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Caucus Report 1- A Conservative Vision for South Carolina

The following update is the official weekly report of the Republican House Caucus –

This week, the House of Representatives went back to work at the State House. The largest Republican majority ever passed our first agenda item and witnessed history as our former colleague became the first female governor of our state.

We approved a major expansion of Roll Call Voting in the General Assembly.  We believe that if legislation is important enough to be debated in our chamber, it is important enough for everyone to know how we voted. 

We approved this legislation last year, but it never passed the Senate.  During the 2010 campaign, we heard from voters in races across South Carolina that they wanted this legislation passed, so we took it up during the first week.  All House Republicans are hoping for speedy passage in the Senate.

But this was just the first item in a long and ambitious conservative agenda for 2011.  My fellow House Republicans started crafting the agenda during the summer and fall, while we were getting input from voters across the state.

Voters gave Republicans 76 seats in the House during the November election – constituting the largest majority held by conservatives since South Carolina’s voters gave control of the House to Republicans in 1994.  We intend to use that majority to push our shared conservative agenda through the House.  The voters of South Carolina spoke loudly that these conservative reforms must be enacted.

The Republican agenda items for 2011 and 2012 are:

  • Creating Jobs in a Stronger Economy: The House Republicans are committed to creating a business-friendly economic climate and help them create jobs. We will pass comprehensive tort reform, changes to our “point of sale” requirements, and incentives for South Carolinians to help fund the next great small business.
  • Improving Education: Making education funding more equitable and efficient, and ensuring a vibrant and healthy charter school system is essential for the long-term success of our education system.
  • Transparency and Government Reform: Transparency and efficiency in government is a critical conservative philosophy.  We will fight for more on-the-record voting, more transparency in how our colleges and universities spend their money, and more efficiency in how state government is structured.  We will also fight for strict spending caps for state government, a shorter legislative session, and the requirement to show photo ID when voting.
  • Limiting Government Power: Limiting government power is essential to freedom and personal liberty, and is also a core Republican philosophy. The Caucus will support the Repeal Amendment, a federal constitutional amendment that will allow two-thirds of states to vote to repeal a federal law. The Caucus will also support a revamped South Carolina Taxpayer Bill of Rights and new requirements that the General Assembly approve new regulations by the unelected officials of state agencies.
  • New Pro-Life Protections: Protecting life and protecting our most vulnerable citizens is an essential role of government. We will support the “Born-Alive” legislation, the Freedom of Conscience Act, and an opt-out for doctors who don’t want to perform abortions that may be required by Obamacare.
  • Fighting Illegal Immigration: The House Republicans will use an expanded majority to push through an Arizona-style immigration bill – building on the successes of our 2008 immigration legislation.  Early indications are this law is working, but we can do more to ensure we welcome legal immigrants and discourage illegal immigrants from settling in our state.

The following is the office update from the Republican House Caucus –

The House has passed many of these items in past years, and we will do so again this year.  It is a rare thing in politics when a party receives a true ‘mandate’ from the public, but the 2010 election, where the GOP gained three seats in the House, picked up all nine Constitutional Officers, and now control five of our six Congressional seats, was a mandate from the voters of South Carolina.