Freshman rep reflects on 2015

By D. C. Moody -

PICKENS COUNTY — With 2015 drawing rapidly to a close, Rep. Neal Collins provided his feedback on what was “an up and down session” in Columbia.

When it came to what Collins viewed as a success for the state, he cited the strengthening of the state’s Criminal Domestic Violence (CDV) laws, the budget process, and one non-legislative point, the reaction of the state in response to the tragic shooting in Charleston.

“I think the number one success for this session was the process of strengthening the state’s CDV laws without question. As a state we have been behind the rest of the country and this was a step in a positive direction,” Collins said. “South Carolina’s track record on this issue over the years has been lacking and it is a big positive this initiative began in Pickens County.”

The legislation originating as Senate Bill 3 was introduced and sponsored by Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens County.

The success of the state Legislature to overcome hurdles with the state budget was next on Collins’ list of 2015 accomplishments out of Columbia.

“The budget process this session was extremely long and there was a lot of debate on how the money should be allocated,” the freshman representative said. “In the end though, we were able to get through the long and complicated process and craft a balanced budget for the upcoming year.”

Finally, Collins went outside the legislative session to highlight not only the state government’s response but the response of the state’s residents following the mass shooting at Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston.

“This was a tragedy for everyone in South Carolina, and I have to point out that the people of South Carolina showed what we are made of,” Collins said. “Including law enforcement, local and state government, and residents the outpouring of support and the way everyone came together really shows the quality of the people of South Carolina.”

Collins elaborated on the struggles and challenges the state Legislature was unable to make progress on during the previous session.

“Obviously one of the items that was a priority that did not get the results needed were the state’s roads and how to best address the issue. Ethics reform was also a priority and the House passed 14 or 15 bills and sent them to the Senate but that’s as far as it went,” Collins said. “Another area I feel we could have made more progress on was an additional seat for the school board. These were not failures because progress was made in the House, we are just waiting on the Senate.”

By D. C. Moody

Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.

Reach D. C. Moody at 864-855-0355.

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