South Carolina is one of the most beautiful places in the United States to call home. However, our local weather can be extreme - high temps and thick humidity in the summer and chilly winter weather during cold months. As a local HVAC company in Walterboro, SC, we know how crucial it is to have a quality HVAC system in your home and experienced technicians to keep it working correctly.
With more than 35 years of serving the Lowcountry, we are proud to be an active part of our local community. As your neighbors, we are here for all of your HVAC needs, whether you need a new AC unit installed this summer or a heat pump replacement this winter. With a reliable team of NATE-certified technicians and decades of experience in our industry, no HVAC project is too big or small for us to handle.
We offer highly competitive pricing and convenient financing options for all of our clients. At the end of the day, our goal is to make it easy and affordable to live comfortably in your home all year long. We are committed to hard work, honesty, and integrity with every service we offer. If you aren't 100% satisfied with our work, we'll do our part to make it right.
Here are just a few of the reasons why homeowners and business owners in South Carolina trust Action Heating & Air Conditioning:
If you need a trusted AC repair company in Walterboro, know that our team is geared up and ready to help you today. While you browse our website, have a look at just a few of our specialties here at Action Heating & Air Conditioning:
Summers in the Lowcountry are hot, humid, and sticky. After a long day at the beach or downtown with your friends, nothing feels better than kicking back on the sofa while your air conditioning cools you off. On the other hand, nothing feels worse than walking into your home and feeling warm, stale air hit your face. Those who know, know - having your AC go out during a South Carolina summer is no joke. With time, a relatively minor inconvenience can turn into a real health problem.
In situations like these, something has probably gone wrong with your HVAC system. If your AC has stopped working in the middle of summer, it's time to call Action Heating & Air Conditioning right away. Our team of certified HVAC professionals has years of experience repairing and servicing AC equipment. It doesn't matter how old your unit is or what brand you bought - we have the skills to get your home comfort system up and running in no time.
Over time, condensation builds up in your AC equipment because of its cooling process. This accumulated byproduct must be drained regularly, or the increased amounts of moisture can damage your air conditioner's components.
Refrigerant is the substance responsible for keeping your home nice and cool in the summer. When refrigerant levels drop due to a leak, it will affect your AC equipment's ability to cool your home. If your HVAC unit isn't blowing cold air, this could be a reason why.
This is a common AC issue in South Carolina and the U.S. in general. Sometimes this problem is fixed by switching your thermostat to "auto." If that doesn't work, you may have a broken thermostat or a wiring issue that needs to be addressed quickly.
It's normal for your heater to produce a slight burning smell if it hasn't been used in a while. However, if you are experiencing a persistent burning smell during the summer months when your air conditioning is on, it could be a serious problem. Turn off your HVAC system immediately and call our office as soon as possible so that we may send out a technician to diagnose your problem.
This fan plays an important role in your AC unit's heat transfer process. When your air conditioning fan breaks, your AC equipment won't be able to cool your home off in the summer when it's needed the most.
One of our goals as a company is to provide HVAC repair services at fair and competitive prices. In addition, we want you to feel confident about investing in high-quality heating and cooling systems without having to worry a lot about the costs. We make sure to provide honest and accurate quotes and we offer a variety of financing options. We want you to get the best bang for your buck, so here are some special offers.See Our Offer
If you are experiencing any of the problems above, be sure to hire a professional contractor to fix your issues. For your safety, don't ever try to make HVAC repairs on your own unless you are trained. When the time come to have your air conditioning system repaired, our team of licensed AC technicians will handle all of the hard work on your behalf. That way, you can stay safe and have peace of mind knowing you're in good hands.
Your HVAC system works hard all year long. If you have gone years without much maintenance or AC repair, you probably bought a great HVAC unit. However, with constant use and even normal wear and tear, even the highest-quality HVAC systems are prone to malfunctions. Eventually, it will need to be replaced.
If you need an energy-efficient, reliable cooling system for your home or business, you have come to the right place. We have decades of experience installing new AC systems for our clients and can handle any installation project you have. As a Carrier® Factory Authorized Dealer, we have the most top-rated AC systems available in South Carolina.
At Action Heating & Air Conditioning, we know that buying a new air conditioner and installing it can be a huge source of stress. But when you work with us, it doesn't have to be that way. We have made it our mission to make the AC installation process easy and efficient for our customers. That way, they can focus more on living life and enjoying their home while we work hard on their AC install in Walterboro.
