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           Statehouse Report #9
          Monday, March 14, 2011

                            Spending Limits: Prelude to Budget Debate

Limiting the size of government does not end by simply streamlining agencies that I wrote about last week. I believe that we, as legislators, owe the taxpayers of South Carolina an even better means to limit the size of government -- limiting how much the state can spend.

Last week, we took a good step forward in accomplishing this goal by the passage of one of my co-sponsored bills, H.3368. This bill limits the general fund appropriations and ensures that our state government does not grow faster than your wallet. It also creates a “Spending Limits Reserve Fund,” and requires funds in excess of the spending limit to be appropriated for replenishments of the General Reserve Fund, temporary tax reductions, infrastructure needs, school building repairs, school buses and response expenses for natural disasters.

Similar bills have passed in the House before, but have not gotten through the State Senate. I ask each of you to reach out to your State Senator asking them to pass this key fiscally-responsible bill, so future generations are not burdened by an excessively-spending state government. According to the most recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states operate under spending or revenue limits. We must join their ranks now.

This week, we start debate and vote on the budget. With multiple cuts needed to happen to ensure taxes are not raised, there will be many tough decisions to be made. My hope is that my colleagues understand that our duty is to protect your tax dollars from reckless and wasteful spending. With that in mind, I look forward to the challenges of prioritizing spending, protecting “core” government services and cutting the size of government.

As I have done and will continue to do, I have listed below the status of the bills that I have sponsored or co-sponsored for this session. They are as follows:

H.3884, “Term-Limit Trustees,” A bill to amend the Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 59-101-450 so as to provide that members of state-supported college and university Boards of Trustees who are elected by the General Assembly or appointed by the Governor may serve no more than two full four-year terms, and to make exceptions -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3895, “Appearance Bond,” A bill to amend Section 17-15-20, Code of Laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to appearance bonds, so as to provide that an appearance bond is valid for a certain time period in circuit and magistrates or municipal courts under certain circumstances and to provide a procedure to relieve the surety of liability when the time period has run -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3793, “Bath Salts - Schedule 1 Drugs” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3768, “High School Concussions” -- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H.3760, “Veteran Status License” -- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H.3728, “Date of Education and Economic Development Act” -- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H.3713, “Eliminate Point of Sale” -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3664, “Right to Carry Ammunition” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3659, “Palmetto Public Safety Act” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3658, “SC Employer Free Speech Act” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary. Committee Report: Favorable.

H.3645, “Uniform Traffic Tickets” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3641, “Zero-Base Budget” -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3585, "Krewe of Charleston" -- Introduced and Adopted.

H.3580, “Across-the-Board Expenditure Reductions” -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3563, “Streamline into Dept. of Health and Wellness” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3559, “Illegal Automobile Compartments” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3547, “Flight Log Transparency” -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3517, "Cop Shooting Bill" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3508, "Unserved Areas" -- Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry. Committee Report: Favorable with Amendment. Roll Call Yeas 109, Nays 0. Read Third Time and Sent to the Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary. Referred to Subcommittee.

H.3507, "Repeal Federal Law by 2/3 Vote" -- Referred to Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions. House Committee Report: Favorable. Roll Call Yeas 72, Nays 44. Sent to the Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary. Referred to Subcommittee.

H.3498, "Construction Professional Contracts" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3469, “Streamline Dept. of Corrections” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3449, "Construction Liability Insurance" -- Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

H.3423, "Open Hunting" -- Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

H.3422, "Gold-Award Earning Girl Scout and Eagle Scout Hunting Requirements" -- Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.

H.3408, "Freedom of Conscience Act" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary. House Committee Report: Favorable with Amendment.

H.3407, "Educational Opportunity Act" -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3406, "No Abortion on State Exchange Health Plans" -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3403, "Born Alive" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary. House Committee Report: Favorable.

H.3395, "Murder during Official Duties" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3375, "South Carolina Fairness in Civil Justice Act of 2011 - Tort Reform" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary. House Committee Report: Favorable. Roll Call Yeas 100, Nays 7. Read Third Time and Sent to the Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary. Senate Committee Report: Favorable with Amendment.

H.3374, "Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact" -- Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. Committee Report: Favorable with Amendment. Unanimous consent for Third Reading. Read Third Time and Sent to the Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry.

H.3372, "Electronic Collar" -- Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. Committee Report: Favorable with Amendment. Unanimous consent for Third Reading. Read Third Time and Sent to the Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

H.3368, "Limit the General Fund" -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means. Committee Report: Favorable with Amendment. Roll Call Yeas 76 Nays 35. Read Third Time and Sent to Senate.

H.3346, "Solar Energy Equipment Tax Credit" -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3315, "Charleston Recognition" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3297, “Limiting School Bureaucracy Pay” -- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H.3292, "Bear Arms in Car"-- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3291, "Streamline Agencies into SC Department of Law Enforcement and Public Safety" -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3269, "Anti-Obamacare"-- Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

H.3228, “No Benefits to Illegal Aliens” -- Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry.

H.3185, "Higher Education Transparency Act of 2011"-- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works. House Committee Report: Favorable. Roll Call Yeas 110 Nays 0. Read Third Time and Sent to Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Education. Senate Committee Report: Favorable.

H.3163, "Moped" -- Referred to Committee on Education and Public Works.

H.3154, “Protecting Students from Sexual Battery” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3129, “Illegal Aliens Enforcement” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3103, "American Flag"-- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3095, "Transfer Fees"-- Referred to Committee on Judiciary. Roll Call Yeas 110 Nays 2. Read Third Time and Sent to Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary. Referred to Senate Subcommittee.

H.3091, “House Schedule” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3080, “House Schedule” -- Referred to Committee on Judiciary.

H.3067, “South Carolina Truth in Spending Act of 2011” -- Referred to Committee on Ways and Means.

H.3004, "Roll Call Voting"-- Referred to House Committee on Ways and Means. Roll Call Yeas 104, Nays 0. Referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary. Referred to Senate Subcommittee. Senate Committee Report: Majority Favorable with Amendment; Minority Unfavorable. Minority Report Removed. Senate Roll Call Yeas 42, Nays 0.

H.3003, "Voter ID"-- Referred to House Committee on Judiciary. House Committee Report: Favorable. Roll Call Yeas 74, Nays 45. Read Third Time and Sent to Senate. Referred to Senate Committee on Judiciary. Senate Committee Report: Favorable. Senate Roll Call Yeas 26, Nays 17. Read Third Time and Sent to House with Amendments.

I hope this 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.