Wednesday, February 28, 2007

putting the brakes on national id

We gave S. 449 favorable report in Transportation Sub Committee Wednesday morning. This bill basically delays the requirement of the DMV to adhere to the Federal Mandate of Real ID until the policy is reasonably changed. The law was passed in the name of security, yet it is another example of government punishing law-abiding citizens while attempting to catch criminals and terrorists. An excerpt from S. 449:

“"Section 56-1-85. The State will not participate in the implementation of the Real ID Act until:
(1) it is expressly guaranteed, through regulation by the Department of Homeland Security, that implementation of the Real ID Act will not compromise the economic privacy or biological sanctity of any citizen or resident of the State of South Carolina;
(2) the federal government provides adequate funding for the implementation of the Real ID Act; and
(3) the federal government adopts the changes to the REAL ID Act as outlined in the report entitled 'The REAL ID Act: National Impact Analysis' of the National Conference of State Legislature, the National Governor's Association, and the
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators."

You may be interested in an article by the State Newspaper and you may want to follow the bill’s status.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

H. 3136 Cervical Cancer Vaccination

H. 3136 is a bill requiring the vaccination of female students with a cervical cancer vaccine series. Although this bill has good intentions of preventing cervical cancer, there is an unnecessary invasion of privacy with this mandate. These decisions are to be left to parents, patients, & their physicians.

We might agree that certain communicable diseases such as measles or rubella warrant required vaccinations. When the public good is at stake, we will allow the intrusion of personal decisions. Conversely, vaccinations for non-contagious conditions do not meet this standard. As a pharmacist, I have witnessed unpredicted side effects with new therapies, even when our approval process is very stringent. Should we force this risk on our citizens to prevent a non-contagious disease?

I have very strong reservations with this legislation.

Your thoughts?

If you would like to follow the status of this bill, you may follow this link

GOP Presidential Charts

My son, Tyler found this site: If you visit the site, be warned, pop ups galore

Democratic Presidential Candidates

My son, Tyler found this site: If you visit the site, be warned, pop ups galore

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Brownback a "Wilberforce Republican"

The Caucus, a blog by the New York Times, has an interesting post calling Sam Brownback the "Wilberforce Republican"

If you don’t know who he is, never fear—Hollywood is coming to the rescue with Friday’s release of “Amazing Grace.” The film details Mr. Wilberforce’s successful, 20-year effort as a British member of parliament to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire. He was inspired by his evangelical Christian beliefs. And Mr. Brownback, a devout Catholic who was previously an evangelical Protestant, “is deeply inspired by William Wilberforce,” said Brian Hart, his campaign spokesman.
A March 2006 article in The Economist first named Mr. Brownback a “Wilberforce Republican,” referring to his faith-grounded efforts to end human trafficking, fight genocide and AIDS in Africa and to reform prisons.
The Kansas senator is running with the association. Two weeks ago, he introduced a bill to honor the British abolitionist, and today, he will participate in a panel discussion following a screening of “Amazing Grace” in Los Angeles.

“We must continue to follow Wilberforce’s example and fight for the dignity and freedom of every person,” Mr. Brownback said in a press release about the bill. “It is intolerable that 200 years after Britain banned its slave trade, there are still hundreds of thousands of victims of human trafficking who are used as bonded labors, sex slaves, and in other horrifying capacities.”

Friday, February 23, 2007

Muslim Chief accepts Chirst in Sierra Leon

On February 15th, our church said goodbye to a group of 4 as they left on a mission trip to Sierra Leon. Larry Reeves, Kent McGahey, Nancy & Greg Vieau will be there until March 3. I just got an e-mail from Larry with the message below:

Yesterday we were at Kondi Farm, Sierra Leone, West Africa, where the Muslim Chief Kondi told us that he has accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, but that he had been afraid to tell anyone until yesterday. We were overjoyed and introduced him to one of the elders at the new Kondi Farm Church who along with Samuel Menyongar, will begin to meet with him each week in a discipling program. They will also encourage him to be baptised as a first step in becoming a growing disciple. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for the Chief. Larry

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Friend of the Taxpayer Award received today

I was honored today to receive the “Friend of the Taxpayer” award at the annual luncheon of the South Carolina Association of Taxpayers. As revenues have increased, the General Assembly has continued to insist that this money is to be spent instead of returned to the taxpayers. Last year SC took in $1.1 billion of new money. I offered an amendment to return $250 million (less than a 1/4th). This amendment only got a handful of votes in a Republican controlled Senate! It is my pleasure to keep a keen eye on wasteful and unnecessary spending. We’ll keep pressing on!

Elizabeth Kennedy Sharp

Congratulations to Dan & Christine Sharp on their new baby girl, Elizabeth Kennedy. She was 6lbs, 19" and born at 2:13am on February 21st.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ann's birthday present to me

Tonight at the Anderson County Republican Party my wife, Ann, presented me with a stack of contributions that she raised for my birthday. Below is the text from her letter sent to my donor list.

