Friday, September 26, 2014

On the road...Week two

This week, the Association’s road warriors made stops in Columbia, Summerville and Greenville for the second week of Regional Advocacy Meetings. Again, we had record-breaking participation from city officials and legislators with more than 120 officials from 42 cities and towns and 15 legislators participating.

Transportation, blight, the Freedom of Information Act, Victims’ Assistance Funds, Local Government Fund and funding sources for municipal services continue to be consistent themes from local officials and legislators.

At the meeting in Columbia, Representatives Beth Bernstein, Joe McEachern and Chip Huggins talked to local officials about impending leadership changes in the House, exploring a gas tax increase and ethics reform. Rep. McEachern reiterated what other legislators have told the local officials: “Your voice makes a difference to us at the State House…use it.”

In Summerville, Representatives Jenny Horne and Joe Danning and Senator Sean Bennett joined more than 35 local officials to discuss local government issues. In the last legislative session, Rep. Horne, as chair of the House subcommittee working on the Dilapidated Buildings Act, played an instrumental role in moving the bill forward. She praised Summerville Mayor Bill Collins’ role in maintaining contact with her and illustrating the bill’s local importance.

The Greenville meeting was the largest turnout of local officials and legislators to date! In a jammed room in the cool “Innovate” building on the Reedy River, the discussion focused on many of the same issues of transportation, funding and blight. Representatives David Hiott, Mike Burns, Mike Forrester, Garry Smith and Chandra Dillard were joined by Representatives-elect Gary Clary and Neal Collins and Senators Larry Martin and Ross Turner.

Senator Martin chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee that will hear any FOIA legislation introduced next year, and he discussed some possible solutions to the agenda posting issue. Tiger Wells, the Association’s government affairs liaison, also reminded officials about the importance of completing the quick survey sent to all clerks last week polling cities about their practices and rules regarding changing an agenda after it’s been posted. (Complete the survey here)

Next week we’re on to Port Royal, Sumter and Orangeburg. It’s not too late to let your voice be heard! Register here.

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