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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

About Trump’s State Of The Union Address ...

From U.S. Representative Jeff Duncan:

President Trump’s bold State of the Union address to Congress was an excellent display of leadership and vision. It is refreshing to have a President who has made the people’s priorities his own and who resonates with the goals and aspirations of the country. We have someone in the White House who gets it - someone willing to move power from Washington back to the people where it belongs.

After eight stagnant years, President Trump has ushered in a renewal of the American spirit and the American economy. The nation has greatly benefited from historic tax cuts, a booming economy, remarkable job creation, a record-setting stock market, and low unemployment numbers just after one year in office.

He has ensured that all Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by securing our nation and strengthening our military to defend our freedoms. He began addressing our readiness and security issues on day one, and he has put the needs of our servicemen and women as a top priority. That commitment especially extends to our veterans, where President Trump has made rooting out corruption and mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Affairs a top priority. I was also excited to hear that the President has taken the closure of the terrorist detainment center at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay off the table. This was an issue I have long championed, because like the President, I believe that no state should become a terrorist dumping ground.

Simply put, he has put America first, which is something we had not seen in years. The message delivered tonight is the message of the American people. President Trump’s achievements in the first year are countless, but there is still much work to be done. I look forward to working hand in hand with the President as we continue to Make America Great Again for each and every citizen of this great country.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Is Schlolastic pushing an agenda?

Pickens County parents would like to see a policy put in place by our School District of Pickens County that would put a halt to a potentially child abusive occurrence.

There are many books k-5 books available for teachers to use in our public schools which promote transgenderism and homosexuality. Many parents do not want these type of books read aloud or made easily available to their young child to check out of the media centers or purchase at book fairs.

In several states, schools have allowed teachers to read these books aloud to young impressionable children and California has even made a law saying a parent cannot opt out of these readings.

Parents want SDPC to be pro active. At present, it is possible for a teacher to read out loud to K-5 children a book such as “A Tale of Two Mommies” by Mike Blanc or “My Princess Boy” by Cheryl Kilodavis and the parents only recourse is to complain and fill out a form AFTER the damage has already been done and their child has been exposed to these types of books that are in direct violation of their values and religious beliefs.

Parents want a policy in place that directs teachers they are not allowed to use any material that raises a reasonable concern relating to appropriateness.

We have been told by John Eby, Public Information Specialist of SDPC, that Transgender and Homosexual issues are not part of your curriculum and that SDPC does not make a practice of asking all your teachers if they are in compliance with book ban lists submitted by citizens or political advocacy groups. Parents don't want a ban of books, they just want prior notification a book with controversial subject matter will be used in the curriculum a teacher is using so they can opt out before the damage is done.

Evidently John Eby hasn't read the Health Standards. And I am wondering if the School Board members have.

After searching through the 2017 SC adopted Health Standards I have found several standards which would allow a teacher to address these controversial issues. And the SDPC should be pro-active in making sure teachers of young children know there are certain subjects in books that should be avoided.
Kindergarten Standard G-K.1.3
Name ways children grow and change, mentally, emotionally, socially, and

Kindergarten Standard G-K.1.4
Explain how families are alike and different

First Grade: Standard M-1.1.3
Identify ways that individuals are unique.

Pickens County Parents deserve a policy in place that will prevent their child being exposed to such controversial materials at a young age.

As you can see it would be easy for a teacher to read aloud one of these books that are controversial aloud to young children and claim she is addressing the Health Standards she is required to teach. And parents only recourse as of now is to complain and fill out a form AFTER their child has been exposed to questionable material. That's not acceptable.

Parents should know ahead of time that a teacher is going to be addressing these socially controversial ideologies that quite possibly go against their values and religious beliefs so they can opt out. Contact your School Board Representative and demand your right to direct your child's education.

written by Johnnelle Raines
                  Pickens, SC

School District Of Pickens County School Board Meeting Tonight ...

Tonight at 6PM ...

YOU have a chance to speak to this Board who has control over the direction of YOUR child's future...

It is imperative in the NEW YEAR that you use your RIGHT to speak to them. You have to get there by 5:50PM to sign up to speak ...they start promptly at 6PM for public forum.