As you may know, Kevin turns the big 4-0 on February 19th. I wanted to include you in this special occasion. As we approach Kevin’s 40th birthday, I have been reflecting on how blessed we are to have your support as we serve you in the SC Senate. I’ve stood with my husband continually while he is your voice for fiscal responsibility and family values in Columbia. He has continued to remain passionate about the issues that you and I are committed to.

In Columbia, the more popular road is that of the same-ol’, same-ol’, but you and I know Kevin; he will not go in that direction (believe me, he can be stubborn). I've witnessed growing resistance to the ideas of change, but his persistence is moving our state forward. Because of his efforts, the hostile opposition is mounting to unseat us next year. For this reason, I am asking you to help me with an early birthday present. Would you consider a contribution toward our re-election efforts?

If you can help, please send your contributions to our home address. Kevin will be so surprised!

Again, thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for joining us in this tremendous yet honorable journey.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Adkins supports charter schools!

If Rick Adkins’ leadership in thwarting the backdoor increase wasn’t enough for his debut on the State Board of Education, he also helped a majority of board members overturn the denial of an application by a charter school in Greenville County. Greenville County School District denied the application of Greenville Science Charter School on the grounds that it didn’t have enough community support and that its financial plan was unsound. Never mind that it’s director, Ali Ozer, is not only a former Clemson physics professor but also has started two successful charter schools in the Atlanta area, one of which has won national awards.

According to Rick and other state board members, the Greenville board simply argued that this charter school didn’t plan to do things the way Greenville County does, so therefore it couldn’t work. For instance, Greenville School District argued that since they couldn’t find science teachers for $42,000 a year then the charter surely couldn’t find them for $30,000. This merely reflects the institutional arrogance that plagues our schools today.

What Greenville School District failed to mention, but what other board members have confirmed, is that the district plans to open a couple of science magnet schools on its own. While this is admirable on the district’s part, it also likely reflects the major concern the district had about this charter, competition.

The vote on this charter application was really a test vote for the fate of charters statewide. The fact that the board sided with choice and innovation bodes well not just for the folks of Greenville County but across South Carolina. I’m proud Rick Adkins stood up for choice against the defenders of the status quo.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Resolution honoring Sen. Scott Richardson

Today, we unanimously passed a resolution honoring Sen. Scott Richardson as he was confirmed to head the Department of Insurance. I'd like to share a personal experience I had with Sen. Richardson. Last year I took the floor to offer the amendment to add capital punishment to Jessica's Law. I was obviously nervous and intimidated. This was my first time in the well and the topic as you know is rather sensitive. The debate took a brief recess and Sen. Richardson whispered in my ear "I'm with you, you're doing great job". I will never forget his encouragement. Scott, many thanks and congratulations on your knew role of service to the state. We look forward to the great job you'll do!

S. 0454

Click here for the full text of S. 0454

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New School Board member Adkins kills $ .7 million tax increase!

Rick Adkins made an excellent debut today in his first official appearance on the State Board of Education. E.I.A. funding is money that flows from Columbia to school districts specifically mandated on how it can be spent. Half is to go to capitol improvements and half must be applied to millage reduction (property tax relief). A waiver was requested by an Anderson School district to spend all of the money. This action would remove the millage reduction, therefore, result in a property tax increase. Best of all, the blood would be on the hands of the state board instead of the local school board.

Rick made 2 arguments:
1-I won’t vote for a tax increase. “I was appointed by delegation members that have never voted for a tax increase, therefore, I will not vote for a tax increase.”
2-An unelected body has no right to raise taxes. The elected school board has the ability to raise taxes, but an appointed board should not. This even raised constitutional questions. I’d like to see if the AG has ever made an opinion on this.

Subsequently, the waiver application failed. Many thanks to Mr. Adkins and the other conservative school board members!

School Choice Rally

Thousands gather in Columbia to show their support for school choice Tuesday. I plan to cosponsor a bill shortly that gives families this right.

I firmly believe that parents are the primary educators of their children, and government should help, not hinder, parents from fulfilling their role. Unfortunately, most parents do not have the ability to make the most important decision regarding their child's education the decision of where their child attends school.

Parents are aware of the educational needs of their children more than anyone else, and I am committed to working in the S.C. Senate to give parents more education options, including the ability to decide whether their child attends a public, public charter, private or home school. Giving parents a full range of school options will not only help their children, it will also create greater competition in the education marketplace, thus improving all the schools in the area.

I am also committed to release teachers from overly burdensome regulations in our education system. Teachers deserve the freedom to teach in a disciplined classroom. Reducing regulation and administration costs will free up funds and get them where they are needed the classroom.

Monday, February 12, 2007

breakfast fundraiser wednesday 2/21

I’m hosting a campaign breakfast on Wednesday, February 21st in Columbia. It will be at the Palmetto Club from 8-9:30am. We are featuring stone ground grits from Pendleton’s Timm’s Mill, a historic grist mill in my district.