Whether you plan to replace a faulty air conditioning system or need a Carrier unit for your new construction home, we have got you covered. We will work with you directly to find the best fit for your home and budget. We are also happy to answer all of your AC installation questions prior to and during your initial service appointment.
Trying to figure out whether your air conditioner needs to be repaired or replaced can be a tricky decision to make. Most people have a hard time letting things go, and that includes AC units. It can be hard to know when to let go of the old and welcome in the new. To help save you time and make your decision a little easier, keep the following signs in mind. If you find yourself saying, "that sounds like my AC unit," it might be time for a new air conditioning installation.
Your air conditioning system works very hard every day, all year long to keep your home comfy and cool. Machines that work hard year-round are going to require maintenance and ongoing services to stay operational.
As a family-owned and operated HVAC company in Walterboro, SC, we know better than anyone how expensive it can be to maintain an AC unit. We know that money doesn't grow on trees. We also understand that finding last-minute resources to fix an air conditioning system can be challenging. That is why we offer extended warranties for your new or existing AC equipment. With an extended warranty from Action Heating & Air Conditioning, you benefit from repairs, replacement, and additional services covered under warranty. That way, you can enjoy your HVAC products as long as possible.
VISTA volunteerSouthernCarolina AllianceThe hum of an engine overhead causes us to look up. It’s more than just a motor powering a small airplane over treetops. It’s an economic engine that is powering the Southern Carolina region, including the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro.South Carolina has 57 airports, six of which are commercial service airports while the rest are considered “general aviation” airports. Those 57 airports generate $16.3 billion annually in economic activity in the ...
The hum of an engine overhead causes us to look up. It’s more than just a motor powering a small airplane over treetops. It’s an economic engine that is powering the Southern Carolina region, including the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro.
South Carolina has 57 airports, six of which are commercial service airports while the rest are considered “general aviation” airports. Those 57 airports generate $16.3 billion annually in economic activity in the state of South Carolina, according to a 2018 study commissioned by the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.
In the SouthernCarolina Alliance region (which includes the counties of Allendale, Barnwell, Bamberg, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper), over $220 million in economic activity is revved up annually as a result of the one commercial and seven general aviation airports located here. That doesn’t even include impact generated by the military base in Beaufort.
In 2018, these eight airports accounted for 1,739 jobs with a payroll of over $60.6 million. The vast majority of the jobs were created by Hilton Head Island Airport, but 453 jobs were generated at the general aviation airports, according to the SCAC study.
While those economic impact numbers are significant, area airport managers say the numbers have lifted dramatically since the report was generated. Covid was actually a boon, they say, because county airports offered less restrictions and greater ability for people to travel in small groups.
The airports record “airport operations” ( take offs and landings) and estimate passengers. They consider “visitors” as those who are coming from more than 50 miles away. Additionally, there are pilots who base their aircraft at the airports, renting space and using the runways frequently.
The seven smaller airports attract over 33,878 visitors to the Southern Carolina region, and Hilton Head’s airport adds another 30,000 visitors annually, according to the 2018 study. They come here for business, pleasure or a combination of both. Some flights are just passing through, using the airports as fueling stations and taking advantage of their facilities for bathrooms, food and information.
Most of the airports offer “quiet” areas where pilots can take a nap, have a shower, get a snack or use computers available on site. They are open to pilots 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
While all but one of the airports in the SCA region sell 100LL (low lead) fuel for tsmaller prop planes, several also offer Jet A fuel for small jet-engine planes. (That one airport is expecting to have both types of fuel for sale in the very near future.) Fuel sales are a major source of income for these airports and they compete rigorously to offer the lowest pricing. Pilots can look online for pricing while making their flight plans, check in-flight or be happily surprised upon landing and inquiring.
Income for the airports is also derived from renting space for short-term parking, or in buildings called T-hangars or box hangars where planes can be stored for longer periods of time. Many don’t charge “tie-down” fees for short visits, enticing pilots to use their facilities. Other revenue is generated from repair facilities, flight schools or other aviation-related businesses that rent space at the airports.
