The Buzz

March 4, 2014

MORNING BUZZ: Truthful Tuesday plans protest, arrests at State House today

The Buzz

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

COLUMBIA -- Truthful Tuesday is about to get real.

A group of activists calling on the state to rethink its rejection of Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act is staging a demonstration of "civil disobedience" at the State House and arrests are "anticipated," according to a new release.

Activists willing to get cuffed will attempt to block the entrance to the State House garage at 11 a.m.

The demonstration is timed with the Senate's taking up a bill that would hinder the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in South Carolina.

At noon, others will gather outside the state Senate doors, just as they did last Tuesday, to "shame" lawmakers for rejecting the federal money to expand Medicaid.

Happening today

Det Bowers to speak in Fairfield County: Columbia pastor Det Bowers, one of six Republicans who say they are running against U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in June's primary, is scheduled to speak at 1 p.m. at the Winnsboro Rotary Club, Fairfield Motel Conference Room, 56 U.S. Highway 321 Bypass South.
S.C. ed chief candidates in West Columbia today: Eight Republicans vying for their party's nomination for state schools chief will speak at the First Tuesday Republican Club luncheon in West Columbia. Invited speakers are Sally Atwater, Gary Burgess, Meka Childs, Amy Cofield, Sheri Few, Don Jordan, Elizabeth Moffly and Molly Spearman. Lunch begins at 12:45 p.m. at Brookland Baptist Church Conference Center, 1066 Sunset Blvd.
American Legion chief at the State House: Daniel Dillinger, National Commander of the American Legion, will address a joint session of the S.C. General Assembly at 12 p.m. to discuss issues important to military veterans and families. "The American Legion is very alarmed at recent defense cuts that the organization believes endanger national security and make the military a less attractive option for those considering careers in the all-volunteer force," said a news release announcing Dillinger's State House visit.
DeMint releases book today: Former Sen. Jim DeMint's new book "Falling in Love with America Again" is released today. DeMint, who resigned from his South Carolina seat last year to lead The Heritage Foundation conservative think tank, writes about "how to rebuild our economy and culture, from the ground up" with stories of "leaders across America (giving) firsthand accounts of overcoming obstacles in education, health care and other concerns Washington has failed to solve," according to descriptions of the 320-page book. Politico asks in a story posted for the book release , "Is Jim DeMint the Most Hated Man in Washington?"

T-Rav's not always charmed life

Former state treasurer Thomas Ravenel addressed his checkered past on Monday's debut of the Charleston-based reality show "Southern Charm" on Bravo. T-Rav resigned his post after an arrest on cocaine charges. He tells friends in a clip on the show that he learned to play bocce and led a softball team during his six-month jail stint. He also promises, like he has for years, to make a political comeback.

Click here if you can't see the video

Goodbye @SCLegislator?

We're putting an APB out for one of our favorite Palmetto Twitter parodies, @SCLegislator. Nullified? Maybe the account can be restored in the Senate version.

Top Clicks

SC immigration law defanged : The state of South Carolina reached a tentative agreement Monday that bans police from holding motorists while checking to see if they are in the country illegally. Officers still can ask motorists stopped on other potential violations for documents to prove their citizenship, as provided for under the state’s 2011 law. But they will not be able to detain those motorists while checking their immigration status. Full story

McConnell now one of four finalists : The College of Charleston will choose from a powerful state politician, an influential Washington insider, a veteran Ivy League professor and a former college president to lead South Carolina’s third-largest college. Trustees announced four finalists Monday, which included Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. All reportedly have the backing of different factions of campus leaders, turning the presidential search into another piece of S.C. political intrigue. Full story

Bill Clinton to visit Greenville next month : Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled tentatively to come to Greenville next month to speak at an event for the Furman University's Riley Institute, former Gov. Dick Riley said Monday. Riley said he does not expect Clinton to make any other stops in South Carolina. Clinton is slated to appear at 7 p.m. April 8 at The Peace Center, Riley said. Full story

Sheheen asks Chris Christie to pull RGA ads : State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the expected S.C. Democratic candidate for governor, sent a letter to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, after the group started a television ad campaign for Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday. The ad criticizes Sheheen for wanting to accept President Barack Obama's expanded health-care plan that proponents say helps millions of uninsured Americans get health coverage and critics say is a costly burden to states. Haley, who sits on the RGA executive committee, has rejected the program expansion. Full story

