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Sen. Johnson's legislative update

Posted
The 121st session of the S.C. Senate assembled at noon Jan. 13. The Honorable Sen. Ronnie Sabb of District 32 was welcomed into the Senate, and on motion of Sen. Kevin Bryant, with unanimous consent in accordance with the provisions of Rule 35, the privilege of the floor was also extended to his family. Sen. Hugh Leatherman was elected President Pro Tempore of the state Senate by acclamation. Other elections included Jeffrey Stephen Gossett as clerk of the Senate; John Othniel Wienges as reading clerk; the Rev. Dr. James I. St. John as chaplain; and James R. Melton as sergeant-at-arms. All of these were by acclamation. All pre-filed bills were introduced and referred to the appropriate committees for consideration. The second inauguration of Gov. Nikki Haley, the 117th governor of South Carolina, and the inauguration of Lt. Gov. Henry D. McMaster, along with other constitutional officers, took place Jan. 14. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Jan. 21 to move the Ethics Bill and the Criminal Domestic Violence Bill to the full Senate. Later that evening, the Senate and House members assembled for the sole purpose of attending the State of the State address of Gov. Haley. I received many calls and emails this month in reference to my general bill that relates to the protection of game by adding a new section to provide that it shall be unlawful for a person on a dog hunt to permit his dog to enter upon the land of another, over which the person does not have hunting rides. It also provides for the definition of “on a dog hunt,” “take” and to assess a civil fine not to exceed $500 for violations thereof.

Over the past two years, I have met with dog hunters, still hunters and private property owners. My hope was that the three groups would get together and work things out. My bill aims to pose a civil fine for those who hunt or run dogs on private property without permission from the property owner. My objective in introducing this bill is to hopefully provide some relief to the many private property owners who have complained to me for two years about the problems that they are having with the dogs and the hunters that run across their lands, which prevents them from fully enjoying their properties. I have since met with the director and other top officials at the state Department of Natural Resources, and we have agreed to attempt to find a resolution that does not require legislation. Hopefully, the private property owners, the still hunters and the deer-doggers will find common ground as it relates to this issue. If so, my bill will be a moot point. As always, if you have concerns or needs please contact my administrative assistant. Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Sen. Kevin L. Johnson represents Senate District No. 26, which covers all of Clarendon and parts of Darlington, Florence and Sumter counties. He lives in Manning with his wife, Gloria. The couple has three grown children, Kelvin, Kyndra and Kim. A former member of the state House of Representatives, he has also served on Manning City Council and Clarendon School District 2’s Board of Trustees, and served as mayor of Manning for 11 years. Retired from the state Department of Revenue, he is now a full-time public servant in the Senate.

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