The smaller airports offer less hassle and more anonymity for visitors, some of whom are on economic development missions for their companies. Having an airport nearby often is one important item on a checklist for companies seeking locations to build or expand. Their first impression of a community is the airport, which is why local governments invest in nice, clean facilities that are comfortable with artistic touches. Many of the terminals either have just undergone extensive upgrades or there are plans to do so in the relatively near future.
Marco Cavazzoni, representing District 6 on the S.C. Aeronautics Commission, said at a recent aviation event in the region, “Magical stories often happen around aviation.”
Now retired, Cavazzoni noted his first experience was in 2009 when he flew into the Bamberg County Airport “in the dark of night on Halloween incognito” on a mission for his former employer, Boeing, to consider placing a plant in North Charleston. The result was a historic decision for South Carolina.
European-born Cavazzoni and his family liked to drive through rural areas and were enchanted by the region. By meeting people and getting to know the area, Marco said he came to realize how important the rural communities are to the state and nation. He has since located his personal aircraft and invested in aviation-related businesses in Colleton County.
Funding from the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission (SCAC) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been a critical key to helping local governments maintain and upgrade their airport’s runways and facilities.
The majority of the airports in the SCA region were created in the 1930’s and 40’s and are steeped in history. That history is also a draw to visitors to the airports and nearby parks.
Each airport has unique characteristics including its designation code, runway length, services, amenities and history.
Lowcountry Regional Airport (RBW) in Colleton County once served as the Walterboro Airfield where airmen received their final training before going overseas in the 1940s. It is also home to the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of Black pilots who were feared and respected by their German combatants. Historical sites such as these draw visitors to the region and add to the economic impact of the airports.
When the federal government ended operations, it deeded the airport to Colleton County and the City of Walterboro in a 50/50 partnership.
“We are lucky,” says Airport Manager Thomas Rowe. “Both the city and the county realize what an asset this is. Both support it and there is no in-fighting.”
Now the 1,400 acres of land is the home of a modern airport with two open runways that can support large corporate jets, although the mid-sized jets and prop planes are the most common. One runway is 6,007 feet while the other is 5,700 feet.
“While our operating hours are technically 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., the airport is open 24/7. We are just a phone call away and can have someone here to park them and get them fuel although we have self-service pumps,” said Rowe.
After 10 p.m., the airport lights are accessible from 50 miles away with a click system operating on a special frequency, according to Rowe. “The pilot can turn the lights on and land.”
The airport also offers 26 T-hangars and three box hangars that can accommodate 24 spaces.
“We have fuel, catering for passengers and crew, ice/water/coffee/vending machines, an expanded pilot lounge with a computer as well as a bathroom with a shower,” said Airport Manager Thomas Rowe. “We offer repairs and avionics. There is also a flight school available on site.”
The new 5,600 square-foot terminal which opened in 2019 includes granite counters, hardwood floors, a large conference room, and a kitchen. Visitors are greeted with artwork on the walls and some locally crafted furniture. Those who don’t have a car waiting for them can arrange for a rental car.
“We are positive all the time and we are open for business all the time,” said Rowe.
Its location is also a draw for those who don’t want to contend with the hassles of a large commercial airport. Lowcountry Regional Airport is an hour’s drive to popular destinations such as Charleston and Hilton Head in South Carolina and Savannah, Ga.
“People can land and be out of the airport in five minutes,” said Rowe.
It also offers privacy for business and industrial people who want a sense of anonymity.
“We don’t ask them why they are here. We just ask how we can serve them,” said Rowe.
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Maryann BlakeWhat is the difference between you and your running mate?BLAKE: “I have the qualifications and leadership abilities to help govern the County’s affairs and help its people prosper. I have spent the majority of my legal career in Colleton County as an attorney. I have served on the Colleton County Board of Assessment Appeals and am currently serving on the Colleton County Planning Commission where I have reviewed our code in depth and helped approve updates to the code. I was appointed by the Governor to...
What is the difference between you and your running mate?
BLAKE: “I have the qualifications and leadership abilities to help govern the County’s affairs and help its people prosper. I have spent the majority of my legal career in Colleton County as an attorney. I have served on the Colleton County Board of Assessment Appeals and am currently serving on the Colleton County Planning Commission where I have reviewed our code in depth and helped approve updates to the code. I was appointed by the Governor to the Colleton County Board of Voter Registration and Elections in 2017 and am the immediate past chairperson. I withdrew from the Commission to run for the Colleton County Council at-large seat. I am a 2021 recipient of the James Clyburn Political Fellowship and a 2022 graduate of Leadership Salkehatchie. I have served as prosecutor for Walterboro since October 2016 and am owner of my law firm.”
