Archive for March 2007

Senate takes a U turn on transportation reform

March 30, 2007

Thursday afternoon, the senate passed a bill that offers no reform. Basically, its like “rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking titanic”.

For the record, I did not vote for this bill, nor any amendments that scaled back the very good bill passed out of the Transportation Committee.

The Spartanburg goupstate.com gives a good assessment.

“The Senate plan is even worse. It includes the commission appointed by lawmakers and then sets up a committee of lawmakers to oversee that commission. This isn’t reform. It simply adds another committee to give further cover to whoever will be responsible for the next round of favors and waste at the department.”

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ultrasound S. 84 featured on ETV "This Week in the Senate"

March 29, 2007

This morning S. 84, the ultrasound requirment, was the topic of the ETV show “This Week in the Senate” – Featuring Sen. Glenn F. McConnell of Charleston – President Pro Tempore. Guests were Sen. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg, Sen. Jake Knotts of Lexington, & myself.

Sen. Larry Grooms on the DOT bill

March 27, 2007

Now’s the time to really fix SCDOT (Sen. Grooms represents parts of Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties)

When’s the last time you sat idling in bumper-to-bumper traffic while your valuable time ticked away? Or were late to your destination because of poorly timed and uncoordinated traffic lights? Or slammed into a seemingly bottomless pothole and rounded a bend only to hit the brakes because of road construction?

You’re not alone. You and I and South Carolina’s 1.8 million other commuters see every day the unprecedented growth and change our state is experiencing. And as the Palmetto State grows and changes, so too must our system of roads and transportation change to meet our needs.

Yet as a recent independent audit shows, our state Department of Transportation seems trapped in the good-ol’-boy mentality of yesteryear. The Legislative Audit Council found the Transportation Department spent millions on certain road contracts without ensuring the most qualified contractor received the job. There was no evidence of how DOT negotiated contract prices; the department’s history with one engineering firm raised “questions of favoritism and ineffective management of resources” and the Transportation Department paid about twice as much as necessary to hire temporary employees, “mostly former SCDOT employees.”

Continued

more national media on H. 3355 ultrasound bill

March 22, 2007


On Thursday night, CNN brought a truck in my driveway. I was on Paula Zahn Now at 8PM. The topic was H. 3355, a companion bill to my S. 84 which prompted Representative Greg Delleney to introduce a version in the House and here we are. Rep. Delleney’s bill, received 2nd reading on Wednesday (3/21) with a vote of 91-23, received 3rd reading Thursday 3/22 and has been referred to the Senate Medical Affairs. Chairman Harvey Peeler has agreed to allow me to serve on the subcommittee for detail work on amendments and such.

Transcript:
ZAHN: Should a woman who is going to have an abortion be forced to look at an ultrasound picture of the fetus before she goes through with it? We’re bringing that question “Out in the Open” tonight because just hours ago, South Carolina’s House passed a bill to make that law, and the state Senate probably will approve it quickly.

Abortion opponents may hope this persuades women not to go through with abortions, but supporters of abortion rights say it’s just plain intimidation.

With me now, state senator Kevin Bryant, a Republican who’s sponsoring the bill.

Thanks so much for being with us tonight, Senator.
To Read the Transcript:
KEVIN BRYANT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: Thank you, Paula.

transportation bill gutted

March 21, 2007

On Wednesday February 14th the Transportation Committee passed a bill with sweeping reforms. The bill gives me the impression that the department should be run more like a business and therefore more efficient. It has been said “we need more business in government and less government in business.” In the real world, businesses operate on a “perform or else” standard. Small businesses are so efficient because they can make necessary changes very quickly. One reason government, especially the current DOT, is so inefficient is that change is very slow. The original bill creates a state board that chooses the projects and priorities. Also, it defines the director as being an “at will” gubernatorial appointment. The director serves at direct accountability to the governor. This issue is where the real reform rests.

On Wednesday, March 21, the bill was amended to define the director of transportation as an “at will” by the board not the governor. The board is appointed by the Governor with a huge catch. The Senate confirms these appointments as in the Santee Cooper board. We’ve seen problems with the confirmation process.

In my perspective real reform would define the director as a gubernatorial “at will” appointment. After the bill was gutted, I see no real reform; therefore, I can no longer support the bill. Hopefully, we will revert back to the committee’s recomendations for real reform.

ultrasound bill draws national media coverage

March 20, 2007


Monday – full media day. Pictured above is the ABC News setup in our den. The interest was on H. 3355 or the Informed Consent Act, also known as the Ultrasound Before Abortion Bill.

What seems to be getting the attention of the media is the history behind this bill’s creation. In 2005, my wife, Ann, felt compelled to assist in raising the funds to purchase an ultrasound machine for the Anderson Crisis Pregnancy Center. We then learned that a high percentage of patients that get the ultrasound choose to carry the baby to full term. After learning this, we decided to introduce S. 84 which prompted Representative Greg Delleney to introduce a version in the House and here we are. Rep. Delleney’s bill, H. 3355 received 2nd reading on Wednesday (3/21) with a vote of 91-23.

Before an abortionist can perform the procedure on a patient, they must verify the baby’s gestational age with an ultrasound, they must review the ultrasound pictures with the mother, and the mother must sign an informed consent that she has reviewed the ultrasound pictures. This language simply builds upon current abortion language in the code. I am told by those in crisis pregnancy centers that when an ultrasound is viewed, most patients (an estimated 85%) choose life.

Monday March 19 @ 10:00 PM -Fox 21 WHNS
Tuesday March 20 @ 6:30 PM -ABC World News Tonight
Tuesday March 20 @ 11:30 PM – ABC Nightline
Wednesday March 21 @ 7:00 AM – ABC Good Morning America
Thursday March 22 @ 8:00 PM – CNN Paula Zahn Live

Club for Growth Scores: Demint 100, Brownback 98

March 19, 2007

Click here to see the full scorecard