Medical Cannabis Education Event in Anderson Sunday

If you have checked out the issue of medical cannabis a bit, but would like to know a lot more, please attend this seminar in Anderson Sunday afternoon from 3 to 5 PM.

Anderson County Library

300 N McDuffie St, Anderson, South Carolina 29621
Learn basic, medical and legislative information about cannabis and how you can support the current bill become law making SC the 30th MMJ state. According to a 2016 Winthrop University Poll, 78% of South Carolina Residents Support Medical Marijuana Legalization. The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act would allow qualifying patients with debilitating conditions to use and safely access medical cannabis.
By |January 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2018 Bills in Columbia Part 2

SC Policy Council takes a look at some of the pre-filed bills in this article.  I encourage you to read, ponder, and discuss with your legislators.  If they do not know how you feel about these bills, they can’t represent you very well.  Citizen input and involvement is crucial to representative government.

Over the past few weeks lawmakers in both the House and the Senate have been prefiling new bills for consideration in the upcoming session. Next year is the second half of a two-year session, which means any bills that did not pass in 2017 are still in play for the 2018 session (click here for an overview of the 2017 bills to watch when session starts).

Some of the most significant legislative issues for the upcoming year are energy, ethics and education. Along with bills focused on those areas, lawmakers have filed additional regulations, tax favors, expansions of government, etc. – all of which are typical for a South Carolina legislative session, in addition to the topics du jour.

Below is a brief overview of the new 2018 bills, which we will continue to track as they progress through the legislative process.

Energy

In addition to the bills that constitute the legislative leadership’s official response to the energy crisis (analyzed here and here), there are a number of other bills tackling different areas of the energy industry and regulatory structure. H.4414 would allow the governor to appoint the Public Service Commission (PSC), while H.4415 would make the PSC elected by the general public. While both approaches would lessen legislative power in varying degrees, neither abolishes the Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC), which is a primary source of legislative control.

Other bills include H.4421, which would establish a statewide net metering program to expand the installation and use of solar power; H.4425, an omnibus bill that amends the Base Load Review Act, places the utilities consumer advocate under the attorney general, and requires the implementation of energy efficiency programs; and H.4401, which would require the House speaker and Senate president pro tem to hire industry experts to advise on selling the state’s share of the V.C. Summer nuclear project.

One very concerning bill would prevent SCANA from awarding lavish severance packages to utility executives – an egregious overreach of government into a private business’s internal affairs. Quite simply, government has no right to dictate how much a company may pay its employees – even if government has a responsibility to protect the ratepayers from being forced to back a private company’s investment decisions.

Ethics and Campaign Finance

The topic of ethics reform received very little attention in the 2017 session, but that is likely to change in 2018. Four bills would prohibit lawmakers from accepting contributions from utilities – a provision that sounds good, but would do little to change actual behavior in the State House. Another bill, H.4381, would place legislative caucus ethics under the jurisdiction of the legislative ethics committees – which would simply expand legislative self-policing.

H.4396 is yet another attempt to create an Office of FOIA Review – a new judicial branch under the Administrative Law Court that would oversee the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) appeals and challenges that are currently the jurisdiction of the circuit court. Other bills include S.806, which creates a campaign account auditing department under the Ethics Commission; H.4443, which increases campaign account disclosure requirements for political candidates; and H.4498 and H.4499, which would require attorney general elections to be publicly funded.

These bills focus primarily on elections, campaign finance reform and lobbyist income rather than the root of legislative corruption in Columbia – the law’s failure to require the disclosure of government sources of income, and the system of legislative self-policing that insulates lawmakers from most accountability.

Education

A number of education-related bills would increase school micromanagement from the State House with various new mandates and requirements. H.4386 would require the installation of metal detectors in public schools, while H.4387 would require teachers to have CPR training. H.4434 would require schools to screen for dyslexia for grades K-2, and a pair of bills – H.4447 and H.4388 – would place heavy manufacturing course requirements on high schools.

On the positive side, S.826 would allow school districts to set their own start date, and S.830 would require the General Assembly to fund the base student cost before funding any additional K-12 programs in the state budget. Of course, there are a number of sound budgetary practices required by state law that are routinely ignored by lawmakers, so the latter bill may not prompt any major change even if passed.

Reform and Restructuring

There is very little good news in this category. Most of the prefiled restructuring bills would institute major expansions of government or would increase legislative power.

S.794 and S.795 would create a brand-new state agency – the Department of Children’s Services – while S.805 would create the Department of Children’s Advocacy. S.840 would create the Department of Early Development and Education. S.797 and S.798 would transfer state government functions away from the Department of Administration under the governor to the Department of Commerce and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority (formerly known as the Budget and Control Board). And S.785 would revise the membership of the Consumer Affairs Commission to give legislative leaders more control.

Two other bills, S.816 and S.817, would impose term limits on legislators. This not quite the major reform that some might imagine. The problem with South Carolina state government isn’t long serving legislators; it’s the fact that our current structure of government allows the legislature to dominate the other branches.

Taxes and Tax Credits

Over the past year, a House committee has been looking at the porous South Carolina tax code with the goal of making it fairer for all South Carolinians. While the committee has yet to file any official solutions, the other tax-related bills filed over the course of the current two-year session do not bode well for taxpayers or the goal of a fairer, simpler tax code.

This year’s prefiles include S.759, creating an additional property tax exemption for brain and spinal cord injuries; S.837, creating tax credits for business owners who invest at least $250,000 in their own businesses; H.4431, expanding the alternative energy installation tax credit; and H.4524, creating a tax credit for installing diaper changing stations in private businesses.

H.4430 would allow taxpayers to have their car value appraisals adjusted by submitting an alternate appraisal. This idea has merit, but the bill would allow the Department of Revenue to select and approve the dealers authorized to perform alternate appraisals.

Spending

Most of the more egregious spending bills were filed last year, but there are several new bills worthy of note. S.756 would create a new slush fund called the “Disabled Self-employment Development Trust Fund” and offer a tax credit for contributing to it. S.792 would appropriate aircraft property taxes to the state aviation fund (the author of that bill is the executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority).

One bill would require the Department of Revenue (DOR) to compile a report every two years on the impact of economic incentives, thereby creating more accountability to the practice of offering taxpayer-funded economic development. South Carolina currently has no such mechanism in place.

 Healthcare

Many of the barriers to healthcare choice in South Carolina are due to state regulations rather than federal legislation and mandates. Several prefiled bills would only increase those regulations rather than lessening the burden on healthcare providers. For example, H.4495 would prevent hospitals from charging uninsured patients higher fees than insured patients; H.4490 would require manufacturers of diabetes medication to provide extensive reports to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHEC); and H.4487 would allow DHEC to classify drugs as a controlled substance on an emergency basis.

H.4489 would exempt kidney centers from the onerous requirements of obtaining a certificate of need (CON) to build new facilities, offer new services, etc.  But doing so for only one type of healthcare facility, rather than repealing the CON requirements for the whole industry, is essentially a government stimulus initiative that handpicks an industry winner.

The most egregious healthcare-related bill would create Health Enterprise Zones. Local non-profits would develop a plan for addressing healthcare needs in their zone, and the state would provide government assistance to implement it. We will analyze this bill at length in another piece, but suffice it to say that the bill is aimed more at politics than solutions. It spends taxpayer dollars to further subsidize targeted healthcare initiatives, and does nothing to eliminate the real barrier to high-quality, low-cost healthcare: High regulation that stifles competition and innovation.

Regulation

Every legislative session sees additional occupational licensing and industry regulation bills. This year’s prefiled bills include additional regulations relating to pawnbrokers, tattoo facilities, tanning salons, body piercing, and funeral processions. S.787 would increase the permissible distance between funeral home managers’s residences and their funeral homes from twenty-five to fifty miles instead of lifting the requirement altogether, while S.819 contains a host of regulations designed to encourage recycling.

 

By |January 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

What is Tommy Dimsdale up to now?

Tommy Dimsdale has taken a very proactive approach to educating young folks and church folks on the correlation between faith and freedom.  Tommy will be one of our speakers at our Tuesday January 9 Spartanburg Tea Party meeting next week!  Come and listen to what he’s been accomplishing!

 

By |January 3rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

2018 Bills in Columbia Part 1

Has it been a while since you’ve called  your representatives about a bill in Columbia?  When’s the last time you traveled to Columbia for a hearing?  Remember when you used to gather all the info you could on a bill, then share it with your friends and family and urge them to take action?

Let’s begin 2018 with a good understanding of some of the bills we’ll be seeing in this year’s legislative session and get ready for some activism!

SCPolicy Council provides us an update for some bills that have been held over from last session (we have a 2-year session in SC).  If there is a particular bill that moves you to action begin there. Note that the session begins next Tuesday January 9.

