SC political briefs: Divorce lawsuit refers to governor

February 15, 2013 

The wife of a well-known legislative lobbyist has cited his alleged affair with Gov. Nikki Haley as one of the reasons that she wants a divorce.

Earlier this month, Jennifer Marchant filed for divorce from Larry Marchant, who said he had a one-night stand with Haley at a 2008 school-choice conference in Salt Lake City. Marchant described the relationship as a “one-time indiscretion.”

Haley, then a Republican state representative from Lexington, vehemently has denied she had an affair. At the time, she said the allegation was an attempt by a rival GOP gubernatorial candidate to smear her reputation. Marchant resigned from then-Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer’s campaign after claiming the affair.

The divorce lawsuit does not name Haley. Instead, it says Larry Marchant publicly admitted in June 2010 to an affair with “a woman well-known to the parties and the citizens of the state of South Carolina.” Jennifer Marchant said she was humiliated and embarrassed, and unable to appear in public for some time. However, she said she forgave Marchant.

Jennifer Marchant also claims in the lawsuit that her husband since has had two more affairs.

Marchant could not be reached for comment.

Noelle Phillips

Medicaid expansion divides medical community

The split in the medical community over expanding Medicaid was evident Thursday during a state Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee meeting.

Several physicians urged the panel to opt out of the expansion, saying it would grow an inefficient system and become a bigger financial burden on the government. Other physicians and hospital administrators said the expansion is crucial to the health and economic well-being of the state.

“There is a war on doctors,” Dr. Thomas Kendall, a Greenville family practice physician, testified, opposing the expansion and the Affordable Care Act in general. “The Affordable Care Act is bad for South Carolina. … A monster is created when medicine is politicized.”

State Sen. Raymond Cleary, R-Georgetown, sympathized with Kendall. But, he added, “that train left the station last November, and it’s not coming back. … We have to decide what’s the best way to do this for the state of South Carolina.”

The subcommittee has heard testimony for the past three weeks from state Medicaid agency director Tony Keck, public-health advocates in favor of expansion and from physicians and hospitals on both sides of the issue.

The Legislature can opt out of the expansion through one of several pending bills on the subject or by not funding the state’s administrative portion of the expenses starting in 2014. Gov. Nikki Haley has pledged to do everything she can to stop the expansion.

Joey Holleman

Bill to keep guns from mentally ill to be introduced

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson will join law enforcement, legislative and mental-health leaders in announcing new legislation to be introduced by state Reps. Eddie Tallon, R-Spartanburg, and Rick Quinn, R-Lexington, addressing mental-health and gun-violence issues.

Specifics will be discussed at a news conference at the State House at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Ten days ago, an incident at Ashley Hall, a Charleston private school, highlighted the need for new laws, according to a release from Wilson’s office.

That day, Alice Boland of Lady’s Island, who once pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, passed a background check and legally purchased a gun at a Walterboro gun shop. She later took the gun to the girls’ boarding school where she pointed and attempted to fire it at an administrator and teacher, according to police reports. The pistol did not fire because there was no round in the chamber, according to police.

“Last week, the potential for another Newtown tragedy hit way too close to home,” Wilson said in the release. “It would not have been prevented by restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens. But it could have been prevented by communicating, identifying, treating and prohibiting persons such as the suspect in this case from legally purchasing firearms. ... There is no reason for South Carolina to remain one of six states that has no barriers to prevent the mentally ill from purchasing a firearm.”

Gina Smith, The Island Packet

S.C. raffles could finally become legal

The prospect of legal raffles in South Carolina has leaped forward.

The Senate took back-to-back 38-1 votes Thursday on measures enabling nonprofits to hold a limited number of raffles yearly.

One measure would ask voters on 2014 ballots whether the Constitution should be changed to allow raffles. The other outlines how a legal raffle could be run and regulated.

If voters approve the change, the law would take effect in 2015. The measures require another vote in the Senate before heading to the House.

Raffles are held regularly across the state anyway. But enforcement of the ban is selective.

Previous efforts to make raffles legal have failed as gambling opponents feared the unintended consequences. But those opponents have signed off on the latest version.

The Associated Press

Bill would merge oversight of offenders

A Senate panel has advanced a bill putting oversight of prisoners, parolees and those on probation in a single agency.

The bill sent Thursday to the full Judiciary Committee would merge the Department of Corrections with the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services.

Corrections director Bill Byars says the merger greatly would improve the justice system, by coordinating oversight of lawbreakers in hopes they successfully return to society and don’t end up back in jail. Byars says oversight of offenders now bounces back and forth between the agencies.

The Associated Press

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service