STATE HOUSE (updated): SC House approves $24 billion state spending plan

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on March 11, 2014 

RACHAEL MYERS LOWE — The State

Update

The House gave final passage to the budget Wednesday and sent it to the Senate.

Original story

The S.C. House gave a significant approval for next year’s $24 billion spending plan at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday after two long days of talks and votes.

Representatives come back at 10 a.m. Wednesday for a final vote that should take less than two hours before sending the budget to the Senate.

The spending proposal includes a 1.5 percent pay raise for state employees, 31 new State Law Enforcement Division agents and at least $65 million for an education initiative backed by Gov. Nikki Haley. The budget does not include $70,000 taken away from two public colleges for having freshmen read gay-themed books this school year.

In deliberations Tuesday, the House:

• Approved allowing counties and cities to buy shorter state roads with the 25 percent of the state money that they get maintain state roads. South Carolina’s 46 counties would have $17.2 million to buy roads if the amendment were in place this year. (Background)

• Permitted the state Department of Juvenile Justice to take over the John de la Howe School for at-risk youth in the Upstate for a year after a series of problems noted in a state Inspector General's report.

• Rejected ending the lieutenant governor's security detail and reassigning state officers to other duties. One lawmaker raised succession issues as a reason to keep the guards.

• Turned away efforts to fully fund education at state recommended levels, which would cost $537 million, and accept the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

• Withdrew a proposal to hold back $1 million from each college unless they teach the Constitution and Bill of Rights and ban "pornographic content" in classes.

• Agreed to let students distribute copies of the Constitution on college campuses.

• Moved ahead with a study on the pay of state constitutional officers , including S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson whose $92,007 salary make him the 11th-highest paid state worker with the last name Wilson.

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