Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From the House

As Governor Haley and Senator McConnell were playing our their little drama last week, many of you were calling my office for some sort of explanation. In fact, 378 of you called, mostly to comment on the dust-up or to seek some understanding of what, to many, seemed like a schoolyard slap-fight.
In time, and with the intervention of the court, the matter was settled and the status quo was regained as all the combatants resumed a tense but amicable working relationship. My candid explanation of the events will have to wait for my autobiography.
From the standpoint of the House of Representatives, the matter was somewhat moot, as we passed all the long-needed reform measures back in March. Governor Haley wants the Senate to do likewise. To refresh your memory: H.3152 puts the Governor and the Lt. Governor on the same ticket—The House passed it 106-6 on March 3rd. H.3070 deals with the Superintendent of Education being appointed by the Governor. It passed the House 82-28 on March 3rd. H.3066 created the Department of Administration and was passed by the House also on March 3rd by a vote of 96-13. And the last of the Governor’s commonsense reforms, the combining of the Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole with the Department of Corrections (H.3267) was passed by the House March 31st on a vote of 81-21.
Of these bills, the creation of the Department of Administration has the potential to rationalize and streamline many of the critical functions of state government. If it does nothing more than reform our antiquated procurement regime, it will have been a wise move. However, I will report from time to time how the potential is translating into actual benefit with regard to getting the most value for the taxpayer’s dollars.
Suffice to say that this is not the first time the House has done the hard work of investigating critical needs, refining the intent and the language of the bills in sub-committee and full committee, and producing good legislation, only to have the senate process derail, delay or deny the manifest will of the people. Admittedly, the senate process allows for one or two members to hold up the entire proceedings-- sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for embarrassingly trivial ones. Fortunately, our Senator Tom Davis is always a team player with regard to Beaufort County Delegation mission critical matters.
My hope is that the Senate will expeditiously address the reform agenda already passed by the House.
Finally, I want to refocus on the local Bluffton scene to let you know that my friend Aaron Dowell has opened the Bluffton Boat Center in Burnt Church Park near Monster Pizza. I have known Aaron for a lot of years and he is a good fellow and a great craftsman. I expect the Bluffton Boat Center to reflect both those features.
This piece of good news illuminates why my legislative agenda is always about jobs, environmental conservation, and the preservation of the Waddell Mariculature Center. Aaron created his own job and all the jobs of the folks that work for him or will work for him because people want to enjoy the cleanest water in the state, right here in Beaufort County. The Mariculture Center, with their cobia and redfish programs, as well as their research efforts, also make for great fishing in our area. Our modest efforts to keep our waters clean and our support of healthy fish populations not only give us great quality of life, they create good jobs and good business for smart entrepreneurs like Aaron Dowell.