THE MORNING BUZZ: SC lawmakers gather on law enforcement funding, solar energy and investing state retirement money

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on December 11, 2013 

— A day after pre-filing bills for next year's session, some S.C. legislators gather at the State House on Wednesday for meetings on law enforcement funding, solar energy and investing state retirement money.

Energy Advisory Council of the State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee -- Discuss draft of report on expected expansion of solar power. (9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Blatt Room 110. Agenda)

Joint Other Funds Oversight Committee -- Requests for Interim Adjustments from the Commission on Higher Education for the SmartState program and State Auditor's Office for medicaid audits and court fines. (10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Gressette Room 308. Agenda)

House Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee -- Budget discussions for the State Law Enforcement Division, Department of Natural Resources, Commission on Indigent Defense, Administrative Law Court and Prosecution Coordination Commission (12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Blatt Room 305. Agenda)

Special Senate Subcommittee to Review the Investment of State Retirement Funds -- Presentations by Suzanne Bernard, a partner with Hewitt EnnisKnupp and Hershel Harper, chief investment officer with the Retirement System Investment Commission (2 p.m. Wednesday, Gressette Room 209. Agenda)

Pre-filed bills highlights

Richland County’s state lawmakers have pre-filed legislation to shift oversight of elections to the counties that pay for them. The bills come as Richland County’s lawmakers work to address problems that led to the 2012 election debacle, where mismanagement and long lines at the polls produced one of the biggest election disasters in state history. Full story

Other bills pre-filed Tuesday include restoring South Carolina's hospital construction regulation program, toughening sentencing for crimes committed while a suspect is out on bond, creating a Department of Child and Family Services from responsibilities at other state agencies, banning lawyer-legislators from voting for judges and allowing political parties to choose nominees by convention rather than a primary. Full story

State Board of Education public hearing

Update from the state's Public Charter School District and public comments on several proposed amendments to education regulations, including a new proposed rules for the Palmetto Unified School District, which provides educational services to inmates. The state Board of Education currently has no regulation setting for expectations for that district, according to the proposal. (1 p.m. Wednesday, Rutledge Conference Center, 1429 Senate St. Agenda)

Gov. Nikki Haley's Wednesday schedule

• No public events planned

Buzz Clicks

• A six-mile-long sound barrier wall being erected along an interstate widening project outside Columbia is costing $26 million, almost a third of the project cost to widen the highway. Officials say they expect more sound walls to go up around the state, even as lawmakers grumble that the money for reduced noise could be better spent on the state’s crumbling infrastructure. Full story

• Tuesday’s deadline for states eager to land a multibillion dollar Boeing manufacturing deal in their backyards by proposing lucrative incentive offers has come and gone. But South Carolina leaders still weren’t saying much Tuesday about whether the state was among more than a dozen expected to submit bids for producing Boeing’s 777X jet. Full story

• South Carolina’s senators have purchased health insurance from marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act and have opted not to continue receiving federal help to pay for their coverage. Full story

• Myrtle Beach has seen a 6 percent increase in admissions taxes since last year and lodging revenues are up between 4 and 5 percent from a year ago, according to officials with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President and CEO Brad Dean told on Tuesday the Myrtle Beach City Council members that marketing, partially paid for by a local option 1 percent sales tax, has helped increase the number of visitors that come to Myrtle Beach. Full story

• South Carolina's economic development agency can continue its bonus program for employees, following approval Tuesday by the Budget and Control Board. Full story

• Nuclear Materials Committee members expressed concern at a meeting on Tuesday over the storing of highly enriched uranium – or HEU – at the Savannah River Site. Full story

• Bridgestone is getting bombarded with applications after announcing 200 job openings on Monday morning for its Graniteville tire plant. Full story

• Additional reports obtained from the city of Florence continue to illustrate that saving the 96-year-old Trust building is a cost-prohibitive proposition, something the city, developers and engineers continue to share before Wednesday’s Design Review Board meeting on the building’s fate. Full story

• Car maker BMW AG, which operates an Upstate plant, says its sales were up 2.7 percent in November compared with a year earlier, putting the company on course for a record year thanks to strong demand in China and the U.S. Full story

Best of The Buzz

• All nine of South Carolina's statewide-elected officers, including the governor, would need to tell the public about their activities under a bill that State Rep. Bakari Sellers said he plans to introduce next year Full story

• South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said her husband is expected to come home before Christmas after a nearly year-long S.C. National Guard deployment to Afghanistan. Full story

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