Archive for May 2006

jessica’s law philibuster BUSTED!

May 31, 2006

Sen. Jake Knotts (R-Lexington pictured below) introduced a strike & insert amendment. This removes all the damage the SC House did to the bill then inserts the legislation that the Senate passed on March 28th. Last week the House removed capital punishment, removes “hearsay” clause, reduces minimum from 25 years to 10. Basically, the SC House “gutted” the bill. There was a failed attempt to block the vote by Sen. Phil Leventis (D-Sumter). A motion for cloture was made and passed. Below are the roll call votes:
AYES: Alexander, Bryant, Campsen, Cleary, Courson, Cromer, Fair, Gregory, Grooms, Hawkins, Hayes, Knotts, Leatherman, Martin, McConnell, Mescher, O’Dell, Peeler, Richardson, Ritchie, Ryberg, Scott, Thomas, Verdin
NAYS: Anderson, Drummond, Elliott, Ford, Hutto, Land, Leventis, Jackson, Malloy, Pinckney, Patterson, Reese, Sheheen, Williams
Not Voting or Absent: Lourie, Matthews, McGill, Moore, Rankin, Setzler, Short, Smith
On Wed May 31, the House “concurred” on S. 1267. This bill will now go straight to Gov. Sanford that has already announced his support.


the skinny on property tax

May 30, 2006

This week we are studying conference committee reports on property tax relief. I am pleasantly surprised of the outcome.
What to like:
-removes school operating expenses on your home (about 2/3)
-requires 2/3 vote of the legislature to add this tax back on your home
-reduces sales tax on food to 3 cents
-gives 2 sales tax holidays (on everything) after Thanksgiving
What to not like:
-leaves local & school bond property taxes on your home
-taxes on cars and commercial property remain
-raises sales tax by 1 cent
Sen. Jim Ritchie (R-Spartanburg) is a key participant on the conference committee. If you read my bleak postings during the property tax debate, you’ll see that I did not expect this outcome, so I stand corrected.

memorial day story of courage

May 29, 2006

Taken from
Maybe you’d like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored the uniform he wears
Meet Brian Chontosh Churchville-Chili Central School Class of 1991
Husband and about-to-be father. First lieutenant (now Captain) in the United States Marine Corps. And a genuine hero, the secretary of the Navy said so yesterday. At 29 Palms in California Brian Chontosh was presented with the Navy Cross, the second highest award for combat bravery the United States can bestow.
It was a year ago (2004) on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee. The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him.
So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire. It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish. And Brian Chontosh gave the order to attack.
He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the 50 cal unload on them.
Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines.
Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride.
And he ran along the trench, with its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers. And he killed them all. He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man’s AK4 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man’s AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.
When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon’s flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.
But that’s probably not how he would tell it. He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Ooh-rah, and drive on.

“By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.”

by Bob Lonsberry & Mary Jones

DeMint opposes Senate Amnesty bill

May 27, 2006

Sen. Jim DeMint Lists his “Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the Senate Amnesty Bill”
For more details on his stand:
1. Rewards Illegal Behavior with Clear Path to Citizenship and Voting Rights – Amnesty
2. Creates Temporary Worker Program That is Neither Temporary Nor Work-Based
3. Unprecedented Wave of Immigrants – 66 Million Over 20 Years
4. Insufficient Border Security
5. Terrorist Loophole Disarms Law Enforcement
6. Social Security Benefits, Tax Credits for Illegal Work
7. Costs Over $50 Billion A Year to Federal Government; States Foot The Bill
8. Hurts Small Business
9. Gives Some Immigrant Workers Greater Job Protection Than American Workers
10. Weak Assimilation/English Requirements

Jessica’s Law delayed in SC House

May 24, 2006

Yesterday, a number of members of the SC House Judiciary Committee walked out to avoid voting on Jessica’s Law. Chairman Harrison has called another meeting today hopefully the bill can get on the House floor. The SC Senate passed my amendment to allow for capital punishment for child rapists receiving a 2nd conviction. The roll call vote was 38-4. The Senate then passed the bill unanimously. Should Jessica’s Law pass the house in its amended form, SC will be only the 2nd state to allow for sentencing this severe. I don’t understand the cowardice to leave a meeting to avoid voting on a measure. While our children’s safety is in danger, we’ve got members of the legislature hiding.
The most popular questions asked:
1-Why are you asking for punishment this severe? When a child is raped something precious is taken from the child’s soul. They will never recover, therefore, I believe that his invasion of a child warrants capital punishment, especially since the bill calls for a 2nd conviction of child rape. This also sends a message across the world, that SC does not tolerate the molestations of our kids! Will this sentencing keep perverts out of SC? I certainly hope so.
2-Does the amendment jeopardize the rest of Jessica’s Law bill or our current capital punishment statutes? A “severability clause” was included in the amendment to prevent this from happening. Also, the language calls for a separate statute that may isolate this sentencing should we get a court challenge.

Lt. gov. in plane crash!

May 24, 2006

Just heard that Lt. Gov. Andre’ Bauer and another passenger have been in a plane crash in Cherokee County. I’m told they survived the crash with injuries, but should recover soon. Please keep Andre’ in your thoughts and prayers.

eminent domain

May 23, 2006

Is YOUR Home Safe? You’ve got a three-story mansion or a 30-year-old doublewide, it is your home. You work hard to pay your taxes and your bills. You try your best to keep your gutters clean and your grass mowed. You look out for your neighbors, and they look out for you. Your home is the very best that you can provide for your family. Your home has been your castle — until now. Your constitutional rights just took a serious blow.
The U.S. Supreme Court stunned us with a redefinition of eminent domain. The town of New London, Conn., approved a private development plan designed to revitalize its ailing economy and then purchased most of the property from willing sellers. When a few homeowners refused, the city condemned their homes. The homeowners sued, claiming that seizing their properties violates the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Last June the Supreme Court ruled in favor of New London. Consequently, any government entity can lawfully seize private property and hand it over to private developers.
Sen. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston) has spent that last several months crafting legislation to strengthen our state’s eminent domain laws. In the wake of this shocking ruling, we are committed to addressing property rights legislation. We will not rest until the New London scenario becomes absolutely impossible in South Carolina! If you have an opinion on this or any other matter, feel free to post it!