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           Statehouse Report #1
        Monday, January 17, 2011

         Tough, New Leadership to Columbia

This past week started my first session serving the great people of James Island and Folly Beach in Columbia. Not only did this week include the historic swearing in of our first female and minority governor, it also marked the passing of my first sponsored bill in the house.

On Thursday, in a 104-0 vote, my peers and I approved a major expansion of Roll Call Voting in the General Assembly (H.3004). It is our belief that if legislation is important enough to be debated in our chamber, it is important enough for everyone to know how we voted. Although I know all of the bills I sponsor will probably not enjoy such overwhelming support, I will continue to present bills that give South Carolinians the transparent government they deserve.

The Roll Call Voting Bill (H.3004) was just the first item in a long and ambitious agenda for 2011. The voters of South Carolina spoke loudly in the 2010 elections that conservative-based reforms must be enacted. And, as such, the 2011 and 2012 agenda items for my peers are:

Creating Jobs in a Stronger Economy: We are committed to creating a business-friendly economic climate and help small businesses create jobs. We will pass comprehensive tort reform, changes to our “point of sale” requirements, and incentives for South Carolinians to help fund the next great small business.

Improving Education: Making education funding more equitable and efficient, and ensuring a vibrant and healthy charter school system is essential for the long-term success of our education system.

Transparency and Government Reform: Transparency and efficiency in government is a critical conservative philosophy. We will fight for more on-the-record voting, more transparency in how our colleges and universities spend their money, and more efficiency in how state government is structured. We will also fight for strict spending caps for state government, a shorter legislative session, and the requirement to show photo ID when voting.

Limiting Government Power: Limiting government power is essential to freedom and personal liberty, and something we believe strongly in. We will support the Repeal Amendment, a federal constitutional amendment that will allow two-thirds of states to vote to repeal a federal law. The Caucus will also support a revamped South Carolina Taxpayer Bill of Rights and new requirements that the General Assembly approve new regulations by the unelected officials of state agencies.

New Pro-Life Protections: Protecting life and protecting our most vulnerable citizens is an essential role of government. We will support the “Born-Alive” legislation, the Freedom of Conscience Act, and an opt-out for doctors who don’t want to perform abortions that may be required by Obamacare.

Fighting Illegal Immigration: We will work hard to pass an Arizona-style immigration bill – building on the successes of the 2008 immigration legislation brought before the House. Early indications are this law is working, but we can do more to ensure we welcome legal immigrants and discourage illegal immigrants from settling in our state.

I also want to share the status of other bills that I have already sponsored or co-sponsored for this session. They are as follows:

H.3003, “Voter ID” - A bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 7-3-70 so as to require the State Election Commission to create a list containing all registered voters who are qualified to vote, but do not have a South Carolina driver's license or other form of identification containing a photograph issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles as of January 1, 2013, and to require the Department to furnish a list of persons with a South Carolina driver's license or other form of identification containing a photograph issued by the Department at no charge to the commission; by adding Section 7-5-675 so as to require the State Election Commission to implement a system in order to issue voter registration cards with a photograph of the elector; to require the State Election Commission to establish an aggressive voter education program concerning the provisions of this act; to amend Section 7-1-25, relating to the definition of "domicile", so as to provide factors to consider in determining a person's intention regarding his domicile; to amend Section 7-3-20, as amended, relating to the responsibilities of the Executive Director of the State Election Commission, so as to require the Executive Director to maintain in a master file a separate designation for absentee and early voting in a general election; to amend Section 7-5-125, relating to the issuance of a written notification of registration to vote, so as to provide for the issuance of a duplicate notification if the elector to whom it was originally issued loses or defaces it; to amend Section 7-5-230, as amended, relating to the boards of registration being the judges of the legal qualifications of all applicants for registration, so as to add a reference to Section 7-1-25 and delete certain criteria used when considering a challenge regarding the residence of an elector; to amend Section 7-13-710, as amended, relating to the presentation of a person's proof of his right to vote, so as to require photograph identification to vote, providing for provisional ballots if the identification cannot be produced and provide for certain exceptions, to require a poll manager to compare the photograph on the required identification with the person presenting himself to vote and verify that the photograph is that of the person seeking to vote; to amend Section 7-15-330, as amended, relating to the time of application for an absentee ballot, so as to delete references to an authorized representative requesting an application for a qualified elector; to amend Section 7-15-385, as amended, relating to the marking and returning of the absentee ballot, so as to require the board of registration to record, instead of note, certain procedures regarding the return of the absentee ballot; to amend Section 56-1-3350, as amended, relating to the issuance of special identification cards by the Department of Motor Vehicles, so as to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to provide free identification cards upon request under certain circumstances; and to repeal Section 7-15-470 relating to the prohibition of voting on a voting machine for in-person absentee voting -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3004, “Roll Call Voting” – A bill to enact the "Spending Accountability Act of 2011"; and to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 2-7-125 so as to require certain bills and joint resolutions to receive a recorded roll call vote at various stages of their passage by the House of Representatives and the Senate -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means Passed in House.