Below is a summary of some of the most significant bills from last year to watch when session reconvenes in January. These bills were also covered in our annual publication Best and Worst of the General Assembly 2017.

H.3722: Bond bill – Increases debt for agency projects

This bill would authorize $497 million of new debt for various state agency pet projects. Many of the agencies requesting bond funding did not see major increases in funding in this year’s proposed budget, and lawmakers repeatedly said during budget deliberations that there was little money to spend. The proposed bond funding would be used to pay for facility and equipment renovation and maintenance. Even aside from the fiscal concern of plunging the taxpayers deeper in debt in the absence of cash on hand, maintenance and repair should be funded through the yearly budget – not paid for by debt financing. House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White has stated his intent to propose similar bond bills every few years. The bill is currently awaiting debate on the House floor.

 H.3343 – bonds for school district facilities

This legislation would authorize the issuance of up to $200 million of bonded indebtedness every year for school facilities. The facilities plans would be developed by the local districts and submitted to the Department of Education and the State Board of Education. The General Assembly would fund the bonds to pay for the projects either by joint resolution or budget proviso – a highly concerning provision, as passing massive debt increases through budget proviso is an end-run around proper process. Budget provisos exist merely to explain how the appropriated money must be spent, and most provisos are never debated. As a result, any proposal that would increase the debt should be openly debated and voted on separately.

The bill also mandates the creation of a grant fund for nonrecurring school facility maintenance expenses. The major challenges with public education aren’t a product of lack of funding, but rather the waste, bureaucracy, and lack of competition within the system. We certainly don’t need to go deeper in debt in order to boost school funding. This bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate Finance Committee.

 H.4182 – Creates unaccountable bonding entities within public universities

H.4182 would allow college and university boards of trustees to create new government entities within their public universities. These mini-governments (called “enterprise divisions”) would have numerous broad powers with very little state oversight or accountability, including bond issuance, acquisition of property and capital project construction. Most of these powers are specifically exempted from state oversight – including the oversight of the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) – and are solely accountable to the boards of trustees. Worse, these broad powers of procurement include eminent domain. The enterprise divisions could use revenue from athletic programs as bonding streams, but only if the university’s athletic program generates at least $40 million per year – clearly benefiting South Carolina’s largest universities. Universities already have substantial bonding power, but are subject to the oversight of the state and the CHE. The creation of an enterprise division would allow a university to bond for capital projects completely independent of CHE oversight. Some universities may find that provision welcome in light of the CHE’s recent pushback to higher education spending and debt proposals, but it has alarming implications for the taxpayers who fund the public universities, and who would likely be forced to pick up the tab for a university that defaults on its debt. This bill is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.

H.3146 and S.27 – Appointment of superintendent of education

South Carolina previously had one of the highest number of elected statewide officials in the nation. Over the past few years, citizens have voted for the governor to appoint the adjutant general and the lieutenant governor. However, there is still a number of constitutional officers (officials elected by the entire state) who should be appointed by the governor rather than elected, including the superintendent of education. Putting so many officers on statewide ballots has the effect of blurring accountability: How many voters are familiar with the duties of the secretary of state, or the adjutant general? (Imagine electing, say, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture or the Secretary of Commerce separately from the President. That is essentially the reality on a smaller scale in South Carolina.)

There are two elements to making the superintendent: a gubernatorial appointment: a constitutional amendment removing the superintendent from the list of generally elected officers; and a bill enacting the necessary statutory changes. H.3146 (the constitutional amendment) and S.27 (the statutory changes) both passed their respective chambers and crossed over to the other, where debate will no doubt resume when session starts in January.

 H.3179 – Roll call voting on grouped budget sections can be authorized by rules

This bill would allow House rules to remove the roll-call requirement for each section of the annual budget. Legislators would be able to vote for multiple sections at the same time, with the number of grouped sections determined by individual chamber rules. This bill would largely defeat the purpose of the roll-call voting requirement, which is to ensure citizens know how their legislators voted on any one particular measure. Conflict of interest problems would make it more difficult for legislators who have financial interest in one of the sections to abstain from voting on bundled sections of the budget (a doctor who sees Medicaid patients, for example, would have an interest in the Department of Health and Human Services budget). Even with roll call voting in place, there is very little discussion of what is actually in the budget. Lifting this requirement would not only lessen the discussion, but would allow lawmakers to hide their votes on the most important bill passed every year. A House rule change to allow remove the roll-call voting requirement on each section was also proposed and is still in committee, as is the bill. 

S.386 – Eliminating the Judicial Merit Selection Commission

S.386 would have deleted language from the constitution that establishes a Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) to screen and nominate judicial candidates. Under current law, the Commission is entirely appointed by the legislature, which is a far cry from the independent judicial selection committee recommended by the American Bar Association. In any case, lawmakers shouldn’t simply pick the judges who interpret their laws, and the JMSC is a key component of the legislature’s hegemony over the judiciary. This bill would be a major step toward restoring the proper balance of power and judicial independence. It currently sits in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 S.255 – Electioneering/donor disclosure

This bill, sponsored by Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), would substantially encroach on South Carolinians’ right to criticize politicians. It would require groups engaging in “election communication” – broadly defined as communication that supports or opposes a candidate, ballot initiative, or influences an election – to disclose not only their top donors but also the donors’ mailing address, occupation, and employer. Groups that aren’t currently required to disclose their donors, moreover, would face tougher reporting requirements at the state level than full-on political action committees that are directly involved in elections. Unlike other recent attempts to regulate free speech, which would have applied only in the run-up to an election (30 days before a primary election, 60 days before a general), Sen. Leatherman’s bill would apply all year round. The bill did not even receive a committee hearing during the last session, but lawmakers may well attempt to pass it in the next.

 H.3700 and H.3930 – Permitless open carry

H.3700 allows anyone over the age of 21 who is legally allowed to own a handgun in South Carolina to carry that handgun in public, openly or concealed, without the requirement of a concealed weapons permit (CWP). It would still allow businesses to restrict weapons on their premises if they have legally posted a sign stating the prohibition. It would continue to prohibit carrying a weapon into a residence or institutions such as schools, daycares, churches, courthouses, hospitals, etc. without the permission of the owner or governing authority. Finally, the bill would enact reciprocity for CWP holders between South Carolina and all other states. This bill never received a committee hearing.

Another bill – H.3930 – contained many of the same elements, but in the enacting language specified that the new protections would apply only to “individuals who legally may purchase a firearm from a properly licensed and certified firearms dealer.” This provision is almost certainly unenforceable. This bill passed the House band is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

H.3240 – CWP reciprocity

This legislation is a reciprocity bill that would have required South Carolina to recognize concealed weapons permits (CWPs) from all other states. Visitors, under this law, would follow South Carolina’s concealed carry laws while in our state. Under current law, South Carolina recognizes out-of-state CWPs only if that state imposes training and background check requirements as part of their CWP application process.

Keeping and bearing arms is a right and not a privilege, and citizens should not need to obtain permission from the government to exercise this right. This bill would have been a step in the right direction as it provided more freedom to gun owners from out of state. The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 S.158 – Gun control

S.158 is one of a number of bills that would have created additional roadblocks to obtaining a firearm, none of which passed out of committee. This specific legislation would have increased the waiting period for background checks when purchasing a gun from a firearms dealer to 28 days.

Individuals who wish to obtain a firearm for criminal purposes are extremely unlikely to attempt to obtain that firearm in a way that requires a background check. Even if a potential violent criminal fails a background check, he can always obtain a firearm through illegal channels. By contrast, a law-abiding citizen who has an immediate need of a firearm for self-defense purposes would be hindered from protecting himself. This bill – along with all the other gun control bills filed – did not make it out of committee during the last session, although it could do so in the next.

 H.3521 and S.212 – Authorizing production of medical cannabis

Companion bills H.3521 and S.212 would allow cannabis to be produced and distributed by facilities to authorized patients and their caregivers for treating debilitating medical conditions. All production, distribution, purchasing, and usage would be heavily regulated by the Department of Health and Environmental Control, with strict penalties for violation. The bill also contains legal protection for anyone acting under its provision.

While the regulations in the bill are quite burdensome, this legislation would at least make it possible for South Carolina patients to be treated with cannabis. Medical professionals, not the state, should be the primary judges of appropriate medical treatment. Both bills are still in their respective committees.

S.345 – Independent practice for nurse practitioners and registered nurses

If S.345 passed, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists would be allowed to practice independently, subject only to a collaborative practice arrangement with a physician. Current law requires them to work under a doctor’s supervision. The healthcare industry is one of the most over regulated industries in the country, which serves to both drive up costs, decrease innovation, and limit patient access to care. This reform would be an excellent step in the right direction and has been passed by a number of other states. This bill is still in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.

