MORNING BUZZ: Uneasy road to peace on SC's government restructuring bill

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN, ADAM BEAM and JAMIE SELF on January 16, 2014 

SC State House

AP

“They are going to play their games. I just want the policy to pass. I don’t care.”

That was Gov. Nikki Haley almost one year ago to the day, talking about the troubled Department of Administration bill that would give her office more control over state functions.

In 2011, Haley had tried to force the legislature back into session to pass it, only to have the state Supreme Court overrule her.

In 2012, she lobbied lawmakers to pass it, only to see it fail by one vote on the legislature's last day. (UPDATE: The bill died because Senators refused to stop the debate. Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic candidate for governor, was one of the votes not to end debate. He said later he was not comfortable forcing his fellow senator to stop speaking.)

So last year, when her chief Democratic rival became the bill's primary sponsor, Haley declared she was going to let the legislature play its games with government restructuring.

But the games worked.

Today, House and Senate negotiators are scheduled to sign off on S.22, clearing the way for it to make its way to Haley's desk.

The deal would give the governor control over human resources, information technology and state vehicles and buildings. Her office praised the compromise.

That's not to say that Haley, a first-term Republican, deserves all of the credit.

Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen wrote the bill and was one of the negotiators who brokered the compromise.

While Haley and Sheheen will clash in November, they stayed out of each other's way long enough for this bill to pass.

State retirement commission fight 'like a war'

As co-chairman of the Senate subcommittee investigating the state's retirement investments, state Sen. Joel Lourie is getting a close look at the dispute between the state treasurer and the retirement investment commission.

"That's like a war," he said.

The battle continues today as the subcommittee is scheduled to meet 45 minutes after the Senate adjourns.

One of the war's generals -- State Treasurer Curtis Loftis -- is scheduled to testify.

Gov. Haley's public schedule today

• 11 a.m.: Join VisitGreenvilleSC and VisitAnderson for an announcement at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville

• Noon: Address the Greenville County Republican County at the Poinsett Club in Greenville

State House today

Senate

Senate meets at 11 a.m.

• 9:30 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulations for the S.C. Criminal Justice Academy (Gressette Room 207 / Agenda)

• 10 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.815 (Gressette Room 209 / Agenda)

• 45 Minutes after the Senate adjourns: Finance Special Subcommittee to Review the Investment of State Retirement Funds (Gressette Room 105 / Agenda)

House

House meets at 10 a.m.

• Upon adjournment of the House: Ways and Means K-16 Building Need and Utilization Study Committee (Blatt Room 521 / Agenda)

Joint meeting

• 9:30 a.m.: Conference Committee on S.22 (State House, 3rd Floor Conference Room / Agenda)

Schmoozing

• 8 a.m.: Breakfast with the S.C. High School League (Blatt Room 112)

Police expanded workers' comp bill passes House

The State reports that "S.C. police officers who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after shooting someone would be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under a bill the state House of Representatives passed Wednesday."

Here was the bill's inspiration:

The bill was inspired by Brandon Bentley, a Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department deputy who shot and killed a man on a call in 2009. Bentley never worked again after the shooting, attempting suicide at least twice, he said.

The state Supreme Court ruled Bentley was not eligible for workers’ compensation because state law says benefits only are available if the event that leads to an injury was “extraordinary and unusual.” The court ruled that, for a police officer, shooting someone was part of the job.

Potato farmers offer to cut river withdrawal

The State's Sammy Fretwell reports that "A Michigan potato farm company is offering to sharply reduce the amount of water it will siphon from the Edisto River’s narrow South Fork under a compromise offered to opponents of the hefty withdrawals." Full story

Unauthorized state agency data download reported

The Department of Employment and Workforce became yet another state agency under whose nose the personal information of S.C. residents was taken without permission. Full story

Buzz Clicks

Haley to hold Raleigh fundraiser: WRAL news station in Raleigh reports that Gov. Nikki Haley will raise money in Raleigh next month. Full story

S.C. First Gentleman appointed to board: S.C. First Gentleman Michael Haley was appointed to the American Red Cross of Central S.C. Chapter's board of directors. Full story

Race for state schools' chief adds one: Former U.S. Secret Service agent and state Rep. Andy Patrick will run for state Superintendent of Education. Full story

Bobby Harrell hospitalized with illness, then released : The State reports that S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell spent the night in a hospital at a doctor's recommendation after he was diagnosed with a respiratory illness. Full story

Freedomworks' Kibbe waiting for runoff in SC's U.S. Senate race: The Hill reports that in an interview Wednesday, Freedomworks President Matt Kibbe told The Hill that his group may wait for a runoff before getting involved in the S.C. race. Kibbe was scheduled to speak at a State House rally in Columbia Tuesday along with state Sen. Lee Bright, one of four GOP challengers Graham faces for his June primary. Full story

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