COLUMBIA, SC — ’Tis the season for prefiled bills, those proposed laws that state legislators file before the start of the session, most of which have about as much chance of becoming law as Camden lawyer John Rainey had of getting Gov. Nikki Haley’s appointment to the U.S. Senate.
Despite the futility, the Buzz loves prefiled bills! We get bored during the usually slow month of December. So, below is the best – or worst – of this year’s offerings:
1. Lee Bright wants to arrest Bakari Sellers
Stay with us here: State Sen. Lee Bright , R-Spartanburg, filed a bill (S.102) to make it a crime to enforce “Obamacare” in South Carolina, punishable by up to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine. Meanwhile, State Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Bamberg, prefiled a bill (H.3166) that would require South Carolina to enforce Obamacare.
Thus, Bright’s bill would force police to arrest Sellers.
Buzz is worried, however. What happens to the space-time continuum if lawmakers pass both bills?
2. You never can have too many sales tax holidays
Whether it is school supplies or guns, South Carolina loves its sales tax holidays. The more the merrier!
Charleston Republicans state Reps. Peter McCoy and Mike Sottile are proposing a “Hurricane Preparedness Weekend” that would eliminate the state sales tax for certain hurricane-preparedness items. The list includes: blue ice, carbon-monoxide detectors, cellphone batteries and chargers, gas and diesel fuel tanks, nonelectric food-storage coolers and AAA batteries.
Buzz loves this idea.
But why stop there? What about a “snowpocalypse weekend,” giving discounts on bread and milk?
3. The Republican version of ‘marriage equality’
South Carolina is one of 16 states – plus the District of Columbia – that recognizes common-law marriages. You probably think you know what a common law marriage is. But you don’t.
That is why state Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, has sponsored a bill that would stop recognizing any common-law marriages in South Carolina after Jan. 1, 2011. Martin said the only way to know for sure if you have a common law marriage is if a judge says you do. And a judge does not usually get involved until there is a separation or a death.
“Common law marriage was recognized in the horse-and-buggy days. Folks lived so far away from the courthouse, it was some degree of difficulty completing the paperwork aspect of getting a marriage license,” Martin said. “That’s why common law marriage was recognized, for the benefit of the children.”
Now, it just confuses people and causes headaches for probate judges. There is one sure-fire solution to the problem, however.
“Get married,” Martin said. “We’ve got to draw the line somewhere.”
• H.3065 would ban the governor’s staff from the S.C. House floor when the House is in session
• H.3045 would create an animal-abuse registry
• H.3134 would require hotels to tell you when they have bedbugs
• H.3148 would add “artificial hair” to the state’s definition of hair braiding
• S.13 would ban political action committees
• S.16 would let voters have elections to enact or repeal laws
• S.21 would require schools to teach “general neatness and cleanliness, skin care, and shampooing and grooming of hair.”
Another first for Tim Scott?
U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, the state’s first African-American in the U.S. Senate, faces the prospect of the curse of South Carolina appointees.
If Scott – named last week to succeed resigning U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint – wins the 2014 race, he would be the first U.S. Senate fill-in from South Carolina to win election to the Senate.
Since 1918, Scott’s seven predecessors never have served beyond their appointment. Four did not seek election, two were defeated in Senate races and one died in office.
No butting in (seniority) line
Despite some hopes among the state’s political set, South Carolina’s newest senator could not have moved up a few steps higher on the Senate’s seniority ladder if DeMint had quit to start his think-tank career a few weeks sooner.
Scott is being sworn in on Jan. 3 with a dozen other senators newly elected in November.
Why didn’t DeMint resign immediately, allowing Scott to be sworn in before Jan. 3, gaining seniority on those dozen senators?
The Senate’s rules don’t allow it, DeMint’s office said.
Those rules say any post-election Senate fill-in has the same seniority as other new senators sworn in Jan. 3, DeMint’s office said. That means Scott’s seniority will be determined among the other Senate rookies with his time in Congress helping a bit in the tiebreakers.
In the deal, South Carolina will swap the senator with the 53rd-highest seniority, DeMint, for one in the bottom 10, Scott. Still, it’s an improvement for Scott, who ranked No. 410 in the House.
“I’ve been addressing it as ma’am.”
– Jeff Taillon , staffer for Gov. Nikki Haley , responding to a tweet that the governor refers to her 2013-14 executive budget as “she” and “her.”
Staff writer Andrew Shain contributed. Reach Beam at (803) 386-7038.