H.3450 – Licensing electrology

H.3450 is one of a number of bills increasing the licensing and regulatory burden on entrepreneurs and businesses. This bill – and there are many like it – would require licensing by the Board of Medical Examiners for the practice of electrology and for electrology instruction. The bill created the Electrology Licensure Committee which would have consisted of five members appointed by the Governor.

This would impose onerous requirements, regulations, fees, etc. with broad powers given to a governing board. Aside from the bureaucratic bloat and potential for abuse inherent in this legislation, licensing laws rarely enhance public safety or make quality more likely. They almost always drive up prices and keep lower-income entrepreneurs from entering the industry. This bill passed the House and is currently in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee.

 S.446 – Increasing state-funded venture capital fund

This bill would divert more tax dollars to the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) – a state-owned venture capital firm controlled by a conglomeration of bureaucrats and lawmakers. The SCRA is funded largely by one-for-one tax credits. This bill would effectively double the SCRA’s private contribution fund by doubling the available tax credits from $6 million to $12 million. It would also decrease the individual tax credit cap from $2 million to $250,000 and would exempt SCRA officials from qualifying for this credit. Under no circumstances should state government own a venture capital firm, especially when said firm is non-transparent and exempt from the ordinary rules governing agency salaries, mission, etc. If lawmakers want to double the funding for this entity, they should do it openly through the budget process rather than a backdoor system of tax credits. This bill passed the Senate and is now in the House Ways and Means Committee.

***

These bills are just a sampling of the legislation on the table for discussion in the next session. Both the House and the Senate have begun prefiling new legislation, which our policy team is currently in the process of analyzing. An overview of the House and Senate prefiles will be posted soon, and we will continue to keep our readership updated on these and the other important issues as they move through the legislative process.

 

By |January 2nd, 2018|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Hope Blackley’s statement re: Jeff Horton’s comparison of Courthouse mold cleaner to Chloraeptic

Hope Blackley sent the following to the Spartanburg Herald Journal:

I’ve invited Councilman Horton over just as I’ve invited all other council members. Councilman Bradley, Farr and Brown came came by yesterday and experienced for themselves, the strong aroma that many have felt made them feel ill.

I’ve spoken with Mr. Jack McBride, President of Contec, who informed me of the make up of ONE of the chemicals (Disinfectant Solution) being used, which has 1.56% Phenol and 0.06% Sodium Phenate and 98.38% Inert Ingredients. I was informed that Councilman Horton ingested a bottle of chloroseptic, which I understand both contain phenol. I’m not a medical expert, I can only go by what’s on the label and the SDS that have been presented to me by Spartanburg County Maintenance which I distributed to all staff members.


We are currently ventilating the affected area with outside air and will resume ventilation tomorrow because the aroma is still lingering. 


I’ve received complaints of dizziness, headaches, vomiting, burning eyes and noses, metal taste in mouth (sore tongues) and nosebleeds. 


I will not debate or dispute the issues, only present the concerns as they’re presented to me, and make appropriate accommodations for areas throughout the courthouse and elsewhere (based on the numerous doctors recommendations that have been presented) that are plagued with mold and I will continue to ask for assistance from county council and county administration on how to get a resolution to the problems that continue to cause staff members and the public, concern.


My goal is and will always be to have a healthy working environment and keep morale up!

By |December 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Update on Courthouse Mold Situation

Two stories at SHJ this week.

Monday’s Story:

Spartanburg County Clerk of Court Hope Blackley told County Council Monday that four years is too long to wait for a new judicial center while employees in the existing 60-year-old courthouse continue to get sick from mold and cleaning chemicals.

At Monday’s meeting, about a dozen courthouse employees attended. Some said they had to leave work Monday because the stench of cleaning chemicals was so bad that they had burning eyes, chest pain, and nosebleeds.

Blackley said work crews apparently used chemicals over the weekend to kill mold recently found near judges’ chambers. Even though mold remediation areas are contained with plastic coverings, fumes of chemicals still penetrated workplaces, she said. Blackley said Judge James Fraley Jr. and some of his staff members became sick Monday, complaining of dizziness, faintness, and headaches. She said Family Court had to be moved to the Circuit Court area in the courthouse.

She said council members Whitney Farr, Justin Bradley and Michael Brown visited the courthouse Monday at her request, to see the problem firsthand.

After the council meeting, Bradley said the county is doing the best it can to get mold test results quickly and seal off any areas that are contaminated so that crews can remove the mold.

When asked if he supports moving courthouse employees immediately, he said if removing the mold does not work, he’d be open to “other options.”

Two weeks ago, about 20 to 25 courthouse employees refused to go to work in protest over the latest air quality results that showed mold.

Several courtrooms were temporarily moved and some judges were relocated in the courthouse.

Tuesday’s Story:

Despite continued complaints of illness, Spartanburg County has no intention of shutting down its courthouse and relocating the 250 employees there before a new judicial center is built more than four years from now, County Council Chairman Jeff Horton said Tuesday.

“We are making sure that building is as safe as can be,” Horton said. “We value the health and safety of all employees.”

Horton on Tuesday reiterated the county’s position that the courthouse will remain open until it is demolished, and that mold identification and cleanup will continue as necessary until then. Horton said he doesn’t know what caused the courthouse employees’ illness, but he said it was not the cleaning material being used by ServePro crews. “We have been assured that the chemicals are being applied safely and properly,” Horton said.

He said crews are using Sporicidin, a disinfectant made by Contec of Spartanburg, that contains a harmless ingredient —phenol — which is also used in Chloraseptic, an over-the-counter sore throat medicine.

Horton said Spartanburg County has spent about $1 million so far on mold remediation, and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been asked to inspect the courthouse again, as it did last August, to see what might be making workers sick.

County Administrator Katherine O’Neill said the program manager in OSHA’s Office of Voluntary Programs told her a site visit will be made after the holidays.

If you click the link above you will see a picture of Jeff Horton helpfully holding up a bottle of Chloraseptic, to illustrate how there is NOTHING TO SEE HERE with the employees’ complaints.

By |December 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tim Scott votes to reject Trump’s nominee to head Ex-Im Bank

WSJ reports:

A Senate panel rejected President Donald Trump’s pick to run the U.S. Export-Import Bank on Tuesday, the first time a committee has voted to block one of his nominees.

The Senate Banking Committee voted 10-13 against Scott Garrett, a former Republican House lawmaker who had until recently pushed to shut down the agency, which boosts financing for U.S. exports by large and small companies. The move is a setback for the White House and a victory for large manufacturers such as General Electric Co. and Boeing Co. that pressured lawmakers to oppose Mr. Garrett.

Two Republicans—Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Mike Rounds of South Dakota—joined all panel Democrats to defeat Mr. Garrett.

 Unless the White House moves quickly to replace Mr. Garrett with another nominee, the development could significantly extend a political standoff over the agency’s leadership that has left it unable to approve more than $37 billion in transactions. The Export-Import Bank for more than two years has lacked a quorum needed to approve large transactions.

The agency helps support U.S. exports by guaranteeing loans to foreign buyers and providing credit insurance. Its backers say the agency allows U.S. companies to compete on equal footing with foreign rivals that receive similar support from their home governments. But some Republicans have argued the bank amounts to corporate welfare and should be shut down—a view shared until recently by Mr. Garrett.

At a confirmation hearing last month, Mr. Garrett changed his opposition to the agency and pledged to keep the agency “fully functioning” if confirmed by the Senate. But that didn’t sway Democrats and some Republicans.

By |December 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Spartanburg GOP passed Local Government Fund resolution

At the Executive Committee meeting last week the following resolution was passed and will be forwarded for action to the State SCGOP:

LGF resolution

By |December 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Spartanburg Tea Party January meeting 1/9 – Christian Healthcare Ministries!

I’m so looking forward to our January meeting! For a decade I’ve not had health insurance.  It’s been scary.  And yet, there was really nothing I could do – I had self insured for some years prior to that, but it literally became too expensive for me to continue.

Recently I spoke with Dave Chisholm about Christian Healthcare Ministries and realized this was something I COULD AFFORD! So I’ve asked Dave to come speak to us in January.  Perhaps you have health insurance but know other who do not, or perhaps you are in the same situation as I am – you personally have not been able to afford it.

One of the good points about CHM is that there is no enrollment period so you can begin anytime!  So please come and learn and bring friends who might need some help to our meeting – Tuesday January 9, at 7 :00 PM at The Clock on Reidville Road.  If you’d like to share a meal, come a bit early, some of us meet at 6:30 PM to eat and chat.