Voice your concerns so it goes in their minutes!

If you can't speak ...please email them and tell them your thoughts!

You can copy this list and paste it right in your TO section of your email...

The meeting will be held in the Board Room of the Curtis A. Sidden Administrative Building on Griffin Mill Road.

1. Board Executive Session- 5:00 p.m.
A. Superintendent Evaluation
2. Board Meeting: Call to Order- 6:00 p.m.
A. Call to Order- Dr. Brian Swords
3. Presentations
A. Celebrations of Success- Mr. Marion Lawson 
B. Technology Help Desk- EHS Student Workers- Mr. Gary Culler
C. EHS Student Council- Mrs. Tracy Todd
4. Public Input
A. Public Input
5. Opening of the Public Meeting
A. Changes and Approval of the Agenda- Dr. Brian Swords 
B. Public Invocation (Board Member)
C. Pledge of Allegiance (Board Member)
D. Approval of Minutes
6. Action Items
A. Recommendation for the Naming of the Easley High School Football Stadium- Mr. Gary Culler
B. Easley Attendance Area Re-zoning- Mr. Matthew Cropper, Cropper JIS
C. McKissick Academy of Stem & Technology Magnet School Plan- Dr. Barbara Nesbitt, Char Burgner, Heather Touchberry
D. Request to Waive Inclement Weather Days #4 and #5- Dr. Danny Merck
7. Future Business
A. Superintendent 
B. Board Members
9. Executive Session
A. Motion to adjourn into executive session for the purpose of the following: Personnel Matters (Leaves/Hires/Separations), Personnel Matters (School Effectiveness), Superintendent Evaluation, Property Matters (Purchases/Sales/Leases), School Safety, and Legal Matters.
10. Executive Session Motions (if necessary)
A. Personnel Matters (Leaves/Hires/Separations)
B. Personnel Matters (School Effectiveness)
C. Superintendent Evaluation
D. Property Matters (Purchases, Sales, Leases, Disposals)
E. School Safety
F. Legal Matters
11. Adjournment
A. Adjournment
12. Board Information

Monday, January 15, 2018

If it was the grocery store, you’d complain ...

If a grocery store clerk accidentally scanned a product twice, costing you double, you would be right to politely complain. Have you ever wanted to pay double for your taxes? Well, you already do, and you should politely complain to your state legislators.

South Carolina requires counties to provide certain government functions on behalf of the state such as magistrates and circuit courts, voter registration and elections, libraries, storm water management, jails, victim services, public defenders, and many more. To offset the cost of these mandated services, state law requires the state to provide an amount equal to 4.5 percent of its previous year’s general fund budget to be distributed to the counties and municipalities in South Carolina. This is the Local Government Fund (LGF). For the last decade, our S.C. Legislature has passed a budget proviso each year to cut the amount set aside for the LGF, circumventing state law.

Because of shortfalls in LGF payments, county taxes collected to pave county owned roads or build and maintain county owned sewers have been diverted to pay for state mandated services. Taxpayers have paid both county and state taxes, but county taxes were used for state services. County taxpayers have paid twice to receive the same government service once. You have been paying double taxes.

Taxpayers should politely discuss the LGF with their state legislators. Resist any suggestion to lower the amount of the state’s obligated LGF payments. Local governments will still have the same mandated costs to deal with.

Steve Haynie,
Easley, SC

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Easley Rep. Neal Collins contradicts himself in his own ego rant on social media ...

His second paragraph is contrary to his first ...

“It doesn’t pay for college”

“Here’s how it pays for college”

COTU Meeting Agenda ...

Conservatives of the Upstate
Agenda for January 11, 2018 Meeting

1. Call to Order and Welcome
2. Prayer
3. Pledge
4. Treasury Report
5. Acceptance of person to fill Secretary position to keep record of minutes of meetings.

