Friday, December 29, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pre-filed Bill S. 0127 age of consent

This bill removes mistake of age as a defense to criminal sexual conduct with a minor. It strikes the exclusion of people under 18 from liability under this section. This is the "Romeo Provision" that was added at the last minute of last session. It returns the age of consent at 17 years old. Basically, this draft gets things back in line with how most people expected it to be in Jessica's Law. This change was added in the Jessica’s law ping pong on the last day of 2006 and this bill will correct that flaw.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Brownback visits Anderson

Last week Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) was in town visiting the Campbell Veterans Nursing Center. I’ve always been impressed with Brownback as he is one of the few potential presidential candidates that’s on the mark with fiscal & social issues. Cato gives him an 86%.

Does he have a chance entering this late? With Romney & McCain swatting at each other, maybe so. Wonder if "upstate voice" knows who Howie Rich is supporting?

The first picture is with the Chaplain and the other picture is with L-R Heyward Hilliard (Administrator), Brownback, Me, Sen. Jim DeMint.

Friday, December 22, 2006

politically correct seasons greetings

For My Conservative Friends: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
For My Liberal Friends: Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms as stated. This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pre-filled Bill S. 0128 removes political party’s notification requirement

This bill takes out the requirement for political parties to place ads in the newspaper when the information is posted on party’s web site. Currently, all political parties in each county are required to purchase ads in a newspaper with daily circulation for things like candidate filing, precinct reorganization, etc. I would like to end this requirement if the party posts these announcements on the party’s website. The requirement has good intentions, but in the day of electronic notification, we would all agree that this is an obsolete obligation.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Pre-filed Bill S. 0085 municipal utilities

This bill will requires any rate increase that a municipal utility would like to impose on customers outside of the municipality's corporate limits must be approved by the Public Service Commission. This would put all utilities operated by municipalities serving customers outside the boundaries under the jurisdiction of the PSC.

In '04 I cosponsored legislation that would guarantee equal rates for all customers. After nearly 2 years of negotiations with city representatives, I decided to try a different angle.

In my district, I have constituents that purchase water from the City of Anderson that live outside the city limits. They are charged higher rates than the residents living within the city limits. Some cry “taxation without representation”. Are these rates justifiable? That’s debatable, but the PSC has a proven record of fairness.

This legislation would apply to all utilities owned by municipalities serving customers outside of the political boundary.

The attached documents reveal a promise made that was not kept. Back in 2001, when the city was trying to purchase the system from Duke power, they gave us the promise that there would be no dual rates.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Pre-filed Bill S. 0087 motorboat noise

My libertarian streak doesn’t want to limit the egotism of boat owners, but so many residents on our lake’s pristine waters are being disturbed. This bill would make it punishable to alter the manufacturer’s original muffler system and only effects Lake Hartwell.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

visit with 3rd graders

On Wednesday morning I was invited by my nephew to visit his 3rd grade class in Augusta. We chatted for awhile about government, laws, and politics. Interestingly, this is the 2nd invitation I've had from 3rd graders in 2 weeks. Might it be that I'm more comfortable on their level?
At one moment I thought I was with much older students. I asked a question, "what does the bible say about government?" A young lad answered "the government will be on his shoulders." I was very impressed with this answer. He is referring to the Old Testament author, Isaiah, as he is prophesying the incarnation. This bible passage is also found in Handel's Messiah.
Isaiah 9:6 - For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
What a great reminder that Jesus is the King of Kings and the “Reason for the Season”. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 11, 2006

American Concrete gets tread on

I went to the Anderson City Council meeting on Monday night to show my support for constituents that own American Concrete. A few years ago, the company was pressured into signing an annexation agreement before getting their water turned on (The city owns the water company and this is the normal practice for water customers outside the city limits.) Not weighing the potential taxing burden the agreement was signed.

There are several disturbing issues with this utility annexation scheme going on:

1-The City Council is overlooking the fact that a tenant signed the agreement and the owner of the property did not.
2-The City charges water customers outside the city limits over twice the rate of those customers that live in the city. Taxation with out Representation; tea anyone?
3-The city doesn’t seem to be interested in annexing the nearby mill neighborhoods. These low income folks need the services much more than anyone else. Apparently, they will loop around to Camellia Drive and go after Loblolly Pines and Hunter’s Glen. I don’t have any proof of these plans, but my hunch does make sense. They want areas that need little services and generate lots of dollars. Can you imagine the revenue if they can get to Lake Hartwell?