 

By |December 19th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Jeff Duncan on Net Neutrality

From his FB page:

I have been getting a lot of calls and questions on the Net Neutrality and Title II debate this week, so I wanted to share little history of this issue and where we are today. I am a strong believer in an open internet, free of excessive government regulation and control. That is precisely why I support the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday to free the internet of 1930-styled regulations that were imposed upon it by the Obama Administration that are responsible for reducing critical broadband investment crucial for the rural Third District and South Carolina as a whole.

The vote taken by the FCC yesterday returns the internet to the same regulations it had been under until the Obama Administration acted heavy-handedly and without Congress to reclassify the internet under a 1930’s era law intended to regulate telephone companies. Since the decision in 2015 to regulate the internet like a public utility, we have seen broadband investment fall two years in a row, the first drop in investment in American history outside of a recession. The internet is one of the best free-market success stories of our day, and its rapid growth is a testament to less government interference, not more. Simply put, the government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers, stiflingly entrepreneurship, or discouraging private investment.

There have been a lot of misconceptions surrounding this decision. During the eruption of the internet in the 1990s, President Clinton and a Republican Congress adopted a policy of a free and open internet “unfettered by federal or state regulation.” This light-touch, market-based approach to internet governance was successfully implemented by the Clinton Administration and upheld by the Bush Administration. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that internet service providers (ISPs) and internet content providers should be regulated the same way. ISPs refer to companies that provide internet access (Verizon, AT&T, Charter) whereas internet content providers handle the distribution of online content (Facebook, Google, Netflix, Amazon).

In 2015, the Obama FCC reversed decades of precedent and exercised a stunning power grab by reclassifying ISPs as common carriers, making them subject to Title II regulation of the Communications Act of 1934.

Yesterday’s vote taken by the FCC was to restore internet regulations back to the pre-2015 standards, the same free-market approach that has spurred internet innovation and investment for the last several decades. The vote yesterday is not ending the internet (what you will hear from George Soros backed groups and from those who want more government control over your life), but simply returning ISPs to be regulated how they always were before Obama’s abuse of power.

This is not a big guy vs. little guy fight, as some of attempted to frame the debate. Google, Facebook, Netflix, and others were all once small start-ups that had a chance to compete without the government picking winners and losers.

It’s important that we talk about this issue truthfully. We can’t let this be a political football – reclassifying the internet differently with each new Commissioner and Administration that comes along in the future. That’s bad for the economy and undermines the democratic process by circumventing Congress. And if a consensus is reached that new regulations are warranted to keep the internet free and open, those tough decisions should be made by the people’s representatives, not by unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC. Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by applying 1930’s era laws to something as new and modern as the internet is more than bad politics, it’s also bad policy.

By |December 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How are people responding to Marco Rubio’s threat to vote NO on tax bill?

These responses to Rubio’s FB post asking people to weigh in come in just a 17 minute span of time.  There were hundreds more.  Methinks Marco overplayed his hand.

You’re going to vote against the bill that would spur economic growth so that people don’t NEED your $2000 gift. On what planet does that make sense?

If you make less than 45,000 in Florida you get free college and free health insurance for which I pay over 50,000 a year. Why should we top up income for these people.
You will lose my vote.

Vote for the bill. Argue for what you want in committee or on the floor. But if this bill goes down because of you. Then YOU will pay the consequences.
Quit making the perfect the enemy the good.

Pass the bill as is,and amend it as you do with all other’s, who’s side are you on anyway,support “we the people and give us the much needed relief,or fi bbq d another job

Everyone will need more than an expanded tax credit if you don’t pass the tax reform… Think logically Marco, not politically…. Quit campaigning. Now is not the time…

Pass the bill! Quit grandstanding and do the right thing. I am very disappointed in you, I thought you put the people of Florida first, but you are playing political games.

PASS THE BILL!!! Family lives in Florida and they are as mad as hornets at you right now for BLOCKING THIS. PASS THE BILL already!!!

There is tax relief for families now. U cannot please everyone. There r many benefits that come with this plan. Come on!

If you use this as an excuse no vote, no more votes for you. Don’t be a democrat!

No, Rubio you are wrong

Not at the expense of failing to pass the whole tax reform bill. Get with the program and stop posturing for your constituents.

Stop it with the blackmail and get on the team

 ot at the cost of stopping the Bill from passing. Man up, LIttle Marco Rubio

Don’t throw the rest of the country under the bus for your personal pet project!

Enough arguing senator rubio .. time to SIGN THE BILL!!

How about you vote instead of grandstanding for 2020..to say you held out …

Pass the tax bill and live to fight another day. You have commented on the Chinese and the long view they take. So if this bill fails because of you, not only are you finished but so is the Republican Party not to mention the benefits that the American people would have gotten from the new tax law. People say the President has a low approval rating but look at the Senate your approval rating is that of a professional killer or a used car salesman. You are part of a do-nothing Senate with reams of bills not acted on so at one time I really wanted you for President, but now all I see is a short-sighted fool and at best a power-hungry man. Take whatever part of the loaf you can get now and go back later for more. PASS THE BILL OR GO HOME AN EMPTY CHAIR WOULD DO A BETTER JOB.

Vote for the tax cut or my entire family will never vote for you again!

Please Vote ………YES…..Dont hold up the Bill ….Please

Just do something. Tired of all the talk with no results.

NO – Don’t be obstructionist. I will never vote for you again if you are.

Just lower taxes dude and we won’t need “tax credits.” Cut this nonsense out

 Marco , if you do not vote for this tax bill….your done…on behalf of my family please vote yes.

Sign the frickin bill whether you get your way or not! TEAM!

Just pass the friggen bill ya knob.

I agree that the Republicans MUST pass a tax reform bill and that Marco, you DO NOT want to be the cause of it derailing.

You will never be a candidate for any office if you play politics with this tax reform bill. You are a legend in your own mind not in ours.

Pass what’s there or they get no relief. What had happened to you?

Marco you vote no and I have money to support who ever runs against you. You have lost your mind. You are becoming a joke.

Not if it is going to screw the rest of the country. You are just being self serving!!

Don’t screw this up Marco!

If a person decides to have many many children, those kids are THEIR responsibility.. not mine or yours! You should be supporting more help for the elderly! WE PAID OUR MONEY INTO SS and MEDICARE! CONGRESS STOLE IT! VOTE YES for the tax reform bill and let’s get on with it! I VOTE NO FOR MORE CHILD TAX CREDIT!

Senator Rubio you are showing you Are a democrat that says they are a republican You are showing who you are

Mario is committing political suicide with his NO vote. Wow.

Marco vote for the people.

Marco. You better vote for the tax bill

NO! Lots of citizens do not have children!

Pass the bill as is

Pass it Rubio. Don’t screw this up.

Pass the tax plan. Quit grandstanding

Support your President. Simple.

Just pass the dam bill. NOW!!!

Stop adding to it! Pass it!!!!

By |December 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Is SC Attorney General Alan Wilson in trouble?

TheState.com:

Toward the end of his presentation to a state judge Wednesday, special prosecutor David Pascoe turned his sights to S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s relationship with the political empire of Rick Quinn and the Quinn political empire.

“These next slides, your honor, demonstrate not only the corruption on the part of Rick Quinn and Richard Quinn & Associates, but their contempt for this process, and their attempts to influence the investigation and attempts to influence the judiciary,” Pascoe told Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen.

In October 2014, for example, Richard Quinn helped Wilson draft a letter to remove Pascoe from the State House corruption probe. Even as he got Quinn’s help, Wilson knew the probe’s potential targets included the Quinns, his longtime political advisers, and their political consulting firm, Richard Quinn & Associates, Pascoe told the judge.

“Weeks after I told them (the attorney general’s office) that Rick Quinn needed to be investigated, after SLED told them that he needed to be investigated, they are getting Richard Quinn & Associates to draft a letter to remove me from the case,” Pascoe said.

With long time consultant Richard Quinn about to testify to the state grand jury under penalty of perjury and obstruction charges, and Rick Quinn pleading guilty and awaiting sentencing, I’m  hoping, fingers crossed, that some long awaiting head will begin to roll in Columbia. Click the link above for more of this article.

By |December 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Greenville attorney William Herlong to run for SC Attorney General

Definitely keeping my eye on William.

GreenvilleJournal.com:

Greenville attorney and former Greenville County School Board member William Herlong said Wednesday he is running for state attorney general as a Republican.

Herlong, 59, said he would make an official announcement in January.

“South Carolina is a truly wonderful place, but the corruption in our state capital threatens us, our reputation, and our way of life,” Herlong said in an email disclosing his intention. “The AG is the one officer who must do everything in his power to prevent and punish corruption. Our current AG has failed in that duty. In fact, he has actively worked to block others from pursuing corruption.”

