Wednesday, January 8, 2014
The new session of the General Assembly is not scheduled to begin until Tuesday, but the trio of lawmakers who represent Murrells Inlet and Garden City Beach have gotten a jump on the session with a smattering of bills that will be waiting for action.
Most prolific is Sen. Ray Cleary, with seven bills he intends the lawmakers to take up on coastal matters, including one that will implement the suggestions of a blue ribbon panel.
Reps. Stephen Goldfinch and Nelson Hardwick each pre-filed one piece of proposed legislation.
Hardwick’s bill is a companion piece to a proposal Cleary filed last year to allow the Murrells Inlet-Garden City Beach Fire District to increase the millage rate it charges. The rate is capped at 10 mills, but the district, which has grown considerably, wants to implement a 2-mill increase to build a fourth fire station.
Cleary’s bill, filed last year, did not make it out of committee.
The senator said that he is optimistic that the fire district bill, which is not included in the seven proposals he offered this year, will be approved.
Goldfinch’s legislation would require a drug test and fingerprints for people who are receiving training from SC Works.
“The idea is that we don’t want to spend money on training someone for a job for which he would not be able to qualify,” said Goldfinch. “We are not going to kick someone out of the program, but we don’t want to spend money if the candidate can’t be hired because a background check turns up something that would disqualify the candidate from the type of job he is seeking.”
Goldfinch, of Murrells Inlet, said he expects the bill to pass.
“It makes government more efficient. I don’t think anyone on either side of the aisle wants us to spend money unnecessarily.”
On the provider side of the program, Goldfinch said he plans to introduce a bill that would require that businesses on the provider list for SC Do and SC Works that cannot provide employment for SC workers be removed from that list.
“There was a solar training program that was getting $4,000 a person in training funds, but there were no solar jobs in the state that used that training,” Goldfinch said.
Cleary said he expects some discussion over a bill that deals with the coastline, especially since one portion of the bill would limit the ability to build along the coastline beyond the limits set by July 1.
The proposal also would establish limits on the construction of private groins or jetties and leave the determination of requests and violations with the Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Coastal Division, rather than the municipalities or counties.
“The rules on coastal areas haven’t been reviewed in 30 years,” Cleary said.
“This bill would implement the findings of the committee and protect our coast.”
Other proposed legislation the senator introduced deal with unfilled gubernatorial appointments, handling the remains of deceased veterans and an increase in the gas tax.