The House of Representatives is on furlough the first two weeks of April. The furlough coincides with the half-way point in our legislative session. The two week furlough shortens the session and saves the taxpayers approximately $100,000.
I am pleased to report SC’s unemployment rate has declined for the seventh consecutive month. Our unemployment rate fell from 9.3% to 9.1% in February. This is still a high unemployment rate, but it is good to see the rate moving in a downward direction. We will continue to strive to get more people back to work in the private sector.
Speaking of jobs, exciting news came last week from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Commission issued a license to construct a pair of new nuclear reactors at the V. C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County. The new reactors are expected to create as many as 3,000 construction jobs and over 800 permanent positions once the facility is fully operational. South Carolina is leading the way in the generation of nuclear power.
Also, groundbreaking ceremonies took place in Sumter last week for the Continental Tire plant. This is a $500 million investment in SC with the potential for 1800 jobs.
Before breaking for furlough, several important pieces of legislation passed the House:
-Drug Testing and Unemployment Benefits: H. 4043 would allow for someone collecting unemployment compensation to lose their benefits if they fail or refuse to take an employer’s drug test. Employers may report such failures to the State’s Unemployment Agency but are not required to do so.
-A Win for Farmers and Haulers: If the feds had their way, farm trucks and equipment that utilize SC roads and highways would have to be issued a DOT number along with all of its requirements. The House passed H. 4761 that provides relief to farmers and others who drive trucks weighing less than 26,000 pounds. This important piece of legislation protects small business owners from unnecessary federal government regulation.
-First in the South Primary: Bill H. 5081 ensures SC holds the First in the South Primary (Democrat or Republican Primary). There is no cost to the state, but the event brings in millions of dollars to the state as people follow the nominees for President.
Filing closed on March 30 and I am pleased to announce I have no opposition. I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to serve as your representative. Please know I covet your prayers and your support as I continue to serve the people of South Carolina.
Rep. Anne Thayer