Last week, the S.C. House reassembled to tackle more important issues. Nine new judges were appointed, including six new family court and three new circuit court seats. I would like to personally congratulate and welcome those new judges to the bench. After personally meeting and spending time with each, I know we have some good people putting on the black robe.
Despite the efforts of the Horry and Georgetown County Legislative Delegations, our area was left without a much-needed family court seat. Adding another Family Court judge is a top priority for me, and we’ll hopefully have another opportunity in the near future.
Medicaid expansion was another primary topic of debate. Despite the efforts of demagoguery by Democrats and hospitals, this debate is still firmly in the hands of Republicans. Don’t be fooled, the procedural grand-standing by Democrats in the House will take the debate nowhere. Conservatives like me won’t allow the expansion to happen.
Hospitals and Democrats have urged us to take the money, saying that the federal money will actually create jobs and spur the economy. To that I say: how did the stimulus work out? They say we’ll be able to negotiate a better deal by 2020, when our 100 percent match has worn out. Thomas Jefferson once said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.”
Many of the regulations in Obamacare haven’t even been written yet. Asking the state to accept this Medicaid expansion without knowing the regulations accompanying the law is tantamount to being asked to sign a contract without knowing the terms. It’s ludicrous to those of us with an innate distrust of a big central government, but makes perfect sense to modern day Democrats. But don’t worry, I don’t intend on accepting these terms.
Legislation put forth by Rep. Wendy Nanney received some attention last week. House Bill 3247 would allow counties the option of placing their public notices on the web rather than requiring them to be put in newspaper print. This legislation could save some counties as much as $1 million a year, and eventually increase transparency and viewership.
Newspapers, who will lose the ad revenue, have already started using their bully pulpits to attack those of us who are concerned about fiscal responsibilities and transparency. According to a Pew Research study done last year, only 23 percent of Americans now regularly read a newspaper, and that number continues to decline. Some counties in South Carolina have a newspaper readership as low as 8 percent. If we intend on expanding readership of public notices, we need to face the reality that news print is becoming a thing of the past for most Americans. Oh, and by the way, did I mention the millions of dollars saved by counties?
I’d like to conclude by saying that the first month of session was great. Every day at the State House is an honor and a privilege. The knowledge that I serve District 108 doesn’t weigh on me, but encourages me to wake up early and stay up late. It encourages me to learn the House and Senate rules that even veteran law makers don’t know. It encourages me to be in the meeting before the meeting. I’m humbled that you have placed your trust in me and I intend on using that trust wisely.
If I can ever be of assistance or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with the rest of the General Assembly, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (843) 385-4302.
Rep. Stephen Goldfinch lives in Murrells Inlet and serves portions of Georgetown and Charleston counties in the South Carolina General Assembly.
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.
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