SC House OKs $12,000 pay raise for lawmakers, overriding Gov. Haley’s veto

ccope@thestate.comJune 17, 2014 

State of State

RAINIER EHRHARDT — AP

  • Governor’s vetoes

    The House voted Tuesday to sustain 15 of the governor’s vetoes, affecting $1.4 million in state spending. The Senate could take up the overridden vetoes as early as Wednesday.

    Haley vetoes that were sustained

    •  $75,000 for the Carolina Panthers’ training camp at Wofford College and $200,000 for a multi-purpose sports complex in Spartanburg

    •  A study committee to look at expanding the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act

    •  $100,000 to the Francis Marion Commission, which maintains a trail along the campaigns of Revolutionary War hero Gen. Francis Marion in the Pee Dee and northern Lowcountry

    •  $160,000 to the state Human Affairs Commission for compliance programs and new positions

    Vetoes overridden by the House

    •  $12,000-a-year pay raise for legislators

    •  $2 million for the Lieutenant Governor’s Office for Caregivers through the Home and Community Based Services program

    •  $450,000 in S.C. lottery profits earmarked for three private colleges, Spartanburg Methodist, Clinton Junior and Coker

    •  $100,000 to ensure a swimming pool in Walhalla complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and $200,000 for a special-needs park in Myrtle Beach

    •  $2 million for grants to youth sports programs

    •  $1 million for a state tourism grant program to promote “Undiscovered South Carolina”

  • How did your state representative vote on the pay raise?

    Override Governor's Veto 76

    RESULT: Passed

    Yeas: 73; Nays: 29; Excused Absence: 3; Not Voting: 19

    H 4701 FY 2014-2015 Appropriations Bill

    YEAS - 73
    Alexander, Terry
    Anderson, Carl
    L. Bales, Jimmy C.
    Bannister, Bruce W.
    Barfield, Liston D.
    Bingham, Kenneth A.
    Bowers, William K.
    Branham, Lester P., Jr.
    Brannon, Norman D.
    Brown, Grady A.
    Brown, Robert L.
    Burns, James Mikell
    Clemmons, Alan D.
    Clyburn, William
    Cobb-Hunter, Gilda
    Crawford, Heather Ammons
    Crawford, Kristopher R.
    Crosby, William E.
    Daning, Joseph S.
    Dillard, Chandra E.
    Douglas, MaryGail K.
    Gambrell, Michael W.
    George, J. Wayne
    Gilliard, Wendell G.
    Goldfinch, Stephen, Jr.
    Govan, Jerry N., Jr.
    Hardee, Kevin
    Hardwick, Nelson L.
    Harrell, Robert W., Jr.
    Hart, Christopher R.
    Hayes, Jackie E.
    Herbkersman, William
    G. Hixon, William M.
    Hodges, Kenneth F.
    Hosey, Lonnie
    Howard, Leon
    Jefferson, Joseph H., Jr.
    Kennedy, Ralph Shealy, Jr.
    King, John Richard C.
    Knight, Patsy G.
    Loftis, Dwight A.
    Lowe, Phillip D.
    Mack, David J., III
    McEachern, Joseph A.
    McLeod, Mia S.
    Merrill, James H.
    Mitchell, Harold, Jr.
    Moss, Dennis C.
    Moss, V. Stephen
    Munnerlyn, Elizabeth R
    . Neal, Joseph H.
    Norrell, Mandy Powers
    Ott, Russell L.
    Owens, Phillip D.
    Parks, J. Anne
    Pitts, Michael A. Ridgeway,
    Robert L., III
    Robinson-Simpson, Leola C.
    Rutherford, J. Todd
    Ryhal, Mike
    Sabb, Ronnie A.
    Sandifer, William E., III
    Skelton, B. R.
    Sottile, F. Michael
    Southard, Edward L.
    Taylor, Bill
    Vick, Ted M.
    Weeks, J. David
    Wells, Don L.
    Whipper, J. Seth
    White, W. Brian
    Whitmire, William R.
    Williams, Robert Q.

