As the Senate looks to finish an ethics reform bill today, Gov. Nikki delivered a message on one of her pet issues: Get it done the right way.
Haley said she told senators last week that the report from her ethics task force led by two former state attorneys general needed to be the gold standard.
She was disappointed that independent investigators had not been included in the senate version (lawmakers would still police themselves). She also wants to see expansion of criminal penalties and lawyer-legislators having to show fees they make when they sue the state - a dig at her expected Democratic opponent this fall, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Camden lawyer.
Sheheen returned the favor by proposing Wednesday that lawmakers disclose how much they earn, not just the sources - a non-starter shot down by Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin, a Haley ally.
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"The legislators need to understand that ethics reform is not about what's convenient to them. Ethics reform should be about what's transparent," Haley said. "I think what we're seeing is a debate on what's convenient."
She said she was willing to start over.
"I told them I've got certain standards," she said. "This is not about passing an ethics bill. This is about passing a good bill."
SC already has version of controversial Ariz. law
South Carolina already has the type of religious-freedom law that Arizona lawmakers passed that critics say could allow businesses to discriminate against gays.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed the bill Wednesday after political and business leaders urged her to do so.
South Carolina's 15-year-old law, which few realized was on the books, is like 17 others nationwide and one approved by Congress, and would allow a restaurant – such as Chick-fil-A – that did not want to open on Sundays, based on religious grounds, to get a business license in a city that requires merchants to remain open all week, Gov. Nikki Haley’s office said.
But some states — including Arizona, Ohio and Missouri — have tried to amend their religious-freedom laws in a way that critics say could allow businesspeople to cite their religious convictions to refuse to serve gay couples, for example. Full story
Haley fundraiser in Georgia stirs 2011 port controversy: Political and business leaders in Georgia -- Gov. Nathan Deal, the lieutenant governor and House speaker -- are hosting a fundraiser for Gov. Nikki Haley Monday, stirring a 2011 controversy. The Post and Courier's Jeremy Borden writes:
In 2011, Haley was questioned over whether she and her appointees on the state's Department of Health and Environmental Control board should have helped award a permit to dredge the Savannah port. Savannah has leapfrogged ahead of Charleston to become one of the nation's busiest ports, and some fear that deepening the Savannah River could tip the scales further in Georgia's favor....About two years ago, Haley had raised $15,000 at a Georgia fundraiser 13 days before DHEC approved dredging Savannah's harbor, The Post and Courier reported at the time. That approval came weeks after the agency had initially denied the request over water-quality and environmental issues the dredging would cause.
Winthrop poll shows Graham, Scott, Haley up: A Winthrop poll released this week shows U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, with 45 percent approval from likely GOP primary voters, not enough to avoid a runoff, while his challengers remain in the single digits. 35 percent of those pollled are still undecided in that race. The poll also shows Gov. Nikki Haley at her highest popularity in eight polls since she took office, with 78 percent approval from likely GOP primary voters. Full story
Common Core compromise advances: A compromise that would not require educators to throw out the Common Core could take the wind out of the sails of activists calling for the full repeal of the K-12 education standards this year. A state Senate education panel voted Wednesday to advance a proposal that would leave the standards in place but review them no later than 2018. Full story
Program to find veterans jobs grows: A program that has slashed unemployment to less than 4 percent from 16 percent in 2011 among S.C. National Guard members is being expanded statewide. Called Operation Palmetto Employment, the program would help troops of all branches leaving military service find jobs in the state. But it also would supply businesses, large and small, with dependable, trainable, drug-free and dedicated workers, Gov. Nikki Haley said. Full story
Snow day forgiveness bill nears passage: A bill that would allow school districts to forgive up to five days missed due to weather, after they hold classes on three makeup days built into their schedules, cleared a critical hurdle Wednesday and is set for passage. Full story
Ex-Spartanburg police officer announces bid for U.S. Senate: Dave Feliciano recently resigned from the Spartanburg Police Department to run for U.S. Senate against Sen. Lindsey Graham. Feliciano makes the sixth Republican vying to oust Graham in June's GOP primary. Full story
State House Clicks
Bill limiting pollution lawsuits passes House: Property owners would lose the right to sue for cleanup of long-standing industrial pollution under a bill approved Wednesday by the S.C. House of Representatives, according to an article by The State's Sammy Fretwell:
The House voted 80-30 to close what supporters said was a loophole in a 2012 law intended to stop citizen lawsuits against polluters. Opponents said the House’s action could erode further the rights of the public to halt pollution when state agencies don’t enforce the law.
The vote broke down on party lines. No Republicans opposed the bill, with eight Democrats supporting it. The bill now goes to the Senate, where prospects of passage are less certain.
Plan to block environmental, safety regs blocked in Senate: The state Senate has blocked a plan to eliminate scores of public health, safety and environmental rules after concerns surfaced about the sweeping impacts the measure could have on South Carolina. Senators voted Tuesday to send the legislation back to a committee for further study, a vote that dims chances the proposal will pass. Sen Larry Martin, R-Pickens, persuaded the upper chamber not to approve the bill. Among other things, the measure could have killed more than 100 Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations, including those that protect air quality and that oversee radioactive waste handling. Officials at DHEC and the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation had expressed concerns about the industry-supported bill. Full story
State House meetings today
• 2:30 p.m.: Joint Legislative Committee to Screen Candidates forCollege and University Boards of Trustees (Gressette 209 /Agenda
Full body meets at 11 a.m.
• 9 a.m.: Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee (Gressette 308 /Agenda
• 9:30 a.m.: Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee(Gressette 308 /Agenda
• 9:30 a.m.: Finance K-12 Education Subcommittee Budget Hearing(Gressett 407 /Agenda
• 10 a.m.: Finance Sales and Income Taxation Subcommittee onS.525, S.985 and S.1033 (Gressette 307 /Agenda
• 10 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on H.4259 (Gressette 209 /Agenda
• 10 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.916 (Gressette 105 /Agenda
Full body meets 10 a.m.
• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee (Blatt 516/Agenda
• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee (Blatt 511 /Agenda
• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Special Laws Subcommittee (Blatt 515-A /Agenda
• 9 a.m.: Blatt Room 403 -- Labor, Commerce and IndustryCommittee on R.4426 and on H.4578, H.4604, H.4643 and H.4644 (Blatt403 /Agenda
• 11:45 a.m.: South Carolina Dialogue Foundation (Blatt 112)
• 8 a.m.: Association of Cosmetology Salon Professionals (Blatt 112)
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