SC political briefs, June 19

June 18, 2013 

— The General Assembly will return Wednesday with hopes of passing the state’s $22.7 billion spending plan for the budget year starting July 1.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said passing a budget Wednesday still would give lawmakers – and Gov. Nikki Haley – time to approve the plan before July 1. If the General Assembly passes a budget Wednesday, it then goes to Haley, who will have five days, excluding Sunday, to issue vetoes. Lawmakers then must return to Columbia – midweek of next week – to uphold or overturn her vetoes.

Some lawmakers had hoped to take up the budget Tuesday. But the decision was made to give lawmakers time overnight to review a report detailing the final budget agreement reached by a panel of three House and three Senate members late Monday.

Jamie Self

14 companies could bid for hacking credit monitoring contract

South Carolina officially must seek the next contract for taxpayers’ credit monitoring services next month to prevent a coverage lapse.

State Budget and Control Board director Marcia Adams said mid-July is the deadline for assuring a new contract is in place before the one-year contract with Experian expires. That contract was signed just before Gov. Nikki Haley announced Oct. 26 that a hacker stole the personal data of millions of residents from their tax returns.

That $12 million contract gave residents until March 31 to sign up.

Adams said 14 companies have indicated they want the next, multi-year contract.

She said a draft of the state’s request for bids should be ready for the budget board’s review July 1. Adams said the timing allows for potential protests from companies that don’t win the contract.

The Associated Press

State gets new Emergency Management director

Kim Stenson, chief of staff of the S.C. Emergency Management Division, has been named the agency’s director, Adjutant General Robert E. Livingston Jr., the state’s Adjutant General announced Tuesday.

Stenson, a 15-year veteran of the agency, replaces George McKinney, who stepped down in February.

The division provides oversight and coordination for emergency and disaster management planning, response and recovery operations for the state.

Stenson will be responsible for coordination with emergency managers at the local and national levels.

He served as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of the first Gulf War. After retirement from the Army, he joined the agency and has served in a variety of positions.

Stenson was named chief of staff in 2008.

Jeff Wilkinson

Robert Livingston Kim Stenson’s

George McKinney

Southern GOP leaders discuss strategies in Alabama

Republican leaders from 10 Southern states met in Alabama this week to plan strategies for making new GOP inroads across the region.

The two-day meeting of state party chairmen and chairwomen and executive directors concluded Tuesday in Birmingham, said Alabama Republican chairman Bill Armistead.

Party leaders hope to retain all their current U.S. Senate seats and pick up six new ones, which would allow the GOP to take control of the Senate.

A statement by Armistead said discussions included ways to defeat Democratic U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas; Mary Landrieu of Louisiana; and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

The gathering included GOP officials from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia.

The Associated Press

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