Current Attorney General Alan Wilson, who has been said to have gubernatorial aspirations, drew criticism earlier this year when he tried last year to block appointed special prosecutor David Pascoe from using the state grand jury to examine alleged misconduct by state legislators. Eventually, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that Pascoe had acted within his authority.

“A competent AG must be dedicated, honest, fair, and trustworthy. He must be a successful, independent, seasoned professional and must know where politics belongs and where it does not. He must be relentless and utterly unafraid to challenge the ‘powers that be,’” Herlong said in the email.

Herlong continued, “The first antidote to corruption is a new AG who is dead-level serious about challenging the status quo and prosecuting malfeasance, regardless of title or influence, and who has the ability and the will to make that happen.”

Herlong, who said he is not a politician and does not have interest in making the attorney general’s office a steppingstone to run for governor or senator, has lived in Greenville since 1989 and grew up in Saluda, S.C.

He has practiced law for 32 years, the last 13 years in his own firm.

Herlong served two terms on the Greenville County School Board, a nonpartisan office.

By |December 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Rep. Josiah Magnuson Town Hall January 4

Mark your calendars – The Dutch Plate Restaurant, January 4 at 6:30 PM.

Q&A session, come and discuss the issues. Arrive early to eat supper.

j@magnusonsc.com

864.420.7933

Bring your neighbors to meet your State Rep.

By |December 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

One of the most valuable articles I’ve read in 2017

Please read this article from ammoland.com.

Probably goes without saying, this is not confined to 2nd Amendment activists, hope it doesn’t appear so. WHAT a valuable lesson! So difficult to learn. Political maturity is hard to attain being that so many of us get active because our emotions have been aroused. It is hard to wait for progress, and hard to look at small progress as a win.  And this article epitomizes one of the reasons the left has been so successful for decades at outmaneuvering conservatives – they have realized that movement toward an eventual goal is NOT to be jeopardized by a lack of critical thinking, but embraced and championed as momentum, and even a victory.  They don’t kill their messengers, they don’t snipe at people on their side whose actions are making things a little better, they don’t dismiss valuable people and efforts because what has happened isn’t exactly, oh so exactly, what they demand.

Movements shrink and die because newly awakened activists aren’t politically mature enough to hang for the long haul while they learn to navigate the treacherous political terrain (even though many are majorly successful in the non-political realm), and because those who have been around for a while have scavenged on the outskirts of the movement — LOUD, vocal, accusatory, but without any accomplishments to show because of their immature tactics, yet proclaim themselves as the gurus and lead new activists down the “my way or highway” path of irrelevancy.  And the conservative cycle of losing because of our own lack of astuteness begins again.

Please read this article.  Excerpt:

But in Committee on Tuesday, 12/5/17, Florida Carry’s pursuit of perfection, became the enemy of the good. They testified in opposition to Sen. Steube’s SB-148 – Protection from Open Carry Abuse.

Was the bill perfect? No, it wasn’t. Was it better than existing law? Yes, it absolutely was better. Could it have been made better in other committees before final passage? Of, course. That’s the process. And this was only the first committee of three before it could go to the floor in the Senate.

But Florida Carry OPPOSED that bill.

Fortunately the Second Amendment supporters on the committee didn’t pay any attention to Florida Carry (they still voted for improvement) and the antigun Democrats were happy because they can use Florida Carry for cover.

NRA passed right to carry in 1987 and it wasn’t perfect but it was better that nothing and it was a start. Year after year we have worked to improve it and make it better. Today, 1.8 million gun owners have licenses to carry concealed because we know the value of working one step at a time and making things better while pursuing perfection.

That worked well for concealed carry license holders until 2011. That’s when Florida Carry arrived on the legislative scene and effectively killed open carry for CW License holders.

Florida Carry’s folks, using Florida Carry’s name, made a barrage of threatening and bullying phone calls to Senators. They screamed profanities and threats at Senators demanding full open carry for everyone, not concealed carry license holders.

A bill that we could have passed in 2011 to allow CW License holders carry openly or concealed and prevent abuse of license holders, died because of Florida Carry. If it had passed then, we might well have full open carry today but we’ll never know.

Again, this is NOT aimed only at 2A activists, this story from Florida just provides a cautionary tale for conservative activists in general.

By |December 9th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Councilman Justin Bradley pushes for full funding of Local Govt Fund

Reported by SHJ:

Spartanburg County taxpayers are footing at least part of the multi-million dollar bill for state-mandated functions because the Legislature has failed to fully fund the local government fund, County Councilman Justin Bradley said.

At a recent county council retreat, Bradley said he is pushing for the Legislature to live up to its commitment, under a statutory formula, when it develops its budget in the spring.

“If we received full funding of the LGF, we would get $16 million back, leaving us with close to a $2 million shortfall even under the formula,” Bradley said. “In fact, they are shorting us between $5 million and $5.5 million annually, making that a $7 million shortfall at least.”

A shortfall means the county — specially local taxpayers — has to make up the difference for state-mandated programs, he said. That means less money available for local needs like road and bridge maintenance.

The last time the county received its full allotment of local government funds was in fiscal year 2008, when Spartanburg County got $14.6 million and all 46 counties got their full share.

Then the recession hit, and the Legislature started shorting all counties in 2009 — Spartanburg by $1 million that year, according to the S.C. Association of Counties. Statewide, the shortfall that year was $16.2 million.

The trend continued each year since then, with the shortfalls statewide growing each year by as high as $47 million. From 2009 to 2016, the statewide shortfall totaled $354.8 million.

During that span, Spartanburg has been shortchanged $22.2 million — money that Bradley said must be found elsewhere in the county’s budget to continue funding 16 state-mandated functions.

Among those functions are court security, clerk of court, magistrates, the public defender, solicitor’s office, victim services, jail medical care, jail housing of state inmates, the county health department, registration and elections, and more.

“Those services cost over $17 million in the current fiscal year,” Bradley said.

 Recently the state Department of Health and Environmental Control shifted the expense of stormwater permitting to the counties — an additional $1 million cost to Spartanburg.

Bradley said there are many other state-mandated functions as well, but the county would provide those anyway — such as the animal shelter, the coroner, tax assessors, social services, elections, emergency preparedness, libraries and road maintenance.

Last month, the Spartanburg Republican Party’s chairman warned lawmakers that if they fail to fully fund all 46 counties this coming budget year, a lawsuit will be filed.

Joining GOP Chairman Josh Kimbrell at that news conference were Bradley and Councilman Roger Nutt, state Rep. Josiah Magnuson, R-Campobello; Spartanburg Tea Party organizer Karen Martin and Greenville County GOP Chairman Nate Leupp.

Spartanburg is not alone in pushing for full local government funding. The S.C. Municipal Association — which represents cities and towns across the state — said many municipalities have had to cut local services, lay off employees, delay capital projects and raise solid waste fees as a result of being shortchanged, according to spokeswoman Melissa Carter.

State Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson, who is chairman of the state House Ways and Means Committee, has formed an ad hoc committee to examine how to fix the formula so that all counties receive their fair share.

White said he has invited counties to show proof of how much money they are shortchanged, a challenge that Bradley said Spartanburg County has taken up.

State Rep. Derham Cole, R-Spartanburg, also serves on the Ways and Means Committee. He said he’s hoping to restore full local government funding.

“We’re still trying to recover from the great recession,” he said. “Those moneys were cut drastically. We have fought to get funding back and have gotten incremental increases.”

By |December 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

Bill 1035, signed by Gov. Haley, overcomes law enforcement objection to medical marijuana

Recently Tom Davis wrote a letter to SC law enforcement agencies about a bill for medical marijuana which is currently in committee. His letter rightly points out that the opposition they cite has already been overcome in our state, with the passage of Bill 1035, signed by Gov. Nikki Haley in June 2014.

“In my six years as a state senator, I have always supported full funding for law enforcement, which is without question a core and critical function of state government.  And I have great respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.  That said, however, when law enforcement officials make statements that are in error, which I believe they have in this letter, it is important for me to say so.

“First, the law-enforcement officials write they ‘were encouraged to see the General Assembly pass legislation this year that [they] felt would prepare South Carolina to respond in a positive manner if the federal government were to take action to address marijuana’s status as an illegal substance.’ But that’s not a correct statement of what the General Assembly did.

What the legislature actually did was pass a bill (S. 1035), signed into law by the governor (Act 221), that makes it legal for a person who has a severe form of epilepsy that is not adequately treated by traditional medical therapies, and whose condition has been certified in writing by a licensed physician, to possess and consume an oil derived from cannabis ‘that contains nine-tenths of one percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol and more than fifteen percent of cannabidiol.’ (Quoting from Section 44-53-110(27)(b)(vi) of the Act.)

