Legislative Update: February 4, 2016

February 4, 2016 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Progress was made with judges this week.  The House will also take a  furlough in two weeks to allow the Senate some additional time to catch up.

Legislative Update: January 28, 2016

February 1, 2016 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Tommy discusses roads and ethics which are in the Senate. He also talks about the lieutenant governor bill, a foreign law bill, and more.

State House Report #3

in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Ethics, Education & Streamlining Government

 

Exactly one year ago this week I wrote to notify you:

The South Carolina House of Representatives advanced two important milestone pieces of legislation taking a major step forward in overhauling the state’s antiquated ethics laws that govern elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.

The first, revamps the makeup of the South Carolina Ethics Commission and turns the Commission into an independent investigative body. The independent commission is given the full resources of the South Carolina law enforcement community and is tasked with investigating ethics complaints made against elected officials. Under the House plan passed this week the State Ethics Commission is comprised of 4 members appointed by the Governor, 4 elected by the Supreme Court, and 2 members elected by each the House and Senate. The measure passed the House unanimously.

 The second, bans candidate affiliated “Leadership” Political Action Committees (PAC). It even goes one step further and states that elected officials can no longer accept campaign contributions from Leadership PAC’s. This is an important step toward cleaning up the campaign finance laws in South Carolina.

 

I am saddened to report a year later that both bills still sit in the Senate where senators have made it clear that ethics reform is not a priority. I will continue to champion ethics reform and I ask you to stand with me.  If the Senate would simply debate and vote on the important reforms we sent them last year and accomplished nothing else, they would actually have a chance making a positive difference this year.

Also this week in the House, we introduced the first phase of our education reform package. The hardworking taxpayers of South Carolina deserve a better education achievement than the “minimally adequate” standard. I will be working to help shape education reform that provides value to the taxpayer and results for parents and students. I will have more on these reforms as they move through the legislative committee process.

Finally, I am proud to report we have become more efficient this year by adopting legislative rules that keep the House ever-focused on the business of the people. We have limited ceremonial recognitions to only 15 minutes per day, allowing us to be more productive. As a conservative I am committed to continuing to streamline government.

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.

State House Report #2

January 23, 2016 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Committee Work and State of the State

There was lots of activity in the State House this week as we continued the early stages of the legislative cycle and heard from the governor in her annual State of the State address on Wednesday evening.

My Republican colleagues and I were happy to hear the governor’s support for many of our priorities such as education reform, infrastructure improvements and ethics reform.
Echoing Governor Haley was the Republican leader of the House, Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville): “This week we heard from Governor Haley’s heart. Our caucus appreciates her positive message and optimistic tone. Governor Haley mentioned education reform, fixing our roads and bridges, and ethics reform. House Republicans have led on all three issues in the House, while the Senate has refused to act. With Governor Haley’s help, perhaps we will see movement in the Senate chamber on these important issues facing our state.”

Among other important issues, the governor also highlighted the tragedies our state encountered over the past year. The flood of 2015 was the worst natural disaster since hurricane Hugo. My colleagues and I have heard from flood victims across the state over the past months, particularly farmers who in some instances saw their entire crops disintegrate and fields ruined under standing flood waters. Agriculture represents one of the largest industries in South Carolina and if you know a farmer, you may know that one year with no yield can be the difference between having the resources to plant again next year and closing the doors. We continue to look for conservative solutions for these farmers and others affected by the flood, and I will update you as we move forward.

Finally, as is typical in January, much was done in our House committees. Once a bill is introduced, it must go through legislative committees before they come to the House floor for an up or down vote. We tried to spend as little time as possible on the floor this week so they could have time to get their 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 to not hesitate to contact me.
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