The Weekly Rewind: Week of March 29th

House Floor Review
March 31, 2022

Crossover Deadline and Upcoming Elections

March 23rd – March 25th the House was not in session in Columbia, giving me time back to meet with local groups and constituents and catch up on time with the family. (As well as focus on the job that pays the bils: Movement Mortgage). We returned to Columbia March 29- March 31st, and began aggressively dealing with a number of bills before the April 10 “crossover deadline”, the deadline we have to send bills to the State Senate to have them considered this session.

What “crossover” deadline means is that if a bill important to you has not passed at least one body (House or Senate) by that date, there is basically zero chance it will become law this year. If the Senate has already passed a bill (ex: Medicinal Marijuana), the House won’t take up debate on that bill until after crossover deadline so that we can focus on sending any House bills to the Senate before that important cut-off date. Vice versa, you won’t see the Senate debate any bills the House has sent them already until after that same date.

With a few weeks left in the session (we adjourn sine die on May 12th), here are a few bills that have been getting at lot of attention in the media as well as bills that I’ve been hearing your input about: Medicinal Marijuana, Save Women’s Sports, DHEC restructuring, Certificate of Need, and Critical Race Theory. I posted a video as well as some blog posts on my website asking for your input. Please visit if you aren’t a regular visitor and let me know your thoughts on those bills or any other of interest.

Last week was also the filing deadline for the 124 seats in the SC House of Representatives. I filed on the first day (March 16th) eager to earn your continued support to represent you (House District 71) and your family again in Columbia! Two weeks later, with just 30 minutes left before the deadline of noon, another individual filed for the seat as well. I always look forward to campaigning and never take anything for granted. I will work just as hard as I’ve done with every election and hope the results will be the same! In a few weeks, the area will be cluttered with political signs. I’m sorry. That’s just how it is. Please know that wherever you see my large signs, the business owner has given me permission to place there. Likewise with the yards signs you will see in neighborhoods that allow them.

Our community will also see a campaign for the seat currently held by my good friend (and friend to many) Representative Chip Huggins (House District 85). Chip is retiring this year to spend more time with family (especially his new granddaughter Rory Ann!) Words can’t express how much I will personally miss him at the State House as well as the other 123 members of the SC House. Chip has served our area and state well for 23 years. During my time in office, I’ve worked with many elected officials and have seen NO ONE work harder for his constituents than Chip does. Our community will miss him tremendously! I won’t get involved in that campaign as you know I never endorse in local elections. There is plenty of time for each local candidate to get his/her message to the voters and work to earn your support. You don’t need me choosing for you!

Speaking of campaigns. We won’t see one this year for our local Richland County Council seat. After 16 years, Councilman Bill Malinowski is retiring and only one individual filed for that seat. Jason Branham will be unopposed and should represent our area well. I met Jason years ago and wish him the best with many local zoning ordinance issues as well as the county budget and other issues that impact our daily lives.

It’s an honor to serve you in Columbia and I hope on June 14th you’ll show your support again and send me back to the State House. If you’re still reading this, please take a minute to send a THANK YOU to Chip by calling or texting him at 803-331-8468. Let him know how much you appreciate him and give him any advice if you’re a grandparent!

The Living Christmas Story – Union United Methodist

From The New Irmo News

Union United Methodist Church is preparing to host the full production of their long-standing tradition, the 28th annual drive-through living nativity, “The Living Christmas Story.” This event will take place Friday through Sunday, December 3-5, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night. For over 20 years now, the Union United Methodist Church parking lot has been transformed into the city of Bethlehem, as the ‘greatest story ever told;’ a drive-through re-enactment of the way life was over 2,000 years ago on the night Jesus Christ was born. The presentation features scenes that can be viewed as vehicles travel through the Union parking lot. This is a gift to the community, with no admission fee.

