Flaws in our government

I think you would agree that efficiency and accountability are qualities we all want in state government.

One of the things that being in the state House has made very clear to me is that our state government is very lacking in both. Our antiquated 1895 state constitution gives most of the power to a handful of senior legislators, which means these legislators are effectively in charge of our government. In South Carolina, the legislature, judiciary and office of governor are not co-equal branches of government.

Last week I joined with a bipartisan group of 26 freshmen legislators, House and Senate, to fix our state constitution by introducing legislation, H. 5043, to hold a referendum for state citizens to call for a constitutional convention so the constitution can be rewritten to fix the structural flaws in our government. Click here for news coverage.

The Agricultural, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee I serve on met every day last week to consider bills. One important to our area is a bill to protect red drum from overfishing and gigging. This fishery is very important to recreational and charter fishermen.

A recent SC Dept. of Natural Resources stock assessment of red drum determined the stock is overfished and that current landings are unsustainable. The committee approved a bill that reduced the daily bag limit from three per person to two per person, instituted a boat limit of six fish per day and prohibited gigging red drum. The current size slot limit of 15 to 23 inches for red drum would remain the same.

The committee approved another bill that's important to the coast, one that gives sheriffs, in addition to SCDNR, enforcement authority over the abandonment of boats in our waters, which is illegal. The abandonment of boats can present very real safety, navigation and environmental issues, in addition to the unsightliness of a boat hulk in a saltmarsh or on a river bank.

Saturday, I presented a General Assembly Resolution to the family of Midway Fire Battalion Chief Josh Carney, who passed away last year at the age of 41, recognizing and honoring his 18 years of service and leadership to the department. Josh is a real hero and my sympathies are with his wife Lillian and daughter Shayla in their terrible loss.

I'm thankful for the honor of serving District 108 in the House! Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt

P.S. I'll be filing for reelection in two weeks and the election is just around the corner. Please help me win reelection by clicking here today and donating to my reelection campaign. I really need your help. Thank you in advance!