State House Report #14

May 2, 2016 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Crossover Success – A Record of Achievement

The House of Representatives adjourned for the week after finishing a successful “crossover” period and getting important House legislation moved to the Senate. We’ve nearly completed our agenda with more than a month left in the session. We continue to wait on the Senate to act in many instances so we may give final approval on key items our state so desperately needs as we conduct the business of the people.

But this gets me back to an issue that has been on Republican Caucus agendas since we achieved the House majority in 1994. Our state has one of the longest legislative sessions in the nation, and it’s simply not necessary. As we do every session, the House approved legislation that would shorten the time legislators spend in Columbia by nearly two months, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. We saw a furious amount of work occur in the Senate this week on important issues that have been waiting for their attention, in some cases, for years. Shortening the session would force the Senate to stop wasting taxpayer dollars and get right to work.

The House has approved a retirement system reform package which begins to address the monumental task of bringing our state retirements system into solvency, passed long-needed education reform, sent the Senate a bill to protect minors who are victims of human trafficking and fought Democrats’ attempts to kill a voter identification measure aimed at increasing voter participation.

Here are a few of the items we approved this week  with further explanation that you may find of interest:

  • Safe Harbor for Exploited Minors Act: In many cases when minors are charged with prostitution, they are themselves victims of human traffickers and pimps who by force cause them to break anti-prostitution laws. This new law allows minors to have their charges dropped if they are indeed victims of human trafficking and encourages them to tell prosecutors who enslaved them while also getting them the care as victims which they desperately need such as helping them reunite with their parents or legal guardians where possible.
  • Adding CWP to Allowable Voter ID Forms: This bill adds Concealed Weapons Permits to the acceptable forms of identification necessary in order for a voter to cast an electoral ballot. The common sense law gives voters yet another option to prove their identity at the polls and will only help expand the number of people able to vote in our elections.
  • Alimony Reform: This fix revises existing and outdated spousal alimony laws by allowing a judge to set a reasonable expiration date of alimony payments. This prevents certain individuals from abusing or manipulating the good intentions created through systems of alimony while also removing some outdated language on the matter.

The House of Representatives has a solid record of achievement through the first 14 weeks of session. The House proved this week: We’re working hard to protect the citizens of our state and give taxpayers the best value for their tax dollars.

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.

Legislative Update: April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Tommy talks about crossover week which they just completed. Fingers crossed for Roads and Ethics- it looks hopeful!

Also- we are looking for some tech savvy people who would like to help with #popeteam. Let us know if you are interested!

Weekly Whereabouts- April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016 in Campaign Blog, Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Monday- Elrod Pope Law Firm

Tuesday- Session in Columbia

Wednesday- Session in Columbia

Thursday- Session in Columbia then 5th District Convention in Rock Hill that evening

Friday- Elrod Pope Law Firm

Feel free to reach out to Tommy:
E-mail: tommy@tommypope.com
Twitter: @tommypopesc
Facebook: Tommy Pope

State House Report 13

in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Crossover Looms, Update on Roads, & EMTs

If you’ve been able to follow the status of the legislation to reform DOT and fix our roads and bridges, your head is likely close to spinning at this point. To recap: In 2014 a House committee was formed to study how to best go about reforming the DOT and fixing our roads and bridges. The House acted on that committee’s recommendations passing a bill the first part of 2015, sending the “roads bill” to the Senate where it sat for one year. As election season rolled around in 2016 the Senate sent the bill back to us. We acted swiftly adding in strong DOT reform components and sent it right back to them for their approval which had they given would have placed a bill on Governor Haley’s desk for her signature this week.

However, as expected, the Senate voted this week to “non-concur” with our conservative roads bill and the legislation now heads to a conference committee. A conference committee is comprised of three members of the Senate and three members of the House. The six conferees will now meet regularly to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill eventually (and I hope swiftly) producing a conference report which is a final piece of legislation that, should it pass both the House and Senate, will head to Governor Haley for her signature or veto.

Thank you to those of you who have reached out to express your concerns about legislation you would like to see advanced prior to the crossover deadline May 1st. Committees worked overtime to move bills to the House floor where my colleagues and I will vote on each matter.

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are a valued part of our family of first responders that serve our state each and every day. This week the House unanimously passed legislation exempting permanently and totally disabled former EMTs  from paying homeowner property taxes. The measure adds permanently and totally disabled EMTs to the existing  homeowner property tax exemption that is currently extended to permanently and totally disabled military veterans, former law enforcement officers, and former firefighters.

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.

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