“The Living Christmas Story,” uses real people from the Irmo community, and includes live animals that become the town of Bethlehem. Villagers, a blacksmith, the innkeeper, Herod’s Court, the marketplace and many more scenes come alive as you drive through and experience the night Christ came to us. Often described as beautiful and moving, “The Living Christmas Story” is an experience that many thousands of spectators have witnessed, which is over 140,000 visitors over the last 27 years.

Those who have experienced “The Living Christmas Story” provide comments, such as: “My parents brought me to The Living Christmas Story each year when I was a child. Now I am bringing my own children. It is one of the best memories I have of Christmas and I want that for my children too!“ “Thank you for such a beautiful and free-to-attend portrayal of the true meaning of Christmas.” “Our children want to ride through ‘The Living Christmas Story’ over and over! It brings the story of Jesus’ birth to life for them. Thank you!” “The Living Christmas Story is a realistic view into life at the time of Jesus’ birth! Our grandchildren love seeing the live animals and all the people dressed in authentic clothing in the market. It is a very worthwhile family experience!” “Driving through ‘The Living Christmas Story’ at Union United Methodist Church has become a yearly tradition for our family to begin our Christmas season.”

“Due to the pandemic, we are taking extra safety precautions for all of our cast members,” said Glenna Dean Wildt, Co-Chair of The Living Christmas Story Planning Committee. “As for the public, this is the perfect activity. You get to sit in your car and experience the beauty of Christmas.”

Start your holiday season with an event that the whole family will remember.

To learn more about Union United Methodist Church please visit or “Like” them on Facebook @unionumcirmo.

D5 temporarily returns to hybrid model for grades 7-12

Lexington-Richland School District Five is announcing plans to temporarily return in-person students in grades 7-12 to a hybrid learning model beginning on Monday, December 7, in response to COVID-19.

This action comes after a special-called Board meeting on Dec. 2, when the Board voted to have 7-12 grade students return to a hybrid (2-day in-person instruction, per week) model. Students in grades 4K-6 will continue to attend school in person 4 days per week.

Students in grades 7-12 will return to a 4-day instructional model after winter break (Monday, Jan. 4), per the motion approved by the Board.

The Board also approved the district to make the last two days before winter break (Dec. 17 and Dec. 18) distance learning days for all students in School District Five, including 4K-6 grade students.

For more details, visit the D5 website .

Chapin High’s new principal!

From the District’s website

Veteran school administrator Michael Ames has been named the next principal of Chapin High School.

Ames has been principal of Edisto High School since 2016, and previously served as an assistant principal at Chapin High School and other schools in Lexington-Richland School District Five. Ames replaces Dr. Akil Ross, who will become the district’s new director of secondary education beginning July 1.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. It feels like coming home,” Ames said. “Chapin High School has a long history of high achievement and success. I’m grateful for the opportunity that the School Board and district has given me and my family, and I look forward to many years of serving Chapin High.”

Ames started his career in education as a teacher and coach at Sherburne-Earlville Central School in New York. Between 2009 and 2013, he worked as an assistant principal at Dutch Fork High School, Chapin High School and Irmo Middle School. He also worked as a school administrator in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.

In his current role at Edisto High School, Ames has developed and implemented an internship program for students; developed the school’s “Next Gen” Magnet School for Honors, Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing; and implemented several technology trainings and programs for teachers and students.

“We are so proud to welcome Mr. Ames back to Chapin High School and back to School District Five,” said Superintendent-elect Dr. Christina Melton. “He is a visionary with a proven record of success, and I am confident that Chapin High School’s success will continue under Mr. Ames leadership.”

Meet Spring Hill High School: Pepper’s Way

2013 Pepper's Way
Pepper’s wife, daughters and family were joined by Spring Hill High principal, Michael Lofton, for the dedication of “Pepper’s Way” on campus.

Last week, I attended the Ribbon Cutting for the newest high school in Lexington/Richland School District Five, Spring Hill High School . I remember not long ago, I joined in the groundbreaking of this school and the Center for Advanced Technical Studies .