We are privileged to have U.S. Congressman Gresham Barrett as our special guest. Some folks have been confused as to whom the fund raiser is for. Even though this is for my campaign, I’m sure the Congressman would accept contributions as well.

Now, fund raising from the backbench would be a “no-no”, so this was posted from my home. We are not allowed to speak of contributions on statehouse grounds; a good rule that we will follow to the letter.

Click to see the invitation.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Transportation Reform Bill introduced

The Transportation adopted a subcommittee report on Department of Transportation reform. I commend the chairman; Sen. Larry Grooms, and all of the subcommittee members for all of their hard work. They have produced an impressive bill with sweeping reforms. Most of the bill gives me the impression that the department will be run more like a business and therefore more efficient. President McKinley said we need more business in government and less government in business. In the real world, businesses operate on a “perform or else” standard. Small businesses are so efficient because they can make necessary changes very quickly. One reason government, especially the current DOT, is so inefficient is that change is very slow. I really like the mixture of the board selecting the projects and the Secretary of Transportation carrying out the administration, separating the tasks.

It seems that the most contention will surround a few key changes:

12 member Board - This board is responsible for choosing projects and setting priorities. This board will be very diverse and represent the whole state. Seven members will be elected by the entire General Assembly from 7 engineering district across the state. Currently, the commissioners are selected from our 6 congressional districts. My view is that the engineering districts look more practical when considering markets. For example, Anderson is in the 3rd congressional district. SC3 is a long narrow district stretching from Pickens to Aiken. Pickens County, McCormick County and Aiken County are 3 distinct business markets. The new district puts Pickens, Oconee, Anderson, Greenville & Spartanburg in the same district, which all have overlapping business clusters. There is much more in common so transportation needs are similar. Another attractive improvement is the election is by the entire General Assembly. If one member tries to bring too much attention to his or her home county, the support among the legislature would dwindle.

The other 5 members are appointed by the Governor. There must be some from rural counties and some from urban.

-Sec. of Transportation – This position is solely for the administration of the projects. The Secretary will have no influence on choosing projects (the politics), yet will be responsible for the administration of them. This position is appointed by the Governor on an “at will” basis. This means that this individual is hired and fired at the pleasure of the Governor. Again, efficiency is possible here because swift changes are possible.

Now, this is just a draft with many proposed changes to come. Any input would be great so I can support the best package for our desperate need for reform in the DOT.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

S. 127 Age of Consent Debate

The term “age of consent” is the age at which a person can consent to having sexual activity. This age is under debate in the South Carolina General Assembly. The offender is charged with statutory rape if the victim’s age is below the age of consent set by the state even if the actions were consensual.

Last year we passed Jessica’s law. This law increased penalties for child predators, including my amendment calling for capital punishment for a 2nd conviction of child molestation. Unfortunately, a vaguely worded amendment known as the "Romeo clause" was slipped in at the very last minute. We didn't fully realize the impact of the amendment until after Governor Sanford signed the bill into law. The Romeo clause has the effect of reducing the age of consent to 14 years old if both kids are between the ages of 14 and 18. That way, an 18 year old cannot be charged with statutory rape if he engages in consensual sex with a girl as young as 14. Needless to say, I was disappointed that I did not catch it in time as I would have been viciously opposed to this amendment. I am very angry that this provision became law.

I’ve introduced S. 127, which should correct this grave mistake. This bill increases the age of consent back to 17 years of age. However, my bill also recognizes that sometimes our teenagers make serious moral mistakes, yet should not have the criminal charges equal to that of a child predator. Because of this reality, S. 127 has a provision to lessen the charges when the offender and victim are within 2 years of age. Obviously, when to consent is not given at any age, the offender is charged with sexual assault at different defined degrees.

I want to be clear. God’s Word specifically defines sex as a wonderful gift in the covenant of marriage. Any digression from God’s standard is dangerous and we as a society must determine which situations warrant the harshest penalties. Please pray for wisdom as we try our best to find the correct balance. I will welcome any thoughts that you may have on this sensitive yet serious matter.

The State Newspaper agrees:

To view S. 127, click here

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bill S. 125 exempts churches from paying sales tax

C’mon, why should a church be required to pay sales taxes when purchasing supplies and accessories for church functions? With all of the social needs that churches provide for the public, let’s exempt them from this requirement.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Iraq comes to SC for advice on Corrections

Members from the Iraqi and Kurdish delegation have sought advice from our own Director of the SC Department of Corrections, Mr. Jon Ozmint. The US Department of Justice recommended the Iraqi Delegation to South Carolina to learn how to run a department with such limited funds.

In a conversation with Mr. Ozmint, I have learned that the SCDC is the least funded Corrections Department in the United States in all measurable categories. We are proud to have Mr. Ozmint run this uber-efficient agency saving the taxpayer millions.