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

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on March 11, 2014 



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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