Whether you supported the bond referendum or not, one visit to this campus and you’ll agree we have two of the most state-of-the-art facilities in the state. You can read more about these two schools by visiting their websites; but today I wanted to write about “Pepper”.

When I was knocking on doors campaigning years ago, I met “Pepper”. He was a friendly man and I enjoyed our conversation that day. I also happened to meet one of his daughters during those knocks and was glad to see her at the Ribbon Cutting where her dad was recognized and was honored for his work on the new school. If you’re new to the area, you may not have known him; but if you’ve been here for any period of time, you definitely have heard of him and seen him all over town helping others.

Today I share his obituary from last year with you and also the touching presentation captured above for “Pepper’s Way”.

CHAPIN – George William “Pepper” Ellisor, 83, of Irmo, SC was called home to the Lord on Friday, November 9, 2012.

Pepper was born on June 11, 1929 in Richland County. He was the son of the late Ed Bachman Ellisor and Mary Chapman Ellisor. Pepper served 4 years active duty in the US Army. He fought in the Korean War and received the Purple Heart. Pepper served over 35 years in the Army Reserve where he achieved the rank of E-9 Command Sergeant Major. He was a Drill Sergeant at Fort Jackson for many years. During his last tour, he was the Director of the Army Drill Sergeant School, 108th Training Division. While in the Reserve, Pepper received the Army Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Expert Marksmanship Badge, Army Accommodation Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal.

Pepper was devoted to the Irmo/Chapin area. He loved and served his community and was honored with the Chapin Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award, Woodmen of the World Good Neighbor Citation Award, Chapin Band Booster Club Lifetime Membership Award, and he was inducted into the Chapin Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Janice Counts Ellisor and his daughters; Renee’ (Bob) Shields and Sandy Ellisor, grandchildren; Kevin and Gena Shields, Christopher, Cody, and Carter Lambeth as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

He is also survived by sisters; Alice Adkins, Betty Wessinger and sister-in-law, Sadie Ellisor. Pepper is predeceased by brothers; Colie, John Adam, James and sisters; Mabel Moak, Mary Lou Rister, Vera Kesler, and Alma Kesler.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, November 11, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of St. Jacob’s Lutheran Church, Chapin, SC. Funeral services will be held 3:00 p.m. on Monday, November 12, 2012 at St. Jacob’s.

Memorials may be made to St. Jacob’s Lutheran Men.

Pepper never met a stranger, he lived life to the fullest, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Shortening the legislative session?

Written by Jennifer Bellamy (WLTX)

Columbia, SC (WLTX) — Some state lawmakers say a shorter session would increase and diversify candidates vying for state office and save taxpayers money.

Many also say they support a shorter session.

“South Carolina has the longest legislative session in the United States,” said Rep. Jenny Horne, a Republican from Dorchester County.

“We waste so much time up here,” said Rep. Boyd Brown, a Democrat from Fairfield County.

Members of both parties and from house say they would support legislation that would shorten the general assembly’s session.

“We can do out business much more expeditiously,” said Sen. John Courson, a Republican from Richland.

“I’m all for that I think we stay down here too long now,” said Republican Sen. Ronnie Cromer of Newberry County. “We may have to have some individual meetings outside of session for different committees and all but there’s no reason we couldn’t bring five, ten senators down here or five, ten house members.”

Horne authored the bill that would take the session down to about 13 weeks. Right now, with an adjournment date set for the first Thursday in June, it could cut about eight weeks from the calendar.

She says the move could save tax payers about $50,000 per week.

“It would make us prioritize,” said Horne.

Some lawmakers favor the proposal because they say it would encourage more people to throw their hat into the political arena.

“It takes a lot for people to spend 6 months away from their paying job, so if we shorten the session I think we can get a wider variety of what many people would say is your average citizens who can come up here and stay close to the constituents back home and can pass good legislation, “said Rep. Nathan Ballentine a Republican from Richland County.

