S.C. Politics: Weekly report

March 4, 2012 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I still believe there is a pony in the middle of this mess. (But), some days, I have a harder time believing that than others.”

– U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham , R-Seneca, on the decision of Republican U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine not to seek re-election. Snowe, known for her willingness to work across party lines, cited the Senate’s increasing political polarization. Graham, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, said he still hopes the two parties can work together, but added he is an optimist, who sees a pile of manure and looks for a pony.

SCHMOOZING

Where legislators will be eating and drinking this week, and who will be picking up the tab:

Tuesday, 6 to 8 p.m. – Members of the House, Senate and staff, reception, Clarion Hotel Downtown, sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council

Wednesday, 8 to 10 a.m. – Members of the House and Senate, breakfast, Room 112, Blatt Building, sponsored by the S.C. Aviation Association

Wednesday, Noon to 2 p.m. – Members of the House, Senate and staff, luncheon, Room 112, Blatt Building, sponsored by the United Way Association of South Carolina

Wednesday, 6 to 9 p.m. – Members of the Senate, reception, Seawell’s, sponsored by the S.C. Summary Court Judges Association

Wednesday, 6 to 9 p.m. – Members of the House and Senate, Townes Award reception and dinner, Columbia Marriott, sponsored by the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Foundation

Thursday, 8 to 10:00 a.m. – Members of the House, Senate and staff, breakfast, Room 112, Blatt Building, sponsored by the Faces and Voices of Recovery, Midlands Chapter

LEGISLATIVE STATUS

Bill to regulate voter drives may be dead: A bill that would place new requirements on those conducting voter registration drives in South Carolina may be dead. Its sponsor, state Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach, moved last week to recommit the bill to the House Judiciary Committee — and it passed on a voice vote.

State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, who opposes the bill, said the proposal appeared to be losing support. “Usually when that (recommitting) happens, that means a bill is dead,” he said. “I’m not 100 percent sure that’s the case here.”

The decision to send the bill back to the drawing board came after opponents to the bill had collected more than 4,000 signatures from all over the state.

The League of Women Voters of South Carolina also has indicated the bill’s passage likely would end its efforts to hold voter registration drives. The bill would require the league and others conducting registration drives to register with the state.

It also calls for a $50 fine for anyone who turns in a voter registration application to their local elections office more than 48 hours after it was completed. There would be a $100 fine for each application collected before the voter registration deadline, but handed in after that date. And the bill calls for $500 fines for each application collected that is not turned into a county voter registration office.

The state has no hard figures on problems stemming from voter registration drives, but it has seen examples of voters who appear at the polls on election day but who are not on the rolls.

The bill is similar to one that passed recently in Florida and is subject to a federal lawsuit there.

The (Charleston) Post and Courier

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