously, pretty accurate.

December 11 , 2019 prefiled bills

Here are earlier prefiled bills from November 20, 2019

Rauch Metz signal improvements

Almost 7 years ago, we finally got a signal at the intersection of Rauch Metz at 76 . Through the years, traffic backs up and I reach out to DOT to help. Most times, it’s a timing issue. Recently, that was the case again. Can’t remember when I reached out last to them but they responded yesterday.

Like you, I’ve sat through lots of construction (mainly Johnson Marina Road) and the normal “end of work day traffic” that backs up down into Ballentine.

Hopefully we will see some improvement in the weeks ahead.

Lowman Home moves forward with road abandonment

Earlier this afternoon, I was notified that the Lowman Home is moving forward with their road abandonment request. I have never experienced something like this before but SCDOT tells me that it is a legal process that the court rules upon. For months, I’ve kept everyone updated about this possibility and was able to prepare for any closure by getting the SCDOT to commit to installing a traffic signal at the end of Johnson Marina road (so we can all turn left if the roads thru Lowman Home are closed). The SCDOT informs me should the courts rule in favor of the Lowman Home request, they would have everything completed with traffic light within 6 weeks.

If you missed any of those articles, here are some .

I’ve asked SCDOT and Lowman Home to keep me informed of next steps. Apparently the notice below starts the “notification period” (3 weeks?) required before the court can hear any cases. I imagine public can speak at any court hearings and will work to find out that/those date(s) when they are decided by the courts.

Energy solutions for our state

Many of you know how involved I’ve been trying to change our state’s energy policy (which we’ve learned is heavily dominated by the monopolistic utilities). Before my birthday dinner last night, I agreed to speak on a panel about a recent ruling of the Public Service Commission. An article from The State is below…

When solar power took a hit from the PSC, people got mad. Now many want changes
Sammy Fretwell – The STate

Four Columbia area legislators pledged this week to fight what they call unfriendly decisions against ratepayers by the state Public Service Commission, a quasi-judicial panel that recently sided with big utilities against the state’s emerging solar energy industry.

At a forum Tuesday night, Reps. Nathan Ballentine, Micah Caskey and Ivory Torrey Thigpen, and Sen. Mia McLeod, said they’re frustrated with PSC decisions and with continuing setbacks the solar industry is dealing with in South Carolina.

Lawmakers called for changes, including the possibility of new Public Service commissioners. The PSC has been criticized for taking the side of utilities in rate cases over the interests of people who pay power bills.

A recent PSC decision favoring big utilities over solar energy companies goes against a recently adopted state law that was supposed to help renewable energy expand in South Carolina, Ballentine told the crowd of about 60 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

“The PSC did exactly the opposite of what every elected official in the state wanted to have done,’’ said Ballentine, a Republican from the Chapin area. “We sure as heck didn’t’ want it to go backwards. ‘’

Read more

Dutch Fork Football – 4 in a row!

Coach Knotts and his teams are becoming a fixture at the State House. Representative Huggins and I look forward to welcoming them again (4th year in a row) in the spring!

A HOUSE RESOLUTION

TO HONOR THE DUTCH FORK HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM AND COACHES ON THEIR IMPRESSIVE WIN OF THE 2019 CLASS 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE.

Whereas, rising to the occasion, the Dutch Fork High School football team fought past Dorman 34 -31 to capture the 2019 Class 5A State Championship in a hotly contested battle of wills; and

Whereas, at the title contest, Columbia’s Williams Brice Stadium echoed with the cheers of exuberant Dutch Fork fans, thrilled to see their team seize a difficult overtime victory and cap off a nearly perfect 14 0 1 season attached to a forty game unbeaten streak. As a team that has developed a tradition of excellence, the Silver Foxes’ loyal fans have already begun to look forward with anticipation toward another season in which they can pursue greatness; and

Whereas, such victories do not come overnight or with talent alone; they take determination, perseverance, and hard work. Head Coach Tom Knotts, supported by his fine staff, has built his football program into a championship machine that refuses to settle for second best; and

