House Republican leaders said this morning they plan to keep a lighter schedule this week, with contentious debate expected on a bill requiring voters to show a photo ID.
House Republicans also plan on discussing a Senate plan to raise the state cigarette tax by 50-cents per pack at a closed-door lunch meeting. Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Greenville, saying he wants the House to insist on their 30-cent increase. House majority leader Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, said he is working to find a compromise that could withstand an expected veto in both the House and Senate.
Lawmakers also said tomorrow's vote to elect a University of South Carolina trustee is very close. Leah Moody is currently the school's only black trustee, but many Republicans are supporting former lawmaker Alton Hyatt for the post, but many black lawmakers say Moody - who was appointed by Gov. Mark Sanford - should keep her seat.Rep. Gary Simrill, R-York, said he has 68 House votes and 16 Senate votes by his count, but that support has shifted during the two weeks the House has been on furlough. A USC board candidate needs 86 of 170 total votes to win election.
Simrill joked about the situation at the House GOP caucus meeting in introducing Moody and Hyatt, calling it "a quiet race for USC board."