“The General Assembly did not, as suggested by the officials in their letter, condition the legality of a person’s possession or consumption of cannabis oil in South Carolina on the federal government taking action to address marijuana’s legal status.  Such possession and consumption of the cannabis oil became legal in South Carolina when Gov. Nikki Haleysigned S 1035 into law on June 2, 2014.  There is no ambiguity in this regard; in fact,

‘A physician is not subject to detrimental action, including arrest, prosecution, penalty, denial of a right or privilege, civil penalty, or disciplinary action by a professional licensing board for providing written certification for the medical use of cannabidiol to a patient in accordance with this section.’ (Quoting from Section 44-53-110(27)(d) of the Act.)

“Second, the law-enforcement officials write that “the intent of the [Medical Marijuana Study Committee] has moved away from its statutory purpose.  The last section of S 1035, Act 221 (Section 4(c)) charges the study committee as follows:

‘The study committee shall provide a report with findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives and the Senate by March 15, 2015, at which the study committee shall dissolve. The report must address, at a minimum, methods and procedures for cultivating medical marijuana in the State, the amount of tax to impose on the sale of medical marijuana, the need for an agriculture marketing plan for the sale and use of medical marijuana, and the impact of the sale and use of medical marijuana on public health and wellness.  The report must address, at a minimum, methods and procedures for cultivating medical marijuana in the State, the amount of tax to impose on the sale of medical marijuana, the need for an agriculture marketing plan for the sale and use of medical marijuana, and the impact of the sale and use of medical marijuana on public health and wellness.’

“Over the past three months, the study committee has held four public meetings, one each in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville and Florence.  In each instance public notice of the study-committee meeting was provided and every individual who wanted to speak was heard.  The committee’s charge was very broad – to report on ‘the impact of the sale and use of medical marijuana on public health and wellness’ – and though a few speakers may have made comments regarding (quoting from the law-enforcement officials’ letter) ‘possibly even recreational marijuana use,’ the committee’s focus has always been on the impact of marijuana for medical purposes only.

“In regard to the broader public debate about whether to increase the medical uses of marijuana beyond the scope permitted by Act 1035, I certainly respect and welcome the opinions expressed by the law-enforcement officials in their letter, even though I strongly disagree with them.  But I take issue when they write: ‘We simply believe that federal action is required before any type of marijuana use should become legal in South Carolina.’ The General Assembly, in passing S 1035, and the governor, in signing Act 221 into law, has already determined that, as a matter of state policy, such federal action is not required.”

By |December 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tom Davis Cannabis Symposium

I fully support Senator Tom Davis in his efforts to create and pass legislation which will allow families and patients, with proper prescription from their doctor, to be allowed to treat their illness with medical marijuana.  Here is Tom at a recent SC symposium sharing his story and why he fights so hard for these families.

 

 

By |December 8th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Begin saving gas receipts in January

WPDE.com reports:

Starting in January 2018, you can save your receipts to claim new motor fuel income tax credit.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue released guidance to help taxpayers prepare. The tax credit is meant to offset the increased motor fuel user fee established by the South Carolina Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act.

 Taxpayers can claim the tax credit when filing their state income tax returns starting in 2019.

The Department of Revenue has released a list of what you need to know.

• This is a refundable credit on up to two vehicles per resident taxpayer and is provided to offset the motor fuel user fee increase.

• To calculate and claim the credit amount and for personal tax records, taxpayers must save receipts and invoices from:

o Fuel purchases beginning in January 2018.

o Vehicle preventative maintenance costs beginning in January 2018.

• Taxpayers receive a credit on the lesser amount paid for either the motor fuel user fee increase or the vehicle’s preventative maintenance.

• Taxpayers will calculate and claim the credit on Form I-385 when filing state income tax returns in 2019. (This form will be available in January 2019.)

By |December 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Roger Nutt plans to call for road fee repeal

SHJ reports:

Mention Spartanburg County’s road fee, and you’re sure to get a reaction even though it’s been more than 12 years since the $25 “tax” on vehicles was passed, according to Councilman Roger Nutt.

“People really don’t like the road fee,” Nutt said. “It’s an extra tax when they’re already paying taxes. You feel the taxes you pay should already pay for roads.”

At a recent county council retreat, Nutt said he plans to “beat the drum” for an eventual call to repeal the controversial fee, which passed in March 2005 by a 4-3 vote.

He would like to use funds from other sources, including the general fund, even if it means less general fund money for other departments.

He said his problem with the fee is that it’s the wrong mechanism to collect funds for core government functions.

“In general, you should not take a central government function and charge a user fee for it,” Nutt said. “I think you charge a general fund tax. Police and fire protection, that is out of the general fund.”

The $25 annual fee on vehicles, including motorcycles, was added to the automobile property tax bills in 2005 to generate roughly $6 million a year for the county’s roads and bridges.

At the time, the fee was supposed to make up for revenue lost when the state cut the car tax from 10 percent to 6 percent, Nutt said.

But road fee opponents said it was just another tax that didn’t take into account whether the vehicle was a large truck or a motorcycle.

One taxpayer showed his displeasure with council by paying his road fee for a 1984 El Camino in pennies — 50 rolls of them, each marked with his name and phone number.

“I heard a good number of people that do not like the road fee,” said Councilman Bob Walker, who was a state representative at the time and not involved in the fee’s passage. “I’ll tell you this, roads are a high priority item on people’s minds.”

The fee generated $5.4 million in its first full year in 2006, then has steadily risen since then to $6.7 million this year. Revenues were slightly down in 2009 and 2010, during the recession.

Public Works Director Travis Brown said the needs of the county’s 1,722 miles of paved roads are approaching $15 million a year, so the funds from the fee are not enough to keep up.

Further, over the past several years the county has not received millions in local government fund revenues council members say is owed by the state.

“We need more money to keep up with our paving,” Nutt said. “We do a good job now maintaining what we have, but we don’t have enough money to improve the infrastructure.”

Walker said there are many subdivisions with roads that are not up to current standards.

 “We’re requiring developers (to provide) a 20-foot-wide road with a 50-foot right-of-way when we have 15-foot roads that aren’t being addressed,” he said.

 Nutt said he would like to phase out the road fee and start replacing those revenues with general funds earmarked for parks and recreation.“Having the best park system in the Southeast is a luxury,” he said. “We’re not flush with money. We’re hurting for infrastructure. Let’s have a slow reduction in luxury and increase (in funds) for roads, bridges, police and fire.

Nutt said he supports building more parks, rails and trails, but a good chunk of the 2 percent hospitality tax revenues — about $4.3 million a year — goes to the parks and recreation budget.

The hospitality tax can help pay for tourism-focused parks and operations related to tourism activities, as well as outside agencies that promote Spartanburg or operate tourism-related venues, according to Budget Management Director Cole Alverson.

Nutt said his call to repeal the road fee is not related to his re-election plans in 2018. He said he has periodically raised the issue, most recently in 2015 when he proposed an infrastructure savings account — setting aside up to $250,000 in existing tax revenue each year to pay for needed road and stormwater improvements.

But repealing the road fee will take four votes, the same number it took to pass in 2005, he acknowledged.

 Among those who voted for it was County Council Chairman Jeff Horton, one of two current councilmen who were on the board 12 years ago. The others who voted for it were Ken Huckaby, Rock Adams and Steve Parker.

Horton said he disagrees with Nutt.

“I do not support taking funding from parks and rec to diminish our programs with quality of life issues for all of our citizens,” Horton said. “We need the road fee plus general fund dollars to maintain our road system. If the Legislature will fully fund the local government fund, I would be in favor of using a good portion of that money for additional road funding.

“I realize the road fee is not popular, but it was implemented when the car tax revenue was greatly reduced,” Horton added. “The state did not fulfill their promise to offset loss of revenue due to the car tax reduction. The county has lost $49 million in revenue due to the reduction.”

Councilman David Britt voted against the road fee in 2005, along with Johnny Code-Stewart and Frank Nutt.

Britt said at the time there was enough money to be found elsewhere in the county coffers to avoid the fee.

County Councilman Justin Bradley said he agrees with Nutt that a fee is not the best mechanism to fund core government services that the general fund should address.

But he does not support taking tourism-related funds from parks and recreation, which he said “keep our great parks and quality of life investments in great condition to attract our residents and those outside our community for tourism.

“However, I do share Councilman Nutt’s desire to put significantly more money in our roads infrastructure than the current road fee provides, and that should be done without increasing the tax burden on our residents.”

