Spartanburg jail, community college partner to offer job training to inmates

Felicia Kitzmiller has this great local story at SHJ:

Operation Education is about to commence at Spartanburg County Jail.

Several months ago, Spartanburg County Council Chairman Jeff Horton asked Maj. Neal Urch, jail director, and Henry Giles, president of Spartanburg Community College, if something could be done to keep people from returning to the jail. Horton became interested in doing something after years of seeing the same faces in mugshots.

“I think the general theme is they are just trapped in the way they are in now, and they don’t know another way,” Horton said.

Surveys of the jail found the average inmate had a 10th grade education. The vast majority of those who did not have a high school diploma or GED said they wanted one, Urch said. Recent changes to the GED make offering courses in the jail cumbersome because of time and expense. But by combining the Work Keys program currently at the jail with some skills training, Urch, Giles and Horton began to believe the education gap could be overcome.

Urch and Giles assembled a team and the conversations that ensued set the stage for a program some leaders believe will become a model for criminal justice reform.

“Detention in itself does not modify behavior,” Giles said. “To give someone job training and skills, they can make an impact on their own lives.”

Beginning April 13, the community college will offer job training and program certificates at the county jail. Four programs – office assistant, bakery/floral/deli grocer, landscaper and manufacturing assistant – have been custom designed to be taught at the jail, said Nannette Bongiovi, director of corporate and community education for the college. Each program incorporates skills training – cake decorating, small engine repair, and computer programs – and coaches less tangible skills like problem solving, making decisions under stress and communication. There is also a work readiness component to each class that covers personal grooming, crafting a resume and preparing for an interview.

There is more of this story at the link above, however SHJ is a “paywall” site. You may not be able to access it.

March 26, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Senate Finance Committee passed a 60% gas tax hike

From SC-AFP FB Page:

The Senate Finance Committee passed a 60% gas tax hike that includes an automatic tax hike that will increase when gas prices rise. Contact them today and tell them to change their vote on the Senate Floor. The following Senators on the committee voted for a gas tax hike:

Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), Sen. Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington), Sen. John Matthews (D-Orangeburg), Sen. William O’Dell (R-Anderson), Sen. Glen Reese (D-Spartanburg), Sen. Robert W. Hayes (R-York), Sen. Darrell Jackson (D-Richland), Sen. Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee), Sen. Clementa Pickney (D-Jasper), Sen. Ronnie Cromer (R-Newberry), Sen. Raymond Cleary (R-Georgetown), Sen. Joel Lourie (D-Richland), Sen. Kent Williams (D-Marion), Sen. Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley), Sen. Floyd Nicholson (D-Greenwood) and Sen. Vince Sheheen (D-Kershaw)

March 25, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Sovereign Anti-discrimination Act

From Alan Clemmons FB page:

ATTENTION ISRAEL SUPPORTERS: Today, by a vote of 85 to 0, the Sovereign Anti-discrimination Act passed the South Carolina House of Representatives. This bill prohibits discriminatory boycotts against any favored US trading partners, like Israel, by any company that seeks to do business with South Carolina. Having passed the House the bill now proceeds to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.

March 25, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Poor pets, floating down a river. . .

Back in the day when I was as focused on providing low cost/high quality spay/neuter surgeries as I was working toward having candidates in office who would follow the platform and the Constitution I heard this story. And it encapsulated the essence of why we do what we do, whether we volunteer for animals or politics.

A man stood on the bank of a river where dead cats and dogs were floating by. People were bemoaning the loss, wringing their hands, and crying “Why!!!??? Why does this happen? Who could allow such a thing?!!” And they did their best to pull the animals from the water and do “whatever they could” after the fact to give those victims some respect and final care.

The man watched the people, very caring people, people who would not themselves cause harm to a pet, try to resolve their feelings by taking some action. They were well intended, but their actions did nothing to stop the steam from flowing by with more pets.

The man turned and walked back up the river, determined to himself that at the point when all was lost for the pets was not the best place for his actions. He walked upstream and said to himself “As sad as I am, nothing I can do at that point in the river will help a single pet. I’m going upstream, to the point before the pets were harmed and figure out a way to prevent it.”

In the animal welfare realm, it was clear that providing low cost/high quality spay/neuter surgeries would prevent dogs and cats from being born, only to end up unwanted in shelters, and on euthanasia lists. PREVENTION. That was the path to a solution.

That is what I see happening with all the well-intentioned, hand wringing going on in South Carolina among the folks who want to take our guns without due process and now demand your child’s medical records be released without your permission. An after the fact non-remedy to some pretty serious problems we have in SC. A non-remedy that will set up some bad situations for families who may get caught up in a legal situation through a false charge and have their privacy destroyed, or which may leave women and children unguarded, without their 2nd amendment right to own guns because of an overzealous official.

