Before the South Carolina House of Representatives broke for the winter holiday, a handful of local representatives were appointed to committees and a couple have been busy in turning in pre-filed bills.
Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, and Rep. William Clyburn, D-Aiken, each turned in pre-filed legislation by Tuesday's deadline.
Taylor, recently named the 1st Vice Chairman of the Education & Public Works Committee, cosigned two pieces of legislation. The committee is responsible for all education legislation in the state as well as legislation for highways, aviation and railroads.
“My election as 1st Vice Chairman of the House education committee was a complete surprise, since I did not seek the position. I am truly humbled by the confidence shown in me by my fellow legislators,” Taylor said. “We face many educational challenges in South Carolina. Our schools are the largest expense to state government and citizens should demand a better return on their investment in tax dollars. Working with legislators, school administrators and teachers who are closest to the classroom challenges, I will help lead reforms aimed at transforming the lives of our children to give them every advantage of a solid education that will result in successful lives.”
On the first bill, he joined with nearly 30 other representatives, including locals Rep. Bill Hixon, R-North Augusta, and Rep. Don Wells, to amend the law on unlawfully carrying a pistol or firearm into a business that sells alcoholic beverage and add additional penalties.
On the second, he teamed with two others to enact the South Carolina Fair Tax Act.
Clyburn, a Ways and Means Committee member, pre-filed five pieces of legislation.
The first calls for an establishment of a citizen relations committee within each county, “to provide for each committee's composition, powers and duties, and to authorize the continuation of current committees.”
Clyburn also wants each school district to establish a student bullying advisory council, made up of students and parents, to advise the governing body on bullying problems. He said he presented both because there needs to be “more communication between people.”
The other bills he presented called for free public transportation for disabled veterans, to make it illegal for people to smoke in the car with a preschool-aged child and for early voting to be implemented.
“I think all of these bills are very important,” Clyburn said. “Most of the time, I pick up ideas from the people. Whether it was a veteran that came up to me saying he couldn't afford public transportation or people complaining about long voting lines. The school bullying is scary, it just breaks my heart.”
Along with Clyburn, Rep. Roland Smith, R-Warrenville, also returned to the Ways and Means Committee, as well as the Invitations and Memorial Resolutions Committee. Smith is the chair of Transportation and Regulation, reappointed to the Education Oversight Committee and has been added to a committee to review K-16 educational building practices.
“It means somebody's got some confidence in me,” Smith said about his many roles. “I'll be working while I'm up there, but that's the way I like it.”
Hixon is on the Interstate Cooperation Committee and the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee. Wells has joined Taylor on the Education & Public Works Committee.
S.C. House Rep. Roland Smith, middle, stands with Sister Mary Jean Doyle, right, and Sister Rose Marie Henschke, left, after presenting them with resolutions recognizing their achievements and contributions. Both are leaving Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church to take up assignments elsewhere.×