American’s for Prosperity: eliminate the income tax, expand school choice

I was pleased to speak at the first town hall meeting hosted by Americans for Prosperity. They are organizing grass-roots efforts focusing on 2 issues: eliminating the income tax and educational choice. These two issues alone could transform South Carolina. I want to thank the Anderson Independent Mail for their extensive coverage. This year the Republican Primary ballot had a question asking Republicans if they want income taxes eliminated. The non-binding referendum passed 80%.

Camp Hope Teen 2 2015 “Roaring Twenties”

We had a great week at Camp Hope Teen 2. The best news is that a boy accepted Christ as Savior, being led by another camper! We always introduce the theme for next year. Here’s the video. Enjoy:

2015.roaring.twenties.intro from Camp Hope on Vimeo.

s.940 cloture votes

free-moneyS. 940 (the $1.7 billion tax hike) is the legislation that allows for counties to offer a local option sales tax. This means that the ballots of 14 counties will have this option on the ballot in November’s General Election. Our effort to kill S. 940 was almost successful. To end a filibuster on a conference report the Senate must adopt a “cloture” motion. This is majority of the body or “hard” 23. This means that an absent member is just as valuable as a “nay” vote. Normally, this number is 24. Sen. Yancey McGill (D-Williamsburg) is now Lt. Governor. This vacancy lowers it to 23. Cloture was invoked at 3:26pm. By statute, we could not go past 5:00 pm last Thursday.

Here’s how the counts were on each motion: 1st 10-31; 2nd 19-20; 3rd 22-16; 4th 19-18; 5th 21-15; 6th 23-15

Members vote “aye” or “nay” for different reasons. The vote can be based on a personal like or dislike for the member holding the floor. Some think filibusters are a waste of time and we should vote on every bill. I have a few colleagues that never vote cloture no matter who has the floor or what the subject is. Sometimes I’ve seen a filibuster on a bill because of a different bill that will be taken up next.

The rules of the “deliberative” body are to protect the minority. Depending on the issue, the minority in the South Carolina Senate is either conservatives or Democrats. These two groups often find common ground on procedural issues.

Many people think it would be based on the subject matter of the bill itself, however, S. 940 passed 35-5. We lost this one, but when it comes to taxes, we’ll go down kicking and screaming.

Never voted “aye”:
Karl Allen (D-Greenville)
Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg)
Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson)
Tom Davis (R-Beaufort)
Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg)
Gerald Malloy (D-Darlington)
Martin (Shane) (R-Spartanburg)
John Matthews (D-Orangeburg)
Clementa Pinckney (D-Jasper)
Luke Rankin (R-Horry)
John Scott (D-Richland)
Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw)
Danny Verdin (R-Laurens)
Kent Williams (D-Marion)


Voted “aye” once: Shane Massey (R-Aiken), Thomas McElveen (D-Sumter), Nikki Setlzer (D-Lexington)

Voted “aye” twice: Creighton Coleman (D-Fairfield), Tom Corbin (R-Greenville), Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), Joel Lourie (D-Richland), Floyd Nicholson (D-Greenwood)

Voted “aye” 3 times: Ray Cleary (R-Georgetown)

Voted “aye” 4 times: Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster)

Voted “aye” 5 times: Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee), John Courson (R-Richland), Larry Grooms (R-Berckeley), Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston), Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee), Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington), Paul Thurmond (R-Charleston), Ross Turner (R-Greenville)

Voted “aye” 6 times: Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester), Chip Campsen (R-Charleston), Ronnie Cromer (R-Newberry), Mike Fair (R-Greenville), Wes Hayes (R-York), Greg Hembree (R-Horry), Martin (Larry) (R-Pickens), O’Dell (R-Abbeville)

Sen. Shane Martin: a tax hike steamroll

Header2I normally would say at the end of the session that you can release the death grip on your wallet, but this year legislators switched on a time bomb that may explode in November at the General Election. Over one dozen counties may face a local referendum in November on the question of adding to their sales tax, ostensibly for school construction. There will be no such ballot question in Spartanburg County, Greenville County or Union County, but if you travel to other counties like Anderson, you may be paying another cent or two if you make a purchase there.

The saddest part of this last minute slap to the taxpayer is that it was made possible by Republicans in the Senate. Senator Kevin Bryant filibustered this tax increase for four and a half hours on the final day, and he withstood five separate attempts to sit him down. The sixth, though, was successful as nearly all of the Republicans voted to end debate. I tell you this story only to remind you that when I speak of the RINOcrat majority, this perfectly reflects what I mean—the majority of the Senate voting for a likely tax increase. When you wonder why our gun laws violate the Constitution or why our Republican-majority statehouse refuses to stop Obamacare, this is the answer. The only thing worse is that when given the chance, and when pleaded with by conservatives across South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley nonetheless signed the tax time bomb into law. She could have vetoed this bill and said to the taxpayers that if their so-called Republican representatives wouldn’t stand in front of a tax increase, then she would. Nikki Haley, instead, told local taxpayers that, “you’re on your own” and when the special interests spend thousands to raise your taxes “don’t call me.”

