Statehouse Report #2- Progress Continues On Roads and Ethics

January 23, 2015 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

At the Statehouse this week the major focus was on finding additional money to repair South Carolina’s deteriorating roads. The issue was advanced when Governor Nikki Haley delivered her annual State of the State address. My Republican colleagues and I were happy to hear the governor’s support for many of the approaches we have been debating to improve our roads and bridges across the state. That’s going to take considerably more money than is currently allocated.

The governor released her much-anticipated plan to fix the state’s aging roads and bridges which looks very similar to the common-sense proposals we have been working on in the House. Governor Haley offered her three pronged solution to paying for road and bridge improvements by proposed to raise South Carolina’s 16.5-cents per-gallon gas tax, but only if it was included in a “three part package.” That legislative package includes a major tax break for taxpayers in a 2% reduction in the state income tax top rate of 7 percent to 5 percent while restructuring the Department of Transportation to make it more efficient and responsive.

Funding additional road improvements is a complicated issue with no quick and easy solutions. It is critically important to maximize the existing funding in the budget by determining how money already budgeted can be redirected to road improvements; that’s most efficient.

We look forward to working with Governor Haley to find responsible solutions to the infrastructure challenges we face.

“Our Republican House majority is enthusiastic about working with the Governor to accomplish this shared agenda to make South Carolina an even better place to live, work, and raise a family,“ said S.C. House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister.

This week the House advanced legislation to reform our state’s ethics laws that affects all 20,000 elected and appointed official in the state.  An income disclosure measure that is part of a larger sweeping ethics reform package cleared its first hurdle in a House subcommittee and moves to the full House Judiciary Committee.

Subcommittee Chairman Kirkman Finlay noted that, “Income disclosure is the start to creating better public confidence of public officials at all levels. The goal of the legislation is to eliminate the possibility that elected officials or their immediate family are using the elected position for personal gain. This bill will be instrumental in moving our state forward on substantive ethics reform.”

Finally, as is typical in January, much work is being done in the Ways and Means Subcommittees as members begin crafting next year’s state budget. Committee meetings are of paramount importance to move newly-filed legislation forward, therefore, we spend as little time as possible on the House floor so they could have time to get our committee work done.

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 do not hesitate to contact me.

Legislative Update- January 21, 2015

January 21, 2015 in Legislative Updates, Uncategorized by Tommy Pope

Tommy Pope has been a little sick but is still working hard! Ethics has passed the Judiciary!  Also, the Governor’s State of the State is tonight.

Statehouse Report #1- New Legislative Session Dawns

January 17, 2015 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

The South Carolina General Assembly convened the 121st Regular Session this week with much pomp and circumstance with the inauguration of the Governor and the oath of office administered to the state’s Constitutional Officers.

The Republican Caucus is focused on the big issues of helping make the lives of citizens better and our state more prosperous with an expanding economy making more available jobs.

One of the top goals is to find substantial funding to pave the way to our state’s better future by strengthening our road and bridge infrastructure. Solving this challenge will provide South Carolina with a competitive advantage over other states in our effort to keep existing businesses and to attract new and expanding businesses.

Nearly 300 bills have already been filed in the House requiring our committees to begin the task of hearings with testimony and deliberations that will result in bills being sent to the House floor for debate and votes. The business of the people of South Carolina is under way.

In the coming weeks, Caucus members will reach out to their constituents and to Republican activists to prioritize the agenda.

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 do not hesitate to contact me.

Legislative Update- January 14, 2015

January 14, 2015 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Tommy discusses the ethics bills moving forward and settles into his new office.

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