Every year, mishaps involving buried pipelines and cables kill people and threaten communities across the country. Near-misses and incorrect information about the location of these lines put additional burdens upon public safety agencies, increase the costs of construction projects and delay the completion of much needed highway projects.
While most states toughen the laws regarding underground utility safety only after a tragedy occurs, South Carolina recently updated its laws, which had been considered the oldest and most obsolete in the nation, before a disaster could occur. Leading the way in advancing much-needed reform legislation to tackle this vital public safety issue was Dorchester County’s State Senator Mike Rose.
As a safety professional in the state’s construction industry, I approached Senator Rose about the need to act on this issue. Concerned about the need to act before a tragedy occurred, he worked with concerned parties to help draft legislation that led to the long-overdue reform of these laws. I was impressed with his willingness to listen, appreciation of the dangers, and the hard work he put in to ensuring a good bill was drafted and received a fair hearing in the State Senate.
Last year, the final result of these efforts received final passage in both the House and Senate unanimously, reforming laws which had not been updated since the 1970s. Much of the credit should go to Senator Rose, who saw a major problem in the making and worked hard to address it before the problem led to a major disaster.
There are some issues which can be easily identified through partisan labels, but avoiding disasters and saving lives are issues where labels such as “conservative”, “liberal” , “extreme” or “RINO” don’t usually apply. While Senator Rose is a proud conservative and is driven by those convictions, he’s smart enough to know not every issue has a partisan label and works hard to consider each issue on its relative merits before making a decision, such as this and other legislation vital to public and workplace safety. This is the kind of forward-thinking leadership that we need more of in our state’s politics and it’s one great reason why Senator Rose has earned another term in the Senate.