H.3095, “Transfer Fees” - A bill to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 27-1-70 so as to provide certain definitions related to transfer fee covenants, to state certain findings related to transfer fee covenants, to provide a transfer fee covenant recorded after the effective date of this Section, or any lien to the extent that it purports to secure the payment of a transfer fee, is not binding on or enforceable against the affected real property or any subsequent owner, purchaser, or mortgagee of any interest in the property, and to provide the Section does not imply that a transfer fee covenant recorded before the effective date of this Section is valid or enforceable -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3163, “Moped” - A bill to amend Section 56-5-130, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to the definition of the term "motor vehicle" so as to include "mopeds" in the term's definition -- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H.3103, “American Flag” - A bill to amend Section 27-1-60, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to the right of a homeowner or a tenant to display the United States flag on real property he owns or is entitled to use, so as to authorize the display of one portable, removable United States flag in a respectful manner, consistent with 4 U.S.C. Sections 4-10 and to apply the provision retroactively; and by adding Section 27-1-70 so as to provide reasonable standards for a structure or pole on which the United States flag may be displayed -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3185, “Higher Education Transparency Act of 2011” - A bill to enact the "South Carolina Higher Education Transparency Act of 2011" including the provisions to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 59-101-355 so as to provide that each public institution of higher learning must maintain a detailed transaction register of all funds expended each month and post that register online, to provide exceptions and other requirements for implementation, to provide that each public institution of higher learning must post online all of its credit card statements and the credit card statements for credit cards issued to its officers and employees for official use, and to provide that if the Comptroller General's office posts the same credit card information on its website, the institution may provide information on how to access its credit card information on the Comptroller General's website in lieu of complying with the above requirements -- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H.3269, “Anti-Obamacare” - A joint resolution proposing an amendment to Article I of the Constitution of South Carolina, 1895, relating to the Declaration of Rights, so as to add a new section preserving the freedom of South Carolinians with respect to the providing of health care services, by prohibiting any law, regulation, or rule to compel an individual, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system, by allowing individuals and employers to pay directly for lawful health care services without penalties or fines for these direct payments, by providing that the purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems must not be prohibited by law, regulation, or rule, by providing those incentives in which the rights provided by this section do not apply, and to provide appropriate definitions -- Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

H.3315, “Charleston Recognition” - A bill to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 2-1-155 so as to provide that every ten years, the General Assembly shall provide for a commemorative session of the General Assembly to be held at a suitable location in Charleston County to commemorate and bring to the attention of all South Carolinians and citizens of other states the role played by Charleston and the events that occurred in Charleston which are significant in the history of the United States -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

I hope this first report is helpful in following my work serving you. I thank you again for the privilege of serving you in Columbia. If I can ever be of assistance, or if you have an idea or opinion on an issue, please do not hesitate to contact me at 843-452-4722 or at info@petermccoy.org.