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The 2008 Legislative Session begins this week, and it is shaping up to be a busy year for District 45 Rep. Mick Mulvaney.
"Last year, I asked our leadership to give me as much as they thought I could handle, and evidently they took me seriously," Mulvaney said.
Last month, House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston and Dorchester counties) placed Mulvaney on the Judiciary Committee.
Mulvaney sees it as an opportunity, and one that has strong ties to the past in his district.
"It is a larger committee and one that deals with a wider range of issues," he said. "It is also the same committee from which Jim Hodges served this district so well."
Hodges served as the District 45 representative before being elected governor in 1998.
Empowered with a broad mandate, the Judiciary Committee handles all state constitutional issues and criminal laws, and also acts as a catch-all committee for bills that don't fit neatly into the narrow scope of other committees. Along with the Ways and Means Committee, it typically has the heaviest work load, Mulvaney said.
He said he will give up his position on the Education and Public Works Committee to move to the Judiciary Committee, but Mulvaney said that doesn't mean his involvement with critical education issues will end.
"I expect to keep my appointment to the Education Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference, and that will allow me to stay plugged in," he said. "Plus, several issues will carry over from last year, so I still find myself in the middle of the debate over things such as Superintendent Rex's public school choice bill."
Mulvaney said he expects that bill - stripped of the open-enrollment mandate that he found objectionable last year - to be reintroduced early in the session.
House Majority Leader Jim Merrill (R-Berkeley and Charleston counties) also named Mulvaney one of the new majority whips.
"This is a critical job, and being selected as a whip is a recognition of a member's Republican values and influence on the floor," Merrill said.
The majority whips are responsible for lining up votes on critical pieces of legislation, promoting the caucus agenda and assisting the elected caucus leadership.
"It will allow me to get more involved with the setting of the agenda," Mulvaney said. "It gives me a better platform from which to express the importance of jobs, economic development and fiscal responsibility."