Sunday, March 8, 2015

Legislative Update from Senator Kevin Johnson

A message from Senator Kevin L. Johnson
District 36 - Clarendon, Darlington, Florence, and Sumter Counties
Columbia, South Carolina- February 2015

We have now completed the 2nd month of the 121st session of the South Carolina General Assembly. This month the vast amount of our time has been spent on S.1, an ethics reform bill. Another major bill that is being debated is S.3, which deals with Criminal Domestic Violence. Both of these bills are progressing much slower than necessary but I hope we can get these bills passed so that we can begin to deal with the issue that I think will be the most important this year. In my opinion, 2015 needs to be the year that we finally approve a plan to address the horrible condition of our highway infrastructure. This is a safety issue and an economic development issue. Many options and ideas are currently under consideration and it is my hope that one or a combination of them rise to the top so that we can begin the long and arduous task of repairing our roads and bridges.

Also, many different sentiments have been expressed this month in reference to the issues at South Carolina State University. While I readily admit that some tough and difficult decisions must be made to strengthen and improve their financial situation, I do not feel that closing this historic institution of higher learning is the answer. Several bills have recently been introduced in the House and Senate that would require new leadership at SCSU. It is my
understanding that these bills will provide the necessary financial assistance to the University that will still allow the students to receive a quality education.

This month the Senate approved bill S.11. This bill relates to the notice of meetings for public bodies, to require that a public body must provide an agenda for all regularly scheduled meetings and that items shall not be added to that agenda later than twenty-four hours before the meeting, except by a two-thirds vote of the body. Bill S. 177 was also approved, it is a bill that wishes to provide a procedure for the certification of domestic and foreign records of regularly conducted activity, or business records, in accordance with federal rule 902(11) and (12). Also approved was bill S. 78, a bill to enact the "forfeited lands emergency development act", and to provide for the authority of county councils and forfeited land commissions to petition legislative delegations for the use of the special authorities provided in this act. Together these Bills have now been moved over to the House of Representatives.

Also, Senator Thomas McElveen and I have requested that the SC Senate initiate a formal inquiry into the current State of the Pinewood Hazardous Waste Site.

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