Why is Colleton County important to you ?
BLAKE: “I want to help Colleton County prosper with a great quality of life. As a business owner I know that investing time, energy and money is the only way a business will thrive. The same holds true for our county. South Carolina has many areas that are literally dying for lack of a stable economic workforce to support the local communities. Colleton County is one of these areas. The economic decline of rural South Carolina is of utmost concern as most young professional people want to flock to urban areas. There is great potential in redeveloping the rural parts of South Carolina, including Colleton County to support local economies. This is one reason why I chose to work in Colleton County. I care and have the proven qualifications and abilities to help.”
What do you want to say to voters who did not participate in the Democratic primary?
BLAKE: “It is time for the Democratic party to hold the County Council at-large seat. Voters must vote for the candidate with proven abilities to lead, manage, and bring prosperity to our county. It is time to vote for the candidate that is best for Colleton County not necessarily your friend or family member. Voters — you have one vote. Make it count!”
Hiram EM Davis
What is the difference between you and your running mate?
DAVIS: “Having led several organizations and businesses, positively leading them beyond the original organizational expectations; my leadership experience is one of my most influential characteristics. At this point, with the current state of our county, state and nation, we need people in office that sincerely have a heart for helping people. I am a “go-getter” , I am passionate and I will get the job done.”
Why is Colleton County important to you ?
DAVIS: “I was born and raised here, my heart is here. Colleton County has great potential but having the right people in leadership capacities is what is needed to move this county forward in a positive manner. My mother, the late Miriam Ackerman Davis and
my father Hiram, both vested many years in the county’s school district. Working with the public for so many years my parents taught me how to care for people and they also instilled in me to always love and cherish your foundation and where you are from. It doesn’t matter how far I go away from Colleton County; I am always proud to tell people I am from a small town in SC called Walterboro. Colleton is and will always be home. This county and its amazing citizens will always hold a special place in my heart.”
What do you want to say to voters who did not participate in the Democratic primary?
DAVIS: “So many have sacrificed their lives for everyone to have the right to vote. THERE IS NO EXCUSE NOT TO VOTE IN ANY ELECTION. Every election is important, but your local elections are significant, as those individuals are the ones that can or cannot make things happen as it directly relates to the citizens. If you did not vote on June 14th, now is your opportunity to vote and vote for a change, your vote DOES count and your vote determines the state of our county for the years to come. VOTE FOR PROVEN LEADERSHIP, VOTE HIRAM EM DAVIS for Colleton County Council Seat At-Large….The Voice for the People: Your Voice, Your Choice. For information about Hiram EM Davis, visit www.davisforcolleton.com or follow us on Facebook.”
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By: Mae Frances BingThis is my first Micro Extraordinary interview for Colleton County. I was super exited to talk to Mindy Davis, the owner of Wicked Cat Candles. Below is a Q&A between Davis and I. Hope you enjoy.Mae: Tell me somethings about yourself.Mindy: I was born in a small town in central New York to a farmer’s son and a school bus drivers’ daughter. I am the oldest of three girls. We moved to South Carolina in 2009. I met my husband in 2019 and got married in October of 2021.Mae: How did ...
By: Mae Frances Bing
This is my first Micro Extraordinary interview for Colleton County. I was super exited to talk to Mindy Davis, the owner of Wicked Cat Candles. Below is a Q&A between Davis and I. Hope you enjoy.
Mae: Tell me somethings about yourself.
Mindy: I was born in a small town in central New York to a farmer’s son and a school bus drivers’ daughter. I am the oldest of three girls. We moved to South Carolina in 2009. I met my husband in 2019 and got married in October of 2021.
Mae: How did you begin your business in this industry and when did you establish Wicked Cat Candles?
Mindy: I started Wicked Cat Candles in 2020 after I started making candles as a hobby. People in my mother’s office kept asking if they could buy them after smelling the one I gave my mom.
Mae: How did you come up with the business name?
Mindy: Wicked Cat Candles is named after my three cats: Amaya, Khalessi and Calypso.