The Council voted unanimously in favor of annexation on first reading. The resolution must get the necessary 2nd & 3rd readings. Let's hope they change their minds even though they are licking their chops over a possible $20,000 or more tax collections. If this hit doesn’t put American Concrete out of business, they will probably need to move. Who cares if your city limits are inching towards money! Keep the pace slow so only a few people get upset as each fingerling extends. Remember the frog won’t jump out of the pot if the water is slowly heated up.

Even if the agreement was legitimate, should a municipality be able to black-mail folks into annexation in order for them to get their water? Unfortunately this practice is legal and happens every day in several areas of the state, but I don’t think it is fair.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Veteran Funeral (James Davenport) photo by Devin Rubinstein

Anderson displayed its true grit on Friday afternoon (12.11). As the family of James Davenport, fallen hero in Iraq, was saying goodbye to their slain son, thousands of Andersonians lined Main St. as the procession went through downtown. Two ladder trucks from the Fire Department were holding a large American flag. Our pharmacy’s parking lot was full of supporters as well as the very large Ingles parking lot across the street. Patriots either placed their right had over their heart or saluted the funeral procession.

The rumor of a protest was in the air, yet fortunately, the Fred Phelps wackos didn’t show up. You may have heard of these nuts from Kansas that have been protesting at the funerals of fallen soldiers.

Last session bill H. 4965 sailed through the SC House 105-0 and Senate 44-0 outlawing the protesting of funerals. Since the law took effect on June 14, any shenanigans would have brought on criminal charges.

We offer many thanks to the family of James Davenport. Your ultimate sacrifice for our freedom will always be remembered. Also, thank you Anderson for showing so much support!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

DeMint blocks $17 billion in spending

From World Magazine
THIS WEEK "Looking at India" December 09, 2006
Pork chops
Politics: Conservative Republicans block a last-minute spending binge by their own party Mark Bergin
With the balance of power in both chambers of Congress set to tip Democratic next month, Republicans have one last chance to wield their majority before at least two years of impotence. But GOP Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina have forced the party to forfeit that opportunity, blocking the passage of pork-laden appropriations bills. In the name of fiscal conservatism, Coburn and DeMint would rather leave the 2007 federal budget in the hands of Democrats—a biting indictment of Republican spending habits.
"There are a lot of Democrats in the Senate and the House that ran on fiscal responsibility," DeMint spokesman Wesley Denton told WORLD. "Let's see if they're going to walk the walk they talked about on the campaign trail. If they do, that's wonderful."
Critics consider that gamble foolish, a naïve bit of misplaced bipartisanship that will hand eager Democrats the chance to begin a reign of spending one year earlier than expected. But the Republican alternative, a slate of bills overflowing with nearly 10,000 earmarks, is no better. The Coburn-DeMint plan: a stopgap "continuing resolution" that will hold funding for programs at current levels until Democrats update the budget.
GOP appropriators decry the continuing resolution as a spoiler of Republican interests and a shirking of the congressional responsibility to pass a budget each year. Coburn, DeMint, and other fiscal conservatives respond with unyielding opposition to an earmark system run amok. Projects attached to the proposed spending bills include such pork as $300,000 for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, $175,000 for the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, and millions more to fix ball fields, add traffic lights, and research the Alabama horn fly.
Eliminating such earmarks for a year would save $17 billion in federal funds, prudence Coburn believes the recent midterm elections demand. "This year, in particular, pork did not save our vulnerable incumbents but helped drag them down," he said. "The challenges facing our country are too great and complex for members of Congress and their staff to continue to be distracted by endless earmarking."
Coburn contends that the Democratic sweep on Election Day did not constitute a rejection of conservative values but just the opposite—a rejection of big-government Republicans who had abandoned the party's core principles. Strong fiscal conservatives such as Sen. John Kyl in Arizona and Sen. John Ensign in Nevada cruised to easy victories while many GOP incumbents known for earmarking and spending binges suffered defeat.
Since 1998, Republicans have overseen a seven-fold increase in pork projects. Since 2001, the supposed party of limited government has increased domestic spending by almost 50 percent. More than an indictment of the Iraq war, Coburn views the election results as a collective cry of "Enough!"
While many Republicans have affirmed the party's need to recapture its thrifty identity, the notion of passing "clean" appropriations bills without earmarks failed to garner much support. "We can't wait until January when the Democrats are in charge and say, 'Now we're going to be virtuous,'" Denton said. "If we're going to have any credibility going forward at all, it has to start now."
Waiting until January to feign a change of heart would not only lack credibility but would give Democrats a chance to take the lead on earmark reform. Prominent Democratic leaders such as Illinois Sen. Barack Obama have taken strong stands against the lack of accountability within the burgeoning earmark system. Obama teamed with Coburn last year in support of a measure that will soon provide full disclosure of earmark spending in an easily accessible internet database.
Such bipartisanship reflects a common aim within both parties against Capitol Hill's covert third party—appropriators. Though some left-leaning pundits have complained that the continuing resolution is merely a Republican ruse to bog down the Democratic legislature from enacting its agenda, others view it as a chance to quickly prove that Democrats will alter Washington's corrupt culture. "Democrats may in fact spend less with their first set of appropriations bills than Republicans did," Coburn spokesman John Hart told WORLD. "The appropriators are saying the Democrats will spend more, but the facts of history don't necessarily suggest that."
Copyright © 2006 WORLD MagazineDecember 09, 2006, Vol. 21, No. 47