Not everyone’s a fan of the idea, President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell says he doesn’t want lawmakers rushing through important legislation. Opponents say another problem they have is that it could lead to a lack of transparency with meetings outside of the session.

“You will create a legislative racetrack, and the key is to produce things that have a positive result on the public not something that’s an instantaneous action. So I would tell you I don’t understand these people who run for office and then come up here and complain about how long they gotta stay up here,” said McConnell, a Republican from Williamsburg.

“In my opinion it has a double benefit, saves the tax payers money, makes us more efficient and opens up the process,” said Horne.

Horne says the bill is still in committee. Several lawmakers say they’ve sponsors and or passed similar legislation in previous years, but it dies in the senate.

Signs, signs, everywhere signs

Drive anywhere in the community and you’re bound to see signs…everywhere. Believe it or not, I’ve been asked “where’s yours?” and figured I better address that before people get too confused.

I’m on the ballot again in November and am unopposed. This humbles me and also allows me time to direct more of my attention to my family, my paying job, and Gamecock football 😉

If you’re not sure who you get to vote for; you’re not alone. Many get confused because signs pop up all over the place and many times are not in the area where voters live and can vote for that candidate. Why you may ask? Because campaigns are often about “name I.D.” If there is a busy intersection, thoroughfare or highway within a mile of the boundaries; candidates will place signs there in hopes that commuter traffic may be actual voters that can vote for them on election day.

(Note: not to add to the confusion but the photo above is NOT from our community. If I had done that someone would have tried to read into it one way or another about whom I may be supporting. Been there, done that. I don’t endorse locally but I do endorse statewide and nationally if I feel strongly enough about a candidate. Why is this my policy? I feel our community has ample opportunity to meet the local candidates….mayors, county councils, city council, school board. When it comes to statewide and national races, our community doesn’t get to see or visit with those candidates as much. It’s those times when I’ll share my opinion.)

For those new to the area, a brief look at my service can be found on the Meet Nathan page. Most recently, I’ve learned that I again received very high ratings from the Palmetto Family Alliance , the NRA, , the SC Chamber of Commerce , and am “Green Approved” again by the Conservation Voters of South Carolina .

One group that watches tax payers dollars very closely, SC Club for Growth, has not issued their 2010 scorecards but their earlier ones have me always near the top. I hope to keep my consecutive streak of “Friend of the Taxpayer” going but after my vote on the cigarette tax , I’m thinking that streak may stop at 6 for 6.

There are other individuals and groups who have endorsed me but I’m not sure if endorsements really matter as much to voters.

What I think matters most are the issues, the service/responsiveness an official or candidate provides, and the accessibility and willingness to stay involved in the community. As my consultant always said “elected officials who stay in touch year round – and not just at election time – have a much better chance of doing the job they were sent to do.”

I hope I’ve earned your support again this November. I never take it for granted….but I do try to stretch a dollar and not put up signs when others need the space for their races.

Thank you for the privilege you gave me in 2005 and the continued support and advice you give me every day!

Light at the end of the tunnel (TRAC)?


If you read Nathan’s News, odds are you are someone who already knows what the Tax Realignment Commission is and what they’ve been charged to do. What you may not know is what exactly they’ve been up to over the past several months.

For those that want to feel like you’re a part of the Commission, this site has everything you want.

I’m guessing you’ve already heard some of the proposals being debated: a grocery tax increase (or rather re-instatement)? A gas tax increase? Increase of cap on automobile sales tax?

Did last year’s cigarette tax increase soften the hardcore “no new taxes” stance that SC is known for? Something has to be done though….cut services, raise taxes or…..raise fees?

Ah, yes…fees. Could that be the “out” for both Republicans and Democrats who can sell “fees” better than “taxes” back home?

