Thursday 02.14.08 was dominated with a committee report from S. 398 bill that deals with pay day lenders. We’ve agreed to work all day Tuesday 02.19.08 (happy b-day to me) instead of having Judiciary & Finance Committee meetings. Here’s some highlights of the committee amendment on the bill:
-one loan per customer at a time (industry-wide)
-one-day cooling off period
-monitored by a real-time statewide database
-establishes an extended payment plan option
-no additional cost to the customer
-equal installments up to 60 days (4 pay periods)
-prohibits additional loans while in the plan
-requires a state board annual report to the General Assembly
-sets the loan amount to 25% of the customer’s income during the term of the loan or $500 whichever is less
Governor Sanford ordered last summer that all agencies under his cabinet to post each and every financial expenditure on the internet. I agree with Gov. Sanford that South Carolinians are entitled to full and complete information regarding how their hard-earned tax dollars are spent by government. Shining the light on state government spending will lead to more accountability to the taxpayers of South Carolina.
To my disappointment, we have a Freedom of Information (FOI) system that is not free, but is in bondage. If you want information, you must submit written requests and in most cases spend more of your money to obtain records you paid for in the first place. The FOI system is backwards, and I intend to reverse the process.I will file legislation to require that all other state agencies, commissions, school boards and municipalities put their spending records online. Checking account registers, petty cash expenditures and credit card transactions will be posted on the internet for anyone to review. Please join me in demanding that government actually report to those it serves and who actually pay for it—the taxpayer.
Simply put, it’s your money and it’s your information. While you work hard to earn it, you should not be required to work hard to see how it’s spent.There is an interesting debate on this concept on the Anderson Independent’s Cocklebur blog
Although not as stringent as I would have liked, the Senate did pass an immigration reform bill with merit. Here is a press release from the SC Senate Republican Caucus: Senate Restores Strength to Illegal Immigration Reform Act Urges House to Concur with Stronger BillColumbia, SC – Senator Jim Ritchie, (R-13) Majority Whip, took the Senate floor today reassuring the people of South Carolina that strength and effectiveness are at the heart of the Senate’s Illegal Immigration Reform Act.“This breakthrough legislation requires public and private employers to verify new workers to address this growing crisis,” says Ritchie.
The Senate “rejects the House’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, restored stronger penalties, and will require that all businesses verify the legal immigration status of new hires,” says Senator Ritchie. “We have been working on true illegal immigration reform for over a year and today’s action builds effective, comprehensive reforms with real strength.”
The Senate bill requires public and private employee verification, prevents illegal aliens from receiving public benefits, expands penalties for identity theft and fraud, and allows state law enforcementto enact a memorandum of understanding with the federal officials which provides them the authority to enforce federal immigration and customs laws. The Senate also maintained provisions allowing civil lawsuits tobe filed against employers who fire South Carolinians for the purpose of hiring illegal aliens.
“Illegal immigration is one of the top concerns across the state and the Senate Republican Caucus has produced a solid bill that answers the call from the people of South Carolina that something be done,” says Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee). “What the Senate has done today creates a much stronger bill than we have seen to this point,” says Senate President Pro Tempore, Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston). “The Senate has taken the lead on this issuefor over a year and we continued to strengthen the bill with the actions taken today.”
“Our citizens have rightly demanded legislation that will effectively deter illegal aliens from coming to South Carolina,” says SenatorRitchie. “The Senate has answered the call of the people with this landmark reform.”
The Illegal Immigration Reform Act now returns to the House where they must “concur” or “nonconcur” with the amendments. Should the House “concur,” the bill will be ratified and sent to the Governor. Should the House “nonconcur,” the bill will go to conference committee where three Senators and three House members will work toward a final resolution.
Senate Waters Down Immigration Bill Charleston, SC, February 12, 2008
The South Carolina Senate today introduced an amendment that would water down employee verification in the Immigration Bill, S392. The original bill required all South Carolina employers doing business in the state to be able to verify the legality of their workers through the use of a South Carolina Drivers license, either issued or meeting eligibility requirements to obtain a South Carolina license, or valid immigration documentation. The change incorporating the Immigration and Control Act of 1986, introduced by pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and the Farm Bureau, would permit employers with the option to complete the Federal From I-9. The I-9 form allows for any drivers license from any state and requires a Social Security number that is not verifiable.This change would not strengthen the bill but significantly weaken it and equates to little or no verification at all.
Update: s. 897 received a favorable report in the subcommittee I chaired on Wed. 02.13.08 (my first sub committee to chair). The committee gave a unanimous favorable report, yet members (Sen. Peeler, Sen. Setzler, & Sen. Reese) had some concerns with possible loopholes for fraudulent activity. Venture Capital investment is regulated on the Federal level, so these concerns may be met, but we’ll find out for sure. S. 897 creates a pot of $5,000,000 that can be used for tax credits to those investing $10,000,000 or more. The tax credit will be 30% of the investment and will be repaid upon success of the investment. previous post on S. 897
the immigration debate will revolve around a document called an “i9” which, in my opinion, is a worthless document. If this is going to be the standard, we may as well as accept a BiLo Bonus card for proper documents for legal citizenship. If you meet one of the requirements below, then you qualify for an i9.
