Happy New Year and the Upcoming Session
Dear Friends and Neighbors, As we begin this new year, I would like to wish you all a safe and prosperous 2018. It's surreal how quickly the past several years have flown by. I am entering my sixth year as your state representative, and it seems like just yesterday I had won my first race and was entering the session as a freshman. As I felt then, I am optimistic about the opportunities this session will bring, and I look forward to working on several important issues in the upcoming year, a few of which are outlined below. As always, I will be focusing my energy and attention on improving work-force development and job growth in South Carolina, as well as working on women's issues, children's issues, and issues affecting our aging population. 1. VC Summer Plant, SCANA, and Santee Cooper While the House and Senate have differed somewhat in their proposals, both chambers will be working to fix the state regulatory system that enabled this nuclear debacle, as well as trying to protect customers from paying for a power plant that will never happen. Several bills have made it through the committee process and will be debated on the House floor when we return.
2. Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
As we have seen widespread accusations of sexual harassment and abuse around the nation, South Carolina will need to establish more consistent policies to protect our employees in both the private and public sectors. I have prefiled a bipartisan bill, made up of both men and women, which will end mandated arbitration clauses in employment contracts when allegations of sexual harassment arise. These type clauses only serve to silence the victim.
3. Redistricting Reform With the 2020 Census approaching, we need to re-examine how our Congressional and legislative district lines are drawn. I've co-sponsored a bipartisan bill which will create an independent redistricting commission to prevent the drawing of lines for purposes of partisan advantage or incumbent protection. Politics should be taken out of the process. Voters should choose their elected officials rather than we, as politicians, choosing our voters. 4. Opioid Epidemic In a surging drug overdose epidemic, we will be tackling this issue to ensure a more effective detection of people at risk of addiction or overdose and exploring alternative forms of relief.
5. Immediate Action to Reform K-12 Public Education Funding
This is always one of the primary challenges facing our public schools in South Carolina -- the broken system used to fund them. There is a proven, direct link between economic development and education. High-quality public schools is the key foundation piece necessary for South Carolina’s long-term economic success and work-force development. We need to improve the system, pass meaningful legislation, and guarantee all South Carolina students have the opportunity for a high quality education.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues or have any questions, please feel free to contact me anytime. Happy New Year! Best wishes,