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Newton column: New House duties as ’19 session begins

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Guest columnist Brandon Newton, a Republican, represents District 45 in the S.C. House.

 Iwould like to start off by saying thank you for your support in this year’s election. It means a lot that so many of you voted to send me back to Columbia for another term in the State House.
It also meant a lot to hear from so many of you during the campaign. Election campaigns are always challenging, and your words of support and encouragement meant a lot to me.
Off-season efforts
Even though the General Assembly adjourns after the second week of May and many legislators go home and take the rest of the year to focus on non-legislative matters, I was working in the off season on a special committee. These committees are volunteer efforts that are optional for legislators.
While only a handful of legislators are involved in these year-round committees and task forces, they are vital in helping keep the entire General Assembly on top of issues and prepare for next year’s legislative session.
Last year I was appointed by the House speaker to serve on the Charter School Review Committee. We were tasked with looking into the charter school law in South Carolina and recommending any changes that we see fit in order to provide the proper oversight or better working relationships with the schools and their authorizers.
Committee assignments
Following every general election, the House of Representatives meets for two days in December to be sworn in, elect officers and receive committee assignments. Two of my fellow local legislators were re-elected to leadership posts: Jay Lucas, who represents part of eastern Lancaster County, was re-elected speaker of the House, and Tommy Pope, from York County, was re-elected speaker pro-tempore.
Very rarely are the House’s top two leadership positions held by lawmakers from the same area of the state, much less this region, and we are very fortunate to have this high level of representation in the House. They are both very accessible leaders whom I work well with, and I look forward to them continuing to serve in these key leadership roles.
I was appointed to serve on the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee for this term. This is one of the big three committees in the House, dealing with most issues that affect both large and small businesses in South Carolina.
This assignment will help me be an even stronger voice for small and local businesses in Lancaster and York counties over the next two years in Columbia. The state’s economy has never been stronger, and the decisions we make on this committee can help keep our state’s economy growing.
I was also appointed to the House Rules Committee. This committee is a key leadership committee that sets the rules of the House, and members on this committee put in long hours to help guide how the House operates. Because of the important role this committee serves in the House, some of its members are veterans with long records of service in the House, and I’m honored to have this opportunity to work with them and help guide and lead the House.
Ready for new session
Last year was a busy one, and I enjoyed representing you. I look forward to going back to Columbia and continuing to fight for you. If you have any issues you need to discuss or questions about state government, please contact me at brandonnewton@schouse.gov.