And on top of this danger we have those, some of whom are making decisions for us, who say things like “Unless you or your family has been in this situation, you do not get to comment.” or “If you had a family member in this situation, you’d think differently.” I say to them “You don’t know what any of us have experienced. You don’t know whether I have the ‘right’ in your estimation to comment. You have NO knowledge of my personal situations or of people who are disagreeing.”

These bills are bad because of the consequences that could be coming after passage, no matter what has happened in our families.

March 25, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Pickens County School Board prayer issue

Remember the story of the Pickens County School Board prayer issue? A vote was taken this week, here is the synopsis from The Liberty Monitor FB page:

At tonight’s School District of Pickens County school board meeting for March 2015 …

– Board prayer policy does NOT pass despite 14 of 17 speakers asking for a policy to be put in place. Current policy states that a board member give a nonsectarian prayer – meaning the board prayer cannot include “In Jesus Name …”

Clemson trustee Dr. Herbert Cooper voted against without comment.

Dr. Brian Swords lead opposition stating that the new policy – even though with good intentions and constitutional – would bring too much scrutiny of the school district.

Judy Edwards … Stated it would be irresponsible of the board to pass and subject children to harassment.

Trustee Phillip Bowers asked Dr. Swords @So are you saying that teachers don’t have 1st amendment rights?”

Trustee Dr. Wilson … “We’re not asking teachers to be religious leaders, we’re asking them to be role models.”

Dr. Wilson said “even if I were not Christian, but I am, the community overwhelmingly wants it.”

He said, “I think if I were to go home and tell my son why the prayer issue didn’t pass, I’d have to tell him that some of the board didn’t have the courage to stand up and vote constitutionally. I think that would be a loss. I think that wouldn’t be a good example.”

March 25, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Cruz gives a seminar in 4 minutes on how to handle media

This is how you handle the hostile left wing media. Say what YOU want to say, you don’t have to be drawn in to answering their questions. Speak softly … that is a HUGE tactic, as it compels people to listen. And you’ll note that each of the three MSM folks each nod their head at different times as Cruz speaks. That is not a small thing. He knows how to do this.

March 24, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

S250 Update ( Parental Violation bill)

At the bottom is the list of Senators on the Judiciary committee. This is a time for you to make calls, Parents!

S250 Update ( Parental Violation bill) since 3pm meeting…

This was carried over till the next full judiciary committee meeting. It was delayed. We need everyone to continue to email the full Senate Judiciary and tell them all our opposition to the bill and why. The next full Judiciary meeting will probably be next week. Remember this when emailing/talking to them:

Senate Bill 250 will allow officials to gain access to your child’s medical records and any other records if abuse or neglect is suspected. Since abuse is not clearly defined, the criteria is open-ended. With the passage of this bill, a family physician would be forced to open a child’s/children’s records without a parent’s consent. Further, this bill eliminates the safeguard of the judicial system as a judge’s order would no longer be required to subpoena records. All records, irrelevant to the supposed abuse and neglect would be accessed. Due to the invasion of a family’s privacy, this gross violation of parental rights, and the absence of a judicial check, WE SHOULD OPPOSE THIS BILL.


Here are the numbers for the Senate Judiciary Committee Members:
Senate Judiciary Committee
Larry Martin, Chair 803.212.6610
Gerald Malloy 803.212.6172
Paul Thurmond 803.212.6172
Shane Massey 803.212.6024
Chauncey Gregory 803.212.6024
Creighton Coleman 803.212.6132
Tom McElveen 803.212.6132
Shane Martin 803.212.6100
Tom Corbin 803.212.6100
John Scott 803.212.6124
Tom Young 803.212.6124
Kevin Johnson 803.212.6048
Katrina Shealy 803.212.6108
Karl Allen 803.212.6040
Sean Bennett 803.212.6116
Greg Hembree 803.212.6016
Ross Turner 803.212.6148
Marlon Kimpson 803.212.6056
Ronnie Saab 803.212.6032
Bradley Hutto 803.212.6140
Luke Rankin 803.212.6410
Chip Campsen 803.212.6340
Lee Bright 803.212.6008

March 24, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  6 Comments

Criminal Justice Reform

Councilman Justin Bradley has some things to say on this topic. CLICK HERE to subscribe to his email list!

Since my last update, my wife and I welcomed our second child and first son, Reagan, into our family on February 6th. He shares a birthday with a great American, President Ronald Reagan. We appreciate your prayers and support over the last 6 weeks and ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers.

I continue to post votes from the council meetings directly on my Facebook page. Votes from March will be posted later today. I promised to do this during the campaign for two very simple reasons: 1. As a member of council, you do not have a single place to go to view my voting record; and 2. I believe this vote belongs to the people of District 2, not me. You should never not know how I voted on an issue. I have received numerous positive comments in support of continuing to post these votes, but please let me know if there are any steps I can take to improve this for you.

