DOT Reform, A Time Review & Farm Aid
The House wrapped up the week with House negotiators continuing to push for DOT reform in the Senate version of the plan to fix our ailing roads and bridges. I hear from constituents like you on a regular basis concerning our state’s infrastructure issues, and providing a conservative solution remains my top priority. The Senate plan which has minimal reforms to the mismanaged Department of Transportation is still under discussion by the House Ways and Means Committee and I am confident they will produce a bill that doesn’t raise taxes, truly reforms the DOT, and gives you and your family safer roads on which to drive. As I have said before, I will continue to monitor this process and keep you up to date as a final plan is reached.
Over the past two weeks and after heavily amending them, the Senate sent back the few ethics bills they have been able to pass of the dozen we sent them. Ethics is easy when you believe in good government, and I am proud my House colleagues and I have led the way on strong reform measures. The House Judiciary Committee must now review and adjust the watered-down Senate ethics legislation on income disclosure and search for ways to accomplish more, not less true reforms within the bill language. I can assure you we will not let up in our endeavors to bring sunlight to the process.
The House Ways and Means Committee is also in the process of reviewing the state budget as amended by the Senate. I treat the allocation of your tax dollars as a very serious matter. I along with House budget staff and others will take the next week of furlough period to not only continue reviewing the Senate’s plans for our state tax dollars, but will make necessary adjustments based on the needs of our state.
In closing, you surely recall the devastating flooding our state experienced in 2015, causing tragic loss of life and property and hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to farmers who saw their crops destroyed. Agriculture is a thriving industry in our state and we are blessed to have dedicated family-owned farms operated by generational farmers who have worked our lands for hundreds of years. We simply cannot afford to let affected farmers go out of business as a result of the massive flooding. In our global economy, China and Mexico have already taken more than enough farming jobs from our state. Each time a farm closes in South Carolina, we cede more market share to bad actors like China. This week I am proud to report my House colleagues and I were able to concur with the Senate sending a final Farm Aid bill to Governor Nikki Haley’s desk for her signature.
As always, it is a privilege to serve you in the South Carolina House. If you ever need help with state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please to not hesitate to contact me.