First, let me start by saying that I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Newberry, Lexington and Union Counties. I am grateful for the confidence you have placed in me by electing me to serve another four years as your State Senator.
On Dec. 12, 2012, the State Senate met for its organizational session. The Oath of Office was administered to ten newly elected members of the Senate. Committee selections and seat selections were made, officers of the Senate were elected, and the Senate Rules were adopted.
We convened for the 120th Session of the South Carolina General Assembly on Jan. 8, 2013. Below I have outlined some of the major issues the General Assembly has already begun work on and will continue to deliberate throughout this session:
• Transportation Reform - structural and funding changes to our state’s infrastructure maintenance and construction process to make sure every dollar is maximized and allocated based on merit.
• Spending Caps - We must work to provide for sustainable and predictable growth in state spending to protect taxpayers, businesses and those served by government.
• Ethics Reform - We are reviewing our state’s antiquated Ethics laws and making recommendations to modernize them.
• Ballot Reform - S.2 - Equal Access to the Ballot Act - I am a co-sponsor of this bill which ensures voters are given the choices they deserve and eliminates the potential for problems such as those experienced this past election cycle resulting in the removal of some 250 candidates. S.2 passed the Senate on January 23rd and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
• Department of Administration - S.22 - Department of Administration Bill - This bill will abolish the Budget and Control Board and redistribute most of its divisions among the Department of Administration. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill and the bill went to the full Senate. The bill was then referred to the Senate Finance Committee for further deliberation with a time certain set for Feb. 20. The bill will then go back on the Senate Calendar in Interrupted Debate Status for full consideration by the full Senate.
• Cyber Security - We will make it a priority to enhance cyber security to better protect our citizens and to ensure that those conducting business with South Carolina can do so with confidence.
Department of Revenue Security Breach - As you know, approximately 3.8 million Social Security numbers, 387,000 credit and debit card numbers and 657,000 business tax filings were exposed in a recent cyber-attack at the S.C. Department of Revenue.
Anyone who has filed a South Carolina tax return since 1998 is urged to sign up for the identity theft protection offered by the state. Below is information copied from the Governor’s web site with instructions:
• Experian’s ProtectMyID Alert is designed to detect, protect and resolve potential identity theft, and includes daily monitoring of all three credit bureaus. The alerts and daily monitoring services are provided for one year, and consumers will continue to have access to fraud resolution agents and services beyond the first year.
• Individuals have until March 31, to enroll with ProtectMyID.
To sign up:
Visit www.protectmyid.com/scdor and use the activation code SCDOR123 or Call 1-866-5785422 for customer service.
Experian’s ProtectMyID Customer Service hours of operation are Monday – Friday 9: a.m.– 9 p.m. Eastern, Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern.
South Carolina businesses can either sign up for credit monitoring services for free through Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp or through Experian’s Business Credit AdvantageSM.
To sign up:
• Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp is offering South Carolina businesses a CreditAlert product that will alert customers to changes taking place in their business credit file.
Business owners can visit www.dandb.com/sc/ or they can call customer service toll free at 1-800-279-9881.
• Experian’s Business Credit AdvantageSM is a self-monitoring service that allows for unlimited access to your company’s business credit report and score.
Business owners can sign up for Business Credit AdvantageSM at http://www.smartbusinessreports.com/SouthCarolina
I now serve as chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. In addition, I have been appointed chairman of the Senate Finance Constitutional Laws subcommittee. I look forward to the challenges and responsibilities associated with these positions and stand ready to assist you with your needs. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at 212-6330 if I may be of assistance.