Whereas, with this championship victory, Dutch Fork has taken home its fourth consecutive football title and its fifth overall, all under Coach Knots, who now claims twelve state titles under his belt. The Silver Foxes are the seventh team in state history to win four titles in a row; and

Whereas, the Silver Foxes once again have given their school and community reason to be proud of their accomplishments, and the members of the House of Representatives take great pleasure in joining their collective voice to the many praises flowing toward this outstanding group of young athletes. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:

That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, honor the Dutch Fork High School football team and coaches on their impressive win of the 2019 Class 5A State Championship title.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to Dr. Gerald Gary, principal, and Head Coach Tom Knotts of Dutch Fork High School.
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New Legislative Aide – June Cornelius

When you call my office (734-2969), be sure to introduce yourself to June Cornelius, our new legislative aide (effective last month)!

She’s not in the picture above though, that’s Emma and JC when they were younger (with Annie #RIP)! They’ve helped me a lot through the years but I’m very relieved to finally have someone in the office to help support me and 3 other members of the House (and our constituents).

Many do not know this, but unlike the Senators (who have their own dedicated FULL TIME support), members of the House SHARE PART TIME support. For the past two years, the 4 members in my office suite have relied on a USC student (very bright, now in law school) to help us and our constituents.

We are very excited now to have support from someone “not in school” and someone who is able to work longer hours to help us.

Can’t spell Champion without Chapin! Chapin Cheerleaders

Several years ago when I was introducing the State Champion Chapin Cheerleaders with Rep. Huggins, I made the comment ” you can’t spell Champion without Chapin!” That phrase has not only stuck through the years, it’s one I’ve repeated MANY, MANY times from the well of the House Chamber.

Once again (6 year in a row, 11 of the past 12 years) Rep Huggins and I will welcome them and introduce them to our colleagues. Below is the resolution in their honor and we’re hopeful to bring the team to the State House on March 4th.

A HOUSE RESOLUTION

TO APPLAUD THE CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL COMPETITIVE CHEER TEAM, COACHES, AND SCHOOL OFFICIALS FOR A GLITTERINGSEASON AND TO SALUTE THEM ON WINNING THE 2019 CLASSAAAAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE.

Whereas, on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the Chapin High School competitive cheer team enlarged its cheerleading dynasty and captured the 2019 Class 5A state cheer title with style; and

Whereas, at Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena, the Lady Eagles won their sixth straight state title and fifteenth overall. The six straight championships, won in three classifications, include two 3A titles (20142015), two 4A titles (20152016), and, most recently, the back-to-back 5A titles won this and last year. In addition, these graceful Chapin athletes have been champions eleven of the past twelve years; and

Whereas, opponent Lexington, going into the title competition, owned an unblemished record in 2019, a fact that gave that team reason for optimism in its quest to claim the 5A competitive cheer title. But the reigning champions from Chapin were more than determined to keep the hardware. Also, the Lady Eagles wanted to give their beloved head coach, Vicki Williams, a fourteenth state title in her apparent “last ride” with the team before retirement; and

Whereas, operating under the motto “won’t back down,” the focused and fired Chapin cheerleaders, each with the heart of a champion, outpointed Lexington 369365. In so doing, they racked up the highest score ever for any cheer team at state; and

Whereas, the House of Representatives, appreciative of the welldeserved recognition these athletes have brought to their school and community, congratulates the Lady Eagles, and the members look with interest toward hearing of their further exploits as competitive cheer champions. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:

That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, applaud the Chapin High School competitive cheer team, coaches, and school officials for a glitteringseason and salute them on winning the 2019 Class AAAAA State Championship title.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to PrincipalMichael Ames and Head Coach Vicki Williams of Chapin High School.
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Prefiled Legislation in the House

January starts the 2nd (and final) year of the 123rd South Carolina General Assembly. Each year members of the House and Senate can prefile legislation. Below is a link to today’s prefilings.

If any bill interests you, please let me know. Odds are against most of these becoming law before we adjourn in June. Remember, there are hundreds/thousands of bills filed last year that still have not had a subcommittee or committee hearing.

For a pretty accurate description of a how a bill becomes law, go back to the Schoolhouse Rock days. Seriously, pretty accurate.

Prefiled Legislation November 20, 2019