6. Acceptance of volunteers to serve as members of Leadership Team

****Responsibilities of Leadership team are to meet monthly and plan action items to communicate with COTU members, alternate attending county council meetings, school board meetings, and any other special called meetings, coordinate and cooperate with surrounding conservative groups when a call to action is needed regarding state and federal issues. Organize special meetings with invited speakers, future candidates and elected employees in our county, etc., send out monthly email newsletter to membership, post updates on important issues involving our mission statement on Facebook via Concerned Voters of Pickens County the Whole Truth. Actively seek increasing membership to COTU.****

7. Discussion of  frequency of  membership meetings and venues for future meetings.
8. Open floor for any further business
9.  Adjourn and Prayer

*** Next Leadership Meeting will take place Feb. 15 at 6:30 Six Mile Community Building

*** Next membership meeting with speaker will be in March time and place to be arranged email will be sent out and it will be posted on COTU web site as well as CVPCWT facebook page

Summary of 2018 Pickens County Delegation ...

Conservatives of the Upstate member Steve Haynie’s report on the Pickens Legislative Delegation Meeting follows:

Sarai Bautista talked about her DACA status. She has lived in Easley since she was 11 years old and she graduated from Easley High School in 2009. She has been in college since 2014, but having to pay out of state tuition costs has made it harder for her to attend school. She is also not eligible for SC Education Lottery scholarship funds. After attending nine classes (I think it is a nursing program.) she found out she cannot be licensed. She asked the delegation to support Neal Collins bill, H. 4435, the "South Carolina Dreamers Act of 2018." Collins took a photo of Ms. Bautista as she was speaking.

Pastor Tracy and First Lady Sunshine Gantt asked the delegation for help in securing a building to establish a homeless shelter in Pickens County, saying that Pickens County is the only county without a homeless shelter. They have spoken to the Pickens City Council, and they will be speaking to the Pickens County Council later in the month. Pastor Gantt and his wife made the case of why a homeless shelter is necessary. If they can get a building, local churches will be able to fund the rest. On January 13th at 2:30 PM they will have public meeting at their church, New Deliverance Baptist Church, 106 King Street, Easley, SC 29640.

Ashley Case, judge candidate for the 8th Circuit Family Court introduced herself to the delegation. As she talked about her qualifications she commended Guardian Ad Litem for their work that she has seen first hand in the courts.

Richard Byrd spoke as someone who spent 30 years as teacher. He said he agreed with some of the points made by Johnnelle Raines and also disagreed with some of her comments. He questioned why education is underfunded, contrary to state law. He discussed teacher pensions and teacher pay, citing his own experiences. Mr. Byrd asked why there have been no more details on the security breach that exposed personal information of SC taxpayers. He spoke about voting machines, preferring a paper trail to electronic records. There was a request to expand Medicaid in South Carolina. As he closed his well organized list of topics he said that tax cuts do not solve every problem.

Larry Oberstar approached the lectern and asked the delegation to allow him a moment to say the pledge to the South Carolina flag. His wants South Carolina to become a sanctuary state for the unborn.

Steve Haynie. Spoke about the Local Government Fund. For the past four years I made a request for full funding. Every year that gets ignored. This time I made the case using real numbers provided by the county, pointing out that $1.8 million of county taxes went to pay for functions of State government for which taxpayers already paid state taxes. From there I was able to point out county level needs and how the LGF shortage hinders the County Council’s efforts to bring jobs to Pickens County. I warned that if the LGF funding formula is lessened to make it easier for the state to meet its funding requirements, the county is still stuck with the same bill. After that I got in the question suggested by Bob McLain, “Will you consider putting a sunset on the new gas tax?” Expanding on that I made the point that if we do not see any results in repairing Upstate roads then we need to drop the new tax and try something else. The Delegation did not like that, especially Collins. I ended by requesting the Legislature pass a resolution in either the House or Senate. I want a resolution declaring Steve Haynie of Easley to be the most handsome man in South Carolina. The Delegation laughed. The timer went off. I got it all in within three minutes.

Chairman Hiott asked if anyone else wished to address the Delegation. I looked back and saw Elliott Kelley who had arrived late because of heavy traffic in Greenville. He was able to present a request on behalf of the GOP. The SC GOP passed a resolution which is the basis of bill H. 4418 which had been prefiled by Representative Alan Clemmons. The bill would allow voters the voluntary option of showing political party affiliation, but it would not be a requirement.

