Monday, June 20, 2011

From the House

The number of phone calls and emails didn’t set any records this week, but it is amazing the level of interest this late in the process. We are in extended session, with a shortened week mostly dealing with cleanup and reapportionment. Still, we had 323 constituent contacts. The bulk of the calls were either on reapportionment or the Moss Creek Plantation dock system. Interestingly, many of the calls were from folks in Jasper County, now that the new district outlines are beginning to clarify.
As it now stands, District 118 is going to extend eastward to Burnt Church Road in Bluffton, including just about everything west of that, including Highway 46, Palmetto Bluff, the Buckwalter tract, Sun City, all the way to Hardeeville and over to I-95 and back to the Savannah River. This general designation will exclude Rose Hill Plantation and several other plantations on the Bluffton side of Highway 278.
The new district (120) will extend eastward from Burnt Church Road and pick up Myrtle Island, All Joy and the former Ulmer properties all the way north to Moss Creek Plantation. The district boundary will move westward along the north side of Highway 278, then north along Highway 170 to include Riverbend and Oldfield, extending all the way to Ridgeland.
The legislative implications of this new configuration are tremendous. With two seats bridging Beaufort and Jasper counties, we are bonded with our neighboring county in a manner that should give our corner of the Lowcountry a greatly increased profile not only in the legislature but in our economic development regimes as well. Regionalism has, up to this point, been something that everyone supports rhetorically but when it comes to practical cases, not so much. With the new configuration, regionalism is a legislative fact on the ground. Working in concert, our efforts regarding the port will be multiplied. Our chances of locating and sealing the deal with the next CareCore are greatly enhanced. Even the potential funding for USCB and TCL looks to benefit from a Beaufort/Jasper delegation working the budget.
In anticipation of our working partnership with our friends in Jasper County, next week I will tell you about how one of our important judgeships was captured by a worthy Jasper resident and the crucial role played in that process by your Beaufort County delegation. She’ll be an outstanding judge, and it’s a pretty good story to boot.
Finally, I want to remind everyone that school is out for the summer and our roads and sidewalks are filled with children on bikes, skateboards, scooters, and sometimes even golf carts and fourwheelers. Please be careful and attentive. The same goes for our rivers and creeks. A second of inattention while leaving or arriving at the sandbar can literally be life changing. More and more folks have found the May River and our sandbars. It is up to us locals to set a good example.
As always, over the summer, I will give you an overview of the session in terms of what passed and what it means. I will also give you an idea of what gets carried over and what we are likely to see next year. That is, of course, if we ever draw this session to a close.