Archive for June 2006

Remember Father’s Day!

June 18, 2006

I’d like to encourage all of us to remember Father’s Day. I’m especially grateful to my Dad for instilling in me the honor of hard work. Whether it be pushing a broom or making serious business decision, he always taught us to respect anyone that works hard and does their best to make an honest living. Nothing irritated Daddy more than when we would insinuate that we were “above” a task like cleaning the john at the drugstore. Yep, the boss’s sons cleaned many a toilet! He also is a champion for finding wasteful spending and using money wisely; to be a responsible steward of what God has blessed us with. Daddy built our business from nothing and without borrowing any money. I’ve heard a million times “don’t spend what you don’t have” and “don’t live above your means”. One time he filled out an account application. In the section for liabilities, he took a black sharpie and wrote in bold letters “I DON’T BORROW!” I hope I can carry on these principles in my life. Thanks Daddy!

Feel free to leave some comments with memories of your Dad.


Well, the 116th Session is now over. We are in the…

June 16, 2006

Well, the 116th Session is now over. We are in the middle of the 4 year term you blessed me with. We’ve seen many victories and some setbacks, especially in fiscal policy. If you’d like more detail on any issue, please don’t hesitate to holler!
The Good News
Charter School:
We passed legislation making is easier to create charter schools. I’ve been consistently for school choice and this creates more choices and options for parents.
Marriage Amendment: This will amend the SC Constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman. The choice will go to the voters in the November election. This measure will pass easily, but I’d like to see the Palmetto State score a resounding margin. This summer and fall I’m scheduled to speak to several congregations. Although churches are not allowed to endorse candidates, they are free to engage in ballot initiatives. Also, I’ll be distributing bumper stickers and yard signs promoting this definition of marriage.
Jessica’s Law: My first amendment (and first floor debate) was to add capital punishment to Jessica’s Law, legislation being adopted in several states calling for more strict penalties for child predators. Finally, the sentencing passed 38-4. A filibuster attempt was stifled, so now SC’s version of Jessica’s Law is now the nation’s most stringent, garnering national attention.
Eminent Domain: After the summer’s Supreme Court decision (Kelo v. New London, CN), we were prompted to review our state’s eminent domain laws. In the descending opinion, Justice Thomas complimented South Carolina’s policy; however, we found it necessary to tie up some loose ends for more assurance.
Unborn Victim Protection: A simple measure. If you assault a woman with child, and kill her child, you can be charged with murder. Will this concept urge us to devote more respect for the unborn? I certainly hope so.
Castle Doctrine: This bill removes the “duty to retreat” when faced with an intruder in your home or vehicle. It also removes any chances of prosecution or lawsuit against persons protecting their domicile with force.
Blog from the Backbench: Another interesting aspect of my service is the blog (web log) started last year. I was pleasantly surprised one day when a Democrat colleague produced me a print out of his voting record on the various amendments of the property tax debate. He had some grief that I’d left him out of a posting. I gladly corrected the post, but the main issue is that even they are watching and reading. Notice that even pot shots are allowed to remain. This is a fair and balanced outlet.
The Unfortunate News
Fiscal Policy:
The taxpayer did not fair well this year as I found myself fighting a loosing battle on most taxpayer-friendly votes. I’ve always kept in mind that the money spent down in Columbia belongs to you, the taxpayer. Unfortunately, this mentality is drowned in special interests and fans of big, intrusive, growing government. The attitude to separate fiscal from social policy is becoming irrelevant to me. Irresponsible spending is at an abhorrent level!
Tax Rebate: I thought I had a very reasonable amendment in the budget process. Since we have 1.1 billion new dollars this year, let’s return $250 million to the taxpayer? This would total to about $250 per family. At our drugstore, when a customer is overcharged, they are automatically refunded…that’s business. Oh, but not in government. My amendment was tabled 36-10! Sometimes I feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
Property Tax Reform: The Senate passed a squirmy local option plan, an insult to the homeowner I couldn’t vote for, however, the final conference committee plan was a step in the right direction: What to like: 1-removes school operating expenses on your home (about 70%) 2-requires 2/3 vote of the legislature to add this tax back on your home 3-reduces sales tax on food to 3¢ 4-gives 2 sales tax holidays (on everything) after Thanksgiving What to not like: 1-leaves local & school bond property taxes on your home 2-taxes on cars and commercial property remain 3-raises sales tax 1¢
Taxpayer Empowerment Amendment: This is a simple concept. Government spending should not grow faster than population vs. inflation. In other words, why should government spending grow faster than your wallet? This bill did not see the light of day, but I introduced it as the people are demanding an end to reckless spending. Someday, the people will conquer the status quo in Columbia.
Again, I want to thank you for your support. It is an honor to serve you in the General Assembly. God has blessed us with wonderful opportunities to see real change in the democratic process. Please contact me with requests, comments, and even complaints. Have a blessed summer!