During our March council meeting last week, we tackled a number of important issues, including a discussion on the Tourism Action Plan and its economic impact. One of the items that I found encouraging was a short discussion sparked by a grant application from the Detention Center related to criminal justice reform. The grant would not require matching funds and is from a non-profit group that is seeking to work with local governments to experiment with ideas to reform the criminal justice system. If granted, it would provide $150,000 initially to create criminal justice reform proposals and a second round grant would provide $2 million annually to implement those proposals.

Criminal Justice Reform is shaping up to be one of the few large bipartisan issues, with Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and others teaming up at the federal level to propose changes. Councilman Michael Brown, a Democrat, and Councilman Roger Nutt, a Republican, both members of the Public Safety committee spoke in favor of these types of reforms. As a conservative, I believe criminal justice should follow a few main principles: 1. fighting and reducing instances of crime; 2. supporting and advocating for victims; and 3. protecting our taxpayer resources. I think Americans are realizing that our criminal justice system in its current form is not always adequately addressing these goals. We should support reforms starting at the local level, using the laboratories of democracy in our system, to embrace reforms that improve the system. I look forward to working with my other council members to strengthen reforms that are already being implemented and finding new solutions. Public Safety is a critical government function, so we should make sure the resources we spend on it are effectively helping our law enforcement to keep us safe and achieving society’s goals of reducing crime and supporting victims.

Criminal justice reform is in line with my desire to improve our county government and implement common sense reforms to better serve our residents. If you have any ideas on criminal justice or other areas of government, please contact send them to me at with the subject line: Ideas.

God bless,

Justin T. Bradley
District 2 Representative, Spartanburg County Council

March 23, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Representative Jonathon Hill Townhall Meeting!

You are invited to join Representative Jonathon Hill for a Townhall Meeting this week at a time and location convenient for you.

March 28 at 10am Double Springs Fire Department 2601 Old Dobbins Bridge Road, Townville, SC 29689

March 30 at 7pm Centerville Fire Department 196 Sullivan Road, Anderson, SC 29625

March 31 at 7pm Sandy Springs Fire Department 740 Blackman Rd, Pendleton, SC 29670

For more information, please visit:

Or call Jonathon Hill directly at 864-245-5885

March 23, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Mick gives us the inside scoop on defense spending/budget

From Mick Mulvaney’s FB page … he’s one of the BEST communicators on Facebook, so if you have a FB account be sure to friend him.


Next week the House GOP will offer a budget. That Budget will — technically — follow the law and fulfill the promise that Congress made a few years back during the 2011 debt ceiling debate. Specifically: that we would only spend $523 billion on defense and $492 billion on other spending (so-called non-defense discretionary spending, which includes everything from welfare to agriculture to education…everything except Defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.) You may have heard this law referred to as the Budget Control Act, or the Sequester.

That is the law, by the way. We are legally obligated to not spend more than that.

And the proposed House budget doesn’t break the law. Technically.

But the Budget will spend about $96 BILLION more on defense than the law allows. That is because the Overseas Contingency Operations account — the so-called “War Budget” that you have seen me write about here fairly regularly — is off-budget. That is correct. It “doesn’t count,” and, more technically, is NOT covered by the law I mentioned above. That means that Congress, if it wants, can spend literally as much as it wants within the War Budget for anything the Pentagon wishes, and still not break the law (and, more cynically perhaps, go home and tell people they didn’t break the law).

Oh, — and you may have guessed this part already — the $94 billion is not “paid for” with reductions anywhere else. It is just added to the deficit.

The folks who want to do this are well-intentioned. They believe that the defense of the nation is the primary function of government. I happen to agree with that. They believe that the military is worse off than it was just a few years ago because of budget cuts. I agree with that up to a point: the Sequester has impacted our military; anyone who serves will tell you that, and I have seen the impact at Shaw AFB and Fort Jackson. That said, there is more than just the Sequester in play when it comes to dealing with defense: Remember, the Pentagon was supposed to be auditable by 1996, and since that time the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money given to the Pentagon is unable to be accounted for. Even today, the Pentagon remains unauditable.

But where I suppose I disagree with those folks the most strenuously is how they are proposing to pay for this $96 billion: by borrowing it. Simply put, if people think that the national defense is that desperately in need of additional money, I think they should come out and support either 1) spending reductions elsewhere or 2) a tax increase to pay for it (which I would not support). Put another way, if we really are that desperate for money to defend the nation, then we should pay for it. Not our kids.

But I suppose I could be way off base on this. A lot of good Republicans will be supporting this budget. I’d be curious to know what the folks back home think.

March 20, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  2 Comments