Mae: Who or what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Mindy: I had a lot of difficulties in school as a kid. I was told that I wouldn’t amount to much and I was determined to prove that wrong.
Mae: How did you learn to make candles?
Davis: I remember making candles as a kid in school in art class. When I decided to make them as an adult, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and joined Facebook groups. It was trial and error.
Mae: How did that first attempt at making candles turned out?
Mindy: Horrible! My first candle wouldn’t stay lit and had no scent at all.
Mae: What type of candles do you make?
Mindy: I focus mainly on jar candles although I do make pillar candles and have made a couple sets of unity candles for friends’ weddings. I use a blend of soy and vegetable wax that burns clean and lasts for a long time.
Mae: As the owner, what are your typical responsibilities. Are you a one-man band?
Mindy: My tasks range from production, testing, marketing, shipping not to mention the less glamorous side of the organizing, stocking and cleaning my work workspace and equipment.
Mae: How was the process of getting this business started? Did you face any obstacles?
Mindy: The process of getting the legal part of the business was easy and streamlined. The obstacles came from trying to design a logo, come up with a name and deciding I was going to put my everything into this. No one tells you about the struggle of figuring out the taxes and licensing when you decide to start a business.
Mae: How do you manage your workload throughout the days?
Mindy: A lot of lists. I dedicate four days a week to nothing other than my business. On those days I don’t do any schoolwork or hang out with friends. I start my day with making a to do list and checking it off and I go down it. Honestly it takes a lot of willpower, a lot of coffee and a couple well timed breaks to go cuddle with my cats.
Mae: What do you see to be the biggest challenge with this type of business?
Mindy: The biggest challenge I have faced is the ever-changing trends. However, that is also my biggest motivation. New scents are introduced every season and it’s like a game, figuring out which ones will sell, and which won’t. What to name each scent. It’s fun.
Mae: What techniques do you use to create new candle shapes and color designs?
Mindy: A lot of my color choices are picked by my husband. I find that I tend to over think it a lot and he will just smell a scent and know what color to make the wax.
Mae: What are your biggest sellers?
Mindy: Pumpkin Caramel Crunch and the Amber Noir. My husband is in love with the Amber Noir.
Mae: How do you keep up with industry trends?
Mindy: Thankfully candles aren’t subject to a lot of fast changing trends but keeping up with them is a matter of paying attention to the seasons up coming. Some scents do better in the fall but not in the summer.
Mae: How do you keep yourself motivated?
Mindy: My biggest motivation is the look on someone’s face when they smell a candle I made. Sometimes it’s a scent that they never thought they would like. Other times it’s a scent that brings back a fond memory for them, but the smiles are what keep me going.
Mae: What’s something you wish you would’ve known before getting started with your business?
Mindy: I wish I had known how much I’d miss in the beginning. There have been a lot of missed date nights before my husband and I got married. A lot of nights I didn’t go out with friends. A lot of late nights and even all nighters. As much as I missed, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Mae: What do you enjoy the most with being an entrepreneur?
Mindy: The freedom to be creative. Being able to take time off when I want to and not when someone else says I can. I truly love what I do.
Mae: What are your future goals for Wicked Cat Candles?
Mindy: My goal is to one day have Wicked Cat Candles be large enough that I can hire employees, who otherwise have a hard time finding employment. Single parents with difficult schedules, people who have made mistakes in their past and may have a hard time finding a job because of it. I want to be able to help people. I also want to start a line of products where the proceeds are used to fund an animal sanctuary for animals who are terminally ill or injured and end up surrendered to the vet’s office. I want to be able to give them a place to heal until I find them a forever home or let them live out the rest of their lives in a happy loving place.
Mae: What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs or small candle businesses?
Mindy: Go for it! No matter who tells you that you can’t do it and there will be people that tell you that you can’t. Even people close to you, they will discourage you. Don’t listen to them. If it’s something you believe in and have a passion for then go for it. The best advice I’ve ever heard what “If you do what you love, the money will follow”. If candles are your passion, the best advice I have for you is test. When you think you have tested enough, do it again. I’m very honored that you reached out to me. I think we should all try to support small businesses as much as we can.
For information on Wicked Cat Candles, contact www.wickedcatcandles.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wickedcatcandles.
