After several weeks of nothing really moving on the Infrastructure (Roads) Bill, the discussion on the floor really began last Thursday. Majority Leader Harvey Peeler got up and spoke for the caucus and said that there are four hurdles to get over to get an infrastructure bill out of the Senate:
1- Reform of DOT and the State Infrastructure Bank
2- Relief for the income taxpayers of this state that have helped create a $1.2 billion dollar surplus
3- Revenue – how much is enough to solve our problems for the long term
4- The Governors veto – there is no need to send a bill out that the Governor will veto and the House will sustain it.
These hurdles have to be addressed in that order for us to get the bill.
On the reform side, we have a scheduled Finance Meeting this afternoon at 2:00 p.m.(all Senators invited) to hear the presentation from DOT on our state’s needs. We also have another Finance meeting (all Senators invited) scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning for a presentation from the State Infrastructure Bank.
Both of these meetings will be available for viewing online, and you can see the exact information that I am getting to make informed decisions. To watch the meetings, go to www.scstatehouse.gov and find the Senate Meeting schedule on the right side to click and watch the meeting. I expect the real debate to begin in the Wednesday afternoon session.
In other news, we did pass a bill out of the Judiciary committee that will shorten the length of session from the first of June until the first of May. We also passed a bill out that would place the question on the ballot in November as to whether the Secretary of Education should be an elected position or appointed by the Governor. Both of these bills are still on the Senate Floor.
We also went over to the House on Wednesday and had Judicial elections. I am proud to say that the Honorable John Few was elected to the Supreme Court and the Honorable Gary Hill was re-elected to his position. Both are good friends and constituents in District 8.
I also want to mention the Presidential Primary that is coming up on Saturday, February 20th. We have an incredible opportunity and responsibility in South Carolina to have a voice in who we want to run for President as our Republican candidate (I know the Democrats have one too). Please take the time to listen to the candidates and not the commercials. Vote who you honestly believe is the next true leader that is so desperately needed today. With the potential of four Supreme Court positions coming up in the next several years, this election will shape our Country for years to come.
Again, I thank you for the honor to serve you in Columbia. My door is always open and your opinion always matters. Please feel free to contact me in Columbia. My new assistant is Barbara Lengel, as I now share an office with Senator Shane Massey. Our phone number is the same – (803) 212-6148.