• GUEST COLUMN: Writer has concerns about using ethanol

    The following information was gleaned from the Energy Justice Network's fact sheet on ethanol. I want the people to know. County Council will not listen (maybe). The full sheet can be found at http://www.energyjustice.net/ethanol/factsheet.html.

    For each gallon of ethanol produced, typical ethanol plants consume 3.5 to 6 gallons of water and produce 12 gallons of sewage-like effluent in the fermentation and distillation process."

  • WEB UPDATE: OnlineChester.com interactive again

    OnlineChester.com, your web location for Chester County's news and notes, is interactive again.

    Readers will be able to place comments in stories.

    The website has also returned its Yellow Ribbon List and Online Memorial features, which can be foundhere.

    Our old website had a similar feature, called SimpleBlog. The new commenting feature will appear similar, but it will have a substantial difference.

  • LEGISLATIVE HAPPENINGS: Senate tackles payday lending, DUI bills

    The Senate had a very busy week debating and passing two major pieces of legislation. We spent a great deal of time in the Senate chamber listening to our fellow colleagues debate the DUI bill and the regulation of payday lending.

    We have amended the House version of their driving-under-the-influence bill. The amended bill includes a tiered penalty system so drivers with higher alcohol levels get tougher penalties. The higher penalties would not start though until a blood alcohol concentration of .16 and above.

  • LEGISLATIVE HAPPENINGS: Sen. Short defends Montrose, says she's doing fine

    Over the weekend, one of my constituents from Fairfield County left a message in opposition to the Montrose Project.

    Chief among his complaints was that we do not have enough water to serve the current population so why would we think we could serve 8,000 more homes. Additionally, he asserted that the increased population would make us a large city instead of the beautiful rural area that we currently are.

  • GUEST COLUMN: What would Abner Doubleday say?

    Who over the past few days could have missed the TV and newspaper reports on the hearings being conducted by the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform? Chairman Henry A. Waxman's (D- Calif.) committee, rivaling anything that Oprah or Dr. Phil could imagine, vigorously examined, and cross-examined major league baseball great, Roger Clemens and associates for steroid use, as if they were newly discovered 9/11 plotters.

  • LEGISLATIVE HAPPENINGS: Senator to address cancer prevention

    I plan to emphasize cancer prevention in the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control budget as much as possible this year.

    I am a member of the Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee. We consider 15 agency budgets during our subcommittee meetings, making recommendations on each of them to the full Finance Committee.

  • LEGISLATIVE HAPPENINGS: Sponsoring bill to protect appraisers

    I have just signed on as a co-sponsor to the "Appraiser Independence Bill." The purpose of the legislation is to protect borrowers and real estate appraisers from coercion in a variety of forms, including but not limited to, blacklisting, bribery, extortion, intimidation, and non-payment. There are already state and federal statutes to punish or revoke the licenses of appraisers whenever an appraiser breaks the law. Also, the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice requires an appraiser to be an "impartial, unbiased third party" in the business.

  • Lottery tuition assistance invaluable

    Last week, hundreds of students from the S.C. Technical College System gathered at the State House to show their support for Lottery Tuition Assistance. Their message to the legislators was clear: Lottery Tuition Assistance is making a difference.

    Since the program was established in 2002, more than 175,000 students across the state have used LTA to get the skills and training they needed to get good jobs, prepare for better jobs, or to give them an affordable option when looking to transfer to a four-year institution.

  • STATE HOUSE REPORT: House sends bicycling bill to Senate

    The 117th General Assembly convened on Jan. 8. Of interest in the first week of session, was one key action. The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H.3006, legislation that revises a traffic provision intended to facilitate the overtaking of slow-moving vehicles by faster-moving vehicles and establishes a new requirement that an operator of a motor vehicle shall allow a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle when passing and overtaking a bicyclist.

  • LEGISLATIVE HAPPENINGS: Immigration, offical state language top Senate work

    Although the Senate passed a comprehensive reform immigration bill last year, two bills passed the Senate this week that relate to immigration.

    The first bill, a concurrent resolution, asks the Congress of the United States to call a convention for the sole and exclusive purpose of proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to provide that no provision of the Constitution shall restrict or limit a state from enforcing federal law with regard to immigration violations.