The Buzz

January 22, 2014

MORNING BUZZ: What the Nikki Haley might include in her State of the State

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

When Gov. Nikki Haley gives her annual assessment of South Carolina tonight, she's bound to say a few familiar things.

In no particular order, here is some of what The Buzz expects to hear:

Lots and lots and lots of jobs announced in the last three years ... Need to approve her K-12 education plan to win more jobs ... "It's a great day in South Carolina" ... Reduce red tape to help businesses ... The Boeing expansion ... Something vaguely anti-union ...

Victory lap for the Department of Administration finally heading for her desk ... That company that makes flat screen TVs coming in the state ... States are better at fixing problems than Washington ... South Carolina's business climate is improving according to a trade magazine ranking ... Something against Obamacare ...

Gotta fix roads and bridges -- but without raising taxes ... Getting folks off welfare and into jobs ... Sacrifices of military families with a mention of her husband's year-long military deployment ... How the state is becoming the nation's tire-making hub ... Something about rising college tuition ...

Must pass ethics reform by the end of the legislative session ... Tax relief ... Giving more help to rural areas -- backbone of the state ... Select government labor statistics that show only how South Carolina's is economy improving ... Something about the awesome seasons for Clemson and USC football.

Tune in at 7 p.m. to see how much of this is in her address.

No DSS boss at hearing today

DSS director Lillian Koller is back in the office after an undisclosed ailment but won't sit before a special state Senate oversight panel probing her agency today.

Jessica Hanak-Coulter, the department's deputy director of human services, will get the hot seat when senators follow up from their hearing last week with families and advocates.

That doesn't mean Koller is off the hook.

Expressing sensitivity to Koller's health, (Democratic state Sen. Joel) Lourie added that the panel's work would "not be completed until we hear directly from her."

I have to ask the governor

State Sen. Shane Martin showed how to get the governor's attention.

The Spartanburg Republican held up a vote Monday on a government restructuring bill that was one of Gov. Nikki Haley's top priorities this year.

He wanted to ask what Gov. Nikki Haley thought of the compromise that would give the governor more power by eliminating the Budget and Control Board but not over procurement.

He waited and continued to hold the Senate floor for much of the afternoon. Key committee meetings were cancelled.

How important was the bill to Haley? She invited him to the first floor of the State House for a chat.

Satisfied, Martin then stopped his filibuster and the Senate passed the bill, like the House did unanimously earlier in the day.

Buzz clicks

"Psst, wanna buy a state road?": The S.C. House’s top budget writer has an idea about how the state can close its $29 billion deficit in money that it has for road repairs over the next 20 years: Give some of the state's 41,409 miles of roads away go local governments. Full story

Another State House good-bye: State Rep. B.R. Skelton became the third House member to announce his retirement after the current term. Full story

Latest on the tater tussle: Michigan potato farmers who are embroiled in a dispute over large water withdrawals in South Carolina are seeking to dismiss a court challenge that they say threatens a successful harvest of 36 million pounds of spuds this spring. Full story

Doing more than the minimum: S.C. employers would have to pay workers at least $1 an hour more than the federal minimum wage if two bills filed Tuesday pass the General Assembly. Full story

Harrell the headliner: S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell, under a grand jury investigation on ethics allegations, was scheduled to head a fundraiser for a political action committee with ties to him last night in Columbia. Full story

The fight over tiny flags on the Winthrop campus: Nearly 3,000 small pink and blue flags on Winthrop University’s campus –– displayed as part of an anti-abortion campaign –– have stirred debate among students this week during the 41st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision. Full story

Review sought in corrections case: The state prison system is asking a circuit judge who ruled that the treatment of mentally ill inmates violates constitutional standards to amend his order and address various defense arguments that lawyers for the state contend weren’t properly addressed in the order. Full story

Steve's plan: Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin laid out on Tuesday a road map for his second term, floating ideas from banning cars in Five Points on weekends to allowing a private recycling company to build a sludge-to-fertilizer plant next to the city’s sewer treatment facility. Full story

Play ball: Columbia City Council on Tuesday voted to open formal negotiations with a minor-league baseball team owner to build a public stadium in the proposed Bull Street neighborhood and asked for draft contracts in two weeks. Full story

Tweet things

He's no dummy: South Carolina's GOP party director is outraged about NAACP's North Carolina head calling out Sen. Tim Scott of North Charleston for parroting the Tea Party line. (Plus, Scott responds).

Lindsey shoots again: South Carolina's senior senator tweets again (OK, retweets) about his use of firearms.

Gov. Nikki Haley's public schedule

• 7 p.m.: Deliver the State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly, S.C. State House

State House meetings today


• 9:45 a.m.: Second Congressional District Delegation Election of a DOT Commissioner (Blatt Room 501) / Agenda )


Meets at 2 p.m.

• 9 a.m.: General DSS Oversight Subcommittee (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Agriculture and Natural Resources Regulation and Resolution Subcommittee (Gressette Room 207 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Education Committee (Gressette Room 105 / Agenda )
• 11 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.513 and H.3563 (Gressette Room 207 / Agenda )
• 11:30 a.m.: Banking and Insurance Subcommittee on S.569 and S.826 (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda )


Meets at 2 p.m.

• 8:30 a.m.: Conservation Voters of South Carolina Legislative Briefing (Blatt Room 110 / Agenda )
• 9 a.m.: Ways and Means Higher Education, Technical, and Cultural Subcommittee (Blatt Room 321 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: LCI Health Insurance Subcommittee on H.3489 (Blatt Room 403 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Ways and Means Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Subcommittee (Blatt Room 305 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Ways and Means Legislative, Executive and Local Government Subcommittee (Blatt Room 511 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Ways and Means Public Education and Special Schools Subcommittee (Blatt Room 521 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Ways and Means Transportation and Regulatory Subcommittee (Blatt Room 501 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Ways and Means Healthcare Subcommittee (Blatt Room 108 / Agenda )
• 11 a.m.: 3-M Subcommittee VI, Other Occupational Regulation and Licensing Boards (Blatt Room 427 / Agenda )
• 11 a.m.: LCI Banking and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee on H.4464 (Blatt Room 403 / Agenda )
• 11:30 a.m.: Legislative Group (Rep. Eric Bedingfield) (Blatt Room 308)
• 12:30 p.m.: 3-M Subcommittee V, Social Services, Mental Health and Children's Affairs (Blatt Room 427 / Agenda )
• 1 p.m.: House Sportsmen's Caucus (Blatt Room 427)
• 1 p.m.: LCI Regulations Subcommittee on R.4399 (Blatt Room 403 / Agenda )
• 1 p.m.: Ways and Means Legislative, Executive and Local Government Subcommittee (Blatt Room 110 / Agenda )

Note: Meeting days, times and locations subject to change.

Schmoozing today

• Noon: Reception by United Way Association of South Carolina (Blatt Room 112)
• 6 p.m.: Reception by South Carolina Bar (Capital City Center)

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