NEWBERRY — Newberry County’s elected representatives updated a packed room at the Newberry County Chamber of Commerce legislative breakfast Tuesday morning in Prosperity.
Sen. Ronnie Cromer and House District 40 Rep. Walt McLeod updated the Newberry crowd about the happenings in senate and house respectively along with what they are working to accomplish.
Cromer said there are 10 new senators - three Democrats and seven Republicans - which is “very unusual.”
“We have a great group of new senators,” said Cromer who is looking forward to moving things along this year.
“We are proud that we are moving stuff down the road but we still have heavy issues on the our plate,” said Cromer.
A couple of bills that Cromer said was passed through in Senate were the anti-internet sweepstakes bill which is a ban on all internet sweepstakes machines and the election reform bill after the candidacy filing fiasco last year.
“The bill makes it a lot easier for all candidates to file and all must follow the same rules. The House is debating (the bill) now. It does mean more work for the election commissions,” said Cromer.
He adds the economic interest form will still be filed online for all to see.
Something else the Senate is trying to change are raffles so that it does not lead to unorganized gambling.
Other bills that are being deliberated upon are the Department of Administration (restructuring) bill in which many agencies would be under the executive branch, the early voting bill which would allow for seven days of early voting, insurance premiums, deer baiting and the revenue department hacking.
Cromer said that the deer baiting law needs clarification and that it is now turned over to the House.
As far as insurance goes, Cromer said that the premiums need to be discussed especially along the coastal area where insurance is more difficult to receive.
As far as last year’s revenue department hacking, Cromer said that is a major issue on the plate as they look at how much money to spend with protection and information technology, etc.
McLeod said that the roads and bridges in the state do need attention and repair.
“For a more civilized road/bridge system, we need more money to do it,” said McLeod who quoted information from the state chamber publication who said that there is $6 billion in roadway needs.
He proposed the option of a two cent gas (tax) increase as a way to repair the roads and bridges in the state.
“We haven’t had an increase since the 1970s,” said McLeod who said South Carolina is one of the lowest in the state.
As for the pending Department of Administration (restructuring) bill, McLeod said he voted against it because it puts the health care plan and procurement under the governor.
“If it includes procurement under the governor, I’m against it,” said McLeod.
McLeod did speak up for local government funds which he said is fighting money being taken away from it.
“We need to maintain the local government fund at what it is and don’t diminish it,” he stated.
McLeod closed by telling everyone that he is there to be “supportive for you.”