Hartsville Chamber’s Legislative Breakfast
The newly completed Butler Heritage Center Auditorium was full Friday morning as business leaders met to hear their elected officials and enjoy a hearty meal at the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast.
Senator Gerald Malloy and Speaker of the House Jay Lucas are good friends and attending law school together; Rep. Robert Williams was also invited, but had to attend a Democratic caucus retreat, and sent regrets.
Lucas addressed the audience, “I see most of you at BiLo,” said Lucas. “I might be Speaker of the House now, but I still do all the shopping.”
Lucas shared the ethics reforms as paramount in the House of Representatives this session.
“One of the things we want to do is bring public trust to the South Carolina House of Representatives,” said Lucas. He remarked on the “saga of the last speaker”, saying “You could certainly see there was some flaws in our system.”
Lucas also shared the idea of imposing term limits on the Speaker of the House. “I have seen in my 16 years in Columbia is that those positions have become so powerful that they were working to the exclusion of the entire body. We propose we term limit ourselves, and that the powers go back to the body, back to the members,” said Lucas. “What we want to do is to create excitement, let the members know their ideas are heard. We had 285 pre-filed bills, last year we had maybe about 60- I hope that shows the members are excited about what we are going to do.”
As previously reported during the Darlington County School District Teacher’s Forum, Lucas once again shared his vision that the schools in the state focus not only on preparing students for college, but prepare other students to become career ready.
Lucas went on to address the major problem that South Carolina currently faces with their antiquated roads. “Our road system is deteriorating rapidly.”
Senator Malloy shared that gone are the days when Darlington County was governed by only a handful of elected officials; there are nine legislators that represent areas of Darlington County.
“We now have nine votes for issues that come up for matters that involve us.”
The Senator had strong words for the Department of Social Services.
“It has been a fiasco,” said Malloy. “We have children’s lives at stake.”
He’s in favor of the gas tax; “Here, it is relatively low, only about 17 cents”, said Malloy. “Georgia is 28 ½ cents, North Carolina is 37…. But look at the roads. There is a noticeable difference.”
Malloy shared that he ws appreciative of the reception he had gotten in the past year from Darlington County School District Superintendent Dr. Eddie Ingram.
“I had some pretty severe issues with the school board in the past year,” said Malloy. “I just thought that their fund balance was too high. He worked with us, and Lide [DCSD Comptroller Lide Graham] and I want to thank y’all publically for that,”
Malloy continued: “….after our discussions, they took about $6.9 million and paid down on their fund balance, they refinanced the bond,” said Malloy. “The bond was at 4%, and refinanced and got it to less than 1 % and guess what? we saved Darlington County over $30 million dollars.”
Lucas and Malloy closed with questions & answers ; Tim Browne, CEO of Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, provided closing remarks, thanking each.