By |December 5th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

A bit of history of Medical Marijuana in South Carolina

I strongly support Senator Tom Davis and all the families and advocates working on removing the legislative barriers that keep SC children / patients from getting prescribed medication legally in South Carolina.  Here’s a bit of history on the topic in our state. Reported by Washington Post.

South Carolina state Sen. Tom Davis first heard the name Mary Louise Swing in late January of last year.

The opening month of the 2014 legislative session was just wrapping up, and the legislator was back from the capital city of in Columbia to do some work at his law office in Beaufort, a scenic coastal city located on Port Royal Island in the state’s low country.

Davis was only in the office twice a week during session, and chatted briefly that Monday afternoon with a law partner at their 93-year-old firm who had just met a woman named Harriet Hilton at a local Rotary club lunch.

Her granddaughter suffered from a severe form of epilepsy and was seeking a type of treatment not currently legal or particularly popular in the Palmetto State – medical marijuana.

“Quite frankly, it wasn’t even on my radar screen,” Davis said. “It wasn’t anything in terms of public policy that I thought about doing until I heard about that story.”

About a week later, Hilton was sitting across from Davis in his Beaufort office, discussing her granddaughter, Mary Louise, now 7.

With the help of senate staffers, Davis rifled through old statutes to clarify the current legality of marijuana in the historically conservative state. What they unearthed was an obscure, obsolete law that would come to play a greater role in 2014 than it ever did following its passage 35 years ago.

“The South Carolina Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act of 1980” was designed to treat cancer and glaucoma patients with marijuana. It authorized the state health department to establish a board to certify participating patients and practitioners.

However, South Carolina’s act met the same fate as other states’ programs. It treated few, if any, patients.

“There was probably some social pushback. Probably some individuals who didn’t realize what had gone on in Columbia, and then once they found out about the 1980 law, called up their lawmakers and objected,” Davis said.

Even though the law failed to treat patients in the ’80s, Davis saw the act as a vehicle to help his current constituents.

“In legislative process, it’s always good to try to amend existing law as opposed to passing new law. Taking that 1980 law as a jumping-off point and amending it really got us halfway there,” Davis said. “It was a good icebreaker.”

Davis said he met Mary Louise’s mother, Jill Swing, at the bill’s first subcommittee hearing. Jill and Mary Louise were set to relocate to Colorado to legally obtain medical marijuana, leaving Mary Louise’s father and brother behind in Charleston.

“He heard Mary Louise’s story and reached out to her [Hilton] and said ‘Wait, don’t move yet,’” Swing said of Davis. “‘We need a story. We need a family. We need a way to personalize the legislation and the incredible need for this type of legislation in our state.’”

Much more at the link above. If you would like to be involved in this effort here are a few places where advocates gather:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/OfficialSCCCA/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/OfficalSCCCA/

SC Compassionate Care Alliance

 

By |December 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

SC lawmakers expressed great concern about county spending practices

Really ?  Now ??

Hannah Hill reports at TheNerve.org:

In a House Ways and Means subcommittee meeting this week, state lawmakers expressed great concern about the responsibility of county spending practices.

Let’s be clear: County spending habits are technically no concern of the state, from a jurisdictional perspective. However, the law requires the General Assembly to set aside 4.5% of last year’s general fund revenue for the local government fund (LGF) to cover state mandates on counties and municipalities. Lawmakers’ habitual failure to fully fund the LGF has been a source of local frustration for years.

Instead of simply following the law, the Ways and Means Local Government Fund Ad Hoc Committee sat down to hear a presentation by the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs office (RFA) on how local governments are spending their money.

hmmmm … I wonder if this new focus on county spending has anything to do with the Spartanburg Tea Party/Spartanburg GOP press conference a few weeks ago

And you remember Brian White (R – Anderson), Chairman of Ways and Means, whose response to our press conference was “I welcome the lawsuit. Please sue us. That way we get clarity.”  Well, here’s what Brian thinks is good budgeting:

In one particularly egregious example, Rep. Brian White added a proviso to the 2010 House budget that would have raided the Insurance Reserve Fund (which provides property and liability insurance for state and local agencies) in order to subsidize a new airline incentives fund and to “promote tourism.” Not only was the proposed expenditure itself irresponsible (fortunately, the proviso did not make it into the final appropriations act), but so was the method – the all-too-common practice of spending by proviso instead of budgeting for the funds properly.

So, governing by proviso is right up his alley.  Instead of … you know … FOLLOWING THE LAW.

Click the link above to read more of this article.

By |December 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|1 Comment

National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry Nearing Floor Vote

Reported at Breitbart:

Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) national reciprocity legislation will receive a markup from the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, making it possible for the bill to receive a floor vote by the end of the year.

Hudson’s legislation, Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, was introduced on January 3, 2017. It treats a concealed carry permit like a driver’s license, making a permit from one state valid in the other 49. In so doing it would correct the complicated and often confusing patchwork of concealed carry laws currently in effect throughout the country.

Congress.gov describes a markup:

A committee markup is the key formal step a committee ultimately takes for the bill to advance to the floor. Normally, the committee chair chooses the proposal that will be placed before the committee for markup: a referred bill or a new draft text. At this meeting, which is typically open to the public, members of the committee consider possible changes to the proposal by offering and voting on amendments to it, including possibly a complete substitute for its text.

The fact that the bill is scheduled for markup means the committee is confident it will receive a floor vote.

 Rep. Hudson released a statement on the markup on Monday, saying, “For me and the vast majority of Americans who support concealed carry reciprocity, this is welcome progress. I want to thank Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) for his strong leadership to protect our Second Amendment rights. I will continue to work with my colleagues and President Trump to pass this common sense legislation to protect law-abiding citizens.”
By |November 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Recap of Local Govt Fund meeting 11/28

Spartanburg GOP Chair Josh Kimbrell brought us up to date on what has transpired since our press conference.  He has spoken with council members, GOP chairs and county attorneys in various SC counties who are on board with this effort to require our legislators to “follow the law you wrote”.  There are plans to continue this outreach through the winter.  Our attorney is researching precedent right now on “governing through proviso” and also investigating the best mechanism to file our lawsuit should it be necessary. We’ll be all geared up.  We will put up a website at an appropriate time instructing SC taxpayers how to come on board across the state as plaintiffs.

The Spartanburg GOP will be speaking about this issue at our December 14 Executive Committee meeting – (6:30 PM, county council chambers) open to all, please attend!  We will be taking another look at a 2015 resolution passed by the SCGOP requesting full funding of the Local Government Fund, with the aim to revisit this in January with the full state ExComm.

I will be working with (actually just learning from) Councilman Justin Bradley soon to produce a handout to share with the other 45 counties which examines the actual dollar amounts their particular county has had withheld by our legislators since 2008, and provides a template for them to use to show how much the mandated services in their county actually costs their taxpayers, who are being taxed twice for these mandated services.

Please *LIKE* the Facebook page for our effort to stay informed:

https://www.facebook.com/LocalGovFundingSC/

We are willing to send a team to visit councils and GOP parties in other parts of the state to lay out our efforts, answer questions, and get your county involved so please contact us:

Josh Kimbrell: joshsc1@gmail.com

Karen Martin: karenmartin_1@charter.net

We ran down some ideas for activist involvement – how can you help?:

Contacts with GOP Chairs in other counties, councils in other counties, Young Republicans and College Republicans

Getting informed so you can inform others – list of links from Spartanburg Tea Party articles since 2013 on LGF

Begin discussions with your legislators – ask them to be prepared to vote NO on the budget if the local government fund is not fully funded in 2018

Be prepared to call into local talk radio – become the subject matter expert for your area

Connect us with other organizations of businesses, community efforts so we can talk about the issue and enlist support

stay tuned!

By |November 29th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Spartanburg Tea Party articles thus far on Local Government Fund

Want to get caught up on how the Spartanburg Tea Party and our county council has worked on/discussed the Local Government Fund issue over the years?  Here are all the articles we’ve posted since 2013.

November 13, 2017

What are the mandated services?

