Don Wells completes first week in S.C. House
After his first week as a new S.C. House member at the State House last week, S.C. Rep. Don Wells, R-Aiken, had a reaction that's not really surprising.
“It was great,” he said and added in jest: “They treated me nice enough so that I think I'm going back Tuesday.”
Wells was elected to represent District 81, succeeding Tom Young, who left that position to replace the retired Sen. Greg Ryberg in Senate District 24. Wells previously spent seven years on the Aiken City Council.
The 2013-14 budget will be among the priorities, along with “Obamacare,” he said.
“We've already introduced legislation nullifying that,” Wells said. “That's the proper thing we need to do to protect our small businesses and citizens.”
The legislature will have to deal with the Department of Revenue's data breach, which has impacted people throughout the state. A price tag of $20 million has already been paid and more is likely.
The General Assembly found the breach “dumped in our laps, but we'll have to deal with it,” Wells said.
He has co-signed legislation introduced by S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken – a bill that would allow patrons with a concealed-weapons permit to bring a gun into a restaurant. They would not be allowed to purchase alcohol while in the restaurant.
Wells was appointed to the education and public works committee.
“I'm really excited about that,” he said. “I'm on the K through 12 subcommittee and with public works; I'll be on the motor vehicles and Public Safety subcommittee.”
As Taylor said recently, he found that his own recently-completed first term proved to be a substantial learning experience.
It took him much of the entire term to learn the extensive procedures within the House, he said.
Wells said the Aiken County's Legislative Delegation has already provided him a lot of help.
“I feel good about our delegation,” he said. “Other delegations don't support each other like we do, and Aiken County can be proud of its members.”
The new session just started Jan. 10, but Wells and 18 other freshman House members got started with orientation sessions in late November. They received classroom-style information and an overviews from House leaders on standing committees.
The meetings extended into early December, giving the representatives more information about the large number of rules.
During Wells' tenure on City Council, only four votes on the seven-member council were needed to move forward on any action introduced by its members.
“Now in the House, the magic number is 63,” Wells said with a laugh.