Ex-elections deputy director, in-law to state senator, consults with attorneys : Richland County’s former deputy director of elections said Monday he is consulting with lawyers after reviewing comments made last week that he did not know his job or that he was responsible for voting machines that ran out of power in the county’s notorious 2012 election. Garry Baum issued his first statement since being asked to involuntarily resign from the elections office in September. Baum said he was “outraged” that former director Howard Jackson insinuated that Baum’s family relationship with Sen. Joel Lourie was one reason Jackson was fired. Baum and Lourie are brothers-in-law. Full story

State House Clicks

Medical cannabis bill gives epilepsy sufferers hope : More than 100,000 people suffer from epilepsy in South Carolina. A state bill, the "Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Treatment Research Act," would allow for the prescription and research on cannabidiol oil for patients with epilepsy. The oil is derived from marijuana, but is "not psychoactive," meaning it does not produce the high associated with marijuana. Full story

Senate to take up county penny sales tax for schools : State Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, is pushing a bill that would allow all counties to vote on a one-cent tax for school property improvements. Full story

Bill allowing electronic proof-of-insurance on Haley's desk : A bill sponsored by state Rep. Todd Atwater, R-Lexington, would allow drivers to show proof of insurance on their smartphone. The bill is awaiting Gov. Nikki Haley's signature. Full story

Election 2014 Clicks

Lindsey Graham airs six-figure TV, radio ad buy : U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham released his second round of radio and television ads this weekend in his 2014 re-election bid. The six-figure statewide ad buy started running this weekend during the Clemson - University of South Carolina baseball series. Full story

D.C. Clicks

Lindsey Graham says U.S. global strength dwindling : U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday, during a stop in Spartanburg, that America's global strength is dwindling. Citing threats from Russia, Syria, Iran and extremist groups, Graham argued against a proposed military cuts and said he missed former President George W. Bush because “at least you knew where you stood with him.” Full story

Congressmen question Michelin's defense contracts : Three members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee questioned Michelin North America’s contracts with the U.S. military, saying they should be canceled if the Greenville company’s French parent pursues business in Iran despite international sanctions. The company makes tires for U.S. Defense Department aircraft and vehicles. Full story

Buzz Clicks

A GOP gain in Aiken : Aiken County Councilwoman Kathy Rawls said she didn't leave the Democratic Party, but the party left her, after an announcement she would be switching party lines on Monday. Rawls was joined by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale; S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken; County Republican Party Chairman K.T. Ruthven; and S.C. Republican Party Chairman Matt Moore.

Hilton Head Island native puts on the Southern Charm : As the Charleston-based Bravo series “Southern Charm” premiered Tuesday, not all of the cast was from Charleston. Meet Shep Rose, a Hilton Head Island native. Full story

State House meetings



10:30 a.m.: Joint Screening Committee to Review Candidates for the Consumer Affairs Commission (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda )

S.C. Senate


9 a.m.: Special Subcommittee to Review the Investment of State Retirement Funds (Gressette Room 105 / Agenda )

3 p.m.: Finance Committee on S.511, S.525, S.954, S.962, S.985, S.1008, S.1033 and H.3021 (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda )

3 p.m.: Judiciary Committee (Gressette Room 105 / Agenda )

S.C. House


11 a.m.: Minority Caucus (Blatt Room 305)

11 a.m.: Majority Caucus (Blatt Room 112)

Upon adjournment of the House: Minority Caucus (Blatt Room 112)

2:30 p.m.: 3-M Subcommittee I, Health and Environmental Affairs (Blatt Room 427 / Agenda )

2:30 p.m. or 1½ hours after the House adjourns: Judiciary Committee (Blatt Room 516 / Agenda )

4:30 p.m.: Legislative Black Caucus (Blatt Room 427)

Who's schmoozing?

• York County Regional Chamber of Commerce, reception for House and Senate members and staff (Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 6-8 p.m.)
• S.C. Governor's School for Science and Math, reception for House and Senate members and staff (Capital City Club, 7-9 p.m.)

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