    NAYS - 29
    Atwater, Todd K.
    Ballentine, Nathan
    Bedingfield, Eric M.
    Chumley, William M.
    Cole, J. Derham, Jr.
    Delleney, F. Gregory, Jr.
    Edge, Tracy R.
    Finlay, Kirkman, III
    Forrester, P. Michael
    Funderburk, Laurie Slade
    Hamilton, Daniel P.
    Hiott, David R.
    Huggins, Chip
    Long, Deborah A.
    Lucas, James H.
    McLeod, Walton J., III
    Nanney, Wendy K.
    Newton, Wm. Weston J.
    Norman, Ralph W.
    Pope, Thomas E.
    Quinn, Rick
    Simrill, J. Gary
    Smith, G. Murrell, Jr.
    Smith, Garry R.
    Smith, J. Roland
    Stringer, Tommy M.
    Tallon, Edward R., Sr.
    Toole, McLain R.
    Willis, Mark N.

    EXCUSED ABSENCE - 3
    Gagnon, Craig
    A. Putnam, Joshua
    A. Thayer, Anne J.

    NOT VOTING - 19
    Allison, Merita A.
    Anthony, Michael A.
    Bernstein, Beth E.
    Bowen, Don C.
    Erickson, Shannon S
    Felder, Raye
    Henderson, Phyllis
    Horne, Jenny Anderson
    Limehouse, Harry B., III
    McCoy, Peter M., Jr.
    Murphy, Christopher J.
    Patrick, Andy
    Riley, R. Shannon
    Rivers, Samuel, Jr.
    Sellers, Bakari T.
    Smith, James E., Jr.
    Spires, L. Kit
    Stavrinakis, Leonidas E.
    Wood, Donna Hicks

S.C. state representatives voted to give themselves a $12,000-a-year pay raise Tuesday, overriding a veto of the pay hike by Gov. Nikki Haley.

Overall, the GOP-controlled House voted to sustain only 15 of Republican Haley’s 76 vetoes, agreeing to cut $1.4 million from the state’s $7 billion general fund budget. Haley had wanted to trim $18.5 million from the state budget that takes effect July 1.

The 61 vetoes the House overturned now go to the majority-Republican state Senate, where two-thirds of state senators also must agree to override the governor or Haley’s vetoes stand.

The pay raise should be on friendlier grounds in the Senate, which originally added the $12,000 pay hike to the state budget at a total cost of $2 million.

To follow the latest news on S.C. politics, like The Buzz on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Supporters say the pay raise — a $1,000-a-month increase in legislative expenses — is justified to pay the higher cost of gas as lawmakers travel around their more populous legislative districts.

S.C. lawmakers now are paid a $10,400 a year salary and $12,000 for in-district expenses. Legislators also receive mileage costs and $140 a day for hotel accommodations and food costs while the Legislature is session.

Haley vetoed the raise, condemning the way lawmakers originally went about increasing their pay. She said the raise should be decided by voters.

The House’s first attempt to overturn Haley’s veto Tuesday failed 73-39, falling two votes short of the two-thirds majority of those voting. However, the raise was taken back up again and passed 73-29.

State Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Berkeley, told the House the General Assembly last increased its pay in 1995. Legislators' districts have grown since then, he said, adding legislators who do not want the pay raise can opt out.

If voters were to decide the issue, lawmakers would have to wait four years before ballots could be cast, Merrill added.

Haley took to Facebook to rip the House vote, posting a photo of the vote tally sheet.

“Unreal. The House just reconsidered and voted themselves a pay raise,” she wrote. “Those who voted (yes) or didn't vote at all ... supported raising their own pay. Thank those who voted (no) and stood with us.”

House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, supported the raise. “It should not cost a member money to serve.”

However, state Rep. Nathan Ballentine, R-Richland, voted against the extra cash for lawmakers.

“My voters talked to me about more money for roads and schools and jobs,” not pay raises for lawmakers, he said.

Senators could take up the pay raise issue as early as Wednesday.

Representative also voted to overturn Haley’s veto of an added $2 million for the Lieutenant Governor’s Office for Caregivers through the Home and Community Based Services program.

Haley vetoed that portion of the lieutenant governor’s budget because, she said, it was growing too quickly — nearly tripling over the past four years.

But Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, defended the program, saying it is 40 times cheaper to support seniors in their homes than for the state to pay for a nursing-home bed under Medicaid.

“Such home and community-based services commonly include a meal a day, delivered to senior citizens and vulnerable adults who are unable to care for themselves,” McConnell said. “The services also prevent middle-class seniors from going through their assets and the eventual transition to a more expensive Medicaid nursing bed.”

State Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Bamberg, who is running for lieutenant governor in November, agreed.

“Keeping our seniors in their homes not only restores their dignity but saves our state money,” Sellers said.

Reach Cope at (803) 771-8657.

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