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Nevitt Forest Visit

On Monday I had a great time with the 3rd graders at Nevitt Forest Elementary School. Usually students can hurl the toughest questions, but I got lucky this time. I was able to answer all of their questions. I was really impressed with the students’ knowledge of government and their graciousness. Thanks to Ms. Lori Duffle for the invitation!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Katon Dawson on GOP success

GOP wins by keeping on course
By KATON DAWSON Guest columnist (from the State 12.01.06)

The national elections on Nov. 7 were not particularly good to the Republican Party. Democrats will control a majority in both houses of Congress and a majority of governorships across the country. But while the national tide seemed to take a leftward turn, we in South Carolina succeeded on a course of conservative values.

In South Carolina we had historic victories. Gov. Mark Sanford was re-elected with the largest percentage of the vote of any candidate for governor or U.S. senator in our state in nearly a generation. Republicans swept every statewide office on the ballot, with only one exception, and that exception was the closest race in state history. We also retained our large majority in the state House of Representatives.

Why did Republicans do so well in South Carolina when our party did so poorly in most other states?

Many people deserve credit, from our thousands of dedicated grassroots volunteers to our local and county party organizations to our extremely generous donors, and most of all to our candidates themselves.

But there’s a larger message in our Republican success in South Carolina. That message is that this year South Carolina Republicans ran on the unabashedly conservative and reform agendas that are the hallmarks of our party’s successful history.

While too many Republicans around the country had to defend their records and appeared to many voters to have lost their direction, Republicans in South Carolina were able to campaign on their records of conservative accomplishments and platforms of limited government.

And while too many Republicans around the country had to try to answer for the excesses of the big-government, good ol’ boy system in Washington, Republicans in South Carolina were able to credibly make the case that we are the party of reform, ethics and optimism about the future.

Gov. Sanford deserves great credit for keeping the Republican Party a winner in South Carolina, despite the massive headwinds that we faced with the national tide this year.

With Mark Sanford at the top of the ticket, voters saw someone with a consistent record of fighting for limited government, lower taxes, less spending, education reform and a willingness to stand up to the special interests that for too long have had their way in state government.

One of the most ridiculously over-reported stories of this year was the “Republicans for Moore” effort. The election results offer conclusive proof that this tiny group of malcontents masquerading as “Republicans” had no significant support within our party, and had no impact whatsoever on the election. In Horry County, a widely but inaccurately reported hotbed of “Republicans for Moore,” Sanford increased his victory margin by a whopping 18 points. Overall, in Republican base counties, Sanford received 21 percent more votes than the typical Republican performance over the last several years.

But his victory was not limited to Republican strongholds. Sanford saw his voting percentage rise in eight counties with African-American majorities. In Marlboro County, Sanford gained almost 8 points above his 2002 performance.

As remarkable as the breadth of this victory was, it was not a solitary win for Mark Sanford. Gov. Sanford and his message helped our candidates at every level, and South Carolina Republicans won up and down the ticket.

What did South Carolina show the nation on Nov.7?

If Republicans stay true to the principles of our party — limited government, lower taxes, traditional values and embracing change rather than defending more of the same — we win. And we win not only among Republicans, but among Democrats and independents too. That’s a lesson that I hope will be learned by Republicans far beyond our state’s borders.

Mr. Dawson is the South Carolina Republican Party chairman.