The South Carolina General Assembly met on Dec. 4 and 5 for our organizational meetings.
This is a customary procedure at the beginning of each new term in order to be sworn in, elect a Speaker of the House, Speaker ProTem, Clerk, Reading Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms, and Chaplain. We also were assigned our seating in the House Chambers. Committee assignments were made with Operations and Management and Ethics being elected from the body; others are appointed by the Speaker.
Committees met to elect chairpersons and announce assignments on subcommittees. There are 19 new House members (freshmen), seven females and 12 males, seven Democrats and 12 Republicans.
Again this term, I remain on the Education and Public Works Committee and will possibly continue chairing the Subcommittee on Transportation and Roadways.
I look forward to the challenges facing us in South Carolina and the issues we will address to improve the lives of our citizens. In this upcoming year, we will be looking at K-12 funding and additional ethics reform, specifically transparency of political contributions.
In the past couple of months, I have been participating in the Majority Ethics Study Committee. We have met several times to discuss how to make the process of freedom of information request more efficient and at a lower cost.
We are also looking at campaign contributions from non-candidate committees. Currently, non-candidate committees do not have to disclose their source of funding. In addition to our committee, the Democrats have a committee looking at the same issues. Hopefully in early January, the two study committees will meet and work out issues and draft legislation.
As reported most recently, the House Ethics Committee expanded its membership to include five Democrats: Leon Stavrinakis (Charleston), Ronnie Sabb (Williamsburg), David Weeks (Sumter), Chandra Dillard (Greenville), and Elizabeth Munnerlyn (Marlboro). The committee was previously comprised of six members, only one of whom was Democrat. The main reason to expand the Ethics Committee was to provide a more nonpartisan representation.
I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to represent you in the South Carolina House of Representatives. If you have a comment or opinion, or if I may be of assistance to you, please feel free to call me at home at 553-9288 or at the State House at (803) 734-2951, or email me at email@example.com.