(Editor’s Note: Thank you for reading my first feature. If you or someone you know will like to be interviewed email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.microextraordinary.com. Remember, your business might be small, but it’s extraordinary.)
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By Heather RuppeThe number of sea turtle nests being laid on South Carolina beaches this summer is breaking all state records, with local numbers at Edisto Beach also skyrocketing.According to Erin Weeks, with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, there are 324 sea turtle nests at the Edisto Beach State Park. These numbers are accurate, as of Monday, July 18th.There are an additional 209 nests on the actual public town beach at Edisto. Moreover, these nest-count numbers do not include Botany Bay, which is a state pre...
By Heather Ruppe
The number of sea turtle nests being laid on South Carolina beaches this summer is breaking all state records, with local numbers at Edisto Beach also skyrocketing.
According to Erin Weeks, with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, there are 324 sea turtle nests at the Edisto Beach State Park. These numbers are accurate, as of Monday, July 18th.
There are an additional 209 nests on the actual public town beach at Edisto. Moreover, these nest-count numbers do not include Botany Bay, which is a state preserve on Edisto Island.
“It’s been a crazy good year for us,” Weeks said, with a smile. “Our volunteers have been very busy.”
Statewide, South Carolina has already surpassed last year’s total annual nest count for sea turtles on all Palmetto State beaches. As of July 18th, there have been more than 6,800 total sea turtle nests found on South Carolina beaches.
“This is definitely an above-average year for us,” she said.
Sea turtle season lasts in South Carolina from May through October. Beginning in May of each year, up to four of the planet’s seven sea turtle species come ashore to lay eggs on South Carolina beaches. After approximately two months of incubation, young turtles emerge from their ping pong ball-sized eggs and quickly make their way toward the ocean.
“The emergence of hatchlings from nests reported so far is well under the average 60-day incubation period,” said Michelle Pate, wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). “This shortened incubation period typically happens with nests laid early in the season. Hot temperatures can also affect the duration of the incubation period, leading to the early emergence of hatchlings.”
On Edisto Beach, the nests are counted and protected by trained volunteers who work with the
Edisto Beach Loggerhead Turtle Project. This group was formed in 1982, and works with state marine leaders to protect all sea turtles along the beach. The group locates nests, helps to relocate them if necessary, and protects them until the eggs are hatched.
According to that group, more people at Edisto are adopting local sea turtle nests. This process helps to secure public education in protecting sea turtles. The group reported on Monday morning via social media that their volunteers have been “very busy,” relocating nests and keeping them safe.
Rules to protect sea turtles
Sea turtles are federally protected. Locally, there are also state rules in effect to help protect nesting mothers and new hatchlings.
These local ordinances include:
Lights out on Edisto Beach after dark. This applies to all beach-front houses and businesses.
Remove all litter from the beach, including personal belongings, like chairs and toys.
Fill in all holes you make on the sand. This keeps turtles from being trapped.
Do not approach a nesting sea turtle or new hatchlings. Individuals who violate federal law by interfering with sea turtles, nests, and eggs can be subject to civil penalties of up to $25,000 and up to a year’s imprisonment.
Anyone can report all sick/injured/hooked/dead sea turtles and any nest disturbances to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-922-5431.
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - In South Carolina, there is a limited number of days on which state lawmakers meet, but the consequences of missing any one of those days are slim.Almost all state lawmakers are part-time, meaning every second they spend at the Statehouse is important.When lawmakers miss a day, they miss out on their daily pay, which is intended to be a gas or hotel room stipend for legislators who travel from across the state. But there are no limits on how many absences, whether excused or not, are allowed.Lawma...
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - In South Carolina, there is a limited number of days on which state lawmakers meet, but the consequences of missing any one of those days are slim.
Almost all state lawmakers are part-time, meaning every second they spend at the Statehouse is important.
When lawmakers miss a day, they miss out on their daily pay, which is intended to be a gas or hotel room stipend for legislators who travel from across the state. But there are no limits on how many absences, whether excused or not, are allowed.
Lawmakers do have to answer to their constituents, who they are elected to represent.
In the 2022 regular legislative session, there were a total of 121 members accounted for. Two seats remain vacant, the 18th and 97th districts, and Rep. Richard “Rick” Martin remains on suspension after he was indicted on charges of misconduct in office and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
For the South Carolina House, daily journals are available online but they list who was there and who received an “excused” absence, meaning they checked in with the clerk to provide a record of the reason for their absence. The journals tabulate absences from Jan. 11 through May 12.
