The General Assembly is expected to check off a couple of big items off their legislative lists today.
House budget makers are expected to approve a $7 billion spending plan for state money next year that will include
The Senate is expected to pass ethics reform, one of the more prominent issues on the calendar. Senators met in private (technically) for two hours Wednesday night to hammer out a compromise. Big sticking points have included how much income disclosure would be required and whether an independent group could investigate lawmakers instead of their own ethics committees.
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Questioning choices by colleges: Some S.C. public colleges are coming under fire for the books they assign students and whether they follow a state law requiring instruction on the U.S. founding documents. S.C. House budget writers voted Wednesday to take away nearly $70,000 from the College of Charleston and USC Upstate for having freshmen read books with gay themes. Full story
S.C. State's deficit plan includes request for more money: S.C. State University wants to follow a game plan already in place to trim its $13 million shortfall through the end of June, according to a deficit-reduction plan given to state budget officials Wednesday. S.C. State’s plan, ordered by the state, also says the college will need an additional $12 million over four years for programs the state’s only public historically black college says it needs to make to become more competitive. Full story
Want to come to SC? Don't bring unions along: South Carolina is glad to have non-union jobs from BMW, Michelin and Boeing, but don’t expect any factories from Ford, General Motors, Chrysler or other companies with unionized work forces. According to Gov. Nikki Haley, they’re not welcome. Haley said Wednesday that she discourages companies from building new facilities in South Carolina if they are planning to bring a union with them. Full story
Lawmaker's divorce case unsealed despite national security concerns: A judge ordered state Rep. Andy Patrick's divorce case to be unsealed Wednesday and denied his attorney's request for a gag order in the case. Patrick's attorney had argued that information related to the case should not be made public, including material he described as sensitive and involving the CIA, FBI and Secret Service. Full story
• State Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, will pick up endorsements from Tea Party leaders for his U.S. Senate run against incumbent Lindsey Graham at a 10 a.m. news conference at the State House.
• Ready for Hillary, a political-action committee pushing for former First Lady Hillary Clinton to run for the White House in 2016,holds a fundraiser
at 6 p.m. at 701 Whaley in Columbia. State Rep. Bakari Sellers, D-Bamberg, is the host along with several other members of the General Assembly.
Gov. Nikki Haley's public schedule
No events today. She heads to Washington for the Republican Governors Association meeting starting Friday. With other governors, she will attend a White House dinner on Sunday and visit President Barack Obama on Monday.
State House Clicks
Snow days forgiveness bill advances: A state Senate panel approved a bill Wednesday that would allow school districts to forgive up to five days missed due to weather. Full story
Common Core compromise considered: A Senate public education panel decided Wednesday to give members a week to consider a "compromise" offered as a way to address criticism of the Common Core education standards without asking teachers to suddenly abandon them. Full story
Bill would bring medical trial of marijuana extract to SC: S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, introduced legislation Wednesday that would direct the state to work with the Medical University of South Carolina and Federal Drug Administration to bring an approved medical trial to the state for Epidolex, which uses a marijuana extract called that does not include the chemical associated with the "high" effects of marijuana. Full story
Stronger elder abuse protections proposed: Two of South Carolina's leading advocates for senior citizens introduced legislation Wednesday designed to strengthen protections for the state's older or vulnerable residents and increase penalties for abusers and scammers. Full story
State House picture day for the champs
Players on the state champion Northwestern High School football team from Rock Hill take photos during a visit to the State House on Wednesday. Read about the team's Columbia trip. (Photo by Bret McCormick/The (Rock Hill Herald)
How to ease the doctor shortage: Expanding medical residencies in rural and underserved areas of the state is one strategy South Carolina should use to ease the growing shortage of physicians, an advisory group has concluded. New medical residencies also should be created in primary care fields, the Graduate Medical Education Advisory Group told the state Department of Health and Human Services. Full story
Former U.S. Supreme Court justice visits Charleston: Sandra Day O'Connor, the first female member of the nation's highest court, visited Charleston to receive a copy of a bound facsimile of John Locke's Fundamental Constitution of Carolina, to which she wrote the forward after seeing the original 1669 document in the Charleston Library Society's archives several years ago. Full story
Sheriff indicted: The sheriff in Williamsburg County created fake police reports saying people had their identities stolen for a friend who ran a credit-repair business, according to federal prosecutors. Full story
Graham opens Columbia office: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, spoke at the grand opening of his Columbia campaign office and attend a fundraising barbecue in Gilbert on Wednesday. Full story
Connor releases first TV ad: Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor released his first television ad in his campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham. Full story
McKinney stumps in Aiken: South Carolina lieutenant governor Republican candidate Pat McKinney was in Aiken on Wednesday to introduce himself to residents and discuss the goals he'll set if he's chosen to fill the seat. Full story
SEC presidential primary proposed: Georgia’s secretary of state wants to move up his state’s presidential primary and is proposing an “SEC primary” of Southern states to increase the region’s influence on the presidential selection process. Secretary of State Brian Kemp is proposing March 1 be a southeastern regional “Super Tuesday” of primaries, he announced in a release Wednesday, to ensure that Southern voters have a voice in the election cycle. Full story
What Hootie's frontman would do in office:Darius Rucker chats about politics, what he would do if were were governor and what should happen next to the Confederate flag of the State House (plus, he talks about his music, too.) Full story
State House meetings today
Full body meets 10 a.m.
• 9 a.m., Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee (Blatt Room 511,Agenda
• 9 a.m., Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee (Blatt Room 516,Agenda
• 9 a.m., Judiciary Special Laws Subcommittee (Blatt Room 515-A,Agenda
• 9 a.m., LCI Business and Commerce Subcommittee on H. 4643 (Blatt Room 403,Agenda
• 9:30 a.m., LCI Real Estate Subcommittee on H. 4644 (Blatt 403,Agenda
• 10 a.m., Legislative Group (Rep. Raye Felder) (Blatt Room 110)
• 2 p.m., Joint Legislative Committee to Screen Candidates for College and University Boards of Trustees, (Gressette Room 209,Agenda
Full body meets 11 a.m.
• 9 a.m.: Agriculture Subcommittee on S. 839 (Gressette 207 /Agenda
• 9 a.m., Judiciary Subcommittee on S.343 and S.376(Gressette Room 308,Agenda
• 9:30 a.m., Judiciary Subcommittee on S.416 and S.459(Gressette Room 209,Agenda
• 10 a.m., Judiciary Subcommittee on S.864, S.872, S.687, H.3024, H.3124 and S.841 (Gressette Room 308,Agenda
• Upon adjournment of the Senate,Finance Special Subcommittee to Review the Investment of State Retirement Funds (Gressette Room 105,Agenda
• 2 p.m., Joint Legislative Committee to Screen Candidates for College and University Boards of Trustees (Gressette Room 209,Agenda
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