This 6th week of the legislative session was marked with sorrow as we lost a friend and colleague, Representative Joseph H. “Joe” Neal of Hopkins, South Carolina. An ordained minister, Reverend Neal was first elected in 1992 and fondly remembered as a “gentle giant” and “friend to all.” His hallmark was a voice of distinction and his passion for the people of our state will remain etched in the hearts of those who knew him and enshrined in the legislative proposals he championed. Please join me in praying for the family, parishioners, and friends of Representative Neal who mourn his death and celebrate his legacy.
The week was spent remembering our friend and colleague. As a result, our work on the House floor was light, but we did continue committee work throughout the week. Of note was the Real ID legislation. A number of years ago the federal government imposed requirements on the issuance of recognized government identification cards such as a driver’s license or stand-alone identification card. It was another federal mandate on states and we fought full compliance to every extent possible on principle.
For years our state, along with many others, applied for and were granted waivers for compliance. However, the time has come where the federal government has said it may no longer grant these special request waivers. Through research and committee testimony, we have determined compliance to carry a price tag of approximately $20 million. While we have again requested another waiver, we are simultaneously preparing to reach full compliance through legislative initiatives. That bill moved out of committee this week and will now be debated on the House floor. This simultaneous approach will ensure no disruption in the lives of the citizens of our state no matter the outcome.
Finally, my colleagues and I were honored to have President Trump back in the Palmetto State Friday morning to celebrate the rollout of Boeing’s new 787-10 Dreamliner. For decades, President Trump has advocated for common-sense policies to get government out of the way of job creators like Boeing. South Carolina House Republicans share President Trump’s zeal for private enterprise and we know with world-class employers like Boeing and others, the future of our state remains bright.
In closing, for those who wish to attend, a public viewing will begin at 11:30 AM Monday, with funeral to follow at 1:00 PM in the same location at:
First Nazareth Baptist Church
2351 Gervais Street
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me at Tommy@tommystringer.com.