Overview: We are now over a month into the legislative year. I am continuously humbled and honored by this opportunity to serve you in Columbia. In the next few weeks, I expect to see developments with the education reform bill, a plan for reforming the tax system and an outline for next year’s budget. I am excited and prepared to keep working hard every day for you and the people of this State. Santee Cooper Study Committee: The legislative committee studying whether to sell Santee Cooper received a detailed report this week summarizing the top four offers to buy the state-owned utility. Three of the offers would ensure the 2 million customers who get power from Santee Cooper would pay no more for the failed nuclear plant. Currently, Santee Cooper customers are on the hook for roughly $6,200 more per household in higher rates over the next four decades to pay off the power plant debt. Customers of the twenty electric co-ops are obligated to pay about $4,200 per household because they get their power from Santee Cooper. While this mostly affects customers outside of the District this is an example of how the legislature must be diligent to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer money in the future, a duty I will not take lightly. Tax Reform: The Tax Reform Committee, a bipartisan committee appointed by the speaker last year, met this week to discuss a reform bill. The committee is preparing to report a bold plan that will reduce income taxes and broaden the base of sales taxes resulting in much fairer tax rates across the board for all South Carolinians. The bill will also address business license fees and reduce the corporate tax rate. We are hoping the bill will be on the floor before budget week. Education Meeting: The K-12 subcommittee is holding another meeting next week to get public input on H. 3759, the education reform bill. The meeting will be on Tuesday, February 12th at 4:45 pm in room 110 in the Blatt Building. If you wish to testify, please sign the “Speaker” sheet provided at the meeting. Please limit testimony to no more than five minutes. If you cannot attend the meeting, please take a second to fill out this survey and we’ll convey the issues to the committee: https://goo.gl/forms/Oi9dNj7HdKaQQkai1 Also, House Bill 3355 was voted out of the Education and Public Works Committee this past week. Many people in the District have complained about distracted driving while texting. This bill would raise the fine to $200 dollars if any device is used with your hands while driving mirroring the hands-free legislation that Georgia has implemented. Let me know your thoughts on the bill: www.scstatehouse.gov/sess123_2019-2020/bills/3355.htm Helpful Links: If you haven’t downloaded the SC Legislature App yet download it now to track bills you are interested in: https://t.co/jqocTeVGkW Keep up with roads, education and other projects here: www.schousegop.org/more Campaign Promise: In keeping with a campaign promise, I donated my 2019 legislature salary to the Veteran’s organization, Upstate Warrior Solution. The brave men and women who fight for our freedoms deserve our attention and support. This small gesture helps raise awareness of groups like Upstate Warrior Solution who are helping those that have done so much for this great nation. Thanks to WYFF 4 for the great coverage in highlighting Upstate Warrior Solution.