Friends, I cannot fully relay my frustration at this turn of events. All I can do is let you know that the handful of conservatives in Columbia will have to dig deeper into the bag of political tools to stop these things in the future.

a $1,736,830,485 tax hike needs a veto

debtOn Thursday June 19th, conservatives tried our best to kill a $1,736,830,485 tax hike. I took the floor at 10:15am to try to persuade my colleagues that South Carolina simply can’t afford a new tax increase. After 5 motions for cloture, the 6th motion received the 23 votes necessary to end a filibuster at 3:26 pm. The government grab-it rabbit is after you!

S. 940 is a bill that enables tax increase referendums for school construction in 14 counties in South Carolina. If passed, Anderson taxpayers will fork up $206 million.

Why not let the people decide? The voters of Senate district 3 voted in 2004, 2008, & 2012 on the promise of no tax increases. Well, I’ve made a commitment to the constituents I represent that I’d not only vote against any tax increase, I would do everything possible to prevent one. Another reason is that these referendum campaigns will be funded by special interests that will profit from the construction. It simply puts the taxpayer campaigning against its own government from taking more of their money.

It’s just a penny? Pennies ad up! This penny is $1,736,830,485. This money taken out of the pockets of consumers will prevent growth in our economy. It is a further intrusion on the freedom of the taxpayer to spend his/her own money as they sit fit. Additionally, sales tax hikes injure seniors and low income South Carolinians most.

If only we could’ve held on for 2 more hours, the taxpayer’s wallet could have been protected. Eventually, there may be a $1,736,830,485 shock to your wallet.

A comment by a district representative during their victory lap was: “Sadly, sometimes one lone dissenter can cause trouble for the masses”. Maybe it was a poor choice of words, but this rhetoric sound kind of elitist don’t you think?

Hopefully, the Governor Haley will veto this well intentioned, yet bad piece of legislation. Click here to contact the Governor’s Office.

in state diagnostic services proviso eliminated by SC House

drug-testThe Senate version of the budget this year contain the following proviso:

33.32. (DHHS: In-state Medicaid Providers Lab Services)  Whenever possible, contracts with managed care plans participating in the Healthy Connections Choices program shall apply an in-state provider preference when contracting for laboratory services if the in-state provider is able to provide the requested service at the same or less cost as an out-of-state provider.

What this means is all of the Medicaid hmo’s are required to consider contracting with in-state when possible. Currently the two largest medicaid hmo’s send all of their lab work to a company in North Carolina. This proviso simple calls for a chance for South Carolina labs to participate. Unfortunately, the SC House budget amendment struck this proviso.

Anderson County unofficial poll results here!

timthumb.phpWhen a poll closes, the poll manager posts the results on the door of the polling place before taking the ballots to the Anderson County Civic Center for the official count. We’ve got several volunteers going to the large boxes in Anderson County checking these numbers on the polling door and sending them into me. We’ll be covering the Anderson County Probate Court, 3 County Council, and the contested State House Republican Primaries.

On Tuesday, 06/10, I’ll be posting these results as I get them. Log on!

click to watch results 

refresh screen for updates

gop primary election results (unofficial)

school-poll-resultsWhen a poll closes, the poll manager posts the results on the door of the polling place before taking the ballots to the Anderson County Civic Center for the official count. These results are usually posted around 30 minutes after the poll closes.

If you’re interested in watching the numbers, please follow the link below. Please remember to hit the “refresh” button on your browser, as this spreadsheet will be updated continually.


click to watch results 

refresh screen for updates



s. 1283 outlaws powdered alcohol before it’s on the market

S. 1283 is a bill that outlaws the purchase, selling, or possession of powdered alcohol. There is a product pending Federal approval called “Palcohol” that is featured in this video.

We’ve been told by the champions of nanny government if and when Palcohol is approved, it will find itself on the shelves all over South Carolina with no regulation. We’re told that children will be snorting, eating and drinking this stuff. I appreciate the public safety intentions of this legislation, however, I see this bill as a solution in search of a problem. I also don’t have the knee-jerk reaction that government needs to regulate and tax everything that moves. If it were the role of government to outlaw stupidity, then we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

Here are some claims by the developer of Palcohol’s website:

9. Where will it be sold? Think of Palcohol as liquor….just in powder form. It will be sold anywhere where liquor can be sold and a buyer must be of legal drinking age to buy it. It will be available both in the United States and abroad and it can also be bought online.

10. Can Palcohol be added to food? Beer, wine and spirits are often added to dishes to enhance the flavor. When you add Palcohol to food, you’re not really adding flavor to the dish, just alcohol.

As Palcohol is a new product, we have yet to understand its potential of being added to food. As always, please use it responsibly. Because it adds alcohol to the dish, do not serve the dish to minors.

11. Can I snort it? We have seen comments about goofballs wanting to snort it. Don’t do it! You wouldn’t want to anyway. It would take you approximately 60  minutes of painful snorting to get the equivalent of one shot of vodka up your nose. Why would you do that when drinking a shot of liquid vodka takes about two seconds?

12. When will it be available? We expect it to be for sale this fall. No samples will be released ahead of time.

14. What is the calorie content? Well, it depends on what liquid you add to it. The powder by itself is about 80 calories per bag.

Memorial Day

memorial.dayIt is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who gave us the freedom to demonstrate

It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag.

And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protester to burn the flag. Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC