In my last update, we were waiting to get a third reading on our “Roads Bill” and the annual green paint (pollen) was fogging the air in Columbia – we had none in Greenville. Now the dogwoods are well past their peak here and most azaleas are on the back end of their color explosion. I love the newness of Spring. A few updates –
We passed the Roads Bill out of the Senate and it is now up to the House to concur with it or tell us what we could do better. Since we passed our bill (which included DOT reform), the Legislative Audit Council came out with the results of their DOT audit last week. The audit showed NO financial mismanagement – but it did show a dysfunctional management structure – pretty much the fault of the legislature. Our DOT reform helps correct that and clear up the lines of authority – making both the Director and Commissioners accountable to the same person instead of 126 legislators (or at least those in their district). To review the response from the DOT, click here.
We hope this helps develop a statewide perspective on roads – both urban and rural – and not subject to political whims. I know the House will still tell us what they could do better – but at the end of the day – I hope they concur and we can move on to the next phase of funding after the restructure takes place.
Senate Majority Leader
Last week, to the surprise of everyone, Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler stepped down as Majority Leader despite the urging for him to remain through the end of the session. We had to immediately start working on getting a new leader that could continue the “Teamwork” we had as the caucus came together on the infrastructure issue.
Obviously more than one person wanted it, but we were all able to get behind Senator Shane Massey of Edgefield to be the next Senate Majority Leader. I am fortunate to have Shane as my new suitemate and look forward to working with him and the rest of the caucus to move South Carolina forward.
Finally, the filing period deadline closed at 12:00 noon on March 30th, and I ended up without an opponent in the Primary or the General Election. I know that doesn’t mean I made everyone happy with all of my votes, but I do hope it means that you trust me to listen to you and do my best to continue to do the right things for the long term good of South Carolina. Thank you for the honor to continue to represent you in Columbia.
We are told now that the plans are for us to begin working on the Senate version of the budget the week of April 25th. In Columbia language, that means we really only have this week and next week to get any Senate bills out of the Senate and over to the House before the May 1 crossover deadline. This will make for a very long next few weeks. We are working hard to get Ethics passed and will also work to get a Shortening Session bill over before the deadline.
There are plenty other issue being discussed and as always you can keep up with it on www.scstatehouse.gov. You can even watch us live in session or most committee meetings.
For more information on other bills that are moving in Columbia, click here.