LISTS OF ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTS
LIST A Documents that Establish Both Identity and Employment Eligibility
1. U.S. Passport (unexpired or expired)
2. Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)
3. Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
4. Unexpired foreign passport, with I-551 stamp or attached Form I-94 indicating unexpired employment authorization
5. Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card with photograph (Form I-151 or I-551)
6. Unexpired Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688)
7. Unexpired Employment Authorization Card (Form I-688A)
8. Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327)
9. Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form 1-571)
10. Unexpired Employment Authorization Document issued by DHS that contains a photograph (Form I-688B)
OR LIST B Documents that Establish Identity
1. Driver’s license or ID card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address
2. ID card issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address
3. School ID card with a photograph
4. Voter’s registration card
5. U.S. Military card or draft record
6. Military dependent’s ID card
7. U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
8. Native American tribal document
9. Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority
For persons under age 18 who are unable to present a document listed above:
10. School record or report card
11. Clinic, doctor or hospital record
12. Day-care or nursery school record
AND LIST C Documents that Establish Employment Eligibility
1. U.S. social security card issued by the Social Security Administration (other than a card stating it is not valid for employment)
2. Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545 or Form DS-1350)
3. Original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal
4. Native American tribal document
5. U.S. Citizen ID Card (Form I-197)
6. ID Card for use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179)
7. Unexpired employment authorization document issued by DHS (other than those listed under List A)
We’ve heard some interesting testimony on S. 860, a bill concerning fire sprinkler systems. A tax credit could apply to new construction and existing construction that choose to retrofit. Several members of the fire protection community were present underscoring the need for sprinkler systems simply because they save lives (citizens and firemen) and the loss of property is reduced. The most moving testimony came from family members that have experienced the death of loved ones to fires. We heard from courageous widows of firemen who lost their husbands in the line of duty. We witnessed parents of the students that were killed in the beach house fire this summer. The subcommittee process is very dependent on public testimony, but I was inspired that these bold citizens would come forth and revisit their loss for the benefit of decisions made by their government.
There are several proposals on the table with S 860. We could mandate sprinklers in all new construction from residential to commercial. We could mandate sprinkler installation in all dwellings whether new or existing. Also, there is the idea of no mandates, but provide tax incentives for the public to decide for themselves what kind of protection they want for their property.
S. 860 contains language to prevent utilities from charging exorbitant rates for tap-on fees for those installing these systems. This bill contains mandates to insurance companies to offer discounts to those that have sprinkler protection.
Present was a representative from the department of insurance telling us that some insurance companies are already offering incentives.
As you can see, this is one of those bills that will be difficult to deal with. Ya’ll know I have much more faith in market driven solutions than I do with government solutions, so let the debate begin.
I welcome your thoughts, as this is a gut wrenching issue.
Evidently, I’ve made a respectable impression over at the other brooks brothers and their sister’s blog. They seem to have liked the opposition to the “gag-bill” S. 714 last week.I’m not making this up. Here’s a quote from the post:
UPDATE: If you haven’t really kept up with this debate, Senator Kevin Bryant is like Clark Kent. The only difference besides the accent is that instead of changing from mild-mannered reporter in to Superman, he transforms from mild-mannered pharmacist in to constitutional lawyer. Seriously, if you haven’t really payed attention to this debate, Senator Bryant was a real leader in challenging the constitutionality of S.714 (see HERE and HERE). full post
s. 833 which prohibits the tethering (fastening, chaining, or restraining a dog to a stationary object) for more than 3 hours a day (or 6 hours a day on a trolley system). The bill also authorizes local governments to vary these regulations. We must be responsible stewards over God’s wonderful creation. Hunting, fishing, and taking animals for food are permissible, but mutilation and torture is unquestionably wrong. I will support just sentencing for crimes involving dog fights, hog dog rodeo, cockfighting and similar blood sports.
My daughter has a bichon frise (Sugar on the left) that is attached to a cable in our front yard a few times a day for potty breaks. Believe me Sugar gets better treatment than most children. That dog is spoiled rotten. Sugar sleeps in the bed with her! I’m not convinced that this legislation will affect many animals receiving good care or will not affect animals receiving bad care while not tethered.
I understand the intentions of the legislation: to crack down on animal cruelty, which I wholeheartedly support. But the specifics of this bill bring up many questions. How is it enforced? Do we provide law enforcement officers with measuring tapes and stop watches? Is the 3 hours a day cumulative measure? Although we currently have animal cruelty penalties in place, this bill will cause us to revisit these statutes. It may be a better approach to leave the specifics up to the law enforcement and courts, but maybe we should put these definitions in the statutes. I’d love your thoughts on this one.