We had a good week in the House. I am extremely happy that there was significant progress made on two pieces of legislation that I introduced and have been writing about. The Blue Alert Bill passed the Senate and the House unanimously concurred with their amendments. The next step is for the bill to be ratified by the House and Senate (which is ceremonial) and sent to the Governor for her signature. As I have said in previous eblast, the Governor is going to sign the bill into law.
The Drug Testing Bill passed the full Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and is now on the Calendar but cannot be acted on until February 21, 2012.
The House Republican Caucus released our 2012 Legislative Agenda which I have included below. If you have any questions about it, please feel free to call me.
Comprehensive Tax Reform is an absolute necessity in growing our economy. House Republicans are committed to making our tax code flatter, fairer and more competitive. The process of comprehensive tax reform begins by flattening the personal income tax brackets, reducing the manufacturing property tax rate, lowering the business tax rate to level the playing field for existing and new businesses in this state and addressing many of our sales tax exemptions that have outlived their purpose. The road to comprehensive tax reform in South Carolina starts NOW. I served on this committee during the off session.
Strengthening S.C.’s Right-to-Work Laws will send a clear message that our state is open for business. Now more than ever, it is evident that the NLRB and the Obama Administration have targeted Right-to-Work states like South Carolina and private businesses like Boeing that have chosen to call our state home. House Republicans are fighting against union attacks on our businesses. We will do what it takes to protect the future of our state’s growing workforce. The Right to Work Act of 2012 strengthens existing laws while introducing new items that will deter forced unionization in our state. H. 4652 received committee approval and was passed on the House floor Wednesday.
Ensuring the Solvency of our Retirement System is essential for the long-term stability of our state’s finances. For the past months, legislators have been working on a solution to the liability of our state employee retirement system that protects our current retirees while safeguarding those currently paying into the system.
Cementing the “First in the South” Presidential Primary will ensure that South Carolina’s voice will continue to be heard on the national stage and our state’s economy will continue to benefit from these important elections. House Republicans will fight to make sure South Carolina keeps our position as the standard-bearer of Presidential Primary elections and that our tradition of picking Presidents endures.
Fighting for the Passage of 2011 House GOP Agenda Items in the S.C. Senate is of the utmost importance if we are to continue on the road to reform. Last year, conservatives rallied around key reforms and the House answered by passing legislation that you called for, but many of these items are awaiting action in the Senate. These items include:
· “Bill Wylie Entrepreneurship Act” –H. 3779
· Education Funding Reform – H. 3716
· S.C. Higher Ed. Efficiency & Admin. Policies Act – H. 3410
· Charter School Reform – H. 3241
· Higher Education Transparency –H. 3185
· “SC Restructuring Act of 2011” (Dept. of Admin. Bill) – H. 3066
· Joint Election of Governor/Lt. Governor – H. 3152
· Appointment of State Superintendent of Education –H. 3070
· Spending Limitations – H. 3368
· Shortening the Legislative Session – H. 4145
· Pro-Life Protections – including H. 3403 and H. 3408
· The “Repeal Amendment” – H. 3507
· Regulatory Reform – H. 3226
· “The S.C. Taxpayer Fairness Act” – H. 3419
With your support, conservatives in the House were able to pass more reforms last year than ever before. As you continue to let your voice be heard on these important pieces of legislation, we are working hard to make sure the items on our 2011 and 2012 Agenda will become law.