The TRAC report is due next month – after elections, of course – and once received by the General Assembly, I’m wondering if it will even see the light of day. Remember, we’ve been known to form our share of study committees only to never act upon those recommendations.

I’ve purposely stayed out of any discussions so that the committee – who should not have any political pressure – can recommend what they think is best for our state. Of course, politics will be injected soon enough. Maybe it already has?

If revenues are down and services are already “cut to the bone” – and with no more stimulus money to plug holes – what do you think we should do?

Democracy 2.0: Connecting with the 21st Century American

Next week, I head to Boston to take part in Democracy 2.0: Connecting with the 21st Century American.

I’m looking forward to the chance to not only present how I stay in touch with my constituents via social media; but also learn a thing or two from others at the conference.

In total there will be about 50 elected officials from across the country and I’ll be on a panel Saturday morning with NY Assemblyman Jonathan Bing (D). Jonathan’s already ahead of me with his use of Social Media advertising and fundraising. We’ve also already learned we have different views about Twitter and that’s what will be great about the discussion.  A southern Republican from South Carolina and a northen Democrat from Manhattan. Both presumably seving different constituencies but both understanding the importance of staying in touch.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my “web guy” (aka Social Media Director, if I wanted to be fancy) Wesley Donehue  for not only revamping Nathan’s News after two years(“decades” in today’s world of technology); but also for pushing me to get on Twitter (months before I finally made the jump). Originally I thought “who cares what I’m doing?” While that may still be true, Twitter and Facebook have given me a chance to get instant feedback from voters on issues.

As you can see above, I had over 50 replies to a question about legislation I’ve been asked to file next session.

While I use social media like most people (to stay in touch w/friends and family), it’s been another tool to help me continue to stay in touch year-round with voters instead of just at election time.

Before too long, the South Carolina General Assembly will return for 119th regular session. Many members still do not utilize social media. If yours doesn’t, ask why not? If they haven’t been on Pub Politics yet – ask, why not? I really enjoyed my first visit  (April 2010) and hopefully can work my schedule to appear more often with Wesley and Phil Bailey (D).

Now that we’ve revamped the site and overcome a virus, look for more regular postings again.  Thanks for stoping by, I hope you’ll visit often!

Mark your calendar!

We’re approaching a very busy season in state politics and I wanted to bring some important dates to your attention.

October 2nd is the last day to register to vote in the November 2nd, election!  Be sure you are registered and that you have updated your current address with your local voter registration office (if you have moved)

October Quarterly & Pre-Election Campaign Disclosures are due October 18, 2010 for all candidates on the November ballot. 

November 2nd is the General Election In addition to candidates, there will be four constitutional amendment questions for your consideration.  Do everyone a favor and read about those before you get to the polls and voting booth. Granted, we don’t always make them easy to understand; but at least have an idea of what’s on the ballot ahead of time by clicking on that link above.

Freshman Orientation for Members elected in the 2010 General Election on November 2, 2010, will be held on Monday, November 15 and Tuesday, November 16, 2010.  There are several new members this year either by House Members not offering for re-election, seeking another office, or by losing primaries. There COULD be some seats change parties in November too.  If you’re curious about what they will learn, here’s a copy of a 2006 agenda (my 2nd term).

The House of Representatives’ Organizational Session for the 2011-2012 Legislative Session will be held on Wednesday, November 17 and Thursday, November 18, 2010. The organizational session is where members select our seats for the next two years as well as find out our committee assignments and elect party leaders and House Officers (Speaker, Speaker Pro-Tem, Reading Clerk, Clerk, Chaplain, Sergeant at Arms, etc).

Prefiling dates for the 2011 Legislative Session will be on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 and Tuesday, December 14, 2010.  These dates provide the first glimpse into bills that could become laws over the next two years.

January 11, 2011 is the first day of the 2011 session….this year, it’s all about the budget (and jobs, and hopefully education)