MORNING BUZZ: Pair of DSS hearings, McConnell addresses joint session

Posted by JAMIE SELF and ANDREW SHAIN on March 26, 2014 

Nikki Haley (left) and Vincent Sheheen make it official, filing to run for governor in the 2014 election.

THE STATE

— A busy day at the S.C. State House ahead:

• Lillian Koller, director of the S.C. Department of Social Services, will miss the fourth meeting of a Senate panel currently investigating complaints against the embattled state agency. The meeting will immediately follow the agency's Senate budget hearing, which Koller also will not attend. Members of the DSS oversight panel have asked Koller to testify, but her spokeswoman says a doctor first must clear her after suffering a stroke in December. (Gressette Room 105, Budget hearing starts at 9 a.m., DSS Oversight panel meets at 10 a.m.)

• Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who oversees the state Office of Aging (and was named recently the new president of the College of Charleston), will address at 12:30 p.m. a joint session of the General Assembly, sharing stories and findings about South Carolina's aging population and the state's need to prepare for the wave of seniors he calls "the gray tsunami."

• The South Carolina chapter of PublicSchoolOptions.org, a national parent organization, will rally at the S.C. State House at 11:30 a.m. in support of expanding educational options for students within public schools, including charter, magnet and virtual schools. State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais and several state legislators are expected to speak.

• The Democratic Women’s House Caucus and South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council will gather in the State House lobby at 10 a.m. for the 2014 Day in Blue. A surprise speaker who will announce a run for a statewide office.

• The S.C. School Boards Association is hosting candidates for state Superintendent of Education during a gathering at the Capital City Club across Gervais Street from the State House.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley and Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen signed up Tuesday for another fight to see who will run South Carolina.

Some S.C. senators want more school districts to have the option of pursuing a sales tax to pay for school construction projects.

A stronger version of Emma’s Law on Tuesday passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. The bill aimed at getting tough on repeat drunken drivers and reducing the state’s soaring numbers of innocents killed by them heads now to the House floor.

The chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee thinks the only chance for substantial transportation funding this year is to get creative with time running out on the Senate calendar, The Greenville News reports.

Sen. Tom Davis warned Tuesday that if legislators block his bill aimed at allowing retirees to legally play bridge, he'll sue to get South Carolina's centuries-old antigambling law thrown out altogether.

A Fort Mill Democrat is banking on moderate voters tired of what he calls dysfunction in Congress to win over a Republican stronghold in this year’s Fifth Congressional District election, The (Rock Hill) Herald reports.

Former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush have endorsed Sally Atwater, the widow of legendary Republican operative Lee Atwater, in the race for S.C. Superintendent of Education.

GOP Rep. Mark Sanford is making peace with the National Republican Congressional Committee, Politico reports.

Greenville Sen. Mike Fair is objecting to a bill to make the wooly mammoth the official state fossil but he says it has nothing to do with an attempt by another Upstate senator to amend the bill with a passage of creation from the Bible that was struck as not germane, The Greenville News reports.

The College of Charleston's Student Government Association voted Tuesday that it has no confidence in the school's Board of Trustees after its handling of the recent presidential search and some members' comments on a freshman reading selection, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reports.

Govs. Nikki Haley and Rick Perry are supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham’s push to ban Internet gaming, according to letters sent by the GOP governors to Capitol Hill leaders, Politico reports.

Who's filed: Updated list of candidates entering federal, statewide and S.C. House elections. Filing ends noon Sunday.

Who's schmoozing the S.C. General Assembly today: Lander University will host breakfast for legislators from 8-10 a.m. (Blatt Room 112) ... S.C. State Firefighter's Association will host lunch for legislators from noon - 2 p.m. (State House grounds) ... S.C. Summary Court Judges Association will host a reception for legislators from 6-8 p.m. (Seawell's)

State House today

Joint meetings

• 9 a.m.: Agency Head Salary Commission (Gressette Room 406 / Agenda)

S.C. Senate

Full body meets at 12:15 p.m.

• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.309, S.869 and S.1029 (Gressette Room 207 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: Finance Health and Human Services Subcommittee Budget Hearings (Gressette Room 105 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.723 (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: Finance Criminal Justice Subcommittee Budget Hearing (Gressette Room 209 / Agenda)

• Upon adjournment of Finance Health and Human Services Subcommittee Senate General DSS Oversight Committee (Gressette Room 105)

• 10 a.m.: Fish, Game and Forestry Subcommittee (Gressette Room 408 / Agenda)

• 10 a.m.: L.C.I. Labor and Employment Subcommittee (Gressette Room 407 / Agenda)

• 10 a.m.: Education K 12 Subcommittee (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda)

• 10 a.m.: Finance Natural Resources and Economic Development Subcommittee Budget Hearing (Gressette Room 307 / Agenda)

• 11 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.971 (Gressette Room 209 / Agenda)

• 11 a.m. Finance Higher Education Budget Subcommittee Gressette Room 207 / Agenda)

S.C. House

Full body meets at 10 a.m.

• 8 a.m.: South Carolina Connections Academy (Blatt Room 305)

• 8 a.m.: Teen Pact South Carolina (Blatt Rooms 108 and 110)

• 8 a.m.: Carolinas Independent Automobile Dealers Association (Blatt Room 321)

• 8-10 a.m. South Carolina State Library - House District Data Presentation (Blatt Rooms 214 and 215)

• 8:30 a.m.: Agriculture Subcommittee (Blatt Room 410 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: LCI Business and Commerce Subcommittee on H.4927 (Blatt Room 403 / Agenda)

• 11 a.m.: South Carolina Democratic Women's Council (Blatt Room 112)

• 11 a.m.: Students For Civility (Blatt Room 305)

• 11 a.m.: Liberty Day Kids (Blatt Room 318)

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