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Constituent Update #2 – 2014

The crazy weather we have experienced recently has affected the SC General Assembly as it has with your business and family.  We’ve had two full weeks of our session canceled but we are making progress on some important issues.  I’d like to update you on a few of those items here.

Chief Justice Selection
One of the most time consuming duties for members of the General assembly is the election of judges to the SC judiciary.  Last week was also one of the most difficult, as the General Assembly re-elected the Honorable Jean Toal as Chief Justice of the SC Supreme Court.

The process was made more difficult as the race became very politicized.  Not so much by the candidates, but by their supporters.  As with most issues these days, this election was skewed by rhetoric and sound bites attempting to paint both judges in as poor a light as possible.  Unfortunately, some in our own community participated in the campaign of misinformation.

I took this process very seriously.  I had personal conversations with both candidates and reviewed scores of supreme court decisions rendered over the years.  Through that process, I found Chief Justice Toal to be tougher on crime (to include sex crimes involving child victims), pro small business, unwilling to expand the “intent” of legislation, and supportive of personal protection and stand your ground laws.  To be clear, there were also decisions with which I disagree. But on the whole, believe her to be the best choice at the time.  I also believe that it is important for her to complete the initiative she began to digitize the court system in SC and improve the swiftness of justice.

Ethics Reform
As I mentioned in a previous update, a bill is being debated in the Senate that would, among other things, mandate income disclosures for elected officials, and create an independent ethics review committee.  Regretfully, that bill is in danger of failing to gain necessary levels of support.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to hopefully come to an agreement.

Increasing Costs of College Education
The seemingly never ending increases in the cost to attend college in the US is a significant problem.  Students today are graduating with record levels of debt and often times questionable marketability. Much of the problem is rooted in the operational costs and insatiable capital expenditures by our public institutions. We must make quality, affordable higher education available to our youth.  For this reason I have co-sponsored a resolution (S.266) calling for the distribution of annual state appropriations to public colleges and universities based upon an accountability-based model.  Basically, colleges and universities that prove their value – graduation rates, affordability & access, quality, economic impact – will benefit from committed public funding.

Concealed Weapon Permit Reform
Today I joined Governor Nikki Haley, at her request, to dispel some of the misinformation being spread about a concealed weapon permit (CWP) reform bill that was recently signed into law.  I am proud that SC has taken measured, responsible approaches to protect individual rights and public safety.  You can view that press conference below or visit my You-Tube page at the right.

And Now…A Personal Appeal
I have agreed to publicly embarrass myself by participating in “Dancing With The ARK Stars” on March 8th.  This annual event raises funds for The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services.  It is a wonderful event and a very worthy cause.  Please consider a small (or large) donation and Vote for Me!  If everyone on this email list were to pledge just $10 we could quickly raise over $16,000.

To help me, your rhythm-less public servant, you can:

  • Vote Online – Click Here
  • Mail, or drop off, a check payable to “The ARK” to 121 S. Cedar St., Summerville, 29483
  • Attend the event on March 8th at Pinewood Preparatory School – Tickets & Details

For more information on The ARK and their work to assist families living with Alzheimer’s – Click Here

Thank you in advance for your help with this worthy cause!  By the way…I’m performing the waltz!

And as always, thank you for your support.  It is my pleasure to serve as your Senator!

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