Flounder hearings, gas tax and doing homework

I wanted you to know that I have two bills, both flounder related, up for hearings this week in the Wildlife Subcommittee.

The first, H. 3665, would increase the flounder minimum size limit from 14” to 15” total length to increase the sustainability of the stock, which has been declining. Click here for media coverage of the bill.

The second, H. 3723, which I introduced last week, would make permanent the 2010 ban on lights powered by engine-powered generators while gigging or fishing for flounder in the waters from Murrells Inlet through Pawleys Inlet. This is in response to the Town of Pawleys Island and others raising safety and noise concerns.

If you would like to provide comments on these bills to the subcommittee, please email them to me ([email protected]) no later than this Tuesday, February 14th. You’re also welcome to testify before the subcommittee, which will meet on Wednesday, February 15th at 2:00 p.m. or one hour upon adjournment, whichever comes first, in Room 410 of the Blatt Building in the State House complex.

Last week in the House was another busy one, but House Speaker Jay Lucas is telling us that it will be even more intense as bills to increase the gas tax, fix the state pension system and allow the Governor to appoint the state Superintendent of Education move to the House floor for debate this week.

The spending part of the gas tax bill continues to cause me concern, particularly as it relates to District 108. So far the details are skimpy.

Will Georgetown and Charleston counties become substantially donor counties, where significant portions of any new gas taxes and fees collected in the counties are sent to Columbia and spent elsewhere? I can’t support that. The district has very important road needs that need to be met.

I’ve found that the best way to do homework on bills under consideration is to attend the subcommittee meetings, even if I’m not on the subcommittee. I’ve been spending time attending the Natural Resources, Judicial, DHEC Oversight, and Ways and Means subcommittees to find out details about bills and hear the public testimony. It’s a great learning experience that helps when it comes time to cast votes on legislation.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt