The Buzz

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MORNING BUZZ: Emotional hearing on prison bonds + State of the State scorecard

01/23/2014 6:36 AM

01/23/2014 7:01 AM

Expect an emotional hearing on prison bond reform this morning at the State House.

Bond reform has been a big issue ever since Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott criticized Circuit Court Judge Alison Lee for lowering the bonds of two men jailed on violent criminal charges.

Both men posted bail and were released -- only to later be arrested for murder.

Dequan Vereen was charged with killing 51-year-old Robert Jewell at a Richland County convenience store. And Lorenzo Young was charged with killing Kelly Hunnewell, a 33-year-old mother of four.

And on Tuesday, DeShawn Patterson -- who was out of jail on bond for a violent crime -- broke into a Forest Acres home after midnight, firing a gun into the air and demanding money. Patterson was killed in a shootout with one of the home's occupants.

The bill before the House Judiciary Criminal Laws subcommittee -- S.19 , sponsored by Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston -- would add penalties to people who are arrested for violent crimes while out on bond.

The Buzz's State of the State scorecard

The Buzz batted .667 in guessing what Gov. Nikki Haley would include in her State of the State address on Wednesday.

We got many of the high points – K-12 education, jobs, roads, ethics reform, tax relief, victory lap on government reform, D.C. and Obamacare bashing, welfare-to-work, government stats showing how South Carolina’s economy is improving and her husband’s military deployment.

But we whiffed on a few by going business heavy in what turned out to be an education-dominated speech (1,499 of the 5,440 address’ total words).

The swings and misses included reducing red tape, the Boeing expansion, that company that makes flat screen TVs, tire makers clustering in the state and a dig at unions.

We were a little surprised by a couple of college-related omissions.

Nothing was mentioned about rising college tuition. (Perhaps that would take away attention from her K-12 plans.)

And she gave to no sis-boom-bah for the Clemson and USC football teams – a guaranteed applause generator. (USC fans can insert a joke here about how Haley is a Clemson grad who was too embarrassed to mention anything about football.)

Education takes the spotlight in governor's State of the State address

What she said: Gov. Nikki Haley put education at the forefront of her State of the State address Wednesday, calling for lawmakers to reshape classrooms in poorer areas of South Carolina. In her fourth address, she also asked them to pass ethics reform, get more money for roads and cut state income taxes. Full story
What Democrats thought: South Carolina Democrats criticized Republican Gov. Nikki Haley for pledging to use a “money tree” to help cover South Carolina’s $29 billion shortfall in road repairs during her State of the State address Wednesday. Full story
More reaction: What other political leaders thought, including Rep. John King who walked out during the address. Full story
• Read the full text of the address and excerpts of the official Democratic response .

Buzz Clicks

Panel questions DSS vacancies: A Senate panel tasked with reviewing the S.C. Department of Social Services questioned Wednesday why about half the agency’s 46 county director positions turned over in three years and more than 140 positions for caseworkers remain unfilled. Full story

Who are you calling a 'dummy'?: U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, went on Fox News to combat comments by a NAACP leader who said the state's first African American U.S. senator was a puppet of the Tea Party. Full story

The price tag of not raising tuition: The University of South Carolina system is asking state lawmakers for $10.1 million – the equivalent of a 3 percent tuition hike – to freeze students’ tuition bills for a year. Full story

More money needed for Bull Street project:Columbia’s latest projection of its financial commitment to the Bull Street neighborhood jumped by $23 million since last summer when the city initially pledged public funding. Full story

Cultivating support for mega potato farm: The S.C. Farm Bureau Federation debuted a website Wednesday seeks support an embattled Aiken County potato farm's efforts to draw water from the Edisto River. Full story

How bridge-gate could reach SC: Former S.C. GOP party chairman Katon Dawson questions whether Chris Christie's bridge-gate problems might hurt other gubernatorial races since the New Jersey governor chairs the Republican Governors Association. South Carolina has a governor's this year. Full story

SC leaders shocked about potential dump cost: State budget writers expressed dismay Tuesday that no one told them for years that a closed toxic waste dump is running out of money to monitor for pollution leaks into Lake Marion. The state might need to pay up to $400 mililon to cover costs for the next 90 years. Full story

Lindsey, look who's outside your office: Richard Cash, one of four announced primary challengers to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, criticized the Seneca Republican in front of the his Greenville and Columbia offices, on Wednesday -- the 41st anniversary of the historic Supreme Court ruling that struck down anti-abortion laws. Full story

State school boss at choice rallyS.C. schools chief Mick Zais will speak at the National School Choice Week's "whistle-stop train" tour on Thursday in Columbia. Full story

Tweet things

S.C. GOP party leaders show off their train ride at Republican National Committee's winter meeting in D.C.

Senate majority leader offered his take before the State of the State

Gov. Nikki Haley's public schedule

No activities listed.

State House meetings today


• 10 a.m.: Sixth Congressional District Delegation Election of a DOT Commissioner
• 1:30 p.m.: Joint Legislative Committee to Study Services, Programs and Facilities for Aging (Blatt Room 105 / Agenda )


Meets at 11 a.m.

• 9:30 a.m.: Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee (Gressette Room 207 / Agenda )
• 9:30 a.m.: Medical Affairs Subcommittee (Gressette Room 407 / Agenda )
• 10 a.m.: Finance Sales and Income Taxation Subcommittee (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda )
• 10:15 a.m.: Fish, Game and Forestry Subcommittee (Gressette Room 209)
• Upon adjournment of the Senate: Finance Special Subcommittee To Review the Investment of State Gressette Room 308 / Agenda )


Meets at 10 a.m.

• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee (Blatt Room 516 / Agenda )
• 9 a.m.: Legislative Group (Rep. Bill Herbkersman) (Blatt Room 110)
• Upon adjournment of the House: Ways and Means Budget Workshop for All House Members Agenda Available (Blatt Room 112 / Agenda )

Schmoozing today

8 a.m.: Breakfast by S.C. Association of Christian Schools (Blatt room 112)

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A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to Follow The Buzz @buzzatthestate. Follow Cassie @cassielcope. Follow Jamie @jamiemself. Follow Andy @andyshain.

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