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2017/11/13/mandated-services-local-government-fund-required/

 

November 9, 2017

Press conference video – Spartanburg GOP and Spartanburg Tea Party discuss legal action re: Local Government Fund

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2017/11/09/press-conference-video-2/

 

November 9, 2017

Legal action could be taken by SC taxpayers re: LGF

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2017/11/09/legal-action-taken-re-local-government-fund/

 

November 5, 2017

LGF: A fight that needs 46 counties – how Spartanburg has fought so far

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2017/11/05/local-government-fund-fight-needs-46-counties/

 

May 11, 2017

Spartanburg Sheriff Chuck Wright requests help for Local Government Fund, asks the Spartanburg Delegation “DO NOT pass a state budget without fully funding the Local Government Fund.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2017/05/11/chuck-wright-requests-help-re-local-government-fund/

 

April 19, 2017

A recap on the Local Government fund (includes links) “Legislators refuse to give you tax relief because they are too … what ? Lazy? Inept? Selfish? to craft a solution that follow the law they wrote.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2017/04/19/local-government-fund/

 

March 13, 2015

SC Association of Counties lays out the LGF facts

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/03/13/latest-news-on-the-local-government-fund/

 

March 9, 2015

Two state newspapers chide lawmakers for voting to change the law they’ve been breaking for years

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/03/09/lawmakers-vote-to-change-the-law-theyve-been-breaking/

 

February 24, 2015

Lancaster GOP passes resolution calling for the General Assembly and the Governor to be in compliance with Act 171 and fully fund the Local Government Fund

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/02/24/look-what-the-lancaster-county-gop-just-did/

 

February 23, 2015

SC Counties worry as House tries to change Local Government Fund “Marion County Administrator Tim Harper keeps wishing he could give county workers raises or hire replacements as some of his employees retire or leave. But he hasn’t been able to fill a seven-year hole in his budget caused when South Carolina lawmakers failed to follow a state law on local funding.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/02/23/counties-worry-as-sc-house-tries-to-change-local-funding/

 

February 4, 2015

Spartanburg Councilman Justin Bradley addresses the LGF

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/02/04/justin-bradley-local-government-fund/

 

February 3, 2015

Berkeley, Dorchester, and Charleston issued a press release about the effect of these cuts on their counties, call for immediate reform

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/02/03/tri-county-leaders-call-for-immediate-reform-to-local-government-fund/

 

January 26, 2015

Spartanburg Council cuts nine magistrate positions in Local Government Fund fallout

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/01/26/spartanburg-council-cuts-nine-magistrate-positions-local-government-fund-fall-out/

 

January 26, 2015

SCGOP passes LGF resolution, calls for legislators to fully fund the Local Government Fund.

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/01/26/local-government-fund-resolution-passed-by-scgop-executive-committee/

 

January 25, 2015

Spartanburg Councilman Roger Nutt on the LGF

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/01/25/the-local-government-fund-and-a-spot-on-vent-by-councilman-roger-nutt/

 

January 21, 2015

SC Association of Counties puts out legislative alert on Local Government Fund

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/01/21/important-legislative-alert-local-government-fund/

 

January 13, 2015

Spartanburg Senator Shane Martin addresses LGF in Annual Update

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/01/13/senator-shane-martin-annual-update/

 

January 4, 2015

Spartanburg Council to throw down the gauntlet re: Local Government Fund “County officials said this gap has forced them to use county tax dollars to provide state services. In some places, this caused councils to increase local taxes or issue sales taxes, but in Spartanburg County, it has meant dramatic budget reductions and delayed capital projects.

“Just a couple million each year would’ve gone a long way to help us with the jail, the courthouse and other capital improvement projects,” County Administrator Katherine O’Neill said.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2015/01/04/spartanburg-county-to-throw-down-the-gauntlet-on-state-funding-issue/

 

December 15, 2014

Anderson Representative Jonathon Hill calls on his delegation to follow the law re: LGF

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/12/15/lawmaker-calls-on-lawmakers-to-follow-law/

 

December 4, 2014

Rep. Jonathon Hill’s resolution re: LGF

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/12/04/sc-rep-jonathon-hill-says-follow-the-law/

 

November 12, 2014

Senator Shane Martin’s Spartanburg Delegation Resolution to fully fund and RESTORE lost funding from LGF

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/11/12/shane-martins-local-government-fund-resolution/

 

November 12, 2014

Representative Eddie Tallon’s Spartanburg Delegation Resolution re: LGF – very weak

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/11/12/eddie-tallons-local-government-fund-resolution/

 

November 9, 2014

Spartanburg Delegation to address LGF, Senator Martin “It never will happen unless and until the governor of the state makes it a priority in the executive budget.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/11/09/spartanburg-poised-to-address-local-government-fund/

 

August 30, 2014

SC Assn of Counties calls on county councils to take action on Local Government Fund (contains links to history, articles, fiscal impact and actual increases)

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/08/30/local-government-fund-getting-some-attention/

 

August 26, 2014

Spartanburg Councilman Justin Bradley explains the Local Government Fund with links to studies and finances, invites Brian White to discuss

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/08/26/bradley-dont-eliminate-sc-local-government-fund/

 

May 16, 2014

Your legislators failure to fight for you results in you being taxed twice “Spartanburg County administrators estimate they have received about $13 million less in state funding than the constitution requires, and county taxpayers have subsidized state services with $19.5 million.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/05/16/your-legislators-failure-to-fight-for-you-may-result-in-you-being-taxed-twice/

 

May 12, 2014

Senators Shane Martin and Tom Corbin put up amendment re: Local Government Fund, see what projects were deemed “more worthy” and which way Senators voted

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/05/12/local-government-fund-lgf-senate-vote/

 

May 7, 2014

Local Government Fund cut first by House, then by Senate

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/05/07/local-govt-fund-first-cut-by-house-then-by-senate/

 

May 2, 2014

Money for local governments cut in Senate budget plan

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/05/02/money-for-local-governments-cut-in-sc-senate-budget-plan/

 

March 29, 2014

Gaye Holt “Letter to the Editor” re LGF “Counties serve a dual role as local governments and as political subdivisions of state government. As subdivisions of the state, counties are mandated to provide a number of services for state agencies, including animal control, court security, DNA evidence preservation and DSS, and funding and/or space for sheriff, coroner, courts, solicitor, public defender and county legislative delegation, among others. Since most taxes for these services are paid by taxpayers directly to the state, the State Aid to Subdivisions Act was passed to provide funding from the state to the counties for these services.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/03/19/spartanburg-county-leaders-need-to-fix-shortfall/

 

March 13, 2014

House passed budget that fails to fully fund Local Government Fund

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/03/13/house-passes-budget-fails-to-fully-fund-local-government-fund/

 

March 9, 2014

Spartanburg Councilman Justin Bradley “Letter to the Editor” re: LGF “When the state fails to fund these services, our county is required to make up the shortfall with revenue from county taxes. Taxpayers pay twice — once to the state and then to the county — but only receive the services once.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/03/09/letter-to-the-editor-local-government-fund-2/

 

March 4, 2014

Spartanburg Tea Party organizer, Karen Martin writes a Letter to the Editor re: LGF “When Council asked “If the law says these monies go back to the county, how do you not follow the law?” The answer from Rep. Rita Allison was, “We write a proviso.”

It’s similar to the Internal Revenue Service withholding our money all year, then in April when we file our taxes, expecting money back, the IRS says, “Sorry, we wrote a note. You’re not getting it.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/03/04/letter-to-the-editor-local-government-fund/

 

March 2, 2014

Video from Spartanburg County Council / Spartanburg Legislative Delegation public discussion of the Local Government Fund (Thanks to Councilman Roger Nutt)

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/03/02/full-video-local-government-fund/

 

March 2, 2014

Spartanburg Councilman Roger Nutt on LGF “If we have a system where we set the Constitution over here and we have everyone come and beg for money and the one that has the most representation wins, it’s outrageous.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/03/02/rog-rant/

 

March 1, 2014

Spartanburg Council provides “the records” for county LGF expenditures through FY 2014

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/03/01/local-government-fund-in-spartanburg-the-records/

 

February 28, 2014

Report on Council/Delegation meeting in Spartanburg re: LGF “In essence our legislators, each of whom VOTE ON THIS when they vote on the budget are deciding for all 46 South Carolina counties that they are gonna write themselves a note and ignore South Carolina law. And leave the counties to … according to Rep. Allison … “manage the reduction by increasing fees or cutting costs.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/02/28/last-nights-meeting-on-local-government-fund/

 

February 25, 2014

Spartanburg Councilman Justin Bradley with more LGF Info “These mandated services are worthy of adequate funding and many represent some of the core functions of our local governments. However, when the legislature fails to fully fund the LGF, counties are left with the bill. The only way to pay the bill is to cut services, raise taxes, or use rainy day funds, all of which harm our citizens and the county employees who are working hard to provide good services to our residents.”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/02/25/justin-bradley-with-more-info-on-local-government-fund/

 

February 4, 2014

Spartanburg Delegation forms committee to address LGF concerns

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2014/02/04/spartanburg-county-legislative-delegation-forms-committee-to-address-local-government-concerns/

 

October 23, 2013

Spartanburg Senator Shane Martin has not been shy about letting his constituents know in the past few months of his displeasure with Columbia. “The state is underfunding needed services”

http://www.spartanburgteaparty.com/2013/10/23/shane-martin-state-underfunding-needed-services/

 

 

 

By |November 29th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments
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