Primarily Primary Thoughts

June 14, 2006

List of things that surprised me in the Republican Primaries
1-Lovelace’s 35% victory? I don’t understand it. Oscar ran well, worked hard, yet lost. Gov. Sanford is getting pressed with questions like “why didn’t you win by more?” Lee Bandy with the State calls it a “serious blow to Sanford.” Mark was never in danger of being the Republican nominee on the ballot. Last time I checked, you need 50% plus 1 vote. Go figure…again. Congratulations Gov!
2-Mike Campbell – I voted for Henry Jordan, after all, he did get me into politics, but the Campbell margin shocked me.
3-Cindy Wilson for Anderson County Council – I’m surprised that some actually believed that she could lose. One of these days, folks are going to realize that this genteel lady is popular with her constituents.
4-Karen Floyd – We’ve supported Karen and knew she’d do well, but winning without a run off with several candidates is almost impossible. Good job Mrs. Floyd!

I predicted:
1-Ron Wilson – Ron ran against a long time councilman, yet is on record for voting for several tax increases. Also, he’s quoted as saying “I’m ashamed of being a Republican.” Sorry, but those things don’t fly well in Powdersville. Congratulations Ron.
2-The Liberal Media’s normal reaction– Every Wednesday after an election, we get the same editorials from our media. “We told you how to vote, you did not listen to us, therefore you’re stupid.” Us voters are so out of touch!

what’s your political label?

June 10, 2006

Below is a link to a pretty cool sight. Answer a few questions and you’ll get a scoring of your position on the political spectrum. Even though I have been labeled a radcon or radical conservative, this quiz shows me on the line between the libertarian and the right conservative. Is that a radcon? Where do you fit?

Jessica’s Law signing

June 10, 2006

Thursday morning I flew with Gov. Sanford to Myrtle beach to sign Jessica’s Law at the Children’s Recovery Center. After several states have passed Jessica’s Law, Sen. Jake Knotts introduced the bill in the SC Senate. Jessica’s Law deals with increased sentencing, electronic monitoring, and other issues with those that sexually assault children. My amendment called for capital punishment to be an option for convinced child rapists under eleven years old. This is a great day when the Palmetto State can send a message to all the world that we take the safety of our precious children very seriously.
(LR Sen. Knotts, Gov. Sanford, Rep. Alan Clemmons, myself & Rep. Ted Pitts. also present: Sen. Ray Cleary & Rep. Thad Viers)
Here’s a link to a post with more details:

William Wallace "Caucus"

June 8, 2006

A few of us like-minded members of the Senate have formed the fictitious William Wallace “Caucus”. We’re often voting against government intrusion, wasteful spending, & unecessary regulation. The founding members are Verdin, Grooms, Campsen (coined the name), & myself. How do ya’ll like the logo?

Sen. Grooms almost drowned

June 6, 2006

A “William Wallace Caucus” family outing was almost a fatal trip for Sen. Larry Grooms. Look closely at the below picture. I’ve circled his shoe. He fell out of the raft, then was pinned between the raft and a rock. Fortunately, the quick response of our tour guides saved his life. The Verdin & Bryant families also made the trip.