The South Carolina Republican Party is backing Gov. Nikki Haley’s pressure on lawmakers to approve a bill capping lawsuit punitive damages and creating a new cabinet-level Department of Administration.
In an e-mail sent to activists Tuesday morning, the party asked members to call their state senator and insist they pass the two bills in the legislative session’s final week.
"Our party is in the majority. We must govern like it," the e-mail says, echoing language Haley used with Senate Republicans last week, according to those who attended the Senate GOP caucus meeting.
The tort reform and restructuring bills have been stuck for more than a month as the Senate first debated the budget and then took up a bill providing online retailer Amazon an exemption from collecting state sales tax in exchange for a promise to create 2,000 S.C. jobs. Democrats and some Republicans have been trying to avoid debating the tort reform bill. Supporters say the bill will provide more protection to businesses and encourage them to expand in South Carolina. Opponents say the caps are most likely to hurt small businesses as they pursue legal relief against larger businesses they work with.
The e-mail is also the first sign of new S.C. GOP chairman Chad Connelly and Haley working together. Haley did not support Connelly’s bid for chairman, which he won earlier this month.