Statewide, of the ten most frequently absent, the top two are from the Charleston area, the records revealed.
Rep. Chris Murphy (R-Dorchester County) was absent the most, missing all or portions of 32 of 46 sessions. All of his absences are listed as excused, meaning he checked in with the House clerk and gave notice he would not attend. In February, Murphy appeared to have a medical episode during a committee meeting and was hospitalized, though his representative did not provide information at the time of the medical episode.
Rep. Joseph Jefferson Jr. (D-Berkeley and Dorchester Counties), of Pineville, north of Lake Moultrie, also had 18 excused absences. Jefferson said he had a car accident in January that left him bedridden. He says in the 17 years he previously served, he only missed a single day.
Rep. Ann Parks (D-Greenwood and McCormick Counties) ranked third on the list, missing 16. Twelve of those were excused, four were “no-shows.” Parks did not respond to a request for comment.
Rep. Leola Robinson (D-Greenville County) had 11 excused absences and three “no-shows.” Robinson did not respond to a request for comment, but records indicate she missed several days because of a death in the family. On Jan. 12, the journal reads, “The House stood in silent prayer for the family and friends of Rep. Robinson on the death of her son, Basheer.”
Rep. Stephen Moss (R-Cherokee & York Counties) had 10 excused absences. Moss said he was recently diagnosed with lung cancer, the reason he has chosen not to run for re-election.
Rep. Justin Bamberg (D-Bamberg County) also listed eight sessions, a figure that includes one excused absence and seven “no-shows.” Bamberg provided several reasons as to why he missed sessions, including handling legislative matters at home, a court date, illness and one day that he “woke up with a 1999 style hangover.”
Rep. Nathan Ballentine (R-Lexington and Richland Counties) had eight excused absences. In an email, Ballentine said his “paying job is a very hectic one, particularly since 2020.” He operates a mortgage business. He said when he must be away, he always lets the clerk know.
Another Lowcountry legislator who made the list is Rep. William Cogswell Jr. (R-Charleston County), who missed eight sessions. Rep. Ashley Trantham (R-Greenville County) had two excused absences and five “no-shows;” while Rep. Bobby Cox (R-Greenville County), had four excused absences and three no-shows. None of the three responded to requests for comments in time for the story.
Meanwhile, 40 House members got “perfect attendance” including Rep. Joe Bustos (R-Charleston County) of Mount Pleasant.
“Well, it to me, it’s an obligation. It’s not just an office I hold,” Bustos said. “I was elected to be in the state House for a reason to represent the people of District 112 and I can’t do that if I’m not there.”
Clerk of the House Charles Reid says there is not limit to how many days a representative can be excused. There’s no difference if they are excused or not.
In the South Carolina Senate, journals do not reflect a daily roll call, meaning it was difficult to find where attendance records are readily available for public viewing, but the Senate clerk sent a copy of the records from Jan. 1 through July 15.
Most senators showed up this past session 90% or more of the time.
Sen. Margie Bright Matthews (D-Colleton County) of Walterboro missed the 19 days of 57 days recorded, the most of any other senator. She did not respond to a comment for comment.
Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston County) missed 15 days out of 57 recorded.
“As you may know, we started the year in a pandemic,” Kimpson wrote in an email. “I, like many other South Carolinians, tested positive for COVID-19 this year, along with all of the members of my immediate family at different times. Moreover, the Senate rules do not require masks or vaccinations and while some accommodations are made (attending committee meetings by Zoom) each person has to make decisions that are in the best interest for their own personal health and safety.”
He also said some of the absences were caused by juggling his second job as an attorney. He expects the illness to impact next year’s attendance as well.
Sen. Dick Harpootlian (D-Richland County) missed nine days. He did not respond to a request for comment.
Sen. Michael Gambrell (R-Anderson County) had eight absences. He said he missed three days with bronchitis and said he is a small business owned.
“We have to do whatever is needed to keep our business going and performing constituent service in our district,” he said.
Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley County) has seven absences on his record. He said he was hospitalized during the session but was in daily contact with his office, which remained open and fully staffed.
Twelve senators of 46 had perfect attendance.
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