State House Report #3- Ethics and Infrastructure

January 30, 2015 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope


Ethics and Infrastructure

 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 (PACs). It even goes one step further and states that elected officials can no longer accept campaign contributions from Leadership PACs. This is an important step toward revamping the campaign finance laws in South Carolina.

Finally, the House Transportation Infrastructure & Management Ad-Hoc Committee finalized a plan to fix our state’s roads and bridges. The bi-partisan committee has been at work since last September to find solutions to fixing our state roads and bridges. The committee agreed on an initial proposal that would serve as a blueprint for one of the most important issues facing our state. The bill is expected to be introduced next week. Right now we are considering our House proposal and the Governor’s proposal from the State of the State. If you have an opinion, I’d like to hear from you.

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.

Gov. Nikki Haley Establishes Domestic Violence Task Force

in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Nikki Haley today announced Executive Order 2015-04, establishing the Domestic Violence Task Force of South Carolina to comprehensively address the cultural issues surrounding domestic violence, including social, economic and geographic issues. A copy of the governor’s executive order is available here.

“I’m a mom, I’m a wife, and I’m a sister, and I know I have to protect those around me. But In order to do that, we have to change the culture in South Carolina,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “If we don’t change the culture, we will continue to see generational cycles of domestic violence in our state. But with this army of people behind me who are completely committed to this cause, I know we can finally do something about it.”

“This is a transformational moment in South Carolina history that Governor Haley would use her convening authority and considerable public credibility to look at the root causes of one of the deepest problems in the criminal justice system, which is the generational cycle of domestic violence in South Carolina,” said Chief Justice of the S.C. Supreme Court Jean H. Toal. “Domestic violence is a learned habit and way of doing things and we have to break that cycle by looking very deeply at root causes and effective interventions. God bless Governor Haley for getting us together and focusing on this problem in South Carolina. I finally have hope that we really will get at the root of the extremely high percentages of domestic violence in our beloved state.”

“Governor Haley and the South Carolina Domestic Violence Task Force Members are to be congratulated for working together to intervene in and prevent domestic and family violence,” said domestic violence expert Kit Gruelle. “Domestic violence has already taken a large toll on South Carolina, and Governor Haley has decided to take action, immediately. It will not be easy, but the benefits to the citizens of South Carolina will be tremendous.”

The Task Force will include a representative from each of the following organizations:

  • Supreme Court of South Carolina – Chief Justice Jean Toal
  • Circuit Courts of South Carolina – Judge Kristi Harrington
  • Family Courts of South Carolina – Judge Angela Taylor
  • Magistrate Courts of South Carolina – Judge Gary Reinhart
  • S.C. Senate – Chairman Larry Martin
  • S.C. House of Representatives – Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope
  • South Carolina Office of the Attorney General – Attorney General Alan Wilson
  • South Carolina Department of Education – Superintendent Molly Spearman
  • Representatives from the K-12 Public School Education in South Carolina
  • South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services – Director Bob Toomey
  • South Carolina Department of Corrections – Director Bryan Stirling
  • South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce – Cheryl Stanton and Teesha Trapp
  • South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice – Interim Director Sylvia Murray and Felicia Dauway
  • South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation – Interim Director Richele Taylor and Alex Imgrund
  • South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services – Interim Director Jerry Adger
  • South Carolina Department of Public Safety – Director Leroy Smith and Major Mark Gosnell
  • South Carolina Department of Social Services – Katie Morgan
  • South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division – Chief Mark Keel and Major Paul Grant
  • South Carolina Department of Mental Health – Director John Magill
  • South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control – Jane Key
  • South Carolina Commission on Higher Education – Professor Connie Best, Ph.D. with MUSC and Chief Howard Cook with Columbia College
  • South Carolina Commission on Prosecution Coordination – Solicitor Duffy Stone and David Ross
  • South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy – Brian Bennett
  • South Carolina State Board of Cosmetology – Melanie Thompson
  • South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners – Dr. Steve Gardner
  • Representatives from the South Carolina State Board of Nursing
  • South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault – Sara Barber
  • South Carolina Crime Victims’ Council – Laura Hudson
  • South Carolina Victim Assistance Network – Joy Campbell
  • Professionals from Batterer Intervention Programs South Carolina Hospital Association – Louann Sandel from the Domestic Abuse Center, Neil Sondov from the Compass of Carolina, Frank Loadholt from CASA
  • Representatives from the South Carolina Jail Administrators Association
  • South Carolina Police Chiefs Association – Chief Terrence Greene, Chief Charlie McNair, and John O’Donald
  • South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association – Sheriff Kenney Boone and Jarrod Bruder
  • South Carolina Legal Services – Leslie Fisk
  • South Carolina Association of Counties – Councilwoman Julie-Ann Dixon and Josh Rhodes
  • Representatives from the Municipal Association of South Carolina
  • Representatives from the South Carolina Hospital Association
  • South Carolina State Housing Finance & Development Authority – Carl Bowen
  • Members of Faith-Based Communities – Dr. Ed Carney from Riverland Hills Baptsti, Teresa Roberts from Love House Ministries, and Daniel Krawchuck from Tabernacle of Meetings
  • Members of the Public, including Survivors of Domestic Violence

Legislative Update- January 28,2015

January 28, 2015 in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

Ethics is on the way! Now they are working on the roads issues and possibly some tax reform.  What a busy week so far!

Business Community Honors Tommy Pope

in Legislative Updates by Tommy Pope

SC COC Business Advocate Award 2015Columbia, SC – On Tuesday January 20th, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the state’s unified voice of business, honored legislators who had a perfect score on the 2014 Legislative Scorecard. The awards were presented at Business Speaks to members of the General Assembly, including District 47 Representative and Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope.

“The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce is pleased to recognize these 29 members of the General Assembly who are committed to advancing issues that make South Carolina more competitive,” said Ted Pitts, president and CEO of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. “Recipients of the Business Advocate Award are a testament to the importance of improving the state’s business climate, and we appreciate their commitment to moving the state forward.”

The 2014 Legislative Scorecard tracked key votes on workers’ compensation, student reading initiatives, tort reforms, government restructuring, Certificate of Need, and more.  For more information from Tommy Pope, please visit his website at, email him at, or call him at 803-324-7574.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s first state chamber Accredited with Distinction by the U.S. Chamber, is South Carolina’s largest statewide broad-based business and industry trade association representing more than 18,000 businesses and more than one million employees. As the unified voice for business and industry, the Chamber is a catalyst for increasing wealth and enhancing the state’s global competitiveness in order to improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

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