THE MORNING BUZZ: Meeting about changing SC government closely watched in guv's race

Posted by ADAM BEAM and ANDREW SHAIN on December 19, 2013 

S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (left) and S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley

— S.C lawmakers could give Gov. Nikki Haley and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen an early Christmas present Thursday: a government restructuring bill.

The question is, who will get the credit?

A conference committee meets today at 2 p.m. to work out a compromise on S.22 -- a bill that would abolish the state Budget and Control Board and transfer most of the state's administrative duties to the governor's office.

Haley, the first term Republican governor, campaigned on government restructuring and has pushed for the bill's passage every year she has been in the mansion.

Sheheen, the likely Democratic nominee for governor, is the primary sponsor of the bill and is a member of the conference committee.

The main thing House and Senate conferees have to decide Thursday is who should control state purchasing: the governor, or a new state agency governed by a nine-member board?

But the bigger question is how will this play out in the 2014 election. If the bill passes, both Haley and Sheheen will rush to take credit for it. Will they cancel each other out?

Will voters even care?

Want to go or watch? Conference committee on the government restructuring bill S.22, 2 p.m. Thursday, Gressette Room 105 / Watch online / Agenda / More background

Gov. Nikki Haley's public schedule on Thursday

• 2 p.m., Speak at the S.C. Highway Patrol Graduation Ceremony at the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia

Dems bring Haley report card tour to Columbia

S.C. Democratic chairman Jaime Harrison shares his party's failing report card for Republican Gov. Nikki Haley at a 1 p.m. Columbia news conference on Thursday. Harrison has visited Greenville and Charleston on the press tour ahead of the expected 2014 rematch between Haley and Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen. Background

Buzz Clicks

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and former city employee Tony Lawton were among the original targets of what has become a broad federal public corruption investigation, a defense attorney said in federal court here Wednesday.Full story

A consortium of four S.C. public school districts will receive $25 million in federal Race to the Top grants -- one of five grant winners receiving about $120 million. Full story

On Thursday, a local land trust will close a deal protecting 17 acres around the Angel Oak from ever being developed. Many say a young activist, Samantha Siegel, was the force that ultimately led to the accord. Full story

A member of Richland County’s election board broke with convention Wednesday, speaking up to say he was “devastated” to find the office the board oversees did not count more than 1,000 absentee ballots in the county’s November referendum. Full story

North Charleston is the only city outside of Renton and Everett, Wash., where new Boeing passenger jets roll off the assembly line. Yet North Charleston has appeared more an onlooker than a player in the fast-moving 777X drama. Nonetheless, Boeing’s East Coast outpost is set to only grow, with or without the 777X. Full story

Southwest Airlines said it is cutting nonstop flights from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport to Nashville, leaving the carrier with four flights from GSP, or 40 percent fewer than when Southwest started service to Greenville in 2011. Full story

The Savannah River Site's goal of bringing small modular reactors to South Carolina has taken a significant blow now that a final award to fund the reactors is going toward a project based in Oregon. Full story

Best of The Buzz

U.S. Sen. John McCain told The New York Times that he is praying Sarah Palin stays out of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham's Republican primary this summer. Full story

The House Ethics Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday about the ethics charges facing state Rep. Bill Chumley. Full story

This summer, Gov. Nikki Haley showed off her shooting abilities during a tour of a Columbia arms maker. Now her office posted a video of the guv breaking a board and receiving an honorary black belt, which went viral. Full story

DSS director Lillian Koller is working from home until after the new year because of an illness. Full story

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