At 6:20 PM Chairman Hiott offered a last chance for anyone wishing to speak to anyone present. No one chose to add their comments. Chairman Hiott thanked the Sheriff’s Department for being present and the meeting was adjourned.

Notes: Per pupil funding is not fully funded according to law. The Legislature did increase the amount paid per student, but also increased the amount of money school districts must pay into the state retirement system. That resulted in a net loss for our school district, and was used as the reason for one of our last tax increase. Re Joshua Putnam was not present

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Colllins can keep dreaming ...

SC House Bill 4435 Designed to Help Dreamers

SC District 5 Republican Rep. Neal Collins from Pickens County, has introduced legislation that will help DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers.” Dreamers are defined as any illegal immigrant who claims they came into the country before the age of 16, has been here continuously for five years, and is currently under 35 years old.

Rep. Neal Collins who represents Pickens County, which is widely known as one of the most conservative counties in SC has introduced House Bill 4432 that favors Dreamers. His bill allows illegal aliens to establish domicile in SC for the purpose of receiving in-state tuition rates and fees at public institutions of higher education and for receiving tax payer supported state scholarships and grants.

As of January 4th, 2018 he had two Democrat sponsors who have signed on, no Republicans have signed on as sponsors.

Rep. Neal Collins has been very vocal on his Facebook page promoting his bill. Here are a few quotes on his Facebook page:

“It's past time for Congress to provide avenues for naturalization, especially Dreamers “

“Hopefully, soon, we in SC will say Dreamers can continue to pursue their American dream and be a good return on our investment. “

”...I've never met Sarai, but I'm going to fight for her and the other 6,400 SC Dreamers.”

Collins also posted a link to an article he wanted his constituents to read which can be found here:

Rep. Collins' proposed legislation does 3 things: (a) allows illegal students to claim in state tuition (b) gives illegal students scholarship eligibility and (c) gives illegal students the ability to file for occupational licenses.

Collins claims that SC invests $100,000 in an illegal student over a 13 year period and we need to make it easier on them to go to college and get a job. He has compassion for illegal students' stories and wants to level the playing field.

It is a fact that one of the DACA recipients he worries about, Sarai Bautista from Mexico, not only was brought here illegally but she admits in the article Collins posted (see above link) that she used a fraudulent Social Security Number to gain employment. So not only have her parents disobeyed the rule of laws in our country but she did as well.

Rep. Neal Collins profession is a lawyer, he took an oath to uphold the Constitution and our why is he going to “fight for her and the other 6,400 illegal SC Dreamers” who are here? Shouldn't he be fighting for the rule of law? Aren't we a nation of laws? The law in America is clear, if you are here illegally you are supposed to be deported to your country of origin.

Does Rep. Collins not understand he is:
(a) shorting our colleges of funds to provide quality education by allowing illegals to claim in state tuition when not only are they illegal out of state students but are actually out of country illegal students while at the same time possibly taking an acceptance spot away from a legal student into a college?
(b) forcing legal SC students to have to compete for limited scholarships?
(c) forcing legal SC students to have to compete for quality jobs after graduating from college?

Why would Rep. Collins want to put legal students at an unfair advantage in favor of illegal students?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) under President Obama was an unconstitutional executive order that President Trump is trying to correct. President Trump is a Republican. Rep. Neal Collins is a Republican. Shouldn't he be trying to help stop the “free lunch” programs (welfare, medical, and retirement programs being given to students here illegally? Why would he want to give more incentives for illegals to move to SC? Shouldn't he be putting Americans First?

On December 15, 2017 the CBO released report ( ) on the fiscal impact of Dream Act Senate Bill 1615 introduced by Republican Lindsay Graham and Democrat Dick Durbin.

The report concluded that the Dreamers would increase federal deficit by 25.9 BILLION in 10 years.

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded Dreamers on the average will cost us more than they are putting other words, the average Dreamer will be a liability on the legal American taxpayers.
In summary:
The cost of allowing illegal Dreamers would be a burden on the taxpayers.
Allowing Dreamers and their families to profit from illegal conduct is morally wrong.
Rewarding illegal entry will only attract even more illegal entry into SC.
House Bill 4435 accomplishes rewarding illegal conduct.
Kill this bill.

written by 
Johnnelle Raines
Pickens County

Supreme Court to hear cases about open primaries ...


I take exception to this wording in the two court cases ...

Where is THIS in the first amendment?

The right to associate?
“The Republican case was brought in Montana, where the GOP controls the legislature. The Democratic case is in Hawaii, where the Democratic Party controls the legislature. In both cases, the parties argue that allowing nonpartisan voters to participate in their primaries violates their First Amendment right not to associate.”
Whether in our favor or not, we have got to stop giving The Supreme Court the task of reinterpretation of the constitution. It’s interpretation should be strict. It’s addition of words must come by ”hard process”.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

COTU Member grills County Council...

Collins pre-files “Dreamers bill” ...

Representative Neal Collins thinks the majority of his constituents in Easley are on board with this legislation because he gets lots of feedback on social media - posting positive comments. You have to see the comments though - they are all from Democrats.

His Dreamers bill:

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Must be an election year ...

This is unconstitutional - it unfairly discriminates against the majority of taxpayers. It sounds more like a campaign to get votes.

If the governor is so opposed to taxes he should have worked harder against the gas tax increase.

A  release from SC Governor Henry McMaster 

Gov. Henry McMaster Announces Eliminating State Income Taxes for Retirees Who Served in Uniform 

$22 Million Annual Exemption For Veterans, Police Officers, Firefighters, and Peace Officers 
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today announced a bold tax reform proposal, included in the 2018-19 Executive Budget, that permanently and fully exempts military veterans and retired first responders, including state and federal law enforcement, firefighters, and peace officers, from paying state taxes on retirement income.
"There's no way we will ever be able to repay these men and women in uniform for the true value they add to our state and our community, but this is one example of how we can show our gratitude and appreciation for their service," said Gov. Henry McMaster. "This income tax exemption on retirement pay will reaffirm the unwavering commitment of South Carolinians to these people who have chosen to serve."
The governor’s proposal, in its first year of implementation, would result in an over $22 million tax cut for the men and women who put their lives on the line in the name of service to South Carolina and to the country.
Scored by the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA), the governor’s proposed exemption for South Carolina's 37,863 military veterans is an augmentation of Act 272 of 2016 and will result in average yearly savings of $524 for military retirees under the age of 65 and $210 for those 65 and older. In total, the exemption for military veterans will result in a tax cut of over $14 million in FY 2018-19.
The governor’s exemption for South Carolina's 20,370 law enforcement officers, firefighters, and peace officers was similarly score by the RFA and is expected to result in an $8.5 million yearly tax cut – an average of $713 yearly savings for a retiree under the age of 65 and $102 for those 65 and older.
"I want to thank the governor for this great initiative, along with all of our inter-agency partners here," said Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston, Jr., Adjutant General of South Carolina. "We command troops that do great things for the people of South Carolina and for people across this nation, so thank you for recognizing that sacrifice. The other thing, as a long-term citizen of South Carolina, that I'm excited about is the economic prospect of bringing people into South Carolina for retirement. ... Thank you, governor for your leadership and for your commitment to propelling this great state forward."

"As we gather as leaders across this state and across the country in law enforcement, one of our concerns is recruitment and retention - this initiative is going to put a great tool in our tool box to be able to recruit good people and keep them in our profession," said Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon. "We can't say how much we appreciate this initiative - it's going to go a long way in law enforcement."
"This is an important day and an important initiative," said South Carolina's State Fire Marshal, Jonathan Jones. "This is important, not just to recruit new people to our profession, but to retain those who have dedicated their lives to it so they can pass on the knowledge, skills, and abilities to the next generation of firefighters. The governor mentioned that we can never repay the value of the firefighters who often times, in the execution of their duties, endure perils and some that pay the ultimate sacrifice and put their lives on the line day in and day out for the citizens of South Carolina, and I thank him